Wednesday, March 25, 2015

russian is really hard!


So our "first" investigator Andre is now our teacher. Super helpful actually to teach him first as an investigator and then to find out he is another teacher. We all suspected so it was good to finally know. We taught 5 lessons all in Russian in our first 7 days here. Pretty crazy stuff. This week flew by I do not even know where it went! So much happened but so fast. The days are long, but the weeks are fast. On Sunday my district of 6 sang "I am a Child of God" in Russian in sacrament. We have to prepare a talk in Russian every Sunday because the branch President just randomly picks you to speak in Sacrament. they are all on certain topics. And thank goodness I have not been called up yet. :)

I am also in the MTC choir here and I totally love it. We sang at the Tuesday night devotional a song called "Behold the wounds in Jesus Hands" and it is absolutely breathtaking about our Savior and His atonement!

OK some WEIRDNESS of the week:
-I think a spider bit my leg in my sleep in MY BED earlier this week. I am going to die.
-In class this week elder Nelson went to grab a paper from the area book and found another giant spider on it. So what does he do? He puts it on the ground. 
I was on top of my desk in seconds. So then Elder Gerritsen (his comp) got all mad at him like "you know she hates spiders. She told us yesterday. Why would you do that?" So the I tell Elder Nelson to kill it and then Elder Gerritsen is all mad again, but at me this time, saying, "It is a creature of God. How dare you kill it." Well, I told him that if the devil had just one pet it would definitely be a spider. So, Elder Nelson killed it. I sat back down and went on reading my scriptures and felt just fine about it. 

ALRIGHT, the good stuff:

This is a real experience. Very real. I want you all to understand that, but also understand that it is worth it. Why? Because this gospel is true. This gospel is my life. And with the Savior we are capable of doing all things. God answers our prayers. He answers us with thoughts and feelings in our hearts- that words just cannot explain. Is it not amazing that somebody hears you? Pray and ask Him anything! When you do, I know He will answer. He continually answers me, helps me, loves me. Is there anything better than the opportunity we have to have a relationship with our Father in Heaven and with the Savior? There is somebody out there who cares about you. He hears you. And that to me, means that everything will be okay. It is okay, because we are being taken care of. I want everyone to know and to feel that they can have this. Prayer is essential to our conversion. And why is it essential? 
-True conversion is completely turning/converting to the Lord and His will. We can only be truly converted to God if we know Him, and we can only know Him if we talk to Him. 
When life gets hard- DO NOTHING else before you get down on your knees and pray. Turn to the Lord first. Always pray. 
Learn of God by communicating with Him. It shows him how much we love Him. We need to more earnestly speak with the Lord. Think about this. He is a God who created all- who is mighty in all things and He just wants to talk to us. SO PRAY.
"If prayer is only a spasmodic cry at the time of crisis then it is utterly selfish, and we come to think of God as a repairman or a service agency to help us only in our emergencies. WE SHOULD REMEMBER THE MOST HIGH DAY AND NIGHT ALWAYS- not only at times when all other assistance has failed and we desperately need help." -Howard W. Hunter 1997.
LOOK up:
D&C 50: 13-22
2 Nephi 4:20-21, 23-24
Mark 4: 37-41
"Be not afraid only believe."

Thank you so much for the pictures mama. Can you send me some more like printed from Costco? I need more pictures I miss pictures so much. And thank you family for all the Dear Elders. I so love being a part of your week even if it is from afar. It is wonderful. Thank you boys for being such wonderful humans and making mama feel special. Keep having fun. AND thank the IRVING LADIES for taking my mama on a date. I am so happy. I love you all! I am loving this journey so much. Pray for me and my companion that we will be able to communicate with our investigators. Russian is really hard. I will talk to you all soon. 
Love Always,

Cectpa Karren

PS: "Never look down because you can't see God. Look up because you can see God better that way." 

Temple and Blossoms

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

adventure is for real!

March 18, 2015 1:42pm

Dear FAMILY and friends :)

1st I should've taken Spanish in High school. 2nd I love you guys SO MUCH.
Thank you so much for the notes and goodies it makes life. Please thank the whole family for
my surprise letters from everyone. They have made me laugh and cry. Letters really are the best thing ever here.
I have to type so fast this is scary!!!

