Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The corn is as high as an Elephant's eye!

Hello from IOWAYY!
I have been singing "Oh what a beautiful morning" from Oklahoma all week haha because the "carn is a' growin!" as the locals like to say!
What an amazing week. What a crazy week. I dont think i have ever been so exhausted in my life haha. or as sweaty! It is SO HOT. I feel like i was just writing home saying that it was SO COLD, and now i am drenched in sweat 24/7! it is HOT, and HUMID, and i love it. Nothing better than taking a freezing cold shower and not having to wear make-up because it just drips off. i'm in heaven.
haha first off, can you believe that i forgot how to spell the word "ought" last email?? what is happening to me?!? haha thanks for correcting that!
Here are some of my favorite words/sayings of the past week that i hear every day:
1. the word "waRsh" : for example: "you better warsh your hands before you eat"
2. the word "Meelk" : for example: "meelk is up to $3 a gallon!" (sister baggs says it so funny, i have to bight my tongue every time she talks about milk.)
3. everyone loves the word "sure" : for example: "that shirt there sure is too loose for you, honey" or "it sure is a nice day" or "it sure looks like a starm!"
4. "it ain't got nothin to do with nothin!"
5. preface: i have heard this line/joke AT LEAST 6 times : "On a 90 degree day with high humidity, you can sure hear that carn (corn) a growin'!" hahaha.

i love the midwest.
Sorry to be e-mailing so randomly. The situation is that the Tabor library (which is an old victorian house - so cute. i will send pictures soon) is closed on mondays, which is our P-day. So, we have to drive out to Glenwood (which is 20 minutes away) if we want to email on mondays. yesterday it was super starmy(!) so we just waited till today. sorry if i threw you off!
Here are some highlights of the week:
We have been visiting a TON of less actives this week, and really trying to get to know the ward. it's definitely different for me, to not have any investigators and to only be working with less actives. but, the Lord's work is all the same, and so i have been loving it! On Saturday we went to the "Victorian Inn" (Sister Baggs little Hotel) and helped her clean it! it was SO much fun. and it is absolutely SO beautiful and Anne of Green Gables-esque i was in heaven. Sister Baggs is 85 years old and still gets up every morning and goes into her "shop" to sew and quilt, and then heads over to the inn to clean! she is incredible. (when we come back here after the mission hint hint we are going to stay in the inn, k?) :)
One of my favorite things about serving here, and being a full proselyting missionary (finally!) is that we get to do a ton of service/manual labor! haha that probably sounds strange but i love it! We have helped people garden, been painting a ton!, and cleaning. it is so much fun. We have been working with a less active woman named sister Lamkins, and boy is she a character. haha. i love her. we have been helping paint the entire inside of her house, which has been quite the job! i have been reminded of painting our house a couple of years back... anyone need a painter? because i am becoming quite the expert!
One of the best moments yet since being here was visiting a couple named the Tillmans. They have been less active for about 5 years. We saw their name on the list the bishop gave us, so we stopped by to meet them. Sister Tillman opened the door, saw that it was sister missionaries, instantly started jumping up and down, CRYING!, saying "FINALLY!! NOW we will go back to church!!!" hahahaha! sister palmer and i busted up laughing. She LOVES sister missionaries and has now become our best friend. we love her. (side note: we have met a ton of less active members and almost all of them have said they prefer sister missionaries over elders. It is amazing how the Lord works, and how He has put us here to help reactivate these amazing people!)
So. let's talk about the BROADCAST on Sunday! oh. my. goodness. Ain't that the best thing you've ever heard!?!? If you arent exciting to do missionary work after hearing Elder Perry, Elder Holland, Elder Andersen, Elder Nelson, Elder Packer, AND the PROPHET bear their testimonies about member missionary work... i dont know what could excite you. AHHH. I cried. and have not stopped smiling since that broadcast. i hope we ALL have a greater desire to share the gospel! because truly, this is the LORD's work not just the missionaries! i am so grateful to be on a mission RIGHT NOW. I dont know how i got so lucky.
I hope we can all take Elder Perry's advice in being so bold as to ask "Are you a Mormon?" and if the answer is no, to say "Well, you should be!" i loved that. definitely going to try that one.
i love you all. the church is TRUE! and Let's ALL do this?! Keep praying for me, and i will be praying for you!
Here is a commitment that we have been leaving with the members we visit, and i leave it for anyone who is reading this letter: pick a day to fast and attend the temple to know who you should invite to hear the message of the restoration. i can promise you that the Lord will inspire you, and will help you with this great work!

