Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Humbly kneeling sweet appealing"

Thank you for all of your sweet notes, cards, and love! i am feeling 100% better than last week ha and am grateful for the humbling experience of being sick. It is amazing how the Lord is able to heal us, and get us back to work so fast. It really is remarkable, and i have felt his love more this past week than ever before. I know that He lives. I know that He is perfectly aware of us.
It was transfer week, and "the phone rang" on thursday morning. I had felt like i was probably going to leave Ralston, and now looking back the Lord really prepared me to do so. I was able to see everyone that i have come to love there, and saying goodbye was not as hard as i imagined. However, when President called on Thursday to tell me that i would be moving to Lake Cunningham, and would be serving as the new Trail Center Leader, i was completely shocked and overwhelmed. I think my heart literally almost popped out of my chest, it was beating so fast ha. I have been humbled, and have really come to learn this week that the Lord doesnt call the strong or the perfect to do His work. All He asks is that we strive to follow Him, and He makes up the difference. I am so grateful for His trust.. it honestly amazes me, and i have never felt so inadequate. I also feel like it has been a dream because i am now serving with my best friend on the mission, Sister Brough. We came out together, and i never imagined actually being companions! it has been too fun, and i am so grateful to have the chance to learn from her. She is incredible.
I had a really neat experience on Friday, the day that all the craziness started! we went to transfer point, changed companions, and then Sister Brough and i went back to the Trail Center to start working on the schedule for the transfer. Before we started, we went into the memorial room to squeeze in our personal study and companionship study. In my personal i read Alma 32, which i have read a 1000 times. But this time it was so enlightening, and i really felt the Lord's confidence in me to be able to fulfill all of the new responsibilities i will have. As i cried in prayer and asked "How am i going to do this?" i was quickly, and sweetly chastised by the spirit with the answer "YOU arent the one doing this work. It is through HIS strength that we can do all things". i immediately knew that i needed to repent, and completely trust in the Lord.
That trust and reliance on Him has been greatly used the past few days! we were able to finish the schedule, figure out the training for Saturday morning Trail Center Training, and also plan the new sister orientation that was on Saturday afternoon. My brain felt like jello by the end of saturday night, ha but without fail the Lord gave us just enough strength to get everything done.. along with having it all run smoothly! It really was a miraculous weekend.

We had a ward coordination meeting on sunday morning, and i just laughed the whole time as we discussed some of the problems in this ward. parole, house arrest, abuse were all the hottest topic. It was a great welcome to the area. ha but it all sincerity i am SO excited to be in this area. It is so prepared, and i know we will see miracles!
I was able to speak in church on Sunday, and i already love the ward. The people are so humble, and they love the missionaries. I am excited! there is a lot of work to do. Sister Brough and i also taught the 14 year old sunday school class, and we basically taught the Plan of Salvation to them through song. it was super fun to sing primary songs and hymns in order to teach.. sister brough and i will be singing a lot.. i cant wait.
Because of the business at the trail center this weekend, We had just a few hours in our area. But it was amazing to see the miracles that happened in just a short amount of time. I know that the Lord consecrated our efforts. We were able to find a new investigator, named Carla, who we will be teaching tonight! we were trying a potential investigator when we met her, and she is so prepared. We also met a less active woman named Ashley, who is darling and has invited us back to teach her and her 8 year old son. The Lord led us to so many different people, and i feel like all we had to do was just "be there" and the Lord did the rest. i am so grateful.
Sorry this is such a long email, i hope you were able to read all of it. I am doing so well. I love Omaha. I love being a missionary. I am so thankful for the many opportunities that have been handed to me, and i know it is because the Lord needs me to improve. and i am excited to do so.

i love you all, and feel so grateful to have such wonderful support from back home. know that i love you all as well!

Sister Peterson

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's a great day to have a good day!


Thank you SO much for the gifts, notes, and love i felt so strongly on my birthday! ah. i just feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family. I am so grateful.

I have been so excited to write this e-mail, haha because of the events of the week. it has been quite the week! 

Here we go:

1. On wednesday night an investigator named Andrew, who we met while serving at a health clinic on thursday nights, invited us for dinner. He is a gourmet chef, and so for valentine's day he wanted to cook for the sisters that serve at the clinic. He served us a 7 course meal (since we didnt have time for the 11 courses he had planned!), and i dont think i have ever eaten that good of food in my whole life. it was delicious. i was definitely "miserable" by the end of the night.

