Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2 Timothy 1:8

i have so much to say, oh man. let's see if i can fit this all in! ha
First off: MATTHEW!! happy birthday!!! i love you so much and am so grateful for you! i hope the 27th is a wonderful day for you :) miss you!

miracles. so many miracles... are you sick of me saying that? Sister Barton and i started a "gratitude wall" in our apartment, where every night we come home and write a sticky note with a miracle from the day on it. it is amazing to see how blessed we truly are, and how even the craziest days are full of God's love. we are so lucky!
quick note: transfers were this week. Sister Barton and i are still together in Ralston. i totally forgot to tell you last week, but i knew we were staying so it slipped my mind.

in case i run out of time, i want to share THE COOLEST experience ever. seriously, i have been giddy the past couple of days even just remembering it. here we go:
So a few days ago, our investigator Val dropped us. i'd go into detail but i dont have enough time. but basically, it was awful and a first for my mission. she doesnt want to change, and that is hard. especially when you love them so much! but anyway, sister Barton and i were totally bummed, and i was trying not to be discouraged.
well, friday night Elder Deshler from the 70 was coming to a mid-single adult conference, but because Val "broke up with us" (that's what it felt like! haha) we didnt think we would be able to go anymore. But, we decided to call Walt last minute to see if he was free. He was, and we were super excited. we met Walt at the church (which by the way, it was super awkward when we got there. a bunch of mid-single adults playing "get to know you Bingo"... haha) and had dinner there. Right as we were finishing up, Elder Deshler came into the gym and came right over to us. I have met him several times, but i still was so surprised when he remembered who i was. We were able to talk for a minute or two, and then he asked who we were with. i told him that Walt was our investigator, and Elder Deshler instantly said "oh, awesome. make sure you bring him up after to meet me".
So, we go into the chapel for the fireside. the spirit was awesome and i was stoked to hear him speak. Elder Deshler gets up to the pulpit, and after standing there in silence for a good 30 seconds, he says "i have loved meeting with you all during dinner. and after talking with you, i have decided i need to talk about something different than i planned". Elder Deshler then proceeds to give the most POWERFUL, SIMPLE talk about the Restoration, and about Jesus Christ. He told about his conversion story, and how joining the church was the best decision he ever made. I sat there absolutely amazed because, Elder Deshler was speaking directly to Walt. out of the hundreds of people there, he changed what he prepared to meet the needs of our investigator. i couldnt believe it. sister barton and i kept looking at each other with "can you believe this is happening?" faces. it was so cool.
after Elder Deshler sat down, i looked up at him to give him a huge "thank you smile" haha. well, as i did so, we made eye contact and he quickly smiles and winks right at me. yep. im serious. i wanted to jump up and down.
We go up after the meeting, as promised, to meet him and say thank you. as Elder Deshler grabbed Walt's hand, he said "you must be sister peterson's investigator. Let me just say, that you are doing the most important thing of your life. This is the most important decision you will ever make. The biggest regret i have is that i waited so long to make it. Dont wait".
Walt then proceeded to tell him that he feels like he is getting a lot closer to baptism than ever, and that january 23, (his baptismal date) is what he is shooting for. Elder Deshler got SO excited and then said, "i want to stay in contact with you Walt. Is that ok? if you ever have any questions, you tell Sister Peterson and she can call/email me." he then wrote down his email in my planner and said "walt, you are in good hands with these sisters. They are going to see you baptized". (!?!?!?!)
hahaha. isnt that incredible?!?! sister barton and i danced all the way home. it was amazing to hear the powerful testimony of a chosen servant of the Lord. Sister Barton and i have been joking all week that "elder Deshler was our team-up" ... but truly he was! ah it made my day. and week. and mission. i love missionary work.
we had another amazing miracle last night.
yesterday was a crazy day. NO ONE was home. we literally did not talk to anyone until literally 7 oclock last night. it has been getting colder, and so less and less people are outside, which makes missionary work a little more tricky. but we were praying around 7:15 pm (probably the 100th prayer yesterday, no joke) and as sister Barton was praying to know where we should go, the thought came into my mind to call Crystal, a less active in our ward. we called and she invited us over. boom. answer to prayer.

