Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"The task ahead of you is never as great as the Power behind you"

Family and Friends:
hey. this week was the most incredible week of my mission. I have not been able to stop smiling for the past 4 days! i have been so humbled this week, filled with the love of God, and so grateful.. SO grateful to be serving our Lord.
thank you Mom for the "english" package! i absolutely LOVE the scarf (and will need it soon...yikes!) and of course, loved the cookies. thank you!!
i seriously dont even know where to begin. this week has been SO MIRACLE PACKED that i cant even handle it. ok, yes i can because it is AMAZING haha but truly the Lord is DUMPING blessings. last week i think i said that He was, but THIS week doubled that. last week was "light rain" compared to the "flash flood" of the past few days.
fun facts:
1. this week sister barton and i were asked to give a zone training. (i have given one now at every training... ha i am getting a littler worn out!) but it was wonderful. we talked about the Book of Mormon and the influence/importance it plays in bring souls to Christ. i had a really neat experience while standing there, giving the training. i felt a re-confirmation that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God. something i will never forget. it was awesome, and i feel so blessed.
2. Nebraska football will be the death of me. i love the sacrament talks that all relate to football in some way, ha but not being able to set up appointments because of a game... no bueno.
on to the MIRACLES. best. week. EVER.
sister barton and i have been praying to find people to teach. since we are at the trail center half of our week, we have been praying constantly to be able to see miracles for the short time we have in our area. and let me tell you. the Lord answered our prayer ten fold.

since last week, we now have 6 investigators.

i have been so humbled this week by the goodness of our Heavenly Father. He has literally led us exactly where we have needed to be, and has given us the courage to open our mouths and share the good news. it gives me so much joy and cant contain it.
since i dont have time to write about every single person we are teaching, let me tell you about 2.
he is a miracle. Walt has been investigating the church on and off for over 2 years. The elders have been going over there a lot, but he is really an eterni-gator (i.e. an eternal investigator). The first week that we were in church, walt came and sat by me for sacrament. i obviously had no idea who he was, so i hit up a conversation with him. I started asking him about how long he has been a member of the ward, and he quickly told me "im not a member. missionaries have been trying to get me baptized for years". my ears perked up and I jumped on the opportunity to meet with him the next week.
well, we met with Walt a few days later. we had the most incredible lesson with him, and really got to the bottom of why he has not been baptized. He has a hard time believing that Jesus Christ is the son of God. We bore powerful testimony, and helped him realize that he really DOES have faith in him because of his actions (walt reads the book of mormon every day, prays, attends church weekly.. the whole bit). at the end of the lesson, we committed him to be baptized. at first he said, "i dont know..." and then i just said "walt, what is holding you back? you know enough. trust in God. pick a  baptismal date". he sat there, and finally said "ok. how about January 24". sister barton and i jumped out of our seats we were so excited. after 2 years of investigating he has never set a date... i KNOW that the Lord has been preparing him, and that he will be baptized (hopefully even sooner than january haha!)
We had a follow up appointment with him two days later, and then the elders brought him to the Trail Center, where sister Barton and i took him on tour. We sat in the memorial room and talked about how faith works, and how we need to have the desire to believe in order to have that faith strengthened. I have given 1,000 tours, and never before have i felt prompted to sing while on one. well, the spirit, very profoundly, told me that i needed to sing. i was so mad haha, not really. but i was definitely nervous. but i knew the Lord needed me to sing to help bring the spirit so that Walt's heart would be touched. I sang "Lord Save Me". afterwords, i asked Walt what he was thinking. he said "that you have a nice singing voice?" and i quickly said " No walt. WHAT are you thinking and feeling right now?" he got serious, and said "i feel really good". i was able to then bear testimony that what he was feeling was the spirit, who's main job is to testify of Jesus Christ.. the spirit was thick. like dry corn bread. it was amazing. he is making so much progress, and i KNOW he will believe in Christ. pray for Walt.
i had the best experience of my mission last night. hands down. i know i say that all the time, but really, this experience was the best yet.
so last night we had an appointment with a less active member, but as we were driving over to her house she called to cancel. we prayed to know what we should do and INSTANTLY, no delay whatsoever, i felt prompted to go to another less active, Karla.

