Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Tempests, and Tears


Grandma Win, Grandma Bonnie, Patti: thank you for your letters this week! i absolutely loved them. thank you!!

the definition of tornado is: "a violent outburst, as of emotion or activity"

Wow what a week. haha. Probably the toughest week of my mission. But let me start off by saying that the Lord is so mindful of each of us. I am so thankful to be here, and I am so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I love it... even when there are tornadoes both physically and emotionally.

Let's start with the baseball game on tuesday! Ah it was so fun! we sang the best we ever had, and a man who was from the pacific coast league came over to us after and said that he hears renditions of the national anthem every night, and this was the best he has ever heard! it was awesome. We actually got asked to sing at a football game, the Omaha Beef (funny/fitting name, huh?) on Friday so we got to do that as well. It was so cool. When we walked into the Beef arena the spirit was instantly gone - i literally wanted to run out of there. But, we prayed to have the spirit with us and that our music would touch the hearts of those in attendance. Right as we began singing, the spirit was instantly brought into that arena. it was incredible.

So. You can start calling me Dr. Lauren because i have felt like a psychiatrist all week haha. I have learned so much this week. My companion has had a really rough week, which has made it hard on our companionship as you can imagine! please pray for her. She has had anxiety attacks that turn her into a completely different person, which has been really hard. But it is incredible to see how when we are able to completely trust in Heavenly Father, He can provide us with peace and comfort that cannot be obtained from anything else. I have also learned that the way to be happy is through forgetting yourself. I am so sorry for being so selfish. i am not perfect at being selfless now, but man have i realized how bad i was before. I am so grateful for the atonement and for the ability we have to change each and every day. this week has helped me see that when i am focusing on others, i am happy - and their concerns and problems can be comforted because of my willingness to be there for them. Remember my companion sister pettyjohn? please pray for her as well. She has had a really rough week and thankfully i have been around to help comfort her. she only opens up to me, which is a great responsibility but also a wonderful blessing. Everyone knows if sister Pettyjohn is having a hard day to call me ... haha. but i am so thankful to have her as now one of my best friends. 

We had a woman come into the Kanesville Tabernacle (we are on shift there once a week) this past week, which was quite the experience. she came in extremely panicked, and almost insane, rambling about how there are two prophets and she is so confused and she has been reading anti material. she is a recent convert of about 3 months, and man have i never seen someone so crazy. but it was an incredible experience. i was able to talk with her and calm her down. the other missionaries there serving at the time all kind of backed away from her, but it was amazing for me to instantly feel of Heavenly Father's love for this daughter of His. He strengthened me like never before. all i kept thinking was, "what would Jesus do?" He loves His children, and he strengthened their faith. so that is what i tried to do, and it was amazing to see the spirit come back into her countenance. it was insane. but also really neat.

So. there was a tornado here on sunday night - i am so glad that you were all camping and probably had no idea. haha. it was INSANE! so we go to bed sunday night, and it was raining like always and it was thundering: nothing unusual. The trail center was crazy busy on sunday, and i had taken so many tours that i was absolutely EXHAUSTED. i crashed right when my head hit the pillow haha. But at 1:30 am the two sisters we live with came knocking at our bedroom door saying "sisters?? ... umm, there is a tornado? so we need to go. right now." how is that for a nice surprise?! i hadnt even heard the tornado warning/siren go off which is saying something because i am a pretty light sleeper! but thankfully we live with another companionship! so i threw on some shoes and a jacket, and we drove over to the trail center. they had given us 15 minutes to get there before we would have to just stay in our house and hope for the best haha! so we drove over there, and stayed there with all the other sisters until about 3:30. thankfully, the tornado didnt pass by us, but still it was quite the night! i am still so tired haha. President let us sleep in till 8:00 the next morning which was heavenly. Kind of crazy, huh? 

ok. enough talk about how hard it is here. haha

I had an amazing tour this week. A family came in with two daughters, aged 15 and 10. they were moving to indiana from Salt Lake, and the 15 year old girl i could tell was extremely nervous and upset about the move. At first i didnt know if i should confront her about it, but the spirit prompted me to ask her how she felt about what was going on. It was amazing to see her open up. i had the opportunity to bear testimony to her about how aware Heavenly Father is of each of us, and how Jesus Christ has felt every single feeling that we feel. if we utilize the atonement, we can find peace and assurance. It was so cool to see her countenance change and help her not only feel ok about the move, but excited about the opportunities she will have in indiana. I talked to her about early morning seminary, and i know that she was able to feel of God's love for her. it was amazing. isnt it so cool that i get to talk to people like this all day??? i LOVE it.