we went over to her house, and she began to tell us that she was in Trader Joes, and she was feeling absolutely awful because she had tried to share the gospel with her friend just an hour before and she had totally rejected it. Right as she was thinking really negative thoughts, that is when we called her. She told us that she instantly "looked up to heaven and told God 'that was quick!'" haha. it was so neat to be able to lift her spirits and to help her see how amazing she is. It was an answer to our prayers, to be an answer to her prayer. it was incredible and was just another reminder that God is SO aware of each of us. no such thing as coincidences.
funny story:
Sister Barton and i decided to treat ourselves to Pizza Ranch (it's like a pizza buffet place... kill me. it is so good) because we have been eating so healthy lately haha. while we were stuffing our faces, i said i silent prayer that i would stop recognizing all of the songs that they were playing so that i could keep consecrated. well. no joke. The next song that came on over the radio at the restaurant was AN EFY SONG. i looked at sister barton and asked her if she could hear the song playing because i honestly couldnt believe it.. haha. but she could. the Lord answers our prayers... i still cant get over that one.
Ah, i am so happy. i got home sick for the first time on my mission this week because a family came into the trail center that literally reminded me SO much of our family... same numbers and everything. and there was a little girl that was opal's age. i almost cried. haha. BUT. it just made me realize how thankful i am for families, and for the temple, and for loving friends. We are so blessed... and i am so grateful.
I love my savior, and i am trying my absolute best. it hit me this week how i am almost half way done with my mission. that is a scary thought... how could that be?!? i am so thankful to have this opportunity. even the hard days are great because of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
you know what is a great book? the book of mormon. you should read it.
love you all! :)

Sister Peterson

Note: 2 Timothy 1:8 reads, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"and now if you believe all these things, see that ye do them"

Family! Friends! World!
Another week... what on earth. you know how the ride "California Screamin" starts out? that is how i feel! it's like i've gotten on that ride and from the minute i stepped into the mission field the time is zooming by! it is insane.
Well this week was just great.
1. I took Mikey Andersen's uncle (Sister Andersen's brother) on tour at the Trail Center this week! he is awesome. tender mercy.
2. Grandma Bonnie! thank you SO much for the package! i think i ate all of the Hi-chews in about 1 hour... haha woops. but thanks! i love you!
3. I am loving the pro-biotic shake mix thing. thank you for sending that! i feel fantastic and life is good! thank you for all of your prayers!
4. laugh of the week - 3 Nephi 8:16.... i read that this week and for some reason it gave me the giggles for a good 2 hours. haha. nebraska wind! [for reference, 3 Nephi 8:16 reads,  16 And there were some who were carried away in theawhirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.]

in regards to my health, this week was miraculous. i started to get a really bad cold last sunday, and was really upset about it ha. there is no time to be sick on the mission! so i fasted and prayed that it would go away, and i really just relied on the promise that i have as a missionary that i will be given the health i need to do the work. so, a few days went by and my cold was getting worse.. but i promised heavenly father that i would not stop working in return for bettered health. well, the day after the worse day (if that makes sense) i woke up and i was completely better. no stuffy nose. my ear was unclogged. i didnt have a cough. literally, i was healed over night from a cold. that NEVER happens and i know it is only through the Lord that i was healed. He is so good to me.. and i feel GREAT!
i have so much to tell i hope i can fit it all in!
i finally went to the temple this week! AHHH! it was probably the most amazing temple experience i have had yet. my love for adam and eve grew SO much, my testimony of this gospel is unshakeable, and i know that satan is real. BUT i know that ONLY through Christ can we go through this life successfully, and my heart is so full of gratitude for His sacrifice. it was really neat too because the women that helped with the missionary clothes were two women from Glenwood... tender mercy. Also, the woman i went through for was from Punjab, India. haha i was so tempted to speak in an Indian accent.... good thing i resisted that temptation. ha but it was a tender mercy, and made me think of my sibs! braga!

Before the temple my zone met and took pictures... we all wore yellow so we looked like a wedding party, ha but it was really fun. i wore the dress from London (which is ADORABLE). i'll have to send pictures next week since i forgot my camera this week.
This week we had a miracle with a woman named Latoya. Her mother is a member, and she is not. they moved into the ward a couple of weeks ago. our rs president was signed up to feed us on wednesday, but called and told us she couldnt, BUT had found someone who could... latoya! ha so we went over there for lunch, never before having met her, and had an amazing experience. she is incredible and so full of light! her son goes to seminary, and i know she will be baptized. she invited us over for breakfast the next day, thursday, so we had another great visit with her again. pray for her! she is a miracle.
I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ. i realized this week what a "vile and low creature" i was before the mission. i know that this church is true, and i am so grateful for a loving heavenly father who forgives us of our sins and weaknesses. Thank goodness.
Mosiah 4:10 has become my favorite scripture of the week:

"and now if you believe all these things, see that ye do them"
i do believe all of these things, and i know that BY doing them we are showing heavenly father that we are grateful. i hope we all remember to do those things that we profess to believe in. there is power in obedience to the commandments of God.
i love you all! i have been overwhelmed with gratitude for families the past few days, and i am so thankful for the family i have! AH i love you all so much it hurts.

