Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Two Letters / Two weeks

Letter received November 19th, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”:

What an amazing week of miraculous events and experiences. Every night when i go to bed, i think about the amazing "coincidences" that happened that day, and find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for our Savior. I am so blessed, and am so thankful to be serving Him.
A few things:
-Thank you family for the package! i love the scarf, and i had JUST been telling Sister Barton about how to make "turkey cookies" haha. you are inspired! i'm excited to make them :)
- I got kimi Rasmussen's wedding invitation. so gorgeous. tell her congrats for me!
- thank you for the prayers in my behalf to stay warm! haha. i can't tell you the amount of times that i am literally freezing outside, but right as we start talking to someone the cold goes away. Prayer works, and Heavenly Father protects His missionaries!
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELI!! ah i miss that boy, and i love him so much!! give him lots of loves and kisses from me!!!
- if you want to come to the Winter Quarters Visitor's Center, NOW is the time! haha it is DECKED out with Gingerbread houses, wreaths, bows, presents.. the whole bit. it is beautiful, and i loved smelling gingerbread every day!

so i feel like it should be Christmas this week! it hasnt snowed yet, but i have made a gingerbread house, listened to Christmas music, and decorated the Trail Center for Christmas! i keep forgetting that Thanksgiving hasnt even happened yet! yesterday we jumped rope with christmas lights since the trail center was so slow... haha. i love this time of year.
But since everything here has turned "Christmas", it has gotten me into the spirit of Christmas, and has led me to reflect on the life of our Savior. I have also been thinking and loving learning about the pioneers, more than ever. I love the pioneers, and i can't get over their sacrifices for the gospel. it blows my mind. The library we have at the Trail Center is the best thing since Harry Potter, and i can't get enough of the stories. if i had more time to e-mail i would type out all of my favorites... i'll have to send them. we can learn so much from their example and their faith.
I had the sweetest experience this week. we got a referral from the Bishop to visit a family. they are not members of the church, and we have been visiting their Aunt who is a less active for some time. the couple is Michaela and John, and they have the cutest kids, Josie and Michael. We have seen josie and michael several times at their aunt's house (desiree), and whenever we see them we have been teaching them primary songs.
well, this sunday was the primary program, and josie and michael came to church! the primary was so sweet to let them participate in it, and i will NEVER forget seeing those adorable kids up there singing I am a child of God, and i love to see the temple. it was the most spiritual experience.. the testimonies of young kids is the most powerful thing ever.
one of the greatest miracles of this week was with Terri, a less active member we have been working with. Her husband Tim is not a member, and we have been praying really hard to find a way that we can teach him. Terri has made it VERY clear not to bring up religion with him, but we had to! ha. so we prayed and knew we needed to just ask him why he wasnt a member, and ask him to take the lessons.
so we went over there, and man alive. it was the craziest lesson ever. at one point i wanted to cry because of the craziness. Their little son Daniel kept running around, screaming in our faces, hitting us, the TV was blasting, the dog was getting sick, and Terri was sewing her pants. it was insane haha. i was literally pouring out my heart to be able to say ANYTHING that would bring the spirit into that house. Well, we started talking about parenting, which was a perfect intro into God being our father. the spirit instantly came in, and Tim started listening. when the time was right, we were able to ask him what his thoughts were, and he said " you know, you are the first missionaries that ever had the courage to ask me what i think. " and then he opened up about his past experiences, and how they have effected his belief in God. AH it was miraculous! we invited him to learn more, and he agreed! it was amazing... and was a reminder that no matter how hard Satan is working, God ALWAYS wins. what a miracle.
Terri came to church on sunday, and she is now wanting to pay her tithing! so cool!
Karla is getting her patriarchal blessing this sunday, and we will be attending it. such a miracle.. she has made so much progress it is insane. Pray for her that it is a good experience.
we also found a part member couple, Nan and Stan. pray for them. they are so prepared, and we had an amazing lesson with them. i wish i had more time to go into detail, but we have been praying and fasting for them. i know that the Lord led us to them, right when they were deciding which church they were going to attend. God is so aware of us.
I am so thankful to be a missionary. i am so grateful to have the gospel. i know that the greatest way to show our gratitude is to share the gospel, which is the greatest blessing ever.
love you all!

