Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Oh How Lovely was the Morning

Oh heyyyy!

Another week! man oh man. i can't believe it. does the time go as fast for you all as it does for me??!! hahah it is insane!

This week was so wonderful. i love being a missionary. so much! i love being continually humbled because i know that the Lord is just putting me through the refiner's fire. i pray every day that i can live up to the potential that God sees in me!

we saw miracles this week. well, we see miracles every day, but this week was incredible. I feel like things are FINALLY picking up and we can start the harvest! There is a CD that we have called "The Work" all about missionary work, and one of the songs on there is all about thrusting in the sickle and reaping with all your might. haha it has been playing in my head non stop all week! it's just about that time!

So this week we had an AWESOME lesson with our investigator, Tom. His wife is less active and we have been visiting him for the past few weeks. We talked to him about the book of mormon, and he knows that he needs to read it in order to have any sort of testimony of the church. we are praying for him constantly. we have been working really hard at having a member at all of our lessons, and with this lesson in particular it was so powerful to have a member there. he is so great and needs to be baptized!

We had an awesome experience with Sister Tillman - the first one was on wednesday. we went to her house to have a lesson, and it was sister palmer's turn to take the lead in the lesson. well, long story short, she didnt ever take the lead. ha. and i have been trying really hard to not just do it for her, so we ended up just not having a lesson. it was a great learning experience for her and me. so we set up a time to come back on friday, and we brought a member with us. it was such an incredible lesson. i felt like the words coming out of my mouth were literally solely the spirit's. it was awesome. i told her (well, the spirit told her) that she was breaking her baptismal covenant with God by not coming to church, and we committed her to coming on sunday. the spirit was tangible and she said she would come. having the member there to testify as well was awesome. yay for members!

So.... Sister Tillman (Less active of about 5 years) came to church on Sunday!!!!!!! ahhhh it was the best feeling sitting next to her and watching her take the sacrament for the first time in 5 years. it makes me cry just thinking about it! the sacrament is SO important, and to be a part of her decision to keep her covenants again is such a sacred privilege. it was a tender mercy.

On Thursday we had a specialized training for all of the trainers and trainees in the mission. it was awesome, and just what i needed. it is hard not to feel inadequate and to feel like i am not living up to my potential. but i was really humbled, and am starting to work even harder, and also go about my missionary work differently. i have realized that i havent been focusing enough on helping my companion, and selfishly worrying about the success of our area. when really, we wont have success until i teach sister palmer more effectively. please pray for me. the work is progressing, but it is all on the Lord's time! 

Fun news: 

1. Our ward has created two assistant ward mission leaders, and have called 10 ward missionaries! it is so awesome, and seriously this area is just about ready to explode. i love being a part of it!

2. this sunday is our missionary fireside/concert! there are songs written by sisters/elders, and lots of hymns/efy songs. i am singing Praise to the Man or something like that... its an efy version that is super pretty. 

3. it has been 95 degrees with high humidity the past 4 days. haha no need to shower, because you step outside and sweat instantly!

4. i spent my p day running around the park while sister palmer wrote in her journal. i was in heaven. it felt good to know i can still run 4 miles! havent lost it all..yet... haha. moo.

love you all! so grateful to be here. so grateful that Joseph Smith had the faith to pray on that "lovely spring morning". i know this is what the Lord wants me to be doing right now. This truly is "the Good Life" :)

all my love,

Sister Peterson

Monday, July 15, 2013

The field is ripe!