We also have a new investigator named Danielle. She is GOLDEN. we taught her this week for the first time, and all she kept saying the whole time was how good she felt while we were there. She believes everything that we do, and is super excited to continue to learn more. I know that the Lord has blessed me with Danielle because of the craziness of this week. He always reaches out to us. isnt it amazing? i am so thankful to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love my Heavenly father, and His son Jesus Christ. there is no way i could be here if i didnt have them. 

i love you all. and guess what? the church is still true!


Sister Peterson

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Life is Beautiful!

Family and Friends!! i feel like i have a million things to say and only a short time to email haha so bear with me if i sound scatter brained... because i am!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLARK!! love you SO much! i thought of you all day on the 18th. you are an old man now... so crazy! thanks for being such a great example to me, and my best friend! love you! ps.. do you know Alli Farnsworth?? she serves here with me and knows you. small world.

some matters of business first.
did you all like my blonde moment last email? hahaha. so i will be singing the national anthem tonight at the Tucson Padres vs Omaha Storm Chasers baseball game. i dont even know what i wrote last week, but it definitely wasnt that. haha.
Second. I got a gps in the mail from amazon. was i supposed to open it? because i did. woops. I thought that i was supposed to refuse the package but the mission office accepted it. i havent taken the packaging off, so if i need to return it i can... i am obviously confused haha. let me know what i should do!