love love love you all!
Sister Peterson
ps. add me on facebook? haha. just kidding. but really, can't wait to hear how the computer thing works out! we havent heard anything yet, but i will keep you posted on what happens! :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ought to Give Iowa a Try!

Thursday morning i get a call from president weston that started off with him saying, "So, sister Peterson. You ready for your world to be rocked/flipped upside down?" i laughed and said "not really haha but let's hear it"
Guess where i am.
I am Training, serving in Glenwood Iowa, opening up the area, and full proselyting!!
It never ceases to amaze me how much trust the Lord has in me, and all of us. I have been completely humbled, but at the same time have not even been nearly as happy as i am right now my entire mission. i LOVE being here. SO much! the first day i got to Iowa i prayed to Heavenly Father basically in tears telling him i didnt ever want to leave Glenwood haha. It is awesome!!
So Thursday we get the calls about transfers, which was a crazy day. i had to pack up everything and then spent my last night at the trail center. it was definitely bitter sweet, especially having to say goodbye to some of the senior couples who i will not see because they leave at the end of this transfer. But as i was at the trail center, i felt so calm about leaving. I KNOW i am supposed to be in Glenwood. I have been at peace about it since the moment president told me. The Lord has been so good to me.
Friday, we went to "transfer point" (the mission office) to pick up our new companions. My companion is Sister Palmer from Idaho (i cant spell the town she is from - super small town up north). She is super cute, and really obedient which is awesome. The past 3 days i have probably heard her say 20 words (not even exaggerating) haha. She is SUPER quiet, but i am hoping that as time goes on she will open up more. I already love her.
After we got our companions, we grabbed all of our things and were off to iowa! thank goodness i have a gps (it has literally saved my life!). Glenwood is about an hour east and south of Omaha.
after you drive about 45 minutes through the corn fields, you will hit a little town called Tabor. There are just about 1,000 people in the town and if you blink you will miss it. We live with an 85 year old lady who is DARLING. Her name is Jean Baggs and is absolutely adorable. she has a beautiful home that she has lived in for the past 50 years. She owns half the town/fields so everything "in town" is named "Baggs ... " When we arrived on Friday she had lunch all ready for us and was SO excited for us to be there.
This has been quite the adventure haha. We get to Tabor on friday with literally NOTHING on the area. zip. nothing. there are elders in the area, but there havent been sisters in over 5 years. We are "opening up" the area to sisters, which basically means we are starting from scratch! it has been tons of fun. We got a ward list from the bishop friday night and he highlighted some less actives so we have visited almost all of them (there are a ton) the past 2 days. It has been non stop! i LOVE IT. this is exactly how i pictured my mission - serving in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. haha it is a DREAM.
Since we live in such a small town, everyone knows EVERYONE haha which means that everyone knows that we are new! it has been really fun seeing people look at us because we kind of stick out! but it is great because it means a lot of questions and a lot of missionary work! Something i LOVE, absolutely LOVE about being here is that literally the ward is SOOOOO happy to have us here! They have been praying for sister missionaries the past 2 years, and finally we have arrived! they are all so cute and have been the nicest people i have ever met. iowa stubborn? not at all.
Probably the happiest moment of my mission, i know, that is a big statement, but really, was on saturday. So a few weeks ago i wrote home saying that i took some elder's on tour at the Trail Center and it was absolutely incredible. the man that we took was set for baptism on tour and it was the elders first time at the trail center. WELL. the Glenwood Elders were the elders i took on tour, and on saturday i got to go to the baptism of the man i took on tour!!! it was NO coincidence and it was amazing. he was SO happy to see that not only was i there, but that i was in the ward now! ahh it was so cool. i was so happy i literally couldnt contain the tears.
so even though that was the coolest experience ever, that wasnt the best moment on my mission. ha. The best moment yet was sitting in a ward missionary coordination meeting after the baptism with the bishop, ward missionaries, elders, and ward missionary leader. The bishop and ward mission leader of this ward are the most INCREDIBLE men ever. they are COMPLETELY focused on missionary work. they are doing every single thing they can to provide opportunities for us, and kept saying that they know that this area is about ready to "explode". i was smiling so big the entire meeting my cheeks hurt after. it was amazing. i have never been so excited to do missionary work!!! Miracles are about to happen and i am SO excited to be here!!
Sorry this is such a long letter, there is just so much happening!! PLEASE pray for me! i am SO happy but a LOT overwhelmed with everything that needs to happen! i love this work and am so humbled that Heavenly Father trusts me as much as He does. I know without a doubt this is HIS work.
Let's Do THIS!
love you all so much!

