Tuesday, August 20, 2013

There is Sunshine in my soul

We did not receive Lauren’s letter last week so she resent it this week.  Below is last week’s letter followed by this week’s letter & SOME PICTURES!

Letter from 8/13/13:


Another week! so awesome! the mission is great!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures! i finally just went out and bought a usb drive thingy... haha. so expect pictures more often now! and ps. i look super sweaty in all of them. eek. :)

 What a great couple of days! we saw and were a part of so many wonderful miracles this week, it was so much fun!

Some highlights:

This week sister baggs and her two sisters, shirley and dolores had a sleep over all week at our house. it was SO much fun. those woman are some of my favorite people i have ever met. ha. (*anne, ellee, mckenna, and mindy... we better be like them when we are their age!) it felt like a family reunion which was nice.

On sunday we had dinner with the Hansens. Brother Hansen is a member of the bishopric and his family is absolutely incredible. they are constantly looking for ways to serve, and are always sharing the gospel. it is so great.  Well they gave us a referral a week ago, and we tried going over there with no success. so we talked to them about it on sunday, and they were able to give us some more information on their friend. 

So after leaving dinner, sister palmer and i decided to go and try to contact them again. We were able to meet the wife, Sherry, and oh my goodness. she is amazing. She is a mother of 4 girls, with one on the way. she is extremely christian, and they drive all the way to omaha each week to attend church. she expressed to us that she feels like they need to find a church that is closer, and somewhere that is more doctrinally like what she believes. i asked her about her beliefs, and she said that she is all about service and doing what christ would do... (i am trying to contain myself at this point... ha every question she answered i was saying in my head "bing AGAIN!"). We bore testimony of the church and how it has blessed our lives. 

Earlier in the conversation she had said that she doesnt really like talking to missionaries because she feels like it always turns into a bible bash, so i was kind of nervous to ask her if she would like to learn more. but, the Lord is so good. I asked her if she would like to meet together sometime with her friend (sister hansen) to learn more about what we believe. She looked at sister palmer and i and said "i dont get the impression that you are trying to force anything on me and that is really refreshing. i would love to learn more about what you believe, when can we meet?". it was AWESOME. we are meeting with her and sister hansen this thursday! pray for us. she is amazing.

this experience taught me a few things:

1. being a good example to those around us is so critical. if sister hansen would have not been open about her beliefs, or had been a bad example of a member of the church, there is NO way that Sherry would even think about having a discussion. members are everything.

2. the Lord is in control. we had tried to go over and visit her before, but the timing was not right, and the Lord knew that. He needed us to talk with the hansens first to learn a little bit more about Sherry that would help us address her needs. There are no coincidences. The Lord is behind everything.

3. Sharing the gospel should not be like we are selling alarm systems/pest control. because we arent selling anything! through being ourselves and letting others see the light in our eyes/countenances, THAT is when they will want to listen. THAT is when their hearts are softened. i was reading in the Ensign that is from January 2012 and there is an article that talks about the life of George Albert Smith. He said that "Kindness is the key to opening locked hearts". so true.

Another miracle:

We were trying to find a less active that we hadnt met. we went up to the house and their was a woman outside. we started talking to her, thinking that she was the less active member, haha but she quickly told us that she was NOT a member of our church. ha. But, she extremely friendly and really religious. we were able to bear testimony to her, and she had a lot of questions we were able to answer. She invited us over the next day for a lesson, which we went to and it was great! haha (side miracle: she cuts hair, so she cut my hair for free! tender mercy) :) She is kind of iffy about investigating, but at the same time it was such a miracle to find someone to listen to us. it was great.

yesterday for preparation day we went to the omaha zoo! it was awesome. (except that the monterey aquarium is way cooler...) ha. we went with a woman in our ward and her daughter, Raven. Raven. Raven. where do i even begin. ha. they are recent converts of a few years. raven has every sickness/disease out there, and has epilepsy really bad. but she LOVES sister missionaries and spoils us rotten. she is definitely different, but i have learned to absolutely adore her and her sweet/special spirit. i will have to tell you more about her when i get a chance. but she has taught me so much about faith through trials because she is such a great example of that. i love her.

sister tillman came to church again! and this week we should have a lot more... i am so excited. yay.

sorry this email is all over the place! haha. but i love you all so much! keep being good examples, because people notice! hoorah!

