Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First letter from Omahaaaaaa!

Lauren called us from Phoenix on Wednesday last week as she was flying to Omaha.  She had a cold and a clogged ear but was so happy.  It was wonderful speaking with her.  She told us that although her district at the MTC only had 6 sisters and no Elders going to Omaha, when she got to the bus to go up to the Airport Wednesday morning there were 27 missionaries.  She asked one group, “what mission are you going to? Answer, “Omaha Nebraska.”  She asked the next group, “Omaha Nebraska!”  All 27 were going to Omaha and she had no idea they even existed until that morning.  I can only imagine what the plane seemed like with all those missionaries. How in the world did her mission president find trainers and apartments for all of them?!

Lauren e-mailed today, Tuesday.  She sent us an e-mail telling us she was at the computer and we were able to “chat” back and forth on e-mail for a very short time.  The next two paragraphs were that chatting and then her letter follows.  Don’t forget to check into her blog at http://sisterlaurenpeterson.blogspot.com/ for updates and pictures.

E-mail Chats:

It is freezing. haha it snowed on friday night i think? so that was a downer. But, my coat is so warm! it hasnt left my body yet haha. Also. My companion is absolutely phenomenal. It makes me cry just thinking about how the Lord has blessed me with her. Her name is sis whittaker from american fork. what ?'s do you want to know :) i am writing an email with experiences ive had.

We are serving in the Rockbrook area! it is amazing. The people in our ward are amazing. 27 missionaries [that’s how many new missionaries came with Lauren on this transfer from the MTC!] - presidents goal is to have a set of elders and sisters in every ward. The mission isnt splitting. The trail center is AMAZING! i want you all to come here and see it. It is small, but the spirit is BIG! i love working here. We have only 3 shifts a week now, which is kind of sad but it just means we have more time in our area! our house is really nice - we live down the street from the trail center/the temple. i love it! more to come in my e-mail. ill try to send it soon so you can ask me ?'s after! love you!


Hello from FREEZING OMAHA!!!

It seems like a lifetime since i last wrote, and also since I talked to you (mom and dad) on wednesday! it has been so busy here it is crazy! I cant wait to tell you everything :)

First of all, I AM SO HAPPY!!! The mission field is 100 times better than the MTC. Seriously i have not stopped smiling since i got here! Thank you SOOO much for the prayers, I really have felt them you have no idea. Thank you for your e-mails as well! I have loved reading them today. So, they just came out and announced that we can now E-MAIL FRIENDS and we have an hour and a half to e-mail each week! SO AWESOME. So, e-mail me! haha i love hearing from you all. Thank you for all of the support. it means the world! Handwritten letters are great as well, and Dad to answer your question, the best address to send it to is the one on Martha St. That is the mission office, so that will work just great :)

Mom- thank you for sending my comforter! I gave all of my blankets to Clark because i didnt have room haha so the comforter is perfect. I havent been cold once while sleeping :) i love you. and hearing your voice on wednesday made my week. i miss calling you every day.

Anne- AHHHH your e-mail MADE MY DAY. you are so amazing. Seriously, i am so proud of you. You are a rockstar and i love you. i will write you a handwritten letter today so get excited :) Keep being such a great missionary!

Dad- Your letter made me laugh,smile, cry. haha i love you. my first day was not as bad as yours - my ear however JUST popped yesterday, so i havent been able to hear out of my left ear all week. That has been interesting, haha but the Lord has blessed me nonetheless! Thanks for the motivation.

So let’s start on Wednesday! We got up super early, and flew to Omaha! I was able to talk to a boy on the plane who was interested in the church, so that was so great! I loved being able to share my testimony with him. it was fun to have my first REAL missionary moment! i loved it. Like i said, my ear unfortunately was clogged all flight - i was singing hymns in my head and trying to recite scriptures so i wouldnt think about it. Total bummer. We got off the plane and President and Sister Weston were right there waiting for us. Man, they are SO great! Sister weston is absolutely adorable. The nicest woman and has such a strong testimony. President is awesome as well, and i really have felt of his spirit and faith in God. It is so encouraging. So after we grabbed our bags we went to the mission office to have interviews, training, and dinner. We then went and stayed at a hotel near the mission home. It was probably the best night sleep i have ever had haha. I was EXHAUSTED. we got to the hotel at 8:30 and i was asleep by 8:50. So amazing. Thursday we got up and got to take a tour of Winter Quarters/the cemetery and the Kanesville Tabernacle. The spirit in Winter Quarters is just like everyone has said - it is AMAZING. i LOVE it here and am so grateful i get to serve in this sacred place. Thursday night we had a testimony meeting with all of the new missionaries and it was so powerful. Hearing the testimonies of missionaries is my favorite - there is nothing like it.

Friday is where all of the fun begins! We got up and went to the mission office to meet our new trainers! Ok. Mom. THANK YOU for praying that i get a good trainer haha because she is AMAZING! Ah i cant even get over how lucky i got with her. Her name is Sister Whittaker, from American Fork. She has been out 6 months, and i have never met someone so similar to me in so many ways. Man i love her! She is the best missionary i have met so far. After we met, we just jumped right in and got to work! We had four appointments to go to which was awesome. Just how i wanted it to be. We are teaching about 15 people right now, more or less, and they are all so amazing! Most of them are ages 9-12 which is seriously right up my alley. Ah i love them.