we drove over there and when we got there, we met Caleb. Caleb is karla's sons friend, who actually lives with Karla right now to help with rent. We kind of just meet Caleb and then go inside, and have a lesson with karla. nothing crazy, but really good.
So then, it is 8:55, and we need to be home by 9 (unless teaching a lesson to an investigator, (9:30)... So we were rushing out of the door. Caleb followed us outside, and we started talking. i asked him if he was religious at all, and he said that he was. we then had a full length conversation about the church, the book of mormon... everything. I have never felt so comfortable sharing the gospel... it was truly the spirit talking through me. Caleb is SO awesome and he has such a strong belief if Christ it is amazing. well, we committed him to reading the book of mormon. which he said he would. then, sweet sister barton said, "will you come to church with us too??" he kind of laughed and was like... "lets try the book of mormon thing first".
sister barton and i left, and made it home perfectly at 9:30. miracle. Well, we are writing down the miles we travelled, and the phone rings. i pick up the phone and Caleb goes "hi, this is Caleb... i know you sisters just left and everything, but as i got into my car to drive to work i had to pull over because of the burning sensation i am having. there is no coincidence i met you tonight... when does church start and what is the address?"
i almost passed out. literally. but thankfully the Lord calmed me down so i could finish talking with him. Caleb is the most prepared person i have met on my mission, and i know that the spirit was confirming to him yesterday that this is Christs church. he has been seeking and is so willing to learn. AH i cannot contain my joy! best moment of my mission.

i love this work so much. you want to be happy? do missionary work. it works like a charm! ha. i know that when we trust in God, the "power behind us" is so much greater than any trial before us. i love my heavenly father. i KNOW that Jesus Christ is our savior.
the church is true.
Sister Peterson

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lord, Save Me!

Hello Hello!
What an AWESOME week! i love Ralston, i love the Trail Center, i love life! (Mr Scrooge, anyone?). I am so grateful to be serving the Lord. It amazes me each day how He makes it seem like I am serving Him, but really, I am receiving all the blessings. it doesn’t make sense. We have a loving Heavenly Father, and His love is so overwhelming! i can’t get enough of it.
This past sunday was a miracle. Since i was transferred into a new zone, i was able to participate in the last summer concert that the missionaries put on! i feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of two of them. I was asked to sing a song written by one of my best friends in the mission, Sister Brough. the song was called "Lord, Save Me". The back story to the song is that she has had this tune in her head for several years now, but has never been able to put words to it. well, when she came on her mission (she came out with me) she had an experience looking at the paintings (the one's at Oakland now!), specifically when she saw the painting of Peter in the water with Christ lifting him up. she related his faith to a pioneer ancestor of hers, who left her food on the table and joined the saints, backed up by the most beautiful tune. i wanted to type out the words for you, because i think they are so powerful:
Peter walked on the water
Every step towards the Savior
Doubting, sinking, he is calling
Reaching out he cries
Lord save me, Lord save me
Help thou my unbelief
Till I believe, I'll walk across the water
till i know my faith hath made me whole
till i know i am my fathers daughter
the miracles that have not ceased
in every step i walk till i believe

1000 Miles they walked
trusting in their God
Left in sleeping, she is pleading,
Leaving now, she cries
Lord save me, Lord save me

Heaven has not left us
we all can feel him there
to Him we are no different
Crying out to him in prayer
I will send you the video of me singing it so you can hear the tune, but i absolutely feel so privileged that she asked me to sing it. I had an INCREDIBLE experience while doing so:
I was on the stage singing, when i saw a man walk through the back doors of the cultural hall. I thought i recognized him, but obviously i couldn’t really tell because the lights were so bright. Right when i saw him, the spirit literally enveloped me, and i really felt like i was surrounded by my ancestors. i can’t describe it in words, but i will never forget it.
after the concert, i went looking for the man that i saw while singing. I found him, and literally almost cried when i realized who it was. It was Brian. Brian is the man who sister whittaker and i tracted into (the one who, when we knocked on his door said, "Jesus Christ? come on in!). Brian is the one who, when i was singing in the Rockbrook ward, i noticed him in the congregation. Sister Tulley and i started teaching him, and i don’t know what it was, but he and i had such a strong spiritual connection. once i got transferred, i never heard about him so i thought he had been forgotten.
This is what Brian told me when i saw him at the concert. he said "that week that i came to church, i prayed to God asking Him to send me a sign so that i would know i was supposed to be there. When i got there, i saw you standing at the pulpit singing and i took that as my sign. Tonight, i didnt really want to come to this because i dont know anyone, but i knew i needed to come. I asked God to give me another sign, and right when i walked in i heard your voice and knew, once again, i needed to be here."


