Sunday, November 3, 2013

Beautiful Changes!

October 9, 2013

The beautiful changes in the leaves!

Fall is here

The leaves changing remind me of home. It is amazing how something that is so beautiful green can be even prettier when they are changing with the weather. With all the changes with my surroundings I guess it is about time for me to move houses again. Did anyone see this coming? I am getting transferred to Merrimack New Hampshire. It is kind of fun for me to be able to experience life here in the New England area. When I was little we used to play a game with the states, so I know a few facts about the states. I am really excited to go to New Hampshire because the state bird is a Chickadee. Now, that is really not the only reason I am excited to go. When I found out, I thought that I was going to be speaking English. That is not going to be the case to my great surprise. I will be with an English speaking companion (Sister States), but there are 20 Spanish families in that area already attending church. I am actually going to be translating!?!?! I am not sure how that is actually going to work out... but I know that in the end it isn't me that is going to be doing the work, it will be the Spirit.
This week has been pretty long, then again it has been a little longer than a week. We had a really fun time at family home evening with Hailey and the Balmforths. We went on exchanges on Tuesday. Wednesday we had a really good lesson with Hailey and Alicia ( I am going to miss having Alicia around to help with lessons, she is so good!)
Alicia and Karee
 Hailey is so ready to be baptized, but is really wanting to finish reading the Book of Mormon first. We also had a few lessons with members encouraging them to have some questions in mind for conference. Thursday morning we went to the Bishop's storehouse to serve. It was pretty busy! I teamed up with Sister Ripley.

(There are many opportunities for missionaries to serve. One of these  was at the Bishops' Storehouse. The purpose of the Bishops' Storehouse is to
distribute commodities to the poor and needy as requested by bishops. Bishops’ storehouses also provide meaningful service opportunities for those receiving
assistance and for those desiring to serve missions or to volunteer.)
Elder and Sister Anderson and Karee at the Bishop's Storehouse
Karee's companion, Sis Godoy, Sis Ripley, and Karee at the storehouse
These missionaries all had the opportunity to help at the bishops' storehouse

She would push the cart and call out what we needed and how many and I would grab cans and boxes of food like crazy. Sister Ripley is such a fun lady. She and her husband actually have their own Hawaiian show (she is a hula dancer). I am going to have to come back to watch them! We had dinner with Hailey on Thursday and we got to know her a little more.
Hailey, Sis Godoy, and Karee

funny pics
 It was a lot of fun! We also have been having to help the elders get to know the people that we have been teaching so that they can take over when we leave (yes we are both leaving, currently there is not enough people to work with for two sets of Spanish missionaries). Conference of course was really good. Sister Godoy and I watched it in Spanish... which was good and bad. Luckily I will have the chance to go back and listen to it again... in English. Gerbert and Nilsa were able to come and so was Adeliris! It was so good to see them! And It is amazing how so many questions were answered. Adeliris found that one of the talks spoke just to her and it was about what we had talked to her about the night before.

Last night we did the Life of Christ activity again for the Young women of the Worcester first ward. It was really amazing! As I was helping pass out the objects I was thinking about what Christ has done for me. At one point it hit me that I am here, because of Him. In more ways than one. Yes, because He is my Savior, but also because of my faith in Him that I want to share with others.
Jen and Karee (one of the young women in Worcester)

As a missionary, I literally walk by faith. I have never seen Jesus, but I know that it is because of Him that I am here. I am serving the Lord because I know He lives. I may not be here to convince or to convert. Many times I feel inadequate to have been called to serve, but I know that I am here because I believe in Him. I do not doubt the things that my parents have taught me. I know that the Gospel has brought me so much joy and so many blessings. When something is so true that you cannot deny it, you have to share it. I know that God has blessed me with a love for the people here; and because I love them, I cannot keep from them all that I know. I have to share it. That is why I am here. I believe in Christ and I know that He came to the earth to live a perfect life and establish His Gospel. And then He took upon Him the sins, pains, and weaknesses of all who have lived, who live now and who will live. He was crucified but I know that He was resurrected on the third day. I know that He lives! And because He lives all of us can live and can return to live with our Heavenly Father. It is so wonderful.

