Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Keep Christmas With You

Merry Christmas!

I just want to say I love you all! Christmas is a time when people are much more sensitive to the Spirit and I think that's why it's the most wonderful time of the year. How could something be more wonderful than a season devoted to remembering what a wonderful gift our Savior is? 

I read the Christmas story in Luke a couple days ago and it stuck out to me that the first people to be notified of Christ's birth were shepherds and kings. I think it's really interesting that God heralded the birth of His son to the lowliest workers and the wealthiest kings. It just shows that Christ is a gift for every single one of us! He came to save the most humble of people as well as those who had everything. Gosh our Heavenly Father loves us! :)

This week was full of craziness and fun. We had a conference with half of our mission and talked about always having Christ's name on our lips. As disciples of Jesus Christ, that is our calling and our responsibility. Isn't it awesome that we have the same duty as the apostles? I loved seeing all the other missionaries, especially now that I know more than like three haha. It's powerful to be in a room with other people devoting their lives to serving our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The best gift we can give them is helping their children get back to them!

I got sick for a couple days, so that was a bummer, but we had a pretty miracle filled week anyway! We had two investigators show up to our special sacrament meeting and they loved it! Zanquez is 15 and Hector is who knows how old, but they're cool! Other missionaries found them knocking and passed them over to us #sameteam. I haven't taught either of them yet (Sister Jennings went with another missionary when I was home sick), but I am so pumped. Hector has two tear drop tattoos and Zanquez has 2 zs in his name so they both have to be awsome. I have missed the ghetto so much guys and this week God brought the ghetto to me! Tra la la.

Well, Christmas was amazing and I loved having a special day devoted to the Savior's birth and a day to skype my family. For those of you wondering, Christmas as a missionary is like every other day. We still go out and knock doors and teach lessons, but it's pretty magical to do that on a day when people are actually thinking about Christ.

That's all I've got to ramble on about this week. I love you all!

Love,

Sister Peterson






The Tyler's got us a giant lindor truffle filled with lindor truffles. Craziness.

We finished our advent calendars! Thanks grandma!






Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Dear Fam,

Merry Christmas! I cannot believe that Christmas is this Sunday. Where does the time go? I am so dang excited! I mean, my day will mostly just be like any other Sunday, but I'm still super excited about it! And I'm looking forward to seeing how people react to us knocking on their door on Christmas haha.

Speaking of knocking doors, we have a new rule! President Richardson texted us all this week to tell us that sisters can no longer knock doors after 7 pm until it starts getting light again. How crazy is that? People are always telling us that we need to be knocking until 9 pm yada yada yada so this is quite the change! It's just stressful when we haven't gotten our full hour done and we're trying to finish before 7. Yesterday was crazy! We actually just texted President to ask for 20 extra minutes after 7 because we didn't have time to finish and then the Finkle family let us in! They're on vacation from Spokane and we talked with them for like 45 minutes. We showed them the Christmas video and testified dang hard. They are so getting baptized someday. When we left the little girl said, "I'm going to be just like you!" which was literally so adorable.

Transfers were this week, so Sister Peel went home and my new companion is Sister Jennings. She's from Layton, Utah so she's actually my second comp from Layton! Oh Utah. She's been out on her mission for about 14 months. We're still getting used to each other, but it'll come with time. 

We had our ward Christmas party this week! It was a luau so obviously we wore grass skirts and leis. We had a part-member family come and we were so pumped! Kirsten has worked with missionaries before and it didn't end super well, so it was great to see her there! There was also a Hawaiian Santa (I don't know. Floridians.) There was a little program about the "Light the World" campaign where we talked about all doing a good deed during the Christmas season, then we threw candles in the pool that light up when they touch water! It was so cute!

Sister Jennings and I were driving to try to visit a less active member and we passed an amazing house. Basically, since there's no snow in Florida people go all out with lights and stuff. Anyway, we drove around the circle driveway...twice. 

I know this letter is kind of short but I don't know what else to say! I love you all and I wish you a Merry Christmas! I know the Savior makes Christmas merry and that as we remember him we are truly happy.

Love,
Sister Peterson
















Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dunk the Halls

Dear Family,

I'll start out with the mundane stuff. I'm staying in Vanderbilt Beach another transfer. Sister Peel is going home, so my new companion will be Sister Jennings. I've never even met her so fingers crossed! It'll be awesome no matter what happens because Christmas is so close, so it's all good.

