Monday, September 23, 2013

Heavenly Father's timing is not always my timing

September 23, 2013

Hola todos!

It's getting colder. Maybe we will get lucky and have another snowy Halloween. Last night we were at the Anderson's house and they were telling us all about the blizzard of '78. Apparently the whole town (maybe the state) was shut down for two weeks. How crazy would that be? 

This week seems to have flown by. We were given a list of sisters who do not currently have visiting teachers assigned to them by the visiting teaching coordinator. Our job has been to go through that list to find out why. Many of them have moved from the listed address. We have been quite busy with not only this list, but also trying to get in contact with all the Spanish members in the area. 

Wednesday we are going to have our first taste of "Split Night." The sister missionaries will go out with a few sisters in the ward to do their visiting teaching or visit a few less-actives while the elders will be going out with some of the brothers in the ward. With us as their temporary companions, we are able to reach and get to know more people, while the members are doing their duty as visiting or home teachers. The purpose of the Visiting and home teaching programs are to make sure that physical and spiritual needs of families and individuals are looked out for on a more personal basis. Two sisters are assigned as companions to visit with and leave a message with each of their assigned sister each month. The message can be and should be adapted to the individual needs of the sisters (or in the case of home teaching the families).

Conference is coming up! Just like how God spoke to the people through prophets in the Bible, He speaks to us today. He is our loving Heavenly Father and He gives guidance to us through His prophets. Here are a few ways that you can prepare yourself to hear the words of a modern day prophet called of God.

We had a really good lesson with Hailey talking about how Heavenly Father loves us so much that He created a perfect plan for us. That He knows us so well to have sent us to the families that He sent us to. He knew the experiences we would need to have as children (especially the things that our parents taught us) to get us to where we are now. He knew exactly when and where to send us so that we could have the best chance to make the right decisions to get back to Him because that is truly what He wants. It is amazing how when we teach, I feel like we are teaching me. I felt like everything that was said during that lesson was something I needed to hear and be reminded of. We are all children of Heavenly Father and He really does love us. He really does want us to have the best that He can give us, but it is up to us to choose to receive the blessings that He is willing to give us.

The Baez family were sealed in the Boston temple this Saturday for time and all eternity. I was not able to attend myself, but I was told that it was a very beautiful and joyous experience. I was able to talk to Sister Baez last night and she told me all about how the boys were good the whole time, how peaceful she felt after and how she feels like a different person now. There are no words to tell how much this family means to me and how happy I am that they have been sealed. They have made covenants that will bring their family so much happiness and so many blessings. 

The Baez  family and Karee

Talking about covenants, Ashley from Boston, was baptized yesterday. Once again, I wish with all my heart that I could have been there to support her. If there is one thing I learned this week it is that Heavenly Father's timing is not always my timing, but that His timing is always perfect. While I don't know exactly what came of my presence here in Worcester those two days, I do know that Heavenly Father does need me here for a reason and that by small and simple things, great things come to pass. Heavenly Father knew exactly what would happen those two days and He knew how to best help His children. The time right now is not mine, I have chosen to give it to the Lord. It might be a little weird to some people, but to me it means that I have a few sacrifices to make now, so that later the joy can be so much greater! I know that those friendships will be stronger and the time that we share together will be sweeter!

The pictures:
Remember how SIster Godoy called me Barbie in Malibu? Well we found my house! We just had to get a picture. Too bad I wasn't wearing anything more flashy.
Karee's companion called Karee Barbie and her Malibu car and then they found Barbie's house

The Young Women had a cooking activity where they prepared meals for a family in the ward. They were there without a camera and I decided to step up. I am not the best photographer in the world... far from it, but they did have a fun time.

Young Womens activity

Karee and a youth from the ward

making a dinner for a family in the ward

I love you all!

Love always,
Sister K. Brown

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Short One this Week!

September 9, 2013

Sister Miller and Karee baking at Sis Lachmann's house(MOM note: this picture was sent to me by Sis Lachmann.  A special lady watching out for Karee. )    
Dearest family and friends,

I am learning so much! I hope that all is well at home and that you are not in a dust blown library like I am. (something wrong with the air system, no worries they just fixed it).