Monday, June 10, 2013

All is Well, All is Well

We had P day on Monday today, sorry i forgot to tell you last week!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful mother! love you so much!!! wish i was there to laugh and do a happy birthday dance (you know which one) with you! love you and thank you for being the most incredible and amazing mom. i love you with all of my heart and more.
Happy Father's Day to the best dad! i dont know how i got so lucky to have you as my dad, but i am so grateful! i love you so much. eat some mint chocolate chip ice cream for me and you, and know that i will be thinking of you all day sunday! love you!
You know how everyone says that the days feel like the weeks and the weeks feel like days on the mission? well that is totally true. My days and weeks and everything in between is all mixed up - the time is just rolling! it is so crazy. Transfers are this Friday! can you believe it?? i feel like it was just transfers, and here they are again. mind blowing. it is going to be a crazy week, but i am excited and ready to find out what the future brings!
So, to start off, here is the fun fact for the week:
1. The Liz Lemon Swindle paintings that have been down in the basement of the Trail Center are leaving in the next few weeks. We are all so sad (myself totally included) to see them leave. they add a huge dynamic to the Trail center. BUT. guess where they are headed? yep. OAKLAND! i hope you all take the time to go see them, because they are truly incredible. And know that a little piece of me is being sent back home to Oakland!
2. Sister Morrison played the piano for a duet in our ward on sunday. it is always so fun to see her!
3. On saturday we had our trail center training, and my companion was running late so we were super late to the meeting- my biggest pet peeve. i am ashamed to admit i was not in a good mood that morning because of it haha. we got there right as the last verse of the opening song was being sung, and guess what song we sang? "We are all enlisted" ..."happy are we!" haha it was a tender mercy from the Lord basically saying "hey smiley". haha it instantly put a smile on my face