The most exciting thing that happened this week was Matthew's baptism! It's been such a long road for him. Sister Peel had just started teaching him when I came, so he was taught for about 7 weeks. That's pretty crazy because in our mission you can be baptized after coming to church twice and he's been like 6 times. President Richardson came to interview Matt and like 10 minutes before Matt called us to say he had people coming to his house to talk about his living situation. He was really scared and worked up because he was homeless for 7 months a while back and didn't want to go through that again. We told President what was going on, and we decided to take the interview to him! Matt was freaking out when we got there and Sister Peel and I were trying so hard to calm him down. President came over and talked to Matt for a few minutes and then left. We called President later and he told us Matt could be baptized the next day! It was crazy that all President really needed to do was shake Matt's hand and look into his eyes. Mission presidents are crazy in tune with the Spirit.

All went well with his baptism. He got dunked, so that's the most important thing! And seeing him get the gift of the Holy Ghost was amazing. I've seen Matthew change so much since I've met him and I know he was ready for this gift. We asked him how he felt after his baptism and he said, "That guilty, knot-in-your-stomach feeling I always have...it's gone." I almost cried when I heard that. He can't remember a time when he didn't feel that and now the Savior has taken that burden from him. I'm just so proud!

I'm hit over and over again with how good the gospel is. I just want everybody to have this gift! If that means that we awkwardly approach them as they're getting their mail, then so be it. People need to hear the good news!

We volunteer at Harbor Chase skilled nursing facility every week and we went and caroled there on Wednesday. The residents were all singing along and it was so fun! Later, Sister Peel and I asked Art to dance for us because he was a professional dancer. He obliged and ended his dance by surprise kissing our cheeks. What? Is that disobedient? Oh Art. It was so funny!

Sister Peel is going home tomorrow, so that's been really weird. She's not really trunky, it's just weird to think that in less than 48 hours she'll be with her family. We have had so much fun this transfer! I wish we could have Christmas together but when I suggest that she seems to think she'd rather be home. How rude!

I absolutely love you all and I hope you're really feeling the Spirit during the Christmas season. If you're not, watch Light the World and you literally cannot help but feel it. Tralala.

Love,
Sister Peterson
















Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Miracles

Hi family!

I absolutely love this time of year. Being a missionary during the Christmas season is fantastic! In the Christmas Devotional last night, one speaker talked about the Christmas spirit sounding a lot like the Holy Spirit. I know that's true! I think part of what makes Christmastime so special is all of us being united in remembering the Savior. Now, imagine if everyone did that every day of the year? That sounds pretty neat. Also, we show people the #LighttheWorld video every chance we get because it's fantastic and it brings the Spirit so strongly!

Anyway, I want to tell you all about a miracle that we saw last night. We had just walked out of our dinner appointment and Sister Peel really had to go to the bathroom. We considered going back to the Tyler's house to use their bathroom and as we were walking over we ran into this guy with a giant malamute (I don't know how to spell that but it's my best guess *shrug*). We started talking to him and petting his dog and invited him to church. He took our card and said he might check it out, then he told us his friend that lived a few townhouses away might need a prayer. We love referrals, so we ran right over and met Brenton, who coincidentally we had met about two weeks prior to this. We prayed with him and the Spirit was so strong! We always ask people how they feel after we pray but before we could he started describing to us how he'd felt so good and warm inside and wanted to feel that again. He asked if we would come back and we of course set up an appointment. He even asked us about the Book of Mormon and said it made sense to him that Christ would come visit his people in the Americas too. Can you say ELECT? It was freaking awesome.

Right after that spiritual high we went to go contact a potential investigator that we'd had an appointment with, but it had fallen through (that never happens! -said no missionary ever). We knocked on his door and chatted a bit, then asked when we could come back since the last appointment we'd had had fallen through. He looked really confused and said he didn't think we'd had an appointment. It was at that moment that we realized he was a man we'd prayed with outside and knocked on his door a different day and he tried to convert us to Catholicism. And I sort of yelled "TOM!" because that was his name that I remembered as all of this came rushing back to me. He laughed a little because it was uncomfortable for all of us, and we said goodbye. Oops! Haha God must need us to prepare Tom to meet missionaries later! He'll be all, "those one girls bothered me all the time, maybe I should just hear what they have to say," and I'll sense it as I'm home and put on my sunglasses all cool. Or not. But I do hope that he listens one day!