Tuesday, Sister Godoy really wanted to have some Dunkin' Donuts so because we didn't have a dinner, I typed it into the GPS and we found the nearest one. Luckily it was right next to a little convenient shop and I was able to have something...less greasy.  It is funny for me to see how she reacts to some of the culture conveniences that we have here. Whipped cream from a can was funny to see. But she sure does know her Spanish. That is really helping me.

We have been doing a lot of less-active finding here in Worcester especially with the Spanish population. This week we got back in contact with a sister, Iris. She is the mother of five and has led a really hard life. She is pretty loud and a little crazy, but a lot of fun! We are going to be working with her for sure. She has a daughter who is just a year or two older than me and she reminds me so much of Natalie P. I can't wait to start working with her more. 

We also started teaching Hailey. She is currently a student at one of the many colleges/universities here in Worcester. She is golden like Isabel. She was introduced to the church by her boyfriend and his family, but she is here on her own. No one made her come to church and meet us. We met on Thursday and she has such a strong desire to learn. We taught her about the Restoration and she said it makes sense. She loves to serve and loves that the church gives so many opportunities to do so. 

I think the thing that I realized most this week is that there are so many people here to look after me. I guess sometimes I get pretty busy. But no matter where we are or what we are doing, there is constantly some one there to feed us or check up on us. There are families here that would be willing to feed us every night if we would let them. Women who take me under their wing like I am their own daughter. Making sure I am taking care of myself physically and emotionally. Many of them don't know how much it really means to me. How to me they are answers to my own mother's prayers. They don't know that I will be forever grateful for them and all that they do. Heavenly Father is so aware of His missionaries and has and will continue to put people in their way to take care of them. We protected from harm and then some. A lot more "some!"
So I ate something totally disgusting to think about... really it was just chewy and I swallowed it down. Sister Godoy thought that they weren't too bad and ended up eating 7 or so. Oysters right? Or are they clams? I don't actually know because she said the name in Spanish and I don't really know which is which. Thank you Sister Sanchez for this dinner adventure.

Sis Sanchez and Sis Godoy

I love you all!
Sister K. Brown

(Sorry this letter is not quite what last weeks was

Sweetest Experience Yet!

September 2, 2013

Sister Hobbs, Isabel, and Karee  at Isabel's baptism.

Yesterday at 4:13 pm, one of my best friends made a covenant with Heavenly Father when she was baptized by someone who holds the Priesthood authority. And it was one of the Sweetest experiences of my life!
I am not sure if it was exactly at 4:13, but I do know that it was one of the sweetest experiences! 

The anticipation for this day has been unbelievable, and it started way before Sunday morning. I don't know who was more anxious, Isabel or me. We had originally set a date for the 15th so that her friend could come and preform the baptism, but when she found out that he would not be able to get leave from his duties on the reserve she said, "Why wait?" Preparations were made and the date was officially moved up to the 1st. This week has been great! It was a lot of work but totally worth every minute! 

Monday we went to visit a ward member who broke her ankle at girls camp... some of the things that leaders will do to help the young women have fun.... I love it! Then we went to Niobe's house. We had a wonderful meeting with a few less actives and we picked up a few things for Isabel's baptism. Then we met with Isabel at the church to review the Plan of Salvation and the commandments. 

Tuesday we met her briefly at a library to talk about her life plans, mostly because we are all friends and because she needed someone to talk to. We also met Nilsa and Ana, had lunch with a wonderful family from Ghana. Helped a sister move. A dinner and a meeting... full day.

Wednesday we went to the farm (p-day) where she works for a tour. It is amazing the things that I learned. I wouldn't mind living on a farm for the summer. She showed us their huge garden. 
The farm that Karee  and Sis Hobbs visited. Isabel works there.(Picture perfect. The American flag hanging down from the barn)
The leaves that we could eat  that are sweet like sugar because it is used as a sweetener and why they plant beans and corn together. She taught us that they use their pigs to till the garden because they are really good at digging. We went around to the different houses that represent different houses and cultures around the world. I might have jumped at the chickens....
Sister Hobbs and Karee with a llama and an alpaca at the farm
After the fun in the country we visited with a few families and said goodbye to a sister who will be moving away after she gets married.