Here are a few things that happened this week in the Trail Center and also out in Rockbrook!
Trail center:
Miracles. Seriously the Trail Center never ceases to amaze me. i LOVE serving here. So i took a man on tour, and at first it was a little bit awkward haha. He wasnt talking a ton, and just seemed a little bit distant. Also, he kept saying "you are doing a good job" so i felt like i was being critiqued on my "tour guide" skills haha. BUT. it ended up being an incredible tour. As we stood in front of the painting about the mississippi river freezing over, i bore testimony to him about how God has a plan for each of us, and just like in 1 Nephi 3:7, he will prepare a way for us to accomplish that plan if we trust in Him. The man instantly started sobbing. He opened up about how he had just been called as the bishop for his ward in colorado, but was down in Omaha for the weekend trying to find a new job. He didn't know what to do, and where he needed to be. It was so cool to be a witness of him receiving revelation from God. he said "This is why i needed to come to Winter Quarters. I know that God will provide a way for me to get a job back in Colorado so that i can also serve as Bishop". AHH. it was AWESOME. i love this work.
 On Sunday a couple came in who were on their way to Nauvoo to be married in the Nauvoo temple. The woman was in a wheel chair, and the husband was literally glowing. haha they were adorable. I took them on tour, and the spirit was amazing. I told the story about Francis Webster near the end of the tour, and while i was reciting it i was so overcome with the spirit that i literally couldnt finish. I was so touched - The story/his testimony talks about how when things were hard on the trail, and he thought he couldnt keep going, his cart began pushing him. He says " i looked to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there. Was I sorry that i came by handcart? no. neither then or one moment of my life since. the price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and i am thankful that i was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart company". The couple i was with started crying and we all realized who this woman's angel was - her almost husband was literally "pushing" her "cart" to zion. i am so thankful for the angels that helped push my "cart" through out life. i would not be here without you, so thank you. it was such a tender experience.
Man i dont even know where to begin. the miracle we witnessed this week was INSANE and i will try to condense it as much as i can because it kind of is long! but here we go:
So the beginning of last transfer, sister whittaker and i received a referral from church headquarters. we went and tried the house, and i am pretty sure i told you about this? but a man opened the door named Brian and once we told him we were members of the church of Jesus Christ he instantly let us in and wanted to attend church. WELL. we never saw him again, but it was still such a cool experience.
I was singing in church the beginning of this transfer, and while i was singing i saw a man in the audience who i recognized but didnt know how. I instantly thought of Brian, the man we had met, but it didnt make sense for him to be there. He left before the meeting was over and so i didnt get to meet him or see who he was. but i have been thinking about that man for the past 6 weeks.
This last Saturday we had an appointment cancel, so we decided to try some old referrals. I looked and saw Brian's referral. I knew instantly that we needed to go over there. So, we went over and sure enough the man that had come to church a few weeks back was Brian! i probably scared him a little by how excited i was to see him haha. But we had a lesson with him, and he kept saying "i feel so empty and distant from God, i dont know why" and "My life is missing something". I bore testimony that he was missing the gospel of Jesus Christ. He told me that he believed me and wanted to continue learning!! it was INCREDIBLE.
Next day. Sunday. guess who walks into church? BRIAN. He and his son came to church and LOVED it!! i had the dorkiest smile all day i was so exciting.
this work is so fun. i love being a missionary! and i love being able to meet amazing people who uplift me and make me want to be better. i love you all! Remember that no matter what, the Lord loves us. And we can sing "All is Well" if our hearts are right with the Lord, even when everything around us seems to be disagreeing.
Love you all so much! The Church is not only true, but it is Jesus Christ's ONLY church on the earth! We are SO blessed.
Sister Lauren

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Omaha NebraTHka


What a WEEK!! oh my goodness i can't believe all that has happened this week. Miracles are real. and the Lord is so good to us.

First off:

thank you for the sweet notes/gift cards/sister socks!!/goodies/skirts that i received this week! receiving packages is always so great and fun, and makes my day. so thank you for thinking of me! it was also a miracle to receive it straight from the hands of Mom and Matthew. man. that was incredible. I love you both and am so grateful that we experienced that small bit of heaven together! 

i'll start with the fun facts first today since i have been laughing about it for the past two days haha:

Fun Facts:

1. The Otto tribe named this area of the Americas after their word for "flat water, or river". The word for that in Otto is "NebraTHka". hahaha. it was eventually americanized with an S. So, yes. I am serving in the Omaha NebraTHka mission. haha.

2. This week we were trying some less actives in the ward, and we decided to try a man who we had never seen. He answered the door, looked at us, and said "who are you?" i then began to say "we are missionaries from the..." and he interrupted me by yelling "i know who you are! get off my property and NEVER come back!" haha. that one has never happened. it was awesome.

3. We spent a few hours this week pulling weeds around the temple/visitors center. never have i loved doing yard work so much. it was the first time i had worn jeans in 4 months - they still fit. miracle right there haha. it was so fun, and i am now even more grateful for the blessing i have to serve next to a temple! 