Sister Peterson


Letter from 8/20/13:

i hope you got my letter last week - Dad you mentioned that you didnt, so i just re sent it. if not, you get two this week! yay! haha
1. PATTI/JOHN MAXWELL FAMILY - i received your letter/family notes from the beach a couple of days ago and it made my week! seriously. i love all of you so much. thank you for your continual love and support!
2. Brodericks and Travis/Bailey! - i show up to our district meeting this week and i have two notes from two of my favorite couples - you! it made my day to hear from you all, and i am so glad you got to see the Trail Center! isnt it incredible? i am sad that i missed you, but i hope the sisters that took you on tour were great. love you!
This week was so great, and we had so many miracles! i LOVE being a missionary! it really is so much fun and so rewarding. ah. it's the best.
Fun things that happened this week:
- Our stake had a Carnival this last Saturday for all of the primary aged kids. it was held at our church building, and we were asked to help with it. i was in heaven, surrounded by a bunch of little kids, face paint, and carnival food. Sister Palmer and i got a huge laugh though on Sunday morning sitting in church singing "there is sunshine in my soul" as both of us were/are extremely sunburned. haha. totally worth it though.
- Sister Baggs is darling and she is an AMAZING quilter. she came to us this week and said that she wanted to help us make something to remind us of living with her before we had to be transferred. so she has been helping us make "bags" (to remind us of sister 'baggs!) that we can use. she always does this signature heart design on all of her quilts, and so i asked her to quilt it on my bag. haha she gladly did but then told me it was my turn... yikes. haha. it turned out TERRIBLE, it is hilarious. she is re-doing mine. haha.
the best thing ever happened this week. probably the highlight of serving here in Glenwood. i wrote last week (which you might not have read until today! whoops!) about a woman named Sheri. Well, we had a lesson with her this week that was absolutely incredible. Here's what happened.
so we show up to her house with Sister Hansen (the member who referred us to Sheri) and Sheri let us in. We sat around her table and kind of chatted for a little bit, but then got down to business. i was so nervous for this lesson. I always get nervous when i feel SO good about the person, and i want them to be members SO bad. haha and Sheri would be the most incredible member, and her family would be a huge asset to the ward here. Pressure was on. 
She offered the opening prayer, and she said "please let the truth be made manifest today as we discuss about your gospel". I was praying so hard that she would recognize the truth, just like she prayed for!

 So we started teaching about the Restoration and right from the get go she had a lot of questions. She believes in the trinity, and so we spent a lot of time talking about the god head. but it was so awesome because both sister Palmer and i had both been studying that intensely this week, and so i really felt like i was able to understand her point of view, but also explain through both the book of mormon and the bible why They are three separate beings. and the spirit was super strong, which was great. 
After discussing about the differences, she really came to see the similarities of what she believes and what we believe. But it wasnt till i shared the first vision with her that i felt like there was a change in her countenance. You could just feel the spirit almost tangibly, and you could see her mind racing. it never ceases to amaze me how the spirit works. ah it is incredible.

the lesson went extremely well, and having sister hansen there made all of the difference in the world. hearing her testify to her friend about why the gospel has blessed her life was so inspiring and brought me to tears. By the end of the lesson we were all feeling the spirit so strong, and Sheri is willing and wanting to read the Book of Mormon/learn more. it was an incredible experience, and i know that she will be baptized. keep praying for her.
I love this work. This is the Lord's church. i am giving the training at our district meeting this week, and i had no idea what to focus on. my brain literally was all fuzz. i prayed for some sort of direction, and the spirit led me to the exact verse in the scriptures that clarified all of my thoughts. is that a coincidence? no. because there are not any coincidences. the Lord is so aware of us, it blows my mind. I am so grateful for this gospel, Christ's same gospel.
Life is good! the Church is true! All my love from Iowa!

Sister Peterson

Friday, August 9, 2013

Scripture Power! Keeps us safe from sin!

Family and Friends!!