another week has flown by, i seriously cant believe it! sorry i am emailing today, i hope it didnt throw you off! haha just expect an email either monday or tuesday every week... because i never know when we will be emailing.
thank you thank you thank you for the package!!! i was able to get it because we had a zone meeting! man alive it made my day! if i closed my eyes while eating that plum jam, i was sitting in our backyard! haha thank you so much. i love you all!
this week has been nuts. haha. it seriously was a crazy week, and i feel like so much happened! it was a week of trials and miracles. i loved it.
here is a short look at my week:
1. our car got a flat tire.
2. our phone is broken.
3. i got stung by a wasp and had an allergic reaction.
4. no one could drive us home after church so we had to stay there for a good hour before someone could pick us up. we would have walked but it is a 30 minute drive to our building.
haha. it was awesome. I feel like the Lord has been testing my patience, and it has been a great learning experience! i love the scripture Mosiah 23:21-22 because i really believe that the Lord often "sees fit" to try our faith and patience, so we can more fully rely on Him. i can say that i am so grateful for the hard times in life because they remind us of who we are. and "whose" we are, like sister dalton has said. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father who wants to continually make us better people.
This week sister palmer and i have really focused on obtaining our set goals. we felt like we were setting inspired daily goals to reach, but then at the end of the day we were coming short of them. To fix our problem we have been praying continually throughout the day to accomplish the goals that we have set, knowing that the Lord would help us. And like always, He did. and continues to! this week was full of miracles, and we were able to see much more success. it was awesome!
some highlights:
1. man do i love having dinner appointments at member's houses. I love being able to see the way in which they run their home, and the spirit that resides in each of them. the members of the ward are amazing people, and i am continually in awe of their desires to serve. i love them. We had some amazing conversations and lessons with members this week, and i really feel like the work is about to explode because of the faith of the members. it is incredible.
2. We helped out a family in the ward this week, the Milbourn's, set up for their daughters birthday party. haha. (we literally look for any service opportunities we can get!) but it was so much fun, and my job was to "dice" the onions. well, my eyes were watering like crazy and my dicing job was less than satisfactory... haha. Brother Milbourn came over and saw what i was doing and while i wasnt looking, threw away all of the onions i had cut! he then says "those are the worst cut onions i have ever seen! let me do it!" haha i was crying and so the big joke was that brother milbourn "made me cry". haha sooner or later though, after he was cutting onions, he started crying as well (and his dicing job was not any better than mine!) we ended up laughing and crying together the rest of the night. haha it was awesome.
3. Miracles. we were able to get into 3 less active members houses this week who we have been trying to contact since we got here. it was incredible, and i really feel like the Lord is blessing us so much. Although none of the less actives came to church (ah i was so mad), they are doing great and we are continually trying to strengthen their faith. i love them all and it is so fun to see them rediscover their testimonies.
4. We found 2 new investigators this week! that was our set goal, and the Lord blessed us with them! one is a man named Jeff, and he is awesome. He has met with missionaries before, but it was many years ago. He is a single dad of 4 kids, and lives in Tabor. He has had a crazy life, but is slowly changing it and the gospel is exactly what he needs! he is our miracle for the week, and we are SO excited to teach him! the other investigator i found while on exchanges this saturday. Sister Palmer and i were split up, and another companionship came to glenwood. it was awesome to be able to have 4 sisters in our area! sister vance and i met Emily outside of a less actives house. she is in her early 20s, has a child, and her dad is a pastor for another church. but she has always wanted to know about the LDS church and was super anxious to learn more. we are praying our guts out that they stick with it. we already love them.
exchanges this week were a HUGE HUGE HUGE stepping stone in our companionship. Sister Palmer is a new person, and is really working hard at opening her mouth and talking. it has been the biggest blessing, and i am so grateful. thank you so much for the prayers on mine and her behalf. what i thought could not happen is happening, and i am so thankful.
i love you all! the corn here is about ready to harvest, and that is EXACTLY how i feel with this area! Sister Palmer and I memorized D&C 4 this past week, and truly the field is ripe! "those who have desires to serve God, are called to the work!"
i love you! this church is true! arent we blessed??
Sister Peterson

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We'll Sing and We'll Shout!!

Family and Friends!

This week has been awesome. I LOVE being in Iowa! i havent gotten sick of it yet, and am so grateful to be here. Thank you for your continual prayers in my behalf! i feel them every day, so thank you!

Happy Anniversary of 30 years to the best parents!! – [Parent’s note: August 6th is the real day but Lauren knew we were celebrating this week with a little get away] 30?! oh my goodness that is so crazy and awesome. that is such an accomplishment and such an amazing blessing. thank you for setting a practically perfect example to me of how a marriage should be/work. I love you both and couldn’t have asked for better parents. i love you. so much. too much.

What an exciting week! the work is hastening on and i love being a missionary. it amazes me every night how no matter how the day went, i can still go to bed with a smile on my face. The Lord truly strengthens us more than i can even comprehend. 