2. Thursday, were the "try-outs" for the Olympics. haha. it was so fun. Everyone was so into it. i was still SO full from the night before, haha but it ended up working out ok. the event i won was the sit ups. I did 110 in 3 minutes. also, i totally thought i had the push ups too: i did 85 in 3 minutes. the girl who won i think got like 90... but you'd be proud, because mine were "real" push-ups :) so fun.

3. it is transfer week, and my beloved trainer, Sister Whittaker goes home tomorrow. It is crazy to think how fast the time has gone.. i feel like i was just emailing home telling you about how much i love being companions with her! that was almost a year ago. I am so grateful for the friendships i have made while being here.. i know that they will last much longer than just the mission.


My birthday.. haha one i will never forget! So, Sister Hamilton and i woke up, went running in the snow, and then followed the daily schedule. I was able to study, and then get ready/open presents! it was a great morning. Well, during companionship study at 9 o'clock, we started reading from the white handbook, and all the sudden i knew that something was not right. i felt super dizzy, hot, and nauscious. yep. You can guess what happened...haha Thankfully i made it to the bathroom before getting sick! ha so, i spent the day in bed, throwing up. haha can you believe it?! thinking about it now, it is honestly hilarious. i know that the Lord was keeping me humble - the one day a year (or on your mission) you can think about yourself, and i end up sick as a dog... which is the only time i have ever been sick on my mission! haha. But, looking at the bright side:

- we never get to rest on our missions.. maybe it was a birthday present from heavenly father to let me stay in bed all day? :)
- i lost 5 pounds?
- i avoided eating a bunch of junk food!
- because it was my birthday, i was able to read love notes from my wonderful family, open presents, and still feel super loved even though i was stuck in bed. if i wouldve been sick any other day, it would have been a lot harder to not feel bogged down.
- it made my birthday last longer, because i was able to ACTUALLY celebrate it the next day!

ha. definitely a journal entry moment! i am so thankful for Heavenly Father and always allowing me to improve, and to never get prideful.

Other than that, the week was great! Bill was able to receive the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday, which was so wonderful. He is doing great. it was so neat to be able to be in Ward Coordination this week, and have a game plan to help him feel fully accepted into the ward. I am so grateful for those members of the ward that have been reaching out to him, sitting with him at church, inviting him and Joanie over for dinner, and really helping him feel like he is "a member". it is wonderful to see.

I know that God is extremely, and perfectly aware of us. Today we needed to get our oil changed, and so we went over to Jensen Tire and took the car in. We had planned to have lunch with some of the sisters serving near us, and they were going to pick us up from the tire place. Well, we waited there and they were running behind. While we sat in the waiting room though, we noticed a boy sitting in the chairs across the room, and sister Hamilton and i both felt the need to go talk to him. We started chatting with him, and he quickly opened up to us about how he feels so overwhelmed with the decision of where to go to school, what to major in, and who he wants to become. It was an amazing opportunity to bear our testimonies to him about the peace that comes through Christ, and through His restored church. While we were talking to him he kept saying that he knew it was by no chance that we met. We were able to set up a time to teach him this week. Total miracle. It is so amazing to me how there are SO many people around us who are struggling, and who need direction in their lives... it is just up to us to open our mouths. It was awesome. It definitely strengthened my testimony as well of doing missionary work after my mission. I didnt need a name tag to bear my testimony to him and give him a book of mormon. The spirit can prompt all of us to open our mouths and share what we know.

I love my Savior. I love the gospel, and i am so grateful for the peace it brings.

love you all so much!

Sister Peterson

Monday, February 10, 2014

Best Week Yet!!!


I am already crying even just typing this letter. what a miraculous, beautiful, crazy week. I am so humbled and thankful to be a missionary, to do the Lord's work. I know without a doubt that it is HIS work. He is in charge, and oh how grateful i am for His continual love and support.

I came on a mission not really knowing what to expect.. actually, i had no idea what i was getting myself into! ha. But i think i did have a few expectations, and things that i wanted to "see" on my mission. The past few months i feel like those "expectations" of sorts have been met, something that i can only owe to my Heavenly Father. Being able to find someone, teach him all of the lessons, and then see him baptized is unlike any other joy i have ever experienced. It is a miraculous feeling. I now truly understand the verse "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"

Bill's baptism went perfect. It was a beautiful, snowy Nebraska day, and the spirit couldn't have been stronger as He was baptized. Many of the ward members came to support Bill, and all left in tears as Bill bore a powerful, simple testimony of Joseph Smith and how he knew that he had "found Jesus". While Bill was changing, sister Hamilton and I were able to teach the Restoration, and i think i cried through the whole thing. ha, i RARELY cry since being out here on the mission, but it was almost like the spirit forced it out of me as i recited Joseph's vision. It all hit home as i realized what a sacred, and amazing ordinance baptism really is, and how because of Joseph Smith we have Christ's authority on the earth again. I teach that every day, but i think it "sunk in" on Saturday. Oh, how grateful i am for that power of God. What a beautiful day. i will never forget it.