Sister Peterson

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Doubt your doubts, not your faith!

i am racking my brain to know what to write you, because i feel like i was emailing just yesterday! haha i cant believe another week has flown by. SO crazy.
What an incredible week! Wasnt conference the most amazing thing EVER?! i KNOW that President Monson is a prophet of God, and that he leads and guides this church with full confidence from the Lord. I was so enveloped by the spirit this weekend listening to all of the messages, and i cant get over how blessed i am to be a member of this church. The church is true. If you dont know that it is, watch general conference. The spirit will change your mind and heart.
I feel ultra blessed to have been able to watch all 4 sessions of conference, and to be able to watch 3 of them at President and Sister Weston's home. Sister Weston invited us over, along with anyone we wanted to bring. so for each session we had a few investigators and some less active members with us.. it was amazing. i loved being in their home to feel of their spirit. We had a testimony meeting at the end of the last session, which i guess is a tradition in the Weston family. it was amazing to hear the testimonies of less active members, thanking their heavenly father for the words spoken in conference, and to see their new commitment to follow Christ. it was unforgettable, and strengthened my testimony of the reality of the spirit. If we allow the spirit to "prick" our hearts, our lives can be changed. i have seen it time and time again, and i never get sick of it!
this week has been a crazy one. i feel as though satan was working REALLY hard this week, trying his very best to discourage and thwart the spirit. but guess what, Satan ALWAYS loses. we had an interesting experience on Sunday night, visiting a less active member. She is going through a ton right now, and her life is truly falling apart. it breaks my heart, because if only she would turn towards the savior rather than away from Him, i KNOW her life would be better than it is right now. We were having a lesson with her on Sunday, and she started to explain her deep hatred for someone who has been hurting her... and i will never forget the feeling that came into the room. it was disgusting. The spirit sprinted out and replacing it was a dark, evil, skin-crawling feeling that makes me sick just thinking about it. yuck. i felt as Joseph Smith did as he began praying in the sacred grove... the adversary was trying his hardest to stop the most incredible experience from happening... as filthy as that feeling was though, i am so grateful that i was able to experience it. BECAUSE, i NEVER want to feel that way again. the spirit is REAL... oh boy is it. i guess i have gotten so used to it that i forgot what it felt like to be without it.  i cant describe how thankful i am for the spirit. SO grateful for the protection and safety and peace that it brings.
we had an amazing miracle happen this week. we have been trying to contact this woman named Debbie for several weeks now. she is a former investigator from several months ago, and everyone in the ward is always asking us about her. we have been praying to be able to contact her for weeks now. well, after dinner on sunday, we felt like we should try and see her. We prayed, and my prayer was a lot more specific than usual. i prayed for a miracle to occur and instantly i knew that we would have one. long story short, we were finally able to meet Debbie.. and she is absolutely amazing. She confided in us that she has been having dreams about the church, and that the happiest she has ever been was when she was attending church. she KNOWS it is true, and she continually thanked us for coming over, that we were an answer to her prayers. it was awesome. she will be baptized.
fun fact:
 i took a group of cub scouts on tour at the trail center last night, and it made my week. they were adorable first grade boys, and i loved every minute of it. dad, it made think of you (obviously) to talk with the boy scout leaders (who were not lds). it was a tender mercy.
i just want to tell you all that i know that this is the Lord's true and only church on the earth today. i know that God lives. i know that Jesus is the son of God. the man that we are teaching right now, Walt, doesnt believe that Christ is the savior. and let me tell you, every time he says those words, the spirit instantly testifies into my heart that He IS. i love Him, and i know that the only way we can successfully survive this life is through Christ! (exclamation point!!) I loved Elder Ballard inviting us to pray for one person, just ONE who we can share the gospel with. I have total faith and confidence that if we do, we will see the miracles that he professed. He is an apostle of the Lord, and so we need to trust Him.
i hope that conference gave us the motivation to do missionary work. President Monson, once again, declared that NOW is the time for missionary work... how many times does he have to say it before we listen? i hope our desire to participate in this work has been strengthened... i know mine has!
i love you all! thank you for your prayers/letters/packages/love!