What an amazing week! i am so grateful to be serving the Lord in Iowa! i LOVED hearing all about what is going on at home this week! the Book of Mormon read-a-thon sounded absolutely incredible. I will never forget reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. it was life changing, and was a huge stepping stone in getting me here, on a mission! i have such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, and that testimony is continually growing every day as i read it! i will finish the Book of Mormon for the second time since being on my mission this week, and i cant wait to read it another 1,000! i love that book. if you havent read it, go read it. it will bring you so much joy!

Grandma Bonnie/Grandpa Rex - thank you for your package!!! it was such a fun surprise, and it lifted my spirits. thank you!!! love you!

Let's start with some funny moments that happened:

1. to help sister palmer out, i have been having her do all of the "door approaches" when we are out tracting. she has been getting a lot better, which is such a blessing! Well, we get to a door and she knew it was her turn to "take the lead". so, she knocks on the door, the man opens it, and sister palmer goes "hi, i am sister peterson and this is..." hahahah and she looks at her name tag then looks at me. i busted up laughing hahaha and luckilythe man was really nice too. we got a good kick out of it. at least i know that sister palmer has been watching my example! ha.

2. another sister palmer moment: haha. i was driving, so she grabs the phone to call a member of our ward. she calls, and a man answers (she thinks that its the son) so she says "hi, is your mom there?" the man on the other line starts busting up laughing, and says "my mom has been dead for 10 years". it was the dad, not the son! ha luckily he thought it was hilarious. we got a huge laugh out of it as well.

3. sister peterson moment: we were at a dinner appointment this week, and since there were quite a few people there we were sitting on the couchesrather than at the table. well, i was talking to the member there and while i sat down i dropped my plate of food all of myself/the ground! haha. it was so embarrassing. and so funny. we stopped by a few days later, and the members had bought an apron for me. awesome. ha.

it was a fun week, haha if you couldnt tell from those stories!

we saw miracles. again. they never cease to amaze me.

Miracle #1:

We have been working with a woman named Sister Howlette, who is a less active member. she hasnt been active for 4 years. We have been working with her, trying to build her faith, but she still wasnt coming to church and we couldnt figure out what the deep reason was behind it. well, this week we set up an appointment to visit her and when we got there, no one answered the door. i was so disappoionted, but the spirit told me to come back later. so we went and visited a few people and then came back after dinner. And guess what? she was home! ha. we had an incredible lesson with her, talking to her about the sacrament and the importance of church. she finally opened up to us about how she feels alone at church, and how she feels isolated because she is a single parent and the church focuses all on eternal families. We were able to address her concerns, and she, for the first time since working with her, admitted that she needs to come back and that she actually wants to! ah it was so awesome. and, it was just another reminder that if every active member of the church reached out and befriended a less active member, there would be no less active members!! this work is all about love. l.o.v.e. if we love the members of the church who have fallen away, we will be friend them and bring them back.

Miracle #2

Our neighbor has a tumor that is behind her eye that makes it stick out of her face... it kind of scared me at first when i saw it, not going to lie, but she is the most incredible woman. Her name is Debbie. Well, Sister Baggs has been friends with her for years, and a couple of weeks ago she asked Debbie if she would like a priesthood blessing. Debbie said she would think about it and get back to her. Well, two days ago we met Debbie for the first time. She was so kind and we were able to just get to know her. After she left the house, she called Sister Baggs and told her that she has decided to have a blessing. So last night, brother saufley (our ward mission leader) and his father-in-law came to Sister Bagg's and gave Debbie a blessing. before they did though, she said that she had been reading in the bible and had read about turning to the elders of the church to have a blessing and annointing. she explained that she had gone to her church and asked for a blessing and showed the minister the verse in the bible, and the minister said that they didnt do that. she explained that she didnt understand why they werent able to do that when it talks about it in the bible. well, that same week was the week the Sister Baggs offered to have her recieve a blessing. coincidence? of course not. so debbie received the most incredible blessing of healing and strength last night, it left all of us in tears. i talked to her afterwards and she kept saying that she felt goosebumps all over, and complete peace. i was able to explain that that was the holy ghost testifying to her that God loves her and that this was "good" thing. she wants to meet with us to learn more. incredible. highlight of the week.

some other fun news:

this week we "harvested" corn!! sister baggs has a sweet corn patch outside of town that she took us to, and we were able to pick corn! ha she thought we were crazy for getting so excited about it. but it really was so much fun! brother saufley and his kids and ourselves went back the next day and picked 200 (at least) ears of corn, and shucked all of them as well! i felt like a true Iowan.

i am so incredibly grateful for this gospel, it is the reason that i am able to get out of bed every day. I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon. I know with every thing that i am that that book is the word of God. I love my savior, and i know that we have a God in heaven who is aware of us. I love Him. This church is Christ's church. I love being able to wear His name each and every day. Aren't we blessed?

love you all!!