Ok. First couple days: The first day I was like ILOVE THIS so much and I didnt even cry. 2nd day Wow I know a lot of Russian and bring it on. I love this. 3rd day- ok we tcan take it down a notch. Like this fire hose is blasting me and I am just trying to get a small drink of water. We taught our first investigator on FRIDAY. 2 1/1 days after we got here. We taught a man named Andre in all Russian. CAN you BELIEVE IT? Think about that. Crazy stuff. Like I talked about in my farewell talk- I am really trying to just "get out of the boat" and to trust God and exercise my faith. But woah it was scary and I had a moment of weakness- wondering how on earth WE can teach our investigatoir in Russian when my companion speaks only Spanish and I speak only English. i cried for a moment then realized I am set apart as a representative of Christ. I am a missionary. So, we prayed together and then we taught Andre. We have taught him 4 times now and will again tonight. He told us he wants to be baptized. Pretty cool.

This is crazy. I will answer your cute questions mama. If i don't get to them all I will write you a letter ok?
I FEEL AMAZING. The MTC is so spiritual and the days are just packed with goodness and business. (yes dad, I am taking care of myself). The classes are in ONLY Russian and we have a girl and guy teacher that are adorable. We secretly want them to get married (not to secretly... we tell the Sister everyday).
Our district has 6 people in it. 4 sisters all going to Ukraine and 2 Elders going to Russia.
My language material is way more than 12 pounds because we have double  of everything. Russian and Ukrainian.
Our district is amazing. We spend most of our time in our classroom learning and teaching and sharing testimony. It is so great. It really is a sacred place. We kneel to pray so often we joke that our knees are always sore. I LOVE IT.

My companion is from Ecuador and she is 23. She is powerful and a convert of 10 years. Her family is half mormon and the other half not. Her dad who isn't a member let her come and it will be a huge blessing for her family I know it. She has a powerful spirit and she knows the BOM so well. I have a lot to learn from her. But mostly since sometimes I can do nothing else I just make her laugh because I am weird. ;) I am just glad that I can make her laugh. :) We really have to rely on the spirit so we can communicate. We are becoming the best of friends.

We have  4 girls in our room including me and it is awesome. It is just our district girls. I will send pictures. I find that I can NOT sleep at night even though my body is so tired because it is right after we teach our investigator and I have Russian and LIFE in general as a missionary running through my head. Sometimes I wonder why my brain likes to talk so much. I am like can you please be quite??? (How do you spell that.) My brain is a chatter box. How annoying.
I usually get up around 5:45-6:15 and start the day. AMAZING that I can do that now and I am not even a morning person no???? Haha.

I feel like I have been here for weeks not just  1. CRAZY.

Mom and dad I just want you to know you are the cutest humans and everyones little notes throughout the week have made me so happy. I love you guys. And please tell Mama Irving thanks for her letter also!
MOM good for you for doing family history. Are you still going to the temple every week?

I love how you said that Sunday you realized we can do hard things because it is in our genes. How amazing is that. It really is!
In the pre existence we had exceptional faith and we worked SO hard. Why not do the same here? There is much to be done before we can go back to our Maker. We need to learn to LOVE to work.

Dad it sounds like your Sunday school lesson was amazing as usual. I especially love what mom told me about your lesson: we must take action and come unto Him so He can buoy us up. Think about this. We are actually very close to God. How close are we? Only one prayer away. PRAY PRAY PRAY. If we are praying we are remembering Him, loving Him, building a relationship with Him and He can always talk to us and help us if we ALWAYS pray to Him.

This week I am working on Trusting in the Lord. Part of trusting Him is utilizing Christ's atonement-gaining a relationship so that no matter what I go through I can enjoy the journey. 2 Nephi 4:20-21, 34-35.
Trust in Him, do as He asks and He will help us do all.
I am running out of time and that doesn't even begin to cover my week so I will send a letter to you.

Always remember who you REALLY are. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who has saved ALL of us if we will just use his atonement and come unto Him. Simple. Yet beautiful. We all have a duty to be healers of a sick world. We have power. Let us remember that God loves us-all of us and He wants us to come back home. 