Sister Peterson

Letter received today, November 26th, “Oh the weather outside is frightful”

yep, it hit the teens this week. lots of snow. and the Nebraska wind is living up to what i had heard. haha. it is so fun.
where to begin. this was the most incredible week. ever. seriously.
fun facts:
sister barton and i played volleyball with some women from the stake this morning. first time playing sports in 9 months... haha. let's just say, i am better at other things. ha. but it was still so much fun.

First things first... Thanksgiving Plans:
- such a fun miracle happened this week. So back when i was serving in Glenwood, i was eating dinner one night at the Saufley's and they had invited over some of their non member friends. The woman's name was Laura, and she and i hit it off really well. We taught the Restoration, and wanted to set up a time that we could come and see them again. well, come to find out they do not live in Glenwood, but they live in La Vista. funny. so i told Laura that when i got back to the trail center i would call her. Well, as you all know, i got transferred to Ralston La Vista, and i instantly thought of Laura. Because things have been so crazy here, i hadn't had a chance to talk with Laura. Well, this last Sunday i was serving at the trail center when i received a call from Brother Saufley (which was so much fun to catch up with him), who then handed the phone to Laura! we chatted for a good 10 minutes, and she invited us over for Thanksgiving! so. i am having thanksgiving with Laura and her husband at 1 on Thursday, which will be AWESOME, and then at 5 i am having dinner at a part member family (LaToya), and then at 7 we are going down to the Trail Center to watch a movie and eat some more. haha. i cannot wait.
Let's talk about Sunday, because it was awesome.
i told you last week about our investigators Michaela and John, and their kids Josie and Michael. We had an amazing lesson with them last week, and invited them to come to church with us on Sunday. They said they would "try" to make it. ugh i hate that. Sister Barton and i were trying not to lose faith, so we were promising them blessing after blessing if they would come. we prayed all week that they would come to church. Well, come sunday, John, Michael, John, Josie, and their less active aunt Desiree (who we are working with as well) ALL came to church! ah AND they stayed for all three hours. AND they LOVED IT. it was such an incredible miracle, and i got emotional just sitting in sacrament watching them, as a FAMILY, sing the hymns, take the sacrament, and feel the spirit. that is what the gospel is all about... bringing families closer together by helping them come closer to Christ. it was amazing. Michaela and John both commented in gospel principles and in Relief Society Michaela was totally enveloped in the ward's love. it was so cool. such a wonderful moment. we are seeing them tonight! Pray hard!
Sunday was also an incredible day at church because once again we had a ton of less active members (who are almost all now considered active!) back at church. Terri was there, and she was able to set up a meeting with the bishop which is awesome. When we saw her this week before church, we taught her how to pay tithing, and she also told us that she has started reading the Book of Mormon every day because she wants to make it to the temple. amazing. the gospel changes our lives, and even her home has changed...
side note: hahaha. when we visited terri this week, i was not feeling too hot (we got flu shots and it made me feel funky for a day or two). terri's son daniel was crawling all over me, burping in my face, and picking his nose and rubbing it on me. i wanted to cry haha i was praying so hard for patience. thankfully i was too weak to react. the Lord answers our prayers hahaha.
After church on sunday we went to the trail center for a few hours, and then we got to go to Karla's patriarchal blessing! ahhh that was so amazing! i felt so honored to sit in on her blessing, and my testimony grew SO much. it was amazing to hear the words come out of the patriarch's mouth, and realize that he truly was speaking for God. it was incredible and the spirit was palpable. i loved it.
Walt update:
man. i love that guy so much. we had an amazing lesson with him this week at the Vacanti's home, a member family in our ward. it made ALL the difference to get him into a member's home, where the spirit was so strong. we talked about the life of Christ and about repentance and love. it was so neat to hear Walt say how he wants to be more like Christ. He also told us that he has been looking over the baptismal questions every day and feels like he is really close... ha finally. at the lesson at the vacanti's we also talked about fasting this sunday for an answer, and for the belief the Jesus Christ is the son of God. Walt agreed to do so, and he said that he usually still drinks water when he fasts but he isnt going to this time. he ALSO said that he isnt going to smoke that whole 24 hours on sunday while he is fasting, which is HUGE for him so i was shocked and so happy he wants to do that. i will be praying my guts out for that man. he needs to be baptized, and he will be.
I can't remember if i told you about a less active couple we found, the Vallen's. They are so awesome. well, we had a lesson with them this week that was amazing. the spirit was so strong, and they really felt a desire to change. they are going to start praying together as a couple this week, since they both havent prayed in years. i love them so much already. it is amazing the love that God blesses us with so we can do this work... i am so grateful for it.
I can't believe the miracles that are happening right now here in Ralston. it is so humbling, and so rewarding. people that we have been praying about for weeks now, we have "randomly" bumped into them. there are NO coincidences, and the Lord's hand is in this work. i KNOW that this is the only true church of Jesus Christ. i know that we have a prophet today who leads and guides it, the exact same way the Jesus Christ set up when He was on the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and by reading it EVERY day we can find so much peace. i love my Savior. i am so thankful for my family. i love this work. it is so much fun.
happy thanksgiving! remember your blessings.. we have so many.
love you!