This week. I feel like a MILLION things happened! haha it was an INCREDIBLE week. SO many miracles it was insane. The Lord is so good to us, i am in awe every single moment of the day at how He continues to pour blessings on me and everyone ha. it is amazing and i am so grateful.
We were at the trail center a TON this last week. which i loved. there were SO many amazing miracles that happened.
first miracle of the week: I was "sitting up" at the Trail Center, and a boy walks in the doors. he reeks of weed, and he looked a little bit confused haha. But he said that he is a history major, and wanted to learn more about the mormon pioneers/what happened at winter quarters. So i got to take him on tour, and it was quickly obvious to me that he was not there for a history tour. he was really wanting to find out about the mormon beliefs (which happens almost every time people come saying "they want the history")! it was AMAZING. He was 22, and so i felt like i was just talking to a friend. it was awesome. There is a big map at the end of the tour that shows where all of the missionaries were from 1840-1890. while there, I bore testimony of the book of mormon and how it had influenced my life and brought me to omaha! he looked at me SUPER excited and then said, "well.. i don't know how to say this, but... can i get a copy of the book of mormon?" music to my ears. I gave him a book of mormon, he is reading it, and i am going to call him this week to follow up. Man it was amazing. i love being a missionary.
second miracle: There was a group of 60 kids from BYU-Idaho that came in on sunday for a tour. We split them into two groups, and i got to take one of the groups around the gallery/the cemetery. At first, they were way distracted with themselves ha and didnt really want to listen to what i had to say. And honestly, i wouldnt want to listen to me either the way i was talking to them. I soon realized that i was being too unrelatable, and i needed to be more myself. the INSTANT i did that, they all perked up and wanted to listen. It was by far my FAVORITE tour i have taken since being here. it was SO much FUN! I could be my complete self: both missionary and pre-mission Lauren. It was awesome and one of the most spiritual tours that i have taken. Because i was able to just be myself and testify of Christ, the spirit was tangible. i wish i could explain in words how it was, but i hope you can feel what i am trying to say! while in the memorial room of the gallery, i was able to really talk with the kids and help them understand what a privilege it is to be a member of this church. I also smashed them all into the cabin we had, and read scripture in there. man it was awesome. We sang hymns in the cemetery. And our hearts were all touched. A girl came up to me after and asked for some of the quotes i had shared, and also said that she has her mission call and i was the type of missionary she wanted to be like. it made me cry haha i was so touched. But truly heavenly father let me take that tour and i am so grateful that he did.
third miracle (...i wont do 17 miracles, i promise) haha. ok cheesy. anyway. haha. ZONE TRAINING. oh my goodness. that was a miracle. i was so nervous i couldnt eat for a good two days haha which is definitely saying something! but the training went so well. it was all the Lord speaking through me, and i cant even get over how blessed i was during that training. It was amazing because i had prepared super hard and had a lesson plan pretty cemented, but when i got up there to train, the Lord took me a totally different way. It taught me a beautiful lesson - "when we are prepared, we shall not fear" and i would add to that, that when we are prepared we will not fear because we can have confidence that the Lord will bless and protect us. It was amazing to sit down after the training and look back over what i had prepared, and see that what i had said was completely different. But it was amazing because after i trained, the next speakers thoughts tied directly to mine and it was so powerful. the Lord was so good to me, and i am so thankful.
fourth miracle: I sang a solo in church on sunday, "I am a child of God". the pretty version that the primary sings? but i sang it as a solo. Anyway, my voice has been pretty raspy since i have come to Omaha, so i was nervous to sing. But EVERY single time i am about to perform or sing, i remember my patriarchal blessing and know that i can ask God to bless me with my voice, because He has promised me i would have it through that blessing. Once again, i was practicing before and my voice was gone. But i got up to sing during sacrament, and my voice was strong, and perfectly clear. Coincidence? no way. Heavenly Father healed my voice for those few minutes, and i am so incredibly grateful. He never ceases to amaze me.
fifth miracle: (and last one i'll share... props to everyone who is still reading! haha) there is a boy in our ward named George who is super less active. He came up to sister whittaker and i weeks ago during sacrament (like literally during the sacrament.. really awkward haha) and started talking to us about having us come over to teach him the lessons because he wants to go on a mission. Well, since he is a YSA, we turned him over to the YSA elders. Well this week while we were driving trying to find another house, we turned around the corner and we were right outside George's house! i thought we were in a completely different area, so i was shocked to see we were outside his house. but i knew instantly that the Lord had led us to his house. So we get out of the car and he comes outside. The elders had never contacted him and he has been really struggling. we were able to share a message with him, and will now be teaching him. it was amazing. i loved it because even though we had been planning to see another investigator, the Lord led us to exactly where we needed to be. our plans are rarely, usually never what the Lord has planned, but He always guides us. it is amazing.
This week was amazing. i am SO thankful to be here! i feel like the time is flying by so fast, i just want to slow down a bit. but i am loving every second i am here, and am continually "amazed by the love Jesus offers me." He lives.
i love you all! thank you for your prayers! i miss you all. keep reading your scriptures, ok? the church is true!

Sister Lauren

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hello... again!

I felt like i was just talking to you all... haha oh wait.

It was SOOOOO great to be able to skype/call home on sunday! it lifted my spirits and has made me even more excited to do missionary work! thank you thank you thank you for your love and support. you have no idea how much it means to me! You are all my favorite blessings. My cheeks hurt for the next hour after getting off the phone with you all haha so thanks for making my day!


"All that i am or hope to be, i owe to my angel Mother" - Abe Lincoln.

Thank you for being the most amazing example to me. Happy Mothers day. i love you so much. 

I know i already filled the family in on most of the things that are happening, ha so i will try to think of some other fun things that are happening in Omaha to share!

This week was crazy. We were not in our area a ton because we were needed at the Trail Center, due to the Florence Parade on Saturday. It was so fun to be able to dress up as pioneers and pass out pass along cards to everyone in our town! i was like a little kid in a candy store - it was SO fun! not only did we get some great exercise in, but we were also sharing the gospel! it was the best! 