Some of the highlights:

- A woman in our ward has been having us paint her basement the past week. We have probably painted for a good 7 hours straight on cement wall. haha. it has been so fun and my arm is exhausted. but it is definitely nice to be in a cool basement compared to the outside heat!

- We had an awesome experience on tuesday. It was 8:45 pm and didnt want to head home early, so we prayed to know what we should do for the next 15 minutes. I prayed that we would be able to see a miracle. After we prayed i had the impression to walk down the street towards an old referrals house. As we were walking, there was a woman outside planting in her garden. we went up to her and started talking with her and she instantly opened up to us how she has a ton of LDS friends and she has had the elders over several times. i got so excited and asked her if we could come back and teach her more. she said that we could and so we went back this week and saw her again. she is awesome and we are PRAYING that she continues wanting to meet with us! miracles happen! it was such a great reminder that when we are exactly obedient, the Lord blesses us. it would have been so easy to justify going in early, but because we didnt the Lord helped us. small and simple things. i love it.

- Sister Palmer and i gave the training at District Meeting on wednesday and it went awesome. i was so proud of her - she gets super nervous talking, but she gave her "part" perfectly and just like we practiced. the Lord is strengthening her open her mouth and in turn we are being strengthened as a companionship. it is wonderful.

- on wednesday we went and saw the Tillmans. we had a great lesson with them, and then asked if they could drive us to our next appointment to save on miles. Sister Tillman agreed, and oh my goodness. we got lost in the corn fields. haha. we were driving down gravel roads, in a storm, for an hour trying to find our dinner appointment. so. we were an hour late to dinner. haha. but, the Lord works in mysterious ways because through getting lost we were able to grow closer to sister tillman and teach her more. it was awesome. downer: we totally thought she would be at church but she didnt show. that agency. man. she'll be there next week though!

- Thursday was the 4th! we had interviews with president weston and it was the best part of the week. ah. he is so incredible i love him. he sits me down and with his bold way says "is the work you are doing in your area ready to be the example for the rest of the mission? Because you have been sent there to do so." it was a great knuckle sandwich that i needed. ha. he promised that every less active member we are working with, if they are brought back to church, there will be a baptism because of it. big promise. and i know the Lord will provide. there is so much work to do and it is stressful! but so exciting as well. 

After interviews we had a ward party out at one of the members farms which was awesome. i got to talk with this muslim man that was there for a good 45 minutes. we talked about the similarities of islam and mormonism, which was super fascinating to me. i committed him to reading the book of mormon. he is awesome, and it was a perfect 4th of july. preaching the gospel. it was 80 degrees, we were out in a bunch of corn fields, and eating pulled pork sandwiches, so i was in heaven! :)

- After interviews with President, i had such a renewed desire to have members at every lesson that we taught. So, sister palmer and i have been trying really hard to accomplish that goal and man have we seen the miracles! nothing huge has happened, but just having members at lessons makes SUCH a difference. i am a believer in member work! haha it is so powerful. 

I think that's about it... i can't remember anything else i had planned so i'll just end there! ha. I had a member ask me how i know that the church is true after i bore my testimony to him, and i realized that i need to testify with more explanation more often. And so i told him that i KNOW this is the Lord's church because i have read the book of mormon, prayed, and received a confirmation from the holy ghost that it is true. i have fasted. i have prayed. and i have felt of the Lord's love more fully in my life because of my willingness to follow Him. 

This IS Christ's church. if it wasnt i would be on a plane home. but it IS. and so i will spend every day preaching His word, His way. 

1 Thessalonians 2, 2 Timothy 1:7-8.

Love you all! Hoorah for Israel! :)

Sister Peterson

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

If you knew what I do, you would be a Mormon too!


What a crazy week it's been! i am still LOVING Iowa. man. i love serving with these people and feel so blessed to be where i am.

It breaks my heart to hear about what is going on "in the world" right now... honestly i feel like i am on a different planet! ah. but i am so grateful for the assurance we can have that if we continue to press forward with faith, and trust in God, we will be protected from the corruption and wickedness around us. I will be praying more earnestly for this nation. man alive.