 i almost jumped up and down (well, i probably did now thinking about it haha) and started rambling and talking way too fast on how he needed to keep going to church and get baptized and how there are NO coincidences and how i was supposed to sing tonight and how he needed to be there and so on haha. i am sure he thought i was crazy. BUT. let me tell you. there is NO DOUBT in my mind that the Lord is aware of Brian. absolutely no doubt. i also know that there are NO such things as coincidences. The Lord had every single thing planned out so that this miracle could occur. ah. i love being a missionary! and i am SO blessed to be able to literally see how the Lord was answering other peoples prayers through me. it is so humbling. and so amazing.
Ok. woah. that took a long time to write out haha. that was just so incredible i needed to tell every detail. but that wasnt the only miracle that happened this week!
we found an AWESOME new investigator this week named Angela. She just moved in with a member of our ward. She is SO amazing and has such great potential. Sister Barton and i felt inspired to visit Sister Bedell (member), and when we got there she introduced us to Angela. We had a great lesson with Angela, and she expressed her deep faith in God, and how she needs to find a church. She gladly invited us back over to teach her, and she we will be going there this week! she is so prepared, its incredible, and i cant wait to see where this leads! im thinking baptism. ha.
fun facts:
1. we went out to dinner with a family in our ward, and while we were there, a girl in the booth next to us started choking. the member we were with quickly got up, went and did the hiemlich (sp?) three times on her and saved her life. it was awesome. ha. … and definitely ruined my appetite! :)
2. i got over my fear of snakes this week! a less active couple we have been visiting has over 160 snakes IN THEIR HOUSE. they are in cages, BUT STILL. i held three of them, which each of them were over 6 feet long and have the thickness of a fist. it was awesome. check off the bucket list.

i am so happy. i love the gospel of Jesus Christ. i love how it is fall here. I love serving Heavenly father each day. I love that we pray over 50 times a day. i love being a missionary. so much.
All my love,

Sister Peterson

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I left my heart in Tabor, Iowa

Family. Friends.

Well. as you probably can guess from my title, transfers were this week! What a crazy week. seriously. my emotions were out of control haha. 

i got the call on thursday morning that i was being transferred out of Glenwood, and would be serving in the Ralston La Vista ward/the Trail Center. My companion is Sister Barton from Draper, Utah who has been out for 12 weeks. Sister Palmer is staying in Glenwood and training!

i kind of knew i was going to be transferred, just because president weston had hinted that i would only be away from the trail center for 3 months (2 transfers). So when he called, i was ok. We spent thursday visiting members of the ward that have become my family, and the less actives that we have been working with. The whole day i was feeling pretty good, and i felt assured that i needed to be in Ralston (not really knowing why).

So. Friday morning. ha. i thought that i could sneak out of Tabor without a tear. wrong. I had to say goodbye to Sister Baggs on friday morning, and i am not kidding, it was the hardest thing i think i have ever had to do. She is 85 years old, never leaves her house, and her health isnt the greatest. all of those things in consideration, saying goodbye to her thinking i will probably never see her again (at least not in this life!) ripped out my heart. ah. i cant even write about it without crying. i love that woman. so much.

i cried the entire 45 minutes from Tabor to Omaha. driving through the 15 minute corn field drive for the last time almost killed me. i just realized while typing that how ridiculous that sounds, ha but Tabor literally feels like home. I love that place, i love the people, and will forever remember my experiences there. I truly can say i left part of my heart and soul in that tiny town. man.

well. I didnt die, so that's good! :)

I was praying to know why i was sent to the Ralston area (which, fun fact: is the mission presidents ward). I received that answer when i met my companion. Sister Barton.

Sister Barton has been out for 3 months, so she just finished being trained (so i am her follow-up trainer). Her trainer is a sister who has a lot of health problems, and suffers from severe migraines. Well, because of this, i have come to find out, that nothing has been done in Ralston for almost 6 months... literally. I feel like we are opening up an area, it is that bad. and sister Barton really has not been trained because her companion was sick every day. So we have a lot of work to do! But, sister Barton is the most incredible girl ever. She is SO happy, SO obedient, and SO willing to work hard. We get along great. we are going to see miracles like crazy. i CANNOT WAIT.

Sister Barton told me during our first companionship study that she had prayed for five things in a new companion:

1. diligent
2. fun
3. obedient
4. confident
5. a friend

she cried as she explained to me that she felt like her prayer was answered by us being companions, and how she was excited to finally start her mission. I cried as well, thanking Heavenly Father that He assigned me to be her companion. He is so aware of us, and i truly am so excited to be serving here.