Before Florence days, we had an awesome experience that i wanted to share with you all. We taught our little investigator Ty on Thursday. We have been teaching her for several months now, and we have tried MANY times to set her for baptism. Every time we try to bring up baptism, she always gets super quiet and looks at her dad and doesn't answer us. Eventually, we are able to get some response out of her which has always been a big, fat, "no". Remember how i told you the hardest thing about the mission is people's agency? haha this is what i am talking about! So, this last week we were going over to Ty's and i know that we needed to bring up baptism again. Honestly, i didn't want to. I have been rejected by this little 10 year old so many times now that i was kind of sick of it! haha. But, i knew that we needed to bring baptism up because that is the next step for her. We go into the lesson, and the feeling even in their house was different. It was very peaceful (usually they are playing video games and there are a ton of people there) and quiet. The setting was perfect. We had planned to talk to her about obedience, and we read with her President Monson's talk from this last General Conference. Ty has really bad ADHD, but she sat through the entire talk and answered all of our questions. It was incredible. 

I really experienced what it talks about in Doctrine and Covenants which says "yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for LO, i am with you". not only do i love that scripture because it has my name in it, haha but truly the Lord was there to put into my mouth what HE wanted me to say. I told Ty that if she loved Jesus Christ, which i knew she did, then she would follow in His example and be baptized. She looked at me, and started shaking her head and said "ya, i will pray about it and tell you when." Even though this wasnt a solid "YES!" it was still a miracle. The Lord prepared Ty, even that very day, to be able to feel the spirit and have the desire to be baptized. So incredible. And she WILL be baptized.

I had an awesome experience in the Trail Center this weekend. So we have had a ton of Summer Sales guys coming through the past week or so, on their way out east to sell. I always hate taking those tours, just because they are guys the same age as me and it is hard for them and myself to keep our minds/heart centered on the gospel. But this weekend two guys came in for a tour. of course i had to be sitting in the "up" chair, haha. i prayed with all my heart to be filled with the spirit and to be able to have a "converting" tour. It was incredible. At first they were acting a little too cool to talk about the gospel, but after a little while they started telling me about how they have been struggling with their testimonies ever since they got off their missions, and how they have forgotten to continue to do the little things every day. I committed them to read 30 minutes every day from now on, and they both were so sincere and willing to do so. one of them was very emotional and told me that he knew he needed to change, he just needed someone to tell him to do it. and i got to be that person! it was amazing to see their desire to change, even though they didn't come in knowing they would do so. it was awesome.

So yesterday, i get a call from the zone leaders and they asked me to give a training on thursday this week at the zone conference. talk about humbling. they have never had anyone besides the zone leaders/ap's give trainings before, but they felt that they needed to ask me to give part of the training. man alive. please pray for me. The question i am working off of is "How can we set goals that reflect strong faith? / how to apply the doctrine of Christ into specific aspects of missionary work". 

Fun Fact:
1. Everyone watch the Arizona Padres baseball game on Tuesday May 21st, because guess who is singing the national anthem?!? 6 sisters and 6 elders were asked to sing and i get to! haha how fun is that?! we get to stay and watch the game too which is a dream. yay!
2. It is 93 degress here today, and i couldn't be happier!!

My mission president's favorite line, and now my favorite:

"If i am not happy, it is because i am not serving. If i am serving and i am still not happy, then i am serving the wrong person... myself." 

Serving a mission is really no service at all! i am so thankful to be here, and i am so grateful to have the restored gospel. God lives. Jesus is the Christ. The church is TRUE! 

Love you!

Sister Lauren

 Ty, surrounded by all of her cats! this was right after she said she will be baptized!

me and sister Brough... haha she is one of the sisters that came out with me, 
and she has become one of my best friends. she makes me laugh SO hard.

Me and my new companion Sister Tulley at Florence Days dressed as Pioneers

Other Florence Day Pictures:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


man oh man. where on earth do i begin.
first off.

A HUGE thank you and LOVE YOU to my FK's/BEST girl friends EVER! i love you girls and your package MADE MY DAY/WEEK!! thank you all for your sweet letters and for the goodies. i cried. and laughed. man i love you all.