This whole week has been crazy in every way possible. ha. So many journal entries came from this week! haha.

some fun things:

1. i got a haircut today. finally. (sad that that is fun to a missionary, but honestly i was so excited. it's been a good 8 months since my last haircut!)
2. Our mission is doing an Olympics competition, which includes push ups, sit ups, ladders, jug curl, and stick pole. We have competed in districts, so next will be at zone training, and then the winners will go to zone conference. It was honestly so fun to get a little competitive and win some of the events. I will be competing in the push-ups, sit ups, and ladders this thursday for zone training.. haha. i'll try to send some pics!

So, we got some snow this week! on Tuesday we were on exchanges, and i was out in Fremont with one of the sisters. while we were out there, the snow was pretty crazy, and the sister i was with accidentally dropped the phone in the snow somewhere, and so we went the entire day without a phone. We continued on our day driving to appointments and visiting people, and then drove 45 minutes that night back to Omaha to switch back. Well, come to find out when we got to Ralston that the cars had been "grounded" all day, and so we were supposed to be on foot because of the terrible snow! ha. we had no idea since we lost the phone, and i guess the AP's, ZL's, and the sisters were extremely worried about us all day.. thinking we had crashed somewhere. It was quite the day/event ha. But super fun.

Wednesday, the weather was still crazy, so cars were still grounded. Even though the cars are grounded though, it doesnt mean we still dont do missionary work! ha so sister hamilton and i bundled up, and started walking around Ralston to visit people! ha i honestly thought i was going to die, and everyone who was on the road literally thought we were crazy. It was awesome, and definitely something i will never forget doing. I am so thankful we have a car! man alive. 

We were able to teach a lot of lessons this week, and i really feel like the Lord led us exactly where we needed to be, right when we needed to be there. We were able to contact people that we have been trying for months, and able to get a new investigator named George which was so awesome. His wife is a less active member, and we have been teaching their son who is turning 8 and will be baptized in May. It was so cool to see that because of Joey, the little boy, having the desire to be baptized, this whole family has had a "return to God" experience, wanting to learn more. It is a miracle. I love teaching families.

This week was Leadership Council, and sister Hamilton and i gave part of the training by doing a "role play" helping the missionaries use the members. i realized how awkward i am going to be when i get home, because we were "role playing" with elders, and i honestly couldnt even look at them. i am going to be in deep trouble haha. But it went really well, and the spirit was super strong! 

ha i am so happy. The greatest birthday present i have received is my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am forever grateful for His sacrifice for me so that i can be happy in this life. I know that He lives. 

in Sacrament this week one of the speakers said something i really liked. he said:

"Yesterday's meal won't sustain us through today. We need to be FEASTING on the scriptures EVERY single day". 

I loved that. Our ward is committed to reading the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes every day this month. It is wonderful, and i find so much strength from the Book of Mormon. We are so blessed to have that source of strength.

love you all! Happy Valentine's Day!

Sister Peterson

Lauren is the one in the middle (in the lead!)
 Bill and his wife Jonie on Bill's Baptism day

 Bill on his Baptism day!

Brother Stimpson and Bill

Monday, February 3, 2014

2 letters Jan 27 & Feb 3

Letter from January 27 - "Cut your own firewood. It will warm you twice."


Another great week has flown by, and as always i am filled with gratitude today for our savior Jesus Christ, and for His gospel. I have been thinking a lot about agency this past week, and what a beautiful gift that is. I am so thankful that the Lord loves us enough to let us "choose liberty and eternal life... or to choose captivity and death". As a little girl in our ward said as we were talking about this, "I choose ETERNAL LIFE!" i hope we all do. Thankfully, through Jesus Christ, we can all choose eternal life and happiness.

We read the talk "Waiting Upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done" by Elder Hales in Gospel Principles this week, and i was moved to tears. We have the most merciful Father in Heaven. it really hit me as we were studying this talk, that God already knows what choices we will make. He is all knowing, and all powerful. So the reason we have agency is to, really, prove to ourselves what choices we will make. As we make righteous choices, that is when our will and God's will are aligned and we receive power. My favorite line of the talk is one of the last.. He says:

"May we wait upon Him by PRESSING FORWARD in FAITH".