I love you all!

Love always,
Sister K. Brown

Bye Bye Worcester!

Sis Godoy,  Sis Layton, Sis Hobbs, and Karee(Karee's roommates-all missionaries)

Sis Godoy and Karee

Sis Hobbs and Karee

Sis Layton and Karee
Sis Mendez and Karee making yummy papusas
Karee, Jan, and son, Jose
Golder and Karee
Ana and Karee
Lisa and granddaughter and Karee
The district in Worcester(a district is a group of 4-8 missionaries)
Sis Godoy, Nilsa, and Karee

Maria, Karee, and Ivi
Karee and Sis Williams and Aucua
The Rodriguez Family, Karee and Sis Godoy
Ethan and Karee
Sis Ferrin, Karee, and Sis Ence(Sis Ferrin's mom) two extraordinary women!
 Karee and Bro and Sis Lachmann(amazing RS President)

The Sanchez Family(lots of fun!)

 Mom's note: Karee grew to love the people of Worcester and had to get as many pictures as she could.

Be Christlike Not Just do Christian Things

September 30, 2013

As a missionary I have been seeking revelation on how I can become better and how I can best help those around me. It is interesting how you get answers sometimes. We were in district meeting Friday and someone was asking how they could help someone they were teaching. The words that came out of my mouth weren't my own but they worked and then I was able to apply them to the question that I had in mind. "Some people can't see the progress that they have made, but when others see them they can see a really big change." (or something like that).
The answer that I have received isn't that I don't have anything to improve on because I have made big changes in my life (changes that I couldn't see) but it was more that I have grown and I have learned that I have to do something more to receive more guidance. I do know what I need to do to receive this guidance. I started  to read from Preach my Gospel. (mom note: this is a missionary training book)

I read, "Just as vital as what you do, however, is who you are." (pmg 115). It then hit me that I have been worried too much about how I was spending my time and making sure we had enough to do. I was focused on getting things done (even though I didn't get down when we didn't have much to show at the end of the day as far as lessons). So how do I change? How do I become better? Well, it is like anything else. It starts with a desire, then I have to do my part, I have to act through study, and setting goals. One of the best examples was Christ Himself.

Christ asked us to follow Him (Matt. 4:19 and Mark 1:17). His disciples set an example for us on how we should respond, "and they straightway left their nets and followed him," (Matt 4:20). He set the example, He led the way, and then He told us who we should be, "Therefore, what cmanner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even das I am." (3 Nephi 27:27)

My question then becomes, How do I become more like Christ?
      1. Learn 
              2. Do

For this next week, I have to do my part to learn what Christ did and how He did it. I am going to be studying some Christlike attributes such as: Faith, hope, charity, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility.... (He made a really long list of to do's). Then make one goal at a time. Take it slow because I want to make sure to learn and that I am able to apply this to my life (not just here on the mission). 

 Preach my Gospel counsels us:
   Learning to be Christlike is a life long pursuit
    You follow Christ and develop attributes--- one action and one decision at a time (remember to be patient with yourself)
   Becoming like Christ requires exercising faith, repentance, keeping covenants, and receiving increased measure of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.

Also, we cannot become perfect like Him by ourselves, we must try our best and then use the Atonement to make up the difference. Even when we are trying to be like Him, we need Him.

Karee and Isabel at church
Karee, Isabel, and Sis Hobbs at Isabel's confirmation

Conversion Story of Isabel

September 30, 2013

(Mom's note: Karee had the opportunity to teach Isabel about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Isabel wrote a letter to Karee's mission president to share of her experience. I have included this letter to let those of you following Karee's blog have an insight as to the purpose of her serving this mission. Hearts are touched and lives are changed through Jesus Christ)

Dear President Packard,

I would love to share my conversion story with you and Sister Packard, please feel free to share it with others who are seeking the truth and need encouragement. I feel that I have been truly blessed joining the church and am looking forward for my spiritual journey.

I believe that there are two parts to my conversion story: Worcester First Ward and my personal journey. 