Mom! thank you for the package as well! the timing of it was impeccable. i got it the day of transfers, and it was exactly what i needed to calm my nerves haha so thanks! i love you.
So should i tell you what happened?? haha

Transfers. talk about a whirlwind of emotions. I honestly havent cried since being out here, but this week i broke that trend haha. This has been the most humbling week of my life. for sure.
Tuesday and Wednesday this week were incredible. We worked at the trail center, and also had so much fun with the sisters! we bought snuggies as a house, haha and took pictures and ate goodies and acted like we were never going to see each other again. it was awesome, and so fun. we got home that night and sister bowles and sister harris (the sisters who lived with us) had stuffed my snuggie full of newspaper and made a dummy out of it haha. it brought me back to provo, and it was so fun. :)

On wednesday we visited the Lakes, and oh my goodness. it was a RIOT. they were yelling and hollering about how schools need to teach respect, how kids these days are crazy, and they sang some jamaican songs for Sister Whittaker and i.. ah i was on the ground laughing it was so funny! we have been teaching Brother Lake, Desmond, and he is going to be baptized. we havent set a date for him yet, but he will be baptized. He is incredible. I love that family.

We visited a woman named cheryl and her son named thomas this week, and i was so overcome with how grateful i am to have the gospel. The gospel changes lives. They live in a run down house, they both have diabetes, they smoke, they drink, they struggle. It is so sad. But, they are wanting to come closer to Christ and i KNOW that Christ can heal them. It is amazing to see how even in the past week since teaching them, they already have a desire to change and be baptized. this work is so great. i love it.

Wednesday night sis bowles and sister harris moved their beds into our room, and we had a sleepover since it could be our last night together. It was so fun to remember the experiences and miracles that i have already seen on my mission.

Thursday morning we got up, and we got a call from president telling us about transfers. Sister Whittaker was called to be the new Trail Center Leader and to be proselyting in the Florence area. Splitting up with sister whittaker has been so hard. she is so incredible and we have become best friends. but change is good and it is what helps us grow! I was asked to stay in Rockbrook and my new companion is named Sister Tulley. She has been out for about 5 months.

Ever since i got out on my mission, president has asked the new sisters if they would be ready to train after 6 weeks. that overwhelmed me, but i knew that through the Lord's help i could do it. all the sisters in the mission placed bets (not with money ha) on who would train, and i was put down by everyone. Every one of the sisters i came out with 6 weeks ago are training new sisters, except for me. This week has been humbling. and i am not telling you this to have a pity party haha, but it truly shows that the Lord is in charge. i know that without a doubt i am supposed to be with Sister Tulley, even though i may have thought i should be or do something else, or everyone else thought i needed to be somewhere else. I remembered my setting apart, and how it talked about me being a strength to other missionaries, and i know that the Lord has a much bigger plan than i have for myself. i am so grateful that for atleast a year and a half i dont have to worry about where i go or what i do. the Lord is in charge.

D&C 50:40 "Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my father hath given me".

I am a child of God, and He, and only He realizes and knows my heart and what is best for me. I am so incredible grateful for Him.

On Sundays we work at the trail center all day and it was the most incredible day. i realized that i havent been writing home about my experiences at the trail center, but know that i still love it! that place is sacred ground. So on Sunday, the spirit was so strong and i was able to give some amazing tours. a couple came in that was not LDS, but they were so willing to learn and were so touched by the lives of the pioneers. It was such a great experience for me to bear testimony of the reality of God, and see their hearts softened. I love the trail center. ALSO. i was sitting in the front waiting for the next tour to come in, and guess who walks in? Elder Perkins and Elder Deschler from the 70! and guess who was outside of the Trail center?? ELDER L. TOM PERRY. There were only 6 sisters on shift, so we got to talk to him for a good 10 minutes. ah. it was awesome.

i love being a missionary. it is so hard. that is why i love it. i have seen myself grow and i am learning so much every day. I know that God is our Heavenly Father. i KNOW that Christ suffered for each of our pains and weaknesses. i love Him.

thank you for being so supportive. i love you all, and i love my savior.

Fun Fact:
1. i get to CALL HOME/SKYPE THIS WEEK!!! Sunday at 5 is when i will be calling. 3 YOUR TIME!! so pick up the phone, k? :) CAN'T WAIT!!!

Sister Peterson.