Thursday we had transfer meeting.
Sister Wagner and  Karee

Sister Wagner, Sis Jordan, and Karee

Sis Gomez and Karee.
 I got a car! It is a gold Chevy Malibu... not sure if I like it, but it is a car. Sister Godoy said, "You are like Barbie in her Malibu!" We let Sister Godoy and Sister Layton (Sister Hobbs' new companion) get settled into the apartment. Sister Godoy is so cute.
Hermana Godoy and Hermana Brown (new companions)
 She doesn't really speak any English but knows more that she thinks. It has definitely been fun to get back into the Spanish speaking mode. I am actually surprised by how much I have been able to communicate with her. We talk all the time. She is definitely an answer to my prayers and my efforts to do my best to learn the language. Now I have the chance to really pick it up and run with it. I will also be teaching her English. She is actually a Spanish teacher back in Argentina where she is from, so we both have a lot to learn form each other. But I definitely get the better deal. She is the sixth of eight. She likes to have fun. Her favorite English words are "oh my goodness".  We also met the elders and Isabel at the church for her interview. Elder Broadhead said that she passed with a triple A+ (not that it was graded). She seemed so happy and giddy. Then we had to pick out a jumpsuit for her. It was a lot of fun!

Friday we had district meeting and lunch together. Then we went to Irini and the sanchez sisters both. Sister Godoy had so much fun with the Sanchez sisters. Finally able to talk to people who knew what she was saying probably. 

Saturday we went to a bunch of peoples houses We went to dinner at Sister Aragon's house. The elders were there too, a little bit of bad planning on my part. Elder Gonzalez, who was in Boston while I was there made sure I got more than enough food... guess some things never change. 

Sunday was the BIG day! Sister Hobbs and I stood in the doorway so that we could give her her towel when she came out. She was so happy! We gave exchanged some wet hugs and then she got changed... Yes Sister Hobbs and I cried. It was such a joyous experience. 

I love you All!
Love always,
Sister K. Brown

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Get Excited!

August 28, 2013

Biggest news in the world! Isabel is getting baptized this Sunday! Isabel has told us to "Get excited!" a couple times. She is so excited! She was originally planning on getting baptized on the 15th so that her friend could come and baptize her but he couldn't get leave from the reserves so she said, "why wait?" So we got things together and it looks like things are going to be great!
Also some more news, I am getting yet another companion. Sister Godoy. She is from Argentina, so she is a native Spanish speaker, so I think I might become a better speaker this transfer. My goal is to speak to her as much as I can in Spanish. It would seem as though we have a lot of work to do with finding some less active members. I think we will be doing more of the tracting style of missionary work. Nothing to complain about, I am actually really excited and ready to get out and find some of the lost sheep.

Also, Elder Gonzalez who was my district leader in Boston is going to be coming out. He is really going to help the Spanish group out here he is so awesome and motivating for the members.

Things ended up going really well with Sister Hansen our mini missionary. She probably thought we were crazy on Monday, but the rest of the week went very well. We were able to go on a few splits and see a bunch of people. We started teaching another lady named Niobe. She is from the Dominican Republic and has two little boys. She speaks Spanish and so does Heidi so we will start out with a few Spanish speaking people to teach. 

Sorry this email is short, but we ended up going to the farm where Isabel works. It is an international non-profit organization that helps other people become more self-reliant. Sounds like what you would work on dad! It was really neat. Have a great week.

LOve you all!
Hna. K. Brown
Sis Hobbs, Isabel, and Karee on the farm


August 19, 2013

Sis Hobbs(Karee's companion) going on splits(this is where the companions split up and go with a member to visit less active members or investigators)with one of the young women from church

Karee on splits with one of the young women.

One thing I really like is that when ever you try to take the time to be grateful for what you have been given by Heavenly Father, He always finds ways to bless you more.