Matthew is all set for baptism this Saturday, but our ward is still very unsupportive. I'm so worried about how he'll do without everyone backing him up! We had a little pre-interview with him the other day and he totally passed. I think people just have unrealistic expectations for the people we baptize. The ward members have been going to church for years and learning. Matthew's been learning for like 5 weeks. It's completely unrealistic to expect him to be on the same level as the other members! Man. I may throw down in ward council. Tra la la. I'm just so proud of Matt for all the changes he's made! He has such a desire to follow Christ! He even came to watch the Christmas Devo with us last night. We looked over at him at the end singing "Silent Night" and it was the cutest thing of my life.

Well, I love you all. I'm still sweating out here in Florida, so put on a sweater for me :)

Love,

Sister Peterson



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stay Together

Dear Family,

Something super crazy happened this week that made me think of "That's So Raven." Remember the episode where Raven thinks her parents are going to get divorced so she dresses like a country singer and performs "Stay Together"? Well, what happened this week was sort of like that. Two elders in my zone were biking on Saturday night and somehow got separated. We found out about this at 9:28, when the zone leaders asked us to go out and check his house, the church, etc. We left and drove around checking all these places for him, then got out of our car at his house to look around and knock on the windows, just like totally normal people do. Apparently the elders leave their back door open, so we went inside and checked the garage for his bike and stuff. (This all felt so disobedient, but the zone leaders told us to.) We didn't find him, but we were asked to stay at the house to watch for him and to start calling the local hospitals. WHAT? So we did. By the time it was 11:10 I was sick to my stomach with worry and trying so hard not to fall asleep. I decided to pray and turned over to get on my knees when I saw a blinking red light. I could tell it was a bike light, so I basically just threw open the door of the car, leaped out onto the rocks with bare feet, and yelled "Elder Keith?" and heard back a faint "yes." I almost cried. 

Because of who I am as a person I commenced to mother him. I made him sit down in our car, eat my granola bar, and drink a bottle of water. He told us he'd been separated from Elder Briggs at 7:45 and had been biking since then trying to get home. Now, why he didn't ask somebody to use their phone and call his companion I can't say (especially when he used the GPS on someone's phone!!), but I'm so grateful that he is okay. I should not have watched the Saratov Approach because I was certain he was locked in someone's cement basement (which is completely unrealistic because basements aren't a thing in Florida).

Other than that, we've been working with Matthew. He's grown so much since we started teaching him! He talked about stealing or smoking and just kept saying, "That's the old Matt." That is exactly what repentance is about! He's doing really well, but our ward is not supportive. They've already decided that he is just like these 2 other recent converts who are causing a lot of problems for the ward and they can't move on. *sigh* My mission is teaching me so much about what kind of member I want to be when I get home! Matt is a really special guy. He's preparing to be baptized on December 10th and is keeping all the commitments we leave him, so he's doing really well! Now if we can just get the ward on board we'll have something going here.

We've really struggled to find people to teach in this area but recently starting teaching Maritza and her 10 yr old son, Juan. Maritza has an aunt who is Mormon and told her to check out mormon.org. She requested a Bible and a Book of Mormon, so that's how we found her. They're Catholic right now, but not for long :) They're reading the Book of Mormon together and loving it! They weren't able to come to church yesterday because they had to go to baptism classes at their church, but we're meeting with them tonight to teach them. I'm pumped!

Wait-I forgot about Thanksgiving! How embarrassing. Every day is the same as a missionary, you know? Well, we were fed breakfast lunch and dinner and I have now been fed a Thanksgiving dinner four times this week. Haha I'm so glad the members like us and want to take care of us! We had actual dinner with the Tylers, who feed us every Sunday. They're the best family! Brother Tyler told me I should be a stand-up comedian yesterday, so obviously he's in my good graces. I made Grandma's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie and it was a huge hit. They said they haven't even touched the pie they bought at Costco because the ones we made were just too good. Go Grandma!

Anyway, I feel like I'm just rambling on. I love you all so much! If you haven't seen the new Christmas video, Light the World, go watch it IMMEDIATELY! 

Love,
Sister Peterson