Waiting upon the Lord is not sitting around, waiting for Him to send us happiness, or an answer to our prayer, or help we are in need of. Waiting upon the Lord is using our agency to follow Christ in faith. Waiting = DOING. what a wonderful concept. I want to wait upon the Lord all the days of my life.

This talk, and the doctrine of agency, have been the theme of all of my experiences this week. Whether in lessons, at the Trail Center, or in my own personal life, i have had my testimony strengthened of Dad's classic saying "you have the choice to ACT or be ACTED UPON". I choose to press forward in faith, or to ACT.

While we were visiting with Walt this week, we talked a lot about the hope that comes from Christ. Hope in the future for both ourselves and for the world. I have seen that time and time again as i have turned towards Christ, interestingly enough, my HOPE has increased. Hope always comes as we turn our focus towards Christ. Walt struggles with the idea of hope, and sadly feels hopeless in all aspects of his life. As he turns to Christ and believes in Him, that is the only way that he will find hope. Because a "brightness of hope" only comes from Christ. Unfortunately, we have our agency to choose who we believe in.. and so it has been quite the process of finding that hope for Walt. But i have perfect hope that He will discover his own testimony of Christ, because Christ truly is our Savior.

Jonathan is progressing and is very in tune with spiritual things. He has been loving reading the Book of Mormon, and finds hope in it's pages. We have met with him twice, and will be meeting with him a third time tonight. I am so excited. I love teaching people who are wanting to learn and change. it is so fun. I know that the Lord sees Jonathan as his child, and i can feel the Lord's guiding hand each time we talk to him. He is so aware of Jonathan, and each of us. As we taught the Plan of Salvation this last week, once again my testimony of agency was strengthened, realizing that God really has a plan for us and wants us to choose to come back to Him. And thankfully He loves us so much that He has given us the step by step process to do so, found in the doctrine of Christ. Hopefully Jonathan will accept to be baptized tonight!

I am so thankful for the scriptures, and for our prophet and the apostles. I know that they are men of God and they really do receive revelation from God for us. We are so blessed, it is overwhelming! I hope we each use our agency righteously to keep God as our number one priority. As we do so, that is when we find true, lasting happiness. 

I love you all! i am so thankful for you!

Sister Peterson

Letter from February 3 - "Make the decision to do what Jesus Christ has asked us to do"

Family! Friends! Loved One's! Everyone in-between!

what a beautiful, snowy day it is in Omaha. Nebraska. The sun is shining, and it is beautifully cold. I never thought i would see the day when i was grateful for snow. But snow = warmer weather and less wind. Hallelujah!

Happy Birthday Grandpa Eddie! Love you so much! I've been thinking about you all week, and am so grateful for you! i have absolutely LOVED hearing about your family party/love notes/memories. You are such a great example to me, and i absolutely love you with all of my heart.

We have seen so many wonderful miracles this week, and i am so grateful to be a missionary!

I have very little time this week to e-mail, so it is going to be super short. sorry.


We met a less active we have been trying to get in touch with for over 3 months! SUCH  a miracle. the greatest part is that we had met her non-member fiance a few weeks ago, and he is so cool and willing to learn. ALSO, their 11 year old daughter is not a member, and we are now teaching her! i have always wanted to teach a family, and so i am so excited! the Lord is so good.

Bill is getting BAPTIZED this saturday! AH i could scream! He has slowly been giving up smoking, which is his main hurdle. He got a blessing this last week, so we are praying so hard that he can make it without smoking this week so he can get baptized. i have total faith that he can. the Lord can do all things! Saturday @ 12 :)

Our investigator Deborah, who i love so much, is doing great. her granddaughters were over at her house this week, and we were able to teach them how to pray! it was the sweetest experience. They each wanted to pray like 6 times ha and their prayers were so sincere and pure. i loved it, and am so grateful to have been there to hear their first prayers to our Heavenly Father. what a tender blessing.

Karla, who we re activated, is almost done with temple prep classes and will be going to the temple in like 2-3 weeks! AH! it is so amazing to see how far she has come. she honestly looks like a different person from when i first met her. She received a calling on sunday, is staying for all three hours of church, and is on her way to receive her endowment. what a beautiful blessing. the gospel changes us.. it is incredible to witness.

This last saturday Sister Cleverly, our director's wife, threw a "birthday brunch" for all of the February birthdays. it was COMPLETELY pink ha and there were hearts everywhere. i love valentines day.. and i think i ate enough for everyone that was there. it was totally fun and excessive. haha.

I love this work. i love the Savior. i am so thankful for him. I love the quote by Elder M. Russell Ballard in the subject line. following the Savior is a lot about our own personal decision to do so. i am so grateful for Him.

love you all! 
Sister Peterson