I love you guys like none other. Sweet moment to get to pray for each of you this morning in the Celestial room at the temple. I trust in God to take care of you while I am gone.
Austin- I love you and hope school is amazing. I am writing you a letter but have so much fun on your date you little woman killer. ;)
Carson- thanks for being moms buddy and keep dancing it up. Keep trying to be humble, an impossible feat ;)
Bridger- thank you for your powerful prayers for me. I feel them. They are helping me so much. I love you baby

MOM and DAD thank you for being my best friends ALWAYS. It is so good to hear from you guys I could not help my cry as I read your emails.

There is nothing better than this. I am a missionary.

LOVE ALWAYS with a giant purple heart,

Cectpa Karren

HAVE an awesome week!!!!
Keep reading the BOM in the AM ok family? We are still reading it together even though I am gone. I get up and read also. Sending my love to you all. Talk to you soon!

Cecpta Karren and district
Sisters Rubio, Karren, McDermott, Young and Elders Nelson and Gerritsen.

Provo Temple Day SUNDAY

Rockin' the name tag!

P Day = Play Day? 

Cecpta Karren and Rubio


First Day Unpacking

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If you want to reach me in the MTC I will be there until May 11. 

My MTC address is: 
Sister Kylie Anne Karren
2005 N 900 E Unit  65
Provo UT 84602

Sunday, March 8, 2015

farewell talk

The Blessing of Faith

What is faith?
WE KNOW: Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.
Faith means believing that even though we do not understand all things, that He does.
Faith means heeding the Lord’s plea to: “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36).
Faith in God is more than a theoretical belief in Him. 
To have faith in God is to trust Him, 
to have confidence in Him, 
and to be willing to act on our belief in Him.
SO: Faith is a principle of action and power.
When we act on our faith we are striving to do what is right. 
Having faith is the basis for everything else we do in the church. If we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that leads us to repentance, to baptism, to the gift Holy Ghost and so on for our entire lives.

(It may seems like an obvious question but I love the simpleness of the gospel) 
Why is faith important?
President Hinckley repeatedly declared: “If there is any one thing you and I need in this world it is faith.” 
Faith leads to salvation and exaltation: 
To be saved—or to gain salvation—means to be saved from physical and spiritual death. 
To be exalted—or to gain exaltation—refers to the highest state of happiness and glory in the celestial realm.
In order for faith to lead to salvation and exaltation, it must be centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without believing in Him we cannot reach the highest glory in the celestial kingdom. 
We can our exercise faith in Christ when we have an assurance that He exists, 
When we have a correct idea of His character, 
and a knowledge that we are striving to live according to His will.
It is easy to say I believe in God or even I love Him, and I love Jesus Christ. So then if we love him: He said Himself, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If we love God we should have the faith to do as He would want us to.
Faith is the inner belief that if we act, and when we do act, we will recieve blessings from God.
Faith is important because having faith in our lives means that we can receive power from God 
We can overcome all with power from God
(So now we might ask….)
How can we access the power of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
Well now we know that: We first have to have that initial faith. Faith is a principle of power that influences at least to some degree the Lord’s intervention in our lives. 
So, because Faith is a principle of power,  if we simply go forward with faith-believing in Christ, the Lord will use His matchless power to help us. 
Unshaken faith activates the power of God in our lives, “for he worketh by power according to the faith of the children of men” (Moroni 10:7)
God wants to bless us, but it is conditional upon our belief in Him. 
My little brothers are such good examples to me, as they have been diligently reading their scriptures and praying, and the other day Carson said the coolest thing. He told me that he really feels like now, every time he prays he gets an answer to his prayer. He was amazed that everything he asks is answered and that he is able to hear Heavenly Father so often. I know that he is getting answers because he is diligently putting priority on doing as he should. He is receiving great blessings and has the power of God in his life because of this, and he is more capable of receiving and noticing revelation when he is exercising his faith so completely. 

Faith is so important BUT we must remember:
Faith without works is dead. Believing is the first step, but we must then act on our faith. A wonderful example of acting on faith, is of the apostle Peter. Jesus said to Peter, “Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” (Matthew 14:29). He had so much faith that he got out of the boat and he walked on water. Now we know that when he saw the stormy water he started to hesitate and he fell. But Christ caught Him. The key part of this story to me, was that he had that first initial faith to just get out of the boat. 
Getting out of the boat can be so difficult. We don’t want people to judge us for being different,  and we are all human, and are somewhat afraid of failure. BUT WHY NOT just TRY. It doesn't matter how strong our faith is (we don’t have to be perfect), we just have to put our faith to the test. We can do amazing things with just a small amount of faith. Just get out of the boat. If we find that our faith still isn’t the strongest it can be, Christ will always be there to catch us, just like He did for Peter. 