This week has been one of those weeks where I have been blessed more and more each day. Honestly it started out as one of those weeks that I was feeling like I wasn't doing my best. Like I wasn't as good as what the people here actually need. One morning in particular as we were planning to have a first visit with a Spanish lady and I was feeling like I haven't been good enough at keeping up my Spanish, we got a phone call from the Assistants to the presidents. They wanted to know if we would like to take a mini missionary (a young woman 16-18 who was thinking about serving a mission and wanted to see what the life of a missionary is like). We, thinking it was going to be for the week end agree. "Great so she will come Saturday night and we will pic her up Friday night." Wait, what? Yep that's right, we have her for a whole week. It was during that time when I was feeling so unqualified that they called to tell us that they had been praying and felt that we would be able to set good example and give her a great experience. Heavenly Father's way of saying, not only have I trusted you with the people in two wards, not only have I trusted you with the people to teach (Golder, Isabel, Nilsa, Jim, and a few others), not only have I trusted you to help Sister Hobbs by being an example of an "older missionary," but now I am going to trust you to take care and make sure that this future missionary has a good time and learns about what the life of a missionary really is. 

Isabel is really perfect. She has such a desire to study and to learn. All we really have to do is answer an occasional question and give her some reading assignments. She has a friend who recently got off his mission in Paraguay, who has been helping her out a lot as well. She has really been prepared to receive the Gospel. This week we saw her Sunday after church, then Monday with the Hererra family for dinner and family home evening, then Tuesday night where we talked about modern day prophets and reviewed the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. Thursday we brought her some left over dinner (spicy, yummy! Ghanaian food) and some papusas (also very delicious!) She brought us some fresh veggies from the garden/farm where she lives. We talked about the baptismal covenant and what that really means. We talked about repentance and a little about the word of wisdom. Which went along well with the fact that we ate healthy food (that was not planned). She went to Montreal for the weekend and is going to have a really busy week, but she said she would read Our Search for Happiness along with Mosiah 3 and 4. She loves to read. Her friend, Cody, got a hold of our number and called us to see if we could set up things for the baptism. He wants to baptize her. We were so grateful that he had thought of that because we had no way of getting a hold of him to ask. 

It looks like I will be getting a new companion in about a week and a half. A spanish sister so that we can start focusing on the Spanish group here. It will be different. And that means I won't really be able to teach Isabel anymore. Which is really quite sad. I have really enjoyed her real intent and her desire to do what Heavenly Father wants her to do.
She had prayed about coming to church. Then she called the number that was listed online. When the Bishop's wife called her back she knew she had to go. She went and she really felt the Spirit. She is very aware of the Spirit and says that she feels it every time she is around us. A little when she prays and at certain points when she is at church. But always when she is with us. Her prayers are sincere and heartfelt and she always give thanks for us. I don't feel adequate in teaching her because I know she deserves that best, as does everyone. It is an honor that Heavenly Father would trust us with her. 

The lesson with Heidi, a young lady starting a family (friend of the Rodriguez family) was hard. I am not up to par, with my Spanish. But she said that she wanted to learn more and she was at church on Sunday! There were a couple other non-members at church. It is becoming really obvious that Heavenly Father has something big and something great planned for the people here and He is going to make sure it gets done. I am excited!

Golder called and told us she misses us. Sometimes I feel like we go and just sit while she watches TV or cooks or we talk to her. Sometimes I wonder if she really even likes us coming over, but I guess she does. 

Sundays are now really long. I started my day at 4:45 and was able to get some studies in. We had a meeting at 8 and then Spanish group started at 9. Then it was time for round two. First ward seemed a little bit longer. But we made it. We stayed at church for a total of 8 hours in total. Time well spent I would say.Then we went on splits once again (yes I lucked out and went with Alicia.) We had a great dinner appointment and we able to have two lessons, talking about the Atonement and the importance of faith in Christ. But the best part was that we got to stop by Sister William's house and see her new baby. Not even a week old. She is tiny! And adorable. There is always a special spirit in the homes where there are new born babies. 