Sister Peterson 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oh Happy Day

Letter received 7/31/13
I hope you are all doing great! thank you for your continual prayers and support. i love you all!
Shout outs!: Amy!, Daren!, Matt Duffy, Susannah, Joe, Kimmy, Tyson, Alexis, Katie! im sure i have missed someone else who is getting married, haha so if i did i am sorry, but i love you all! SO happy for all of you and i wish you ALL the happiness in the world as you take this next step in your life! Sending my love to you from Iowa! yay!!

It's been a great week, and i really feel so blessed to be here. I love Glenwood. Transfers were this last friday, and i have never been so happy to stay in the same place! haha i know that the Lord needs sister palmer and i here to continue building up this amazing ward.
talking about the ward i am in, let me tell you. it is incredible. The bishop and our ward mission leader have such an amazing vision it makes me giddy just thinking about it. the bishop has been working non stop to revise our ward mission plan, along with figuring out how to excite the ward more to share the gospel. something awesome that he has done is he wrote out a lesson plan all about "16 small stones", talking about the brother of Jared and having the faith to see the finger of God. He is having us go around to all of the active families in the ward and visiting them weekly, sharing a message and committing them to praying and fasting to know who they can share the gospel with. We are having a bonfire/fireside at our ward mission leaders house the first weekend of September, where we will be teaching the restoration and having the bishop speak. the goal is to have every active member there with a non member friend/ or accompanying a less active member. it should be so amazing i cannot wait!
We had an awesome day on sunday. It was the missionary fireside at the stake center. All the missionaries in the Council Bluffs zone gathered together and the stake came with their non member friends as we (the missionaries) sang and taught about the restoration. it was powerful! I was asked to give a devotional before the fireside for all of the missionaries, and it went really well. i talked about performing to bless, not to impress (bromley's!) and i shared the experience of losing my voice in nauvoo, and receiving a blessing and then being able to sing. i didnt want to share that story haha, but the spirit told me to and it turned out being really powerful and just what needed to be shared."the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me". i totally believe that. i was lucky enough to sing the song "Praise the Man" with all the missionaries singing behind me. i filmed it, so hopefully i can get it to load! if not i will just mail it :) it was awesome.
awesome experience this week:
We received a referral from a member, so we went over the next day to try it. we talked with the woman and she was nice, and told us we could come back the next night to share a message with her! it was great and we were super excited. so, that next day we did a thousand role-plays in preparation to teach the first lesson to our "new" investigator! sister palmer was super excited, and i was praying continually that it would go well. we walked up to the house, and knocked on their door. nothing. so, we walked around to the back of the house and there was a man standing there. long story short, he told us that his wife who we talked to the day before was just being nice, and they really were not interested at all, and he kindly asked us to leave his property.

man. i wanted to cry. we walked away from their house, and felt so shot down. sister palmer was about to cry, and we were so disappointed. but we said a prayer asking for the Lord's help. well. I had the thought to go visit a man Jeff, who we have been sort of teaching the past couple of weeks. we walked over there and jeff didnt answer the door, but his roommate, Kurt did. We had never met him before and started talking about religion, and long story short ended up teaching him the whole first discussion right there for the next 40 minutes! we were able to teach exactly what we had "role-played" earlier, and sister palmer was able to give him a book of mormon. we were ecstatic!! haha. it was just a testament to me that the Lord is SO aware of us. even though WE had planned to see someone else, the LORD needed us to meet Kurt. everything happens for a reason. and now we are teaching Kurt. miracle.
The church is true! Jesus is the Christ! i love Him with all the i am. I love being here, and there is no where else i would rather be, and nothing i would rather be doing. Let's do this!
Love love love,

Sister Peterson