Sister Peterson

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Feast Upon the Scriptures!

Hello from freezing Omaha!

haha doesn't it seem like i was just saying that it was cold outside?? it's that time of year again! i whipped out my Nebraska coat yesterday, and am loving it. It is beautiful in Nebraska right now. But what did i expect, serving in Zion. ha.
Where to begin. it was a week of miracles, and so many uplifting experiences. Sometimes i think i can't take in any more spirituality or i might explode! ha it reminds me of (apostate, sorry) Alladin when the parrot is stuffing all of the crackers into the Sultan's mouth...? haha. maybe i'm the only one who will get that. oh well.
anyway! :)
Fun Facts of the week:
1. i ate venison lasagna at a members home this week. that was a first. haha. it was surprisingly really good!
2. there is a part member couple in our ward who we spend a lot of time with named the Witty's. We had dinner and FHE over at their house last night, and we taught Jason (non-member) about the "armor of God". See attached photos. he loved it.
3. A less active we re activated named Karla called us last week pretty late at night. initially i was nervous as to why she would be calling, but to our delight and surprise she called to tell us she had just had an interview with the Bishop, and she now holds a temple recommend (baptisms) and is getting her patriarchal blessing!! she invited us to attend her blessing, which is so sweet. ah. it was a happy moment. the gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives.
We went on exchanges on wednesday of this week, so sister Hamilton came to Ralston with me! it was INCREDIBLE. i love exchanges. we saw countless amount of miracles... for example:
-  Part A: we had an appointment with a part member family, but when we got there they were not there. super bummed. but sister Hamilton and i knew that we had planned with the spirit, and so the Lord needed us there for some reason. we decided to walk up the street, and we met this man named Michael. he actually stopped US (which is a miracle!) and said "hey, who are you girls?" we quickly told him who we were and he says "oh, i totally could tell. i grew up mormon, my parents are still mormon, i was sealed to my parents, i even had a mission call!" sister Hamilton and i were blown away. he was SO awesome. he has not been active for many years, and was really hesitant about letting us come back... but right as we were praying with him, his wife pulls up! she is the cutest thing, not a member, and invited us right in to her home. We had an amazing lesson with them and they invited us back for saturday. the Lord truly places in our path those who are prepared. As we were leaving, Michael kept saying "you know, i dont think it was a coincidence that we met today"... haha! none whatsoever.
Part B: Michael and his wife cancelled on us at the last minute before saturday, and then we received a text from them last night saying "they arent ready for us to come over, but they will call in the future when it is the right time". it broke my heart. but you know, the greatest gift we have is agency, and i know that even just running into Michael has reminded him of his past and has "renewed" his desire to come back to church.
- We had the opportunity while on exchanges to teach the activity day girls in our ward! it was SO fun... i love teaching young kids. it was amazing too, because one of the little girls was not a member. so, the activity day leader, Sister Hulon (who is AMAZING) totally changed her plans for the day and turned it into a first discussion! ha so we got to teach the restoration to these young girls. i was blown away by their testimonies and faith, and hearing them bear their testimonies to this non-member girl was priceless. I now understand a little bit better why the Lord tells us to "become as little children".
i love being a missionary. ah.
yesterday we visited a less active family, the Mcbride's. they are so awesome, and i love them so much. we see them weekly, and they have such strong testimonies.. but one thing or another keeps them from coming to church. when we visited them yesterday, the daughter Laura said, "you are so lucky that all you get to do all day is make people happy!" it was so sweet to hear that from her, and i truly am so grateful that sharing the gospel is all i get to do all day! i have the best job. ever.
Later in the day (yesterday) Sister Barton and i prayed and felt like we needed to visit a less active family in our ward who we had not met. the timing was perfect (as always... and it always amazes me!) because right as we got there the mother pulled up. She let us in, called her three kids into the living room, and had them listen to us while she left haha. but it was one of the sweetest experiences of my mission. The kids are 16, 14, and 12, and they really know nothing about the gospel. Sister Barton and i were able to teach them about the Restoration (which, once again, is my favorite to teach with younger kids!). The spirit was SO strong as they sat there and listened so intently. After telling them about the first vision, i asked them what they thought, and how that would make them feel if they had that experience. They all responded that it would be "crazy" or that they would be "freaked out" haha. but then i was able to bear testimony to them that THEY (because they have all been baptized) belonged to Christ's church! how out of everyone in the world, THEY were a part of the true church of Christ! as i said that, they all looked at each other and they got SO excited. they kept saying things like "wait...REALLY? oh my gosh!!! that is SO cool!" it was PRICELESS to see the joy of the gospel brought into their hearts. i have never seen anyone get so excited about being a member of the church.... and it made me have an even greater desire to show how HAPPY and BLESSED we are!!! this is CHRIST'S CHURCH!
We had stake conference this weekend, and something really stuck out to me:
Who are we to judge who is ready to hear the gospel?
i hope that as we all try and share the good news with our loved ones and friends, that we have FAITH not fear to open our mouths!
Trust in the Lord. Doubt not, fear not.
Our stake president said:

" Let's keep the missionaries busy, so they aren't busy finding OUR friends!"
i loved that.
i love you all! the church is true. i could cry i love the gospel so much. i have fallen in love with the word of God. Moroni - my hero right now. hungry? go feast on the scriptures. i promise it will fill you right up.

love you!

Sister Peterson

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


i loved the wedding pics from Amy's wedding. what a gorgeous bride and person. i am so happy for her! and you all look so great and happy :) i love it.
This week was wonderful. We have been running crazy trying to squeeze in everyone we are seeing! definitely a blessing. i love being busy teaching people about the gospel. it is the best.
i had the greatest answer to prayer this week. i dont know if you remember my MTC companion Sister Pettyjohn. just kidding, i am sure you do! ha. well, i received an e-mail from her last tuesday saying that she would be in Nebraska on Friday. at first i was thinking it was to visit, but to my wonderful surprise she returned to finish her mission!! i wish i would have recorded our reunion, but to give you the visual there were many tears shed. I am so grateful she is back. i can't even describe in words. i am so grateful for our Heavenly Father who loves us and looks after us and gives us the strength to do hard things. what a miracle.
On Sunday we finally saw some of the "fruit" of our labor. We had 5 less active members at church and an investigator. i probably looked so ridiculous with my ecstatic welcome to each of them, but i dont care. it was comparable to seeing Daniel baptized watching them be loved by the ward and take the sacrament. it was heavenly.  and i am so grateful that Heavenly Father has been softening the hearts of these wonderful people, enough to act on their faith. it is inspiring to me to think of their faith in coming back to church. The Lord always strengthens us if we trust in Him.
We had zone conference this week, and the focus was on personal revelation and prayer. i thought it was so fitting, and no coincidence, that the past week or two my testimony of prayer has been strengthened, and that i have seen the numerous blessings from prayer. the Lord was just preparing me for zone conference... ha isn't Heavenly Father so amazing? I was so inspired and uplifted by the different trainings given. i know that relying on God is the only way we can live a happy, beautiful life. one of my favorite things about being a missionary is seeing others realize that too. it is the only way. period.
We had a powerful lesson with Walt this past week  at the Trail Center. Our ward mission leader, Brother Randall, came with us and we watched the Joseph Smith and the Restoration video. i love the Trail Center, and the spirit that is there. as we finished watching the movie, tears just began to flow as we talked about the sacrifice of the pioneers, and the undeniable experience that Joseph Smith had seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ. i was filled with gratitude for our savior, and for the power of the atonement. Walt is making tiny steps of progression.. he is still hung up on Christ being our Savior. but i am so grateful he is struggling with it (as odd as it sounds) because i have studied more than i ever have about the life of Christ, and His influence. My testimony of Him is unshakable. and something that i have learned this past week is that truth ALWAYS makes itself manifest. So Walt will come around.. because the TRUTH is that He IS our Savior.