Bishop Andros had announced to the Worcester First Ward that together they were going to fast to strengthen the ward and to help the missionaries back in May. From what I heard, after joining the church, the missionaries were having a hard time finding investigators, many of the members were fasting and then I showed up that first week of August. 

I had moved to Rutland back in January for a temporary job. After graduating college, it was really tough trying to find a job. I had this very strong urge to move to Boston but unfortunately every interview here never worked out.  I then moved to Colorado hoping that something would come up and that I would eventually live in Boston. I didn't grow up in any church, my mom had tried to raise me as a muslim but I could never follow it, I didn't feel like it was for me. I had been exposed to different churches especially in college but nothing ever made me like it was right. I agreed with most of them but not enough to pursue it. Regardless, I always prayed to God especially when I was feeling discouraged. I was at my very low in Denver, I felt like I had been abandoned. I had applied at Heifer International as my last hope, I had been contacting them for the past two years and thought that I would be able to get in. They called me back to tell me that they unfortunately had no more positions available. Receiving that phone call was the worst, I cried because I didn't know what I was going to do, I had no more options. At that moment, I told God that I didn't blame him and then thats when my phone rang. I answered it and it was my current supervisor now, he said that I was perfect for the job position they had in Rutland, that he could interview me right then and that I would get in. He also mentioned it was right by Boston but I couldn't believe my luck. I moved to Rutland in January. 

The experience I have gained at this job was exactly what I needed and it gave me direction, I became who I wanted to be someone confident, generally happy and secure in what I wanted. Theres a piece of this story, I haven't shared yet. I grew up living around the world and because of that I value friendship greatly because I know how easily it can be cut short. My best friend was serving a mission in Paraguay for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint. I had met him when I was fifteen and since then we had been writing to each other. When I had met him, he wasn't as involved in the Church but returned when he decided to serve a mission. He asked me to come see him before he left and invited me to Church. I remember having a great time. During his mission we continued to write, he begun writing to me about joining the Church and then sent missionaries to my parents home in Texas. This was about a year and a half ago. I was really upset because back then I didn't want to affiliate myself with one belief. I believed in God but I hadn't made a decision for myself. I told him that if he wanted to continue being my friend he had to understand that If I wanted to join the Church it would be my choice and because of this he couldn't talk to me about it. The reason why I bring this up is because of what my father said when the missionaries showed up at our house. I was very upset and my dad was even more upset with me, my father does not get disappointed with me often but there was definitely a sense of disappointment from him. He mentioned that he had been to the church before and had been friends with Elders that served in Chile when he was younger, that I should have invited them in and gave them a chance. At the end of June of this year, my friend returned from his mission trip and as he had promised me, we didn't talk about the church but I could see that something had changed. What my dad had said the me, was continuously repeating in my head so I went on the LDS website, typed in my address and left a message to Bishop Andros that I wanted to go to Church, and what time the service was at. I went to Church on fast sunday, coincidence because I had fasted to make sure I was making the right decision. I was going to give it a chance. I arrived to church early and saw the sisters walk in, I ran in behind them but when I came inside they were nowhere in sight, I walked around the church and sat down at a bench. Brother Velez popped his head out of one of the rooms and looked at me and asked if I was lost. I told him I wanted to be here but I wasn't very sure where I was suppose to go first and I felt like I had been walking in circles. Brother Velez then sat down and told me about the church, within those fifteen minutes of conversation was exactly what I had to hear to know that the church was true.

The first day I showed up at church was also the day I had the pleasure of meeting both of you. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints felt very familiar to me and still does. I wish I could write down how much joining the church has blessed me and all the tiny miracles I have witnessed that keep affirming my belief daily. I will forever be grateful for Worcester First Ward for being so great to me, they have really strengthened their ward and I could feel it. I will forever be grateful for the missionaries, they helped me feel the Holy Spirit when I needed it most and they were so patient with me during the lessons. I will forever be grateful to my best friend for introducing me to the Church, without him I would have had to wait for another opportunity to hear about the church. 

Thank you President Packard and Sister Packard, if you have any questions please feel free to write me back.