The Johns Family (Js and Chrissy!) Thank you SO much for your sweet notes/package! i love you all and know that it made my week to hear from your family!

Thank you all for your prayers! it is amazing to me how right when i am about to have those moments when i just want to sit down on the curb and cry because no one wants to listen to us haha, i am instantly strengthened and given the courage to keep my chin up. i know it is through your prayers, so thank you!

This week has been an interesting one. It is hard being a missionary! i think it hit me this week that what we are doing is kind of hard! haha. BUT. it is so rewarding as well. We had a lot of "persecution" this week which was kind of fun: definitely gets your blood pumping! here are some stories:

- we were going to visit a woman who is marked less active on our ward list, but ended up talking to her husband instead. He was really friendly at first, and started talking to us about the church. i was talking about the book of mormon and then he stops me mid sentence by him laughing saying that Joseph Smith was so and so and our religion was a cult. ha. awesome. So, i listened to what he was shouting, and then calmly but powerfully bore testimony of the restoration and the book of mormon. it silenced him. such a cool moment. And it re-taught me that no one can argue with a pure testimony. although he definitely wasnt converted, haha it strengthened my testimony and am grateful for it.

- there is one little store "in town" (side note: everything in Tabor is referenced off of town. for example: "oh , he just lives three blocks north/south of town" or "im going in town to grab some supper") where sister Palmer and i get our groceries. The woman who checked us out started talking to us about the church, and her first question was how we paid for everything. we told her that we had each funded our missions, so we paid to be here. I offered her a mormon.org card before we left by saying "hey, here is a card to our online website called mormon.org. it answers any sort of question you may have about the church!" harmless, right? well. She refused the card and told us that she would never even look at such a website that was revolved around a cult. ha. it was awesome. Once again, we bore testimony about the restoration. she was silent. she then said that her church was talking about other religions on sunday and that we should come and teach about the LDS religion! so. this experience definitely taught me that 1. again. pure testimony is unarguable. and 2. even through the bad, the Lord still provides! how AWESOME is it going to be to be able to teach a whole congregation of people about the gospel?!? ah. the Lord is so good!

Anyway. enough of the fun missionary moments. haha. here are the highlights of the week:

1. We did a TON of service this week, one of which was helping a woman in our ward pit her cherries! i literally think i pitted over 1,000 cherries in the past week. we made cherry cobbler and used Ms. Jean's ice cream maker and had a blast. so fun/summery!

2. This weekend was the "Tabor Merchant/Farmer Picnic". They have a carnival in tabor every summer, where a carnival comes with rides and food and everyone in town comes to it. it was a lot of fun to see everyone gathered together, and a great opportunity to talk to people! Ms. Jean couldnt believe that we hadnt had a "maid rite" before, so she took us down there for supper. She bought us a maid rite and when we got it we laughed because it is just a sloppy joe! haha she gets so excited about the little things. i love her.

3. Sister Tillman - i think i told you about her last email, but this week was AWESOME! ahh. she is doing incredible. she opened up to us about being offended at church and that she really wants to come back. she told us that she has been praying for a sign or some way that would lead her back to church, and she knew that we were the answer to her prayer. it was so powerful and she is reading the book of mormon! so cool. that book changes people. i love it.

4. Tom (Bro. Brammer) - ah this is so cool. so we go to the Brammer's house, a less active woman in our ward, and we saw that her husband, tom was outside. We have been praying for someone to teach since we dont have any investigators. We talked to him and come to find out he is not a member. I asked him why he wasnt, and he said he just didnt think he could believe in Joseph Smith. i asked him if he had read the book of mormon, and when he said no, i testified that the only way he could know if joseph smith was a prophet was if he read the book of mormon. he said that he would, and we are going to teach him again this week! he is so awesome and sister palmer and i left his house knowing that he is going to get baptized. so cool. i cant wait to see what happens!

The church is true. i love my savior. I am so thankful to have the knowledge i do. a woman in my old ward used to say " if you knew what i do, you would be a mormon too! ". i feel the same way, and am so grateful to "know what i do!"

i love you all. i am so grateful to be serving the Lord. I know He lives.

Sister Lauren