Fun things:

- This week was Halloween! ha which was really fun. We weren't allowed to be out in our area that night, so the Trail Center sisters all came to the trail center and had dinner and we watched 17 miracles. it was so much fun! Sister Barton and I dressed up like old grandma's for the party... it turned out pretty funny. it was fun because I was also able to see sister Palmer on Halloween. i love her. She and her companion are doing well in Glenwood, and it makes me so happy!
- Last night we were at a members home having FHE with them. The grandmother of the family was there as well, who is devout Catholic. so it was really fun. Well, one of the boys in the family is autistic, and struggles with anger and listening to authority. so. ha. we are having a lesson, and the boy is over in the corner just messing with some things. all the sudden he goes "why isn't this working!?". We look over at him and see that he has built/set up a ROCKET IN THE LIVING ROOM! i know... it sounds CRAZY, because it was!! he was pushing the button for the rocket firework thing to take off! i instantly said a prayer that the button he pushed would not work... and we were able to get him away from it before anything happened! ha. the house literally would have exploded. i dont even know how he got his hands on it, but nonetheless. the Lord protected us. thank goodness! you better believe sister barton and i ran out of there as soon as we could haha.
I am so grateful to be on a mission. my heart has been full of gratitude this week for the wonderful opportunities that i have been able to have the past 8 months. I love our Savior Jesus Christ. i KNOW He is the Savior. i know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and is the most correct book on the earth. my love for the Book of Mormon is indescribable. i ask myself all the time WHY i didnt read it every day before my mission! to think of all that i  could have known and learned. but. thank goodness for repentance.
i love you all! thank you for your prayers.  i feel them and love them. Read the Book of Mormon. i promise you it will make you happier than you were before.

Sister Peterson

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Now have we not reason to REJOICE?"