4. CLARK - I chatted yesterday with a girl named Avia from Scotland! We set her for baptism over chat and it was incredible! she expressed how she felt like no one in Scotland needs religion, and how she feels so alone. I was able to bear testimony to her, and told her about how you served a mission there and how she is not alone. it was incredible and i was thinking of you the whole time!

Miracles of the week!!

This has been a crazy week, but so full of miracles it's insane. You know how the saying goes, "when it rains, it pours"? that is what Heavenly Father has been doing this week and i am so grateful. last week was a rough week, but this week was SO much better and i know that I needed last week to be grateful for this week. 

We went over to Ty and Troy's this week to teach Ty about the word of wisdom. I was really nervous, just because i know Troy has major word of wisdom problems. It is never easy to call people to repentance haha so i was anxious. I had been praying all day for it to go smoothly, and had confidence that the Lord would provide. We walked into their house and it was so amazing to see how the Lord had prepared them that day to hear what we were going to teach. Ty was super preoccupied (no coincidence at all) so we really just taught the lesson to Troy. He opened up to us and expressed how he is struggling with having hope that he can change, and that he can actually receive the blessings of the gospel. We were able to commit him to living the word of wisdom. It was incredible, and he is willing to continue progressing so that he can be fully active again. I am so grateful that the Lord is SO aware of us. and doesn't it blow your mind how He is able to set everything up JUST right so that miracles can happen? It is amazing.

So on Saturday we were supposed to meet with our new investigator, Danielle, but she cancelled last minute. So sad. We had a team up to go with us so we were bummed. But we ended up eating lunch at Sister Quennett's (team up) and she was so gung-ho about finding people that we decided to do just that. We went around her trailer park to every person she knew in it haha and knocked on their doors. Sis Quennett would get so antsy at the door that she would knock 5 to 6 times and ring the door bell at least 3 times. hahaha. i was biting my tongue so hard so i wouldnt laugh. it was hilarious but also amazing. She had caught the bug of missionary work and she was so excited to see any success. She prayed before we knocked on one door that she would be able to give out her pass along card. No one was home, and she said "i guess my prayer wasnt good enough". we told her that her prayer was perfect, we just need to keep knocking because obviously that wasnt the door we needed to go to. sure enough, the next door we go to we were able to talk to the man and she was able to pass out her card. she was ECSTATIC. i love seeing people catch the missionary wave! she bore her testimony on sunday about it hahaha and it was incredible.

On Saturday we were on exchanges, so i was with Sister Harrison. she is an INCREDIBLE missionary. we came out together, and so it was so fun to get to spend the day with her. after we left sister Quennett's we had a dinner appointment with a member. We showed up, and it was the member's son's graduation party haha. talk about awkward. but it was amazing because we were supposed to be there! we sat on the couch and started talking to the man next to us. His name is Kevin, and after a few minutes were on the floor laughing. He is probably in his late 70's, and he is cracking jokes about old people and how "they" do this and "they" do that. He also talked to us about how Omaha steaks are the best in the world. I told him that i hadnt had a steak since being here and i literally thought i gave him a heart attack haha. (oh by the way he isnt a member) He instantly says, "well you two are coming over next weekend and i am making steak!" little does he know that he will get salvation out of it too. haha. it was SO awesome and i cant wait to see where it goes!

Sunday morning, i called our investigator Danielle (who had cancelled) and asked her if she was coming to church. She was already planning on it and was on her way! that NEVER happens so i almost dropped the phone! haha. it was fast and testimony meeting, which is always scary, haha but it was the most incredible meeting i have had on my mission. i know that the Lord helped prompt the testimonies given because they were so inspired. Danielle LOVED it. ah. it was amazing. She will get baptized.

k well i could tell story after story, but i am running out of time! I love you all so much. The church is true. Our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can even comprehend. I don't know how i got so lucky to be serving here in Nebraska. Nebrathka. ha. I love it.

Let's do this!

Sister LP