We had a visit with Jim and his wife. We had prayed about what we should talk to them about and we both agreed that the Plan of Salvation was what he needed. We talked about how he was a lot like my father. How he is constantly looking for ways to serve others and how he has a sincere love for people. We watched Earthly Father Heavenly Father Mormon message. I love that one because it reminds me how I really am a daughter of Heavenly Father and how much He really does love me.

I want all of you to know, that no matter how you feel, no matter how inadequate or unqualified you feel, you are a child of God. He has a plan for you. He wants you to be happy. And He is willing to help you find greater happiness and purpose in life if you just ask Him. He loves you and He wants to bless you. He sent His Son to atone for our sins so that He would know exactly how to help lift us in our lowest points. Take some time to be thankful for the things that you have and you will realize that He has given you so much!

I love you and hope all is well.
Love always,
Sister K. Brown

Time is quickly passing!

August 12, 2013

Funny pics happen when you arrive early to your appointment!


Seriously time could not be going any faster! And believe me, I don't want it to. Yesterday was non-stop business all day starting at five in the morning, until nine at night. Being over two wards is really a lot of work when we are being asked to be part of the fabric of the ward, but let me tell you it is so much fun!

Actually it has been pretty crazy since Sister Hobbs and I have become companions. We have a lot to do and we are being pulled in so many different directions at one time. Don't worry we are being taken care. This week was one of those reward weeks. One of those weeks that Heavenly Father says, "Don't worry, there are people here that are ready and waiting to hear the Gospel. You are doing a great, just keep going." And He actually said this in an unexpected way. He gave us another thing to do. We started teaching Isabel.

 She is an absolute golden! She has a childhood friend who recently got off a mission. He had mentioned to her that she should check out church again. So she told him that she would pray about it. Well she did  and decided that if she called and someone called her back, that she would go. She looked up a number and thought it was for the church but it was for the bishop's home number. The bishop's wife was able let her know about the times of the meetings. She was at church on Sunday a whole hour before church started. 

Tuesday- Was just a testament to us that our trials are but a small moment and that if we endure it well, keeping our heads held high and being an example of the believers, we be blessed. And like many blessings and answers to prayers, this blessing came in the form of another person. Isabel. So earlier in the day we met with a man at the library. He had showed interest in the church on time when we were there before. He had called us earlier in the morning and asked if we could meet him there. We thought that it was a good opportunity, but soon realized that he had different intentions with meeting with us. He was there because he thought we were under the power of the devil and he wanted to save us from the spell that we were under... I won't say what church he was from, but I will say that he was not very nice about his approach. We left the library feeling nasty. It was very spiritually draining to be talked at so much and in a not so nice way. It was a neat experience for us to be able to share our testimonies with each other.

I didn't however, find out how much he had effected me until later that night when we met with Isabel. It was a completely different experience. She wanted to learn and the Spirit was there. Then when we asked her to pray (for the first time), she gave thanks for us as missionaries and then she asked for us to feel better about the day. We hadn't told her as much about the situation or what happened, but she prayed for us and I automatically felt of Heavenly Father's love for me. I felt uplifted and edified. Isabel was the answer to my prayer and the way that Heavenly Father was able to show His love for me.

Wednesday- We learned how to make another Salvadorian dish, Fried Yuka. It is actually really good. I guess a good way to describe Yuka is like potatoes, but denser and more dough like. We ate it with our fingers once again and with a cabbage and carrot salad over the top with homemade salsa. We visited with a bunch of people, one of the perks of two wards is there are more people to visit all the time.

Thursday we had another wonderful lesson with Isabel, this time with the Bishop's wife. We talked about faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We were each able to bear our testimony about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. 

Friday was one of those Spiritually uplifting days. We had Zone conference. 

We had two lessons with Isabel this week, but really she is teaching herself through her studies. It is actually a really neat experience because she is doing the homework assignments in the little pamphlets and so are we (we aren't going to give her anything that we wouldn't be willing to do.) I am learning more and my testimony is growing. It has been neat to be able to study more on the Life of Christ, of the miracles He preformed and of the power of the Atonement. 