So i have been super nervous about working at the Trail Center visitor center. When i was at the trail center before, i feel like there was a lot of wasted time, and i couldnt be fully consecrated there. I have been praying for strength to be able to maintain the things i have learned while full proselyting, while still being a good visitor center sister.

in answer to my prayer, i took my first tour since being back at the TC on saturday. It was absolutely incredible. It was a family of 7, all non members. Usually, or at least before, i would be pretty timid about taking non members through, just because i was nervous about being bold. i dont know. lame excuse. well, coming from full proselyting and now having people coming to ME is literally SO AMAZING! hahaha having people even want to talk to us is amazing, let alone letting me take them on a tour! so i was so excited/giddy. Long story short, the tour was amazing, and i was able to hand out 3 book of mormons and commit them to reading it. it was awesome, and definitely gave me the assurance that being at the TC again would be alright. 

my first day back at the trail center we had a training (the saturday morning trainings) and they had me sing for the musical number. i say "abide with me", and i really felt like i was pouring out my love to the Lord. it was an amazing experience.

I cannot wait for the rest of my mission. i dont know when the change came, but i feel like a different person than i was even just a few months ago. I really feel like the Lord is letting me re-do some of the mistakes/weaknesses i have with now being in Ralston. i am so excited i could dance around! ha.

i love this church with all of my soul. i know that it is the only true church on earth. i know it. i love my savior so much, and i feel so blessed to be a missionary it makes me want to weep! 

all my love,

Sister Peterson

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"The Lord is my Light" and "Abide with me 'tis eventide"

Two weeks of letters below:

Letter from August 26, 2013:
Hello again!
the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days! i cant believe i am e-mailing again. man alive. time flies.
We had such an amazing week, my goodness, blessings are just DUMPING from heaven on our little town in Iowa! i love being here and i am so grateful to be serving the Lord.
Last Sunday the young women's president, sister Herrick, felt inspired to have sister palmer and i come into YW's and share our testimonies about temple marriage. ha. kind of a fun topic for sister missionaries. but anyway, the most amazing thing happened. so we go in and teach the lesson about why temple marriage is the most important thing EVER and how you can't make it to the highest degree of glory without it. it was extremely powerful, and sister palmer shared an extremely powerful testimony. her sister is engaged right now and she shared with the girls how she will not be getting married in the temple, and how that will effect her and her family forevefr - it has been really hard on Sister Palmer, and so to hear her testimony of the importance of it was earth-shaking. i was so proud.
....so a few days later we are at District Meeting, and sister Saufley (side note: sis Saufley is our ward mission leaders wife, and she is the mission's psychiatrist. she is the most incredible woman i have ever met. hands down, and i have become extremely close with her family) came up to us in tears. She has like 5 adopted children, 3 of them have been sealed to them and 2 have not. Well, i guess one of the daughters, Promise, who is 14, came home after yw's on sunday and insisted that she talk to Sis/bro Saufley. She told them that she wanted to be sealed, and that she wanted it to happen on her birthday, which is tomorrow! Sister Saufley just sobbed tears of joy as she was telling us how she didnt know what happened but that her daughter had a complete change of heart. i just sat there and cried as well haha as i felt so blessed to have had a tiny part in bringing the spirit to the lesson that would help influence Promise's decision.
it was an incredible moment that really reminded me of my purpose here. i will never forget it.
My favorite moment on my mission happened this week. I know, i say that every week, haha but REALLY. just thinking about it makes me so happy.
so this week we had a lesson with the Tillman's (the less active couple we've been working with). We have been struggling with helping them have the desire to come to church. they tell us that they want to, and that they WILL, but then sunday morning comes around and they cancel. Sister Palmer and i prayed a ton about what we should teach, and we felt like teaching the plan of salvation and focusing on our purpose in life was what they needed.
nothing crazy happened.. no lightening bolts or anything. BUT. it was the first time since Sister Palmer and i have been companions that the lesson was perfect. ok, not perfect, but we were COMPLETELY unified (meaning i wasnt looking at her waiting for her to speak and nothing comes out), and the spirit was absolutely THICK. she bore testimony, she used scriptures, and she spoke through the spirit. it was the best moment i have had. seeing her progress has been the highlight of serving in Glenwood, and really has been my focus. so to FINALLY (10 weeks in...haha not too bad?...) see her actually becoming the missionary she is was so rewarding. it was incredible.
One more miracle. and this one is AWESOME.
so we have been teaching a girl named Hannah who is 15, and who has been less active for about 5 years. she is so amazing. she told us when we first met that she really wanted to come back to church, because she knows it will help her in school. She battles depression, and it was amazing to hear from her mouth how she KNOWS that the church will be her saving grace with her depression. she is incredible.
.. we had a lesson with her this week, and i kept having the impression that we needed to teach the first discussion, about the Restoration. i didnt really know why because we have already talked to her about it. But, we went with it. so, we show up at her house, and hannah was there but she also had one of her friends with her, Kaylie. Kaylie has gone to church before when she was younger, but is not a member. and she is AMAZING. long story short, We are now teaching Kaylie. ha. isn't Heavenly Father so good to us? i wasnt kidding!
some fun things:
1. on friday sister palmer and i set up for the herrick's daughter's wedding reception from 10 am - 5 pm, and then served the food at it that night! we were SO exhausted. ha. and i was reminded of screwing in all of those light bulbs at clark and ellee's reception: except it was 100 degrees here and i couldnt be in a bathing suit! haha.
2. we had stake conference this last sunday and one of the speakers talked about the temple, and having "no vacant chairs" at his "celestial table". of course i thought of our family. and i am so grateful for the amazing family that we have!
i love you all! the church is true. this is the Lord's work and i dont know how i got so lucky to be a part of it!
as aunt suzanne shared with me, "The main thing is to keep the main thing the MAIN thing!"
i hope we all keep the main thing in our lives the gospel of Jesus Christ!
all my love,
Sister Peterson
1.we blew up those huge balloons for the wedding we set up!
2. i am going to start keeping a "cats" album. everyone has them! and they lay on everything!