So, since i dont have time to share about every person, i will tell you about a man we visited on friday named Pete. Pete believes in Christ and knows that this church is true. He loves the missionaries and loves everything we stand for. It is so cool. So Sis. W had the impression to go stop by Pete's house on friday night before one of our appointments. When we got there he was sitting on his chair crying. his wife died about 6 months ago and has terrible depression. We were able to bear testimony to him, and asked if we could come back on saturday with some elders to give a priesthood blessing. He wanted that so we were so excited. More to come... So after our lessons we went to the house to unpack. Our house is amazing. We live with two other sisters. We have a washer, dryer, heating. seriously we are so spoiled and i am SO grateful! we live down the street from the trail center which is the best part :)

Saturday we got up and had a Trail Center training given by the Trail director, Elder Cleverly. He and his wife are amazing. He always has a huge smile on his face. i love him. I got to sing a duet with another sister at the training, which was so cool. We sang I know that my redeemer lives (efy version). I was nervous because i couldnt hear out of my ear, but it went so well. the spirit was remarkable. We then had lunch at the cleverly's and then went to a baptism for the elders in our ward! Sister Whittaker spoke and i bore testimony. I LOVED it! We then went to Pete's house to give him a blessing. We were able to answer his questions and help him with some of his doubts about the church. The blessing was beautiful, and the spirit was amazing. We committed him to coming to church on sunday so we were so stoked. That night we went to a family's house named the Lakes. They are SO awesome! Haha they are from Jamaica. The mom is a less active, and the daughter Daniele is 11. We SET HER FOR BAPTISM! She will be getting baptized on the 6th. Ah i am so excited. The little boy is named Carlton, and he reminds me SO much of Tate. He is 4 and is so smart, funny, and so darn cute. I will try to send pictures of him next week.

Sunday we got up and went to church. So, we were there waiting for all of our investigators to get there. The time passed and so we decided to text Pete (since he was the main one we were focused on) where he was. He texted us back and this is what it said: Dear sisters, i have decided that i will no longer be pursuing the Mormon church. My health and mental state is not suit for change. I know that the church is true and think it is great what you are doing. Keep up the work. See you on the other side". AH. we both sat there in silence and cried. I think it was right then that i realized how real all of this is. Now i know what missionaries say when they say the mission is so hard. It is hard because people have their agency. It is hard because no matter if they KNOW that the church is the true church, they still get to decide whether or not they accept it. Man. We have been praying for Pete ever since. It was such a wake up call for me, realizing that the Lord requires action in order for us to receive blessings. I know that Pete will come around. He just does not have enough faith. So sad. But on the upside, we had our 4 less actives at church, including the Lakes at church. After church we rushed over to the trail center to work!

Oh, i forgot that we worked there on friday as well. But on sunday it was so amazing. I love the trail center. It has definitely been humbling because i dont know ANY of the history, but it is coming along. I have felt the Lord working through me and he gives me the words to say. it is remarkable. We gave a really neat tour to a Man and his son who are catholic. The dad had been to temple square, and he knew a lot about the church. At first they werent really asking questions, but about half way through the tour the questions started coming. haha the son started asking about the book of mormon and joseph smith and reformed egyptian. ha it was awesome because the dad, was able to answer almost every question! We would say something about the book of mormon, the son would question it, and then the father would say "now listen daryl (the son), this is what they are talking about..." and then go on to bear testimony. it was so cool to see the dad feeling the spirit and bearing testimony of OUR church! hahaha i loved it. We gave them a Book of Mormon at the end and i cant wait to hear what happens to them. They are amazing.

Monday we got up and got to go clean the Winter Quarters temple! We cleaned every single crystal on all of the chandeliers (Aunt Kristen - i was thinking about you the whole time!). It was such an amazing experience to be in the temple. because we were cleaning, we could kind of walk around at our own free will which was a really cool experience. After we were done cleaning sister Whittaker and i went into the celestial room to just pray and ponder. I had an amazing experience just praying and committing my work to the Lord. Ah i could cry even thinking about it. This church is true and i love it so much. After the temple we worked at the trail center all night. Sister Weston and her family came in to the center and I HAD TO GIVE THEM A TOUR. i was FREAKING out. haha i have only given like 4 tours and so giving one to the Weston’s almost killed me. But, because sis Whittaker is amazing and because the church is true, the tour went great. There is a place on the tour that is called the memorial room - the room that looks out over the temple and the cemetery. As i was talking in this room, i was overwhelmed with the spirit like never before. I realized how much the saints sacrificed and really felt their presence around me. it was amazing. The tour was so powerful and now i am grateful for the opportunity to give it :)

So that is a very watered down version of what has been going on the past few days! It has been NON stop, and i LOVE IT! we have had so many lessons and blessings each day, it is truly remarkable.

Some Fun Facts:
1. We work out every morning at the trail center - we run around the gallery hahaha and there is also a treadmill downstairs, so i have been one happy camper! Also, sister Whittaker is really good about wanting to be healthy. (i know... she is perfect and sent from heaven for me!) so we are great for each other!
2. Nebraska invented Kool Aid. .... and we have had it at every meal. haha
3. The largest city in Nebraska is the Corn huskers stadium when there is a game. 80,000 people.
4. I work at the trail center 3 times a week from either 9-3 or 3-9. it is the best.
5. When we landed in nebraska my first thought was "this is the ugliest place i have ever seen". hahaha i have heard though, that it gets gorgeous once the trees turn green.
6. i havent eaten corn yet.
7. 90% of people in nebraska believe in God and are religious - seriously, the people here are so awesome and faithful.
8. sister pettyjohn is doing great! her trainer is amazing which makes me so happy.
9. There is a library here with books and books on people who have passed through winter quarters/ were in the mormon battalion. Send me a name and i will try to find out about them! Mom - thank you for sending me that info already- i cant wait to see what i can find!
10. The church is true.

Well, that is it for now! I am sorry if this e-mail seemed scatter brained, i just had so much to write! I love you all and thank you for your prayers. I feel them.

The church is true. There is no doubt in my mind and i LOVE being a missionary!

Sister Peterson.

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