The leaves are falling, the temperature is cooling down, and the missionary work is about to explode! i am SO happy, and i am in awe at the miracles that are flooding Ralston/La Vista. "Now have we not reason to rejoice?" :)
The week truly was incredible, and i am so thankful. So so thankful to have a loving Heavenly Father. I know that He answers prayers. This week Sister Barton and I have been working on praying specifically for people, blessings, experiences, and answered prayers... and we have been BLOWN away by the miracles that have come from it.
For example:
1. I have been praying the past few days/week that we would be able to find someone to teach. I realized though, that that was way too vague. i needed to be more specific. So i acted in faith and prayed specifically that we would contact someone who was prepared to hear the message of the Restoration, who would be willing to have us teach them, and that we would be able to prepare them for baptism. Well, that day, we received a referral for a woman named Shawnda, who is wanting us to come teach her so she can get baptized! ...the Lord answers our prayers.
2. I was studying one morning this week, and was so touched by Alma 14, where Alma and Amulek are smitten, ridiculed, and imprisoned because of their beliefs. I was moved to tears imagining the pain that they were going through, which is exemplified in verse 26 where they finally cry out to the Lord for help. I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to please guide us to someone who needs the knowledge i had gained from reading that chapter. Well, sure enough, that morning we met a less active member, Dani, who has been going through awful trials and is wanting to give up on God. In answer to my prayer, i was able to recount to her the story in Alma and help her understand the love God has for her. it was incredible... and i just cried and my spirit was so uplifted by the experience.... the Lord answers our prayers!
3. We were about to go see Walt and have a lesson with him (which by the way, he is doing GREAT! he is progressing slowly but surely... i love that man so much), but we had 5 minutes before the lesson so we prayed to know what we should do. we were prompted to visit a less active that we had never met. well, when we got to her home, a woman answered the window (hahaha, really though... she didnt answer the door, she started talking to us through her side window?... at least she was talking to us!) and told us her name was Terry, not the woman we were looking for. well, she then told us she was 7th day adventist, and she had mormon neighbors once. she also said that she used to live out in the bay area, so when i told her that i was from Danville she got super excited and let us in! haha the Lord truly uses our individual life experiences in order to do missionary work. But anyway, Terry is incredible and she has invited us back over "any time we want!" ... guess what? the Lord answers our prayers.
even just typing all of these miracles out, it is amazing me once again how good the Lord is too us! man!
4. We met an awesome family a week ago who said we could come back. well, when we came back for a lesson they weren't home so we were super bummed. We decided to pray and ask the Lord where He needed us. We both were then prompted to visit a less active who we have been trying to meet for weeks now, but our appointments keep falling through with her. We got to her house, and Sister Barton and i were THRILLED that she was home! she let us in, and oh man.. she is amazing. Her name is Jinx, and she was a faithful convert for about 10 years, but because her family wasnt part of the church she made the decision to leave it. It was so cool to hear her talk, and bear her testimony to us of her conversion (and let me tell ya, there is no doubt heavenly father wanted her in this church!). She then expressed how in even just the past few days she has been thinking a lot about her decision to leave it, and how she has never felt fully confident it was the right decision. We were able to bear testimony to her of the love our father in heaven has for us, and how when he tells us, like He told her, to join the church and make a covenant with Him, He would not then turn around and tell her to break that covenant. The spirit was so strong, and she invited us back. do i even need to say it?? the Lord answers our prayers!
That is just a TASTE of what has been happening this week... i wish i had time to write down every miracle. but honestly, i wouldnt have enough time for that even if i was given 10 hours to email! Our Heavenly Father loves us. and i KNOW that he loves me personally, individually, and eternally. I am so thankful and grateful to have His trust.
Fun Happenings:
- this week after district meeting, my district leader was doing a car inspection on our car and he dropped his pen into the hood of the car. well, for the next hour i had my hand crammed into the engine of the car fishing around for a pen. haha. we didnt find it...
- we visited this less active/ part member family this week, Tim and Terry. we were outside their house laughing hysterically because of what we saw through the window haha. Tim (the dad) had his shirt off, he being a big guy, and was walking around shaving all of his head hair off!! hahaha it was quite the sight, sister barton and i were worried about meeting this guy, but decided it was too funny NOT to knock on his door. we had a lesson with them again last night, and i am super excited about their family.
- We had the feeling yesterday that we should bring our service clothes with us in the car.. not knowing why. well, we were driving down the street by presidents house later that day, and we saw a woman raking her leaves by herself. and she had a TON of them. we instantly knew we had brought our clothes for her. we changed into our service clothes at presidents house, borrowed his rakes haha and then walked up the hill to help this woman. she gladly let us help her, and for the next hour and a half were able to brighten her day. it was so cool. she is recently widowed, lives alone, and i know that Heavenly Father sent us there. i was reminded of President Monson, caring for each widow in his ward. it brightened my day to help her!
i am so happy. the church is true. We have a father in heaven who loves us, answers our prayers, and knows us better than we know ourselves.

Alma 18:32 "Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he aknows all the thoughts and bintents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning."
I love my savior. I know He lives. i am grateful for our ancestors, and have loved learning about their lives and their love for this gospel. i love it as well.

Sister Peterson