Sister Peterson

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our Savior's Love

I have been overwhelmed this past week with the love of our savior, Jesus Christ and for a Heavenly Father who knows us each personally. I cannot believe that it has already been a year since the moment i decided and knew i needed to serve a mission. I will forever remember those feelings of wanting to dance, and sing, and cry, and laugh, and jump up and down. i can never deny those feelings, for they were truly the most powerful i have ever had. i am so grateful for the opportunity i have to be a missionary. i am so lucky! and i am SO excited that it is Conference time! (the best time of the year!)
let's talk about that Relief Society broadcast.
1. One of my favorite things about conference, which is a selfish thing, so forgive me, but is sitting there knowing that all of my loved ones are around the world doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. i love it. and so sitting watching the broadcast on saturday knowing that mom/grandmas/aunts/cousins/sisters were doing the same thing really uplifted my spirit. it was amazing.
2. We had an investigator, Val, and a less active member, Crystal attend the broadcast with us... and oh my goodness. talk about spiritual overload! Val was in tears by the end, and Crystal now has the desire to buy new garments and get her temple recommend. ha. the spirit is real, and i love how it speaks to each of us differently.. telling us what WE need to hear, not exactly what the speaker is saying. i loved it.
3. We had an amazing experience on sunday while we were on mormon.org chat. A woman came on chat, saying that she was totally lost and feels like she needs Christ in her life. we affirmed her that she does (!) ha and that she had come to the right place! we asked her how she found out about mormon.org, and she told us that she had been watching tv the night before, flipping through channels, and came across the Relief Society Broadcast!!! she then told us that she "all the sudden" knew that she needed to be baptized... so she came on mormon.org to find out how she could do that. ha so we contacted the local missionaries, and they are visiting her tonight! man. i love this work.
i could keep telling you all of my thoughts... which are a lot! ha but i dont have enough time. i hope you all enjoyed the conference as much i did. and i hope that we each have a renewed desire to attend the temple and to take the sacrament more seriously. i really feel like i didnt understand the sacrament until i came on my mission... and now my life truly depends on it. i am so grateful to be reminded of that sacred ordinance.
this week was incredible... surprised? ha. EVERY week is incredible! i definitely feel like the Lord tested my patience this week, and i am grateful He did. i definitely have a lot to learn.
we had interviews this week, and i had been thinking a lot about how to help Ralston and trying not to think about taking medicine. but it was so cool to meet with President Weston, and have him bear testimony to me of the reality of our calling as missionaries, and how i was called into the Ralston ward to "get things started!" that man has so much love for this work it is insane. i was able to receive a blessing from him after the interview, and i  truly can testify that through faith, all things are possible. i have a renewed passion for missionary work, and more importantly for living a disciples life.
Thank you for your prayers for our investigators! Prayer is real.

we had an awesome lesson with Walt this week. we talked to him about Ether 12 - experimenting on the word, and letting that desire build and lead towards action. i feel like that is all we talk to him about, haha but it's because that is what he needs. he is making slow, steady progress which is good. he wasnt at church on sunday though, which was super sad. but we are meeting with him tonight so pray everything goes well!
Caleb. oh caleb. that guy is going to be an apostle. so, we werent able to see him all week... ha i was freaking out. i was so worried that he was all talk and was only "being nice" by talking to us and so forth (the things you worry about as a missionary... haha). but anyway, he didnt come to church on sunday and we hadnt heard from him. i was trying not to be too upset, and found strength through the sacrament and through knowing that everything happens on God's timing.
... well, yesterday, we went and visited the Less active woman, Karla, who caleb lives with. we were about to say the closing prayer, when Caleb walked through the door. i was so excited to see him i almost jumped up and hugged him ha! but, it was perfect because we were then able to have a lesson with caleb AND karla, and help them see the importance of "all of this". caleb told us that he had to work the saturday night shift and so he didnt get home till sunday morning from work so that is why he wasnt at church. (excuse, but hey, i understand the not being able to wake up early thing...) BUT. we told him about general conference and how he needs to watch it. he sat there and eventually said, "i know i need to. instead of watching it online, would it be ok if i watched it with you sisters?" so he is planning on watching the sunday morning session with us and I CANNOT WAIT. PRAY FOR CALEB. he is absolutely incredible. the most christian/nicest guy i have ever met.
i had the greatest tender mercy of my mission today. I received word a few days ago that Shirley, sister Baggs sister, passed away. I was super close with Shirley, and grew to love her and look up to her in every way. She is the most Christ like woman that has ever walked this earth... she was amazing. well, because Heavenly Father is so good to me, i was able to attend her funeral today in Glenwood. It was like coming home, and was such a beautiful service. to see those faces that i love so much, and to see how excited sister baggs got when she saw i was there will forever be engrained in my memory. i feel so humbled and thankful for such a loving God. i loved what Bishop Jacob said at her funeral...
he related Shirley to Mary fielding Smith, and the words that brigham young spoke at her funeral are incredible. Bishop Jacob read those same words, but instead read them about Shirley. and then, with the most powerful voice said "i dare you. each of you. i DARE you to be better than Shirley Bolton. because if you can even come close to the person she was, you will forever live with your Heavenly Father in paradise".

it was the most powerful statement i have ever heard... and now i have a new challenge! :)

i love you all! enjoy conference as much as me.. i dare you! :) haha. all my love.

Sister Peterson