We are going to family Home evening with her at the Hererra's house tonight, maybe we can get some good pictures.

I love you all!

Love always,
Hermana K. Brown

early morning studies! Primary childrens' cards in the background on the wall!
A rewind picture of when Sis Hobbs asked Isabel to be baptized. She accidentally called her Jasmine!

Sis Biggs gave new quilts to the missionaries. The apt. was so cold, the quilts came in handy.

A Call for testimonies and personal life stories

August 12,2013

I am not sure if you have heard anything about a digital mission, but we are starting one out here in Boston. The idea is that missionaries review articles about big life questions or things that happen that might cause those questions, then they will comment and leave a link to attach a personal story and testimony of a member. 

Our mission president did this and shared it with two investigators who had decided to stop receiving visits from the missionaries. Both of whom were baptized these past few weeks. You may not have quite the same experience, but you never know who will be touched by your story when they run into it online.

Here is the Vision:
There are a lot of people searching for answers online and don't know where to find them. We want to connect those asking these types of questions with the members of the church. To do this, we have created a blog,, to collect deep personal experiences and testimonies in the form of blog posts to answer these questions.

Here are the blog categories and potential sub-topics (please don't limit yourself by the sub-topics, they are just meant to give ideas):

Challenges in life- Trials, hope, redemption, hurt, grief, change, death, doubt

Everyday faith- Scriptures, church, traditions, standards, prayer, fasting, self-image

Love & Relationships- Marriage, family, Dating, friendship, parenthood, ancestors

Purpose of Life- meaning, purpose, reasons, gifts, identity, growth, potential, happiness

Who is God?- Jesus Christ, science & religion, heaven, revelation, mercy, holy ghost.

Tips for writing:

1. Write in first person. This is your story from your prospective. It's ok to use "we" sometimes but this is your story and it will be more important for the reader to hear you say "I believe in baptism". 

2. Use your authentic voice. Forget what you thing you should be. Just sound like you. Write in your voice and in the way you normally communicate. Take out "like" or "um".
3. Write what you know. You are not prepping a lesson, but sharing a deep personal experience that has left a mark on you. Write what you know, what you experienced and then end with your testimony.

4. Avoid using "Mormon language". Any group acquires a language of their own. Our church has acquired our own set of terms to describe things. But you are not communicating to members of the church. So check the language you use.

5. Bear your testimony (without saying " I bear my testimony". Your testimony will be the most important part of the piece. This is your story and the perspective you've gained through living. let the reader know what you have learned and bear testimony to them of the principles. "I believe" or "I know" is more suitable.

6. Finish with your main point. The easiest way to finish is to reiterate your main point. If you are not sure what your main point is, maybe it is time to find out.

7. Balance the abstract and concrete. Pay attention to how many stories (concrete) vs concepts (abstract) are used. we need to see the human experience (concrete) applied to the concepts (abstract) to grasp concepts. But we need to be challenged with abstract concepts like faith and right and wrong to help us learn from the stories.   

We are enlisting the help of the members. Of course each of the missionaries will be writing a story of their own but they are really wanting to get the digital mission going. They have the programmers and the resources, but they are not able to link the online readers to articles written by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if they don't have any articles. I thought well there are around 250 missionaries who will be writing an article. Then next week we will be asking two members in our ward to write an article. I thought, I have a whole ward back home that I can ask to help too. Then maybe extend it to the stake leaders there in Missouri. Of course this is only a suggestion, but I would like to suggest that you try it.

1. Seek inspiration to know which topic you should focus on and what life story you might be able to share to bear your testimony about a gospel principle and how it helped you in this particular point in your life. 

2. Write a blog post. Around 500 words.

3. Send it to me for review #1. 

4. Share it with two non-member friends who you trust or want to share the gospel with (also I would suggest making this a matter of prayer). Ask them to review it and tell you what message they took away from it. Adjust the message based on their responses.

I hope you can join in and share your testimony so that someone out there looking for answers might be able to be touched by your's.

Love always,

Sister K.Brown