Letter from today, September 3, 2013

Hello from IOWA! transfers are on friday... so no news yet! i am soaking in every minute of my time here though. thinking about leaving makes me want to sob. so im not thinking about it. haha.

happy birthday to Opal, Ellee, and Spencer! (and mindy i realized i am the worst sister in law ever but didnt give you a shout out last month!) i love you all so much and am wishing you the best year of your lives! so live it up. ha. miss you all.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ONE OF MY BEST FRIEND BROOKELYN ON BEING ENGAGED!!! so happy for you. seriously, so stinking happy for you. love you.

Where to begin? let's start from the very beginning (a very good place to start!)


this week was wonderful. absolutely wonderful. Things in Iowa are picking up and i am so grateful to be serving here. to think about where we began 3 months ago when we showed up in Tabor, to where we are now is absolutely incredible. Only through the Lord have we been able to have so many blessings and to see so much progress. it has been extremely humbling. i've realized that i dont know everything, ha, and that "success" is measured daily through small little baby steps. and man we have come far!

this week we had zone conference, where Elder Robbins from the Quorum of Seventy came. it was amazing. A group of us were asked to sing "Joseph Smith's first Prayer" and it set the tone for the entire conference. He talked a lot about how we can recognize the spirit in our lives and how sharing "pure, honest" testimony to those around us is so important to bringing the spirit. 

He also spoke about how "being cheerful" is a commandment, and is probably the most broken commandment! i have a new resolve to be cheerful, hopeful, and more faithful for the rest of my life. i love the lord's servants, they truly are inspired men.

We did TONS of service this week: picking tomatoes/canning them, picking grapes, painting, more painting, cleaning... the whole 9 yards.. (or is it 10?) ha. either way, i loved it.

We taught Sheri this week. it honestly was super discouraging. she talked about how she had researched the Book of Mormon and how it physically and scientifically could not be true. she talked about how it was inspired of satan. haha. it was crazy. BUT. it was an amazing learning experience for me, because i KNOW that Satan is working extremely hard on her because she is so golden. She was looking up anti mormon things on the internet, so of course she found what she was looking for. But she has committed to still read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. so, who knows. But one thing is for certain. That Book, the Book of Mormon is of God, NOT of Satan. there is absolutely no doubt in my mind. that book alone brings people closer to Christ, including myself. and i am so grateful for it.

We found an incredible new investigator this week named Jodie. She has been through a ton this past year, and needs the gospel so bad. she is a friend of a less active member we just started teaching, named Nancy. Jodie was at Nancy's baptism and has sat through many discussions before. she is so prepared and i know she will be baptized. super exciting!

i am out of time. but please pray for me. i need it this week with transfers, because i will most likely be moved. i know the lord will send me where i am supposed to be, but sometimes its just hard to do it! But i have faith that the Lord is in charge... and if it is up to Him, He can move me wherever He pleases.

i am so happy. i love this work. i love you all!

Peace and blessings :)

Sister Peterson

PS: here are some pics of my district/district leader (the happiest person i have EVER met!), sister palmer and i, my ward's missionaries, sister baggs and i picking grapes!, and a few others!