If faith is an action, then, We must first choose to HAVE faith. 
In choosing faith we are choosing, “peace and protection.” In Elder Andersens talk on the “Trial of Your Faith” he talks about how faith can be that, peace and protection. Think of it this way he says, “When faced with a trial of faith- whatever you do, you don’t step away from the Church! Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view.” 

Hanging on to your faith during hard times guarantees the powers of heaven to be with you. We should not try to go through anything alone. We need to let Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ be present in our life, always.

Elder Jörg Klebingat says, “The adversary knows that faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right. For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.” He says, “As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary! The decision is yours…”

There will always be trials that test our faith. But when it really comes down to it, do we cling to our faith with our lives? The Prophet Joseph Smith gave his life for his testimony. Do we feel like this about this gospel? If we don’t, if our faith is wobbly, we need to put Him (God) to the test. “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you” (Alma 32:27). He will bless you with the gift of faith if you genuinely desire it. 

The fact of the matter is, the reality of this gospel with continue to be challenged. People will doubt and people will ridicule. Richard G. Edgley says, “the continual bombardment of such messages may cause confusion, doubt, and pessimism, each attacking the fundamental truths we believe in, our faith in God, and our hope in the future.” However we can always choose how we react to these messages and trials of our faith. Elder D. Todd Christofferson explained what he learned from a personal trial saying: “Though I suffered then, as I look back now, I am grateful that there was not a quick solution to my problem. The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me truly how to pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a very practical way to have faith in God. I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father… to a degree that might not have  happened otherwise… I learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I learned to walk with Him day by day.” 

I have had some trials in my life where I have had to exercise my faith. Sometimes that faith was all that I had that could get me through those hard times. Those moments where I have had to rely solely on God have really strengthened me. I know now that I can go through difficult things, because I always have God with me. The relationship you gain with your Heavenly Father and Savior when you are struggling and look to him is absolutely precious. There is nothing else like it. It isn’t until you can see Him standing with you through all things that you truly realize how many blessings He gives to us, especially when we are hurting. I know my Savior loves me.

When we do experience these trials we must choose. We can choose doubt, or faith. We can choose fear, or faith. We can choose the unknown or we can choose faith. It is a blessing to have faith throughout our trials. It makes them easier. When we are sick we go to the doctor and then take medicine. When we are struggling we should take our spiritual medicine, practice our faith or communicate with God and He will help heal the pain. It is wonderful to feel and know that God loves us individually, and to believe in all that He is, and all that He can do. Everything that is, it is all for us from a loving Heavenly Father and a wonderful Savior.
I hope that we will always choose faith, that we will come to Him, knock, and ask with a sincere heart, because God will always be there with outstretched arms.

Faith is the basis of testimony. It is the very first thing we need to be able to come to know God. Faith is the key. President Hinckley said, “It is a marevelous and wonderful thing that thousands are touched by the miracle of the Holy Spirit, that they believe and accept and become members… miracles occur. A seed of faith comes into their hearts. It enlarges as they learn. It is faith that is the converter. It is faith that is the teacher. Thus it has been from the beginning.” Faith is a gift from God.

I’d like to share how I came to my decision to serve a mission. 
I must confess the beginning does not make for a very pretty story. ;)
When the age was changed in October 2012 to 18 for boys and 19 for girls I had the worst reaction on the planet. Step in to my mind for a minute. I was a 16 year old girl who was not planning on going on a mission, who suddenly felt tremendous pressure. However, not even that can condone my reaction to this message. I remember my mom was ecstatic, my brothers all shocked and amazed and I was in pure rage. Now that sounds bad, ya, it was. During the break between sessions that Saturday I drove Carson to his soccer game (mainly cuz my mom wanted my sour mood out of the house) and sweet little Carson tried to calm me down saying over and over, “Ky this isn't a bad thing. It is a good thing. And you still don't have to go.” I didn’t listen. After I dropped him off still fuming I really felt the need to pull over to the side of the road. What happened next is something I will never forget. I was chastised, very clearly. Very plainly I was told, “You are being selfish.” I was immediately taken aback. How could I not feel just awful? I was being such a little brat to my Father in Heaven. How could I be angry at the hastening of the work? I felt deeply sorry, and a little thought entered my head. “Ask him if you should go on a mission.” I almost had the sense of humor to be like woah, I am not that sorry! But after how rude I had been I knew that I could do nothing but ask, because I knew that he knew my thoughts and I could not hide from Him. So I asked Him if I should serve a mission. The answer I received was immediate. A simple, “yes.” I can not fully describe how quickly my heart was changed. I went home to my mom and told her what happened and I can honestly say she was both surprised and thrilled. That moment changed my entire life. Something that had never been an option before was now my reality. And the amazing thing is now I can imagine nothing else for my life. I started preparing. And now I am standing here today, leaving this beautiful place in 2 days time, because I have never wanted to do anything more in my entire life. I am going on a mission. It is such a privilege to get to serve during this time of the hastening of the work. I can not wait to dedicate a year and a half of my life and to dedicate me to the Lord. I am just learning to trust in Him. I am ready to pour my whole soul into this, because there are so many people in this world who just don’t know. If the tables were turned, and I didn’t know about this gospel, or my purpose, I would want someone to come and find me. As missionaries we help other people to return to God. My cute friend Ardugal said something I love, “Missions are a gift from God.” I can not wait! 

I am so grateful for all that you have taught me in this ward. I have been so very blessed to grow up in this area and to know all of you. You guys are my very favorite people, because you are amazing. To my friends, I am so grateful for the examples that you are to me, for your testimonies you were and are never afraid to share with me. I really love you guys, thank you for always being there for me no matter what. And to my beautiful family. You have always sacrificed for me, taught me that we can do hard things, you have always stood up for what you believe in. You are my examples and my very best friends. You are the best people I know. I am really gonna miss you guys. I love you.

I have a testimony. I know that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the earth today. I know that Jesus Christ my Savior atoned for me, died for me. I have felt the very real and powerful blessing of his atonement bring peace to my life. I know that He lives. I have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these latter days. Joseph Smith is a true prophet who translated the word of God. I know he suffered immense persecution for the good of the church as well as its members and I am so grateful for his sacrifice. Thomas S. Monson is the true and living prophet today. He guides only from God. I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father and am so grateful for the many blessings they continually give me. I know that families can be together forever. I am eternally grateful that I will be with my family forever, because I love them so much. I love this gospel with my whole being. I know it is true. One of my main goals is to do all that I can, to live up to my potential as a daughter of God and to live up to who I used to be. I want to get to know Christ so well that someday when I see him again I can be like, I know you! I know this mission will be the hardest thing, I just can’t wait! but also the most beautiful thing. I know that with God anything is possible. I am so excited to see how the pure love of our Savior Jesus Christ brings so many people hope throughout the world. I know it is true I can’t wait to tell other people about it! I have never been more sure about doing something in my life. I am going on a mission.

I want everyone to know and to feel the happiness that I know, because of this gospel! I am scared! I am excited. I must simply go forward with faith.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 
I gave my farewell talk today on the Blessing of Faith. It was wonderful to see so many beautiful people there supporting me and I was overwhelmed with love. I will miss you guys dearly and I will see you all soon. :D
So grateful for my mom and all that she does-she is my angel.

Oh Megan dear how I love you so. Thanks for coming all the way from Idaho to be here. It means the world. 

My long time favorites the Makin's. Thank you Dr. Hollywood for always saving my life and for the oppurtunity to work with you. 

My gorgeous Nana Raine! 

Two of my favorite ladies in the whole wide world. I love you Janeal and Jenna. <3

The cutest little grandparents. :) 

My little Ruby and Sophie. PLEASE remember me!!! I love you babies.

The decorators did very well. Thanks Ball family. 

The cutest Nana and Pops who have ever lived. :) 

Still silly, cuz we aren't too sad. I will see you soon besties. 

My favorite people in the world and my greatest hero's. I love you two so much. Thank you for everything you have taught me. I am just so blessed to have you as my parents. 

My pure heartbreak at saying goodbye to Sadey Rose.