Monday, July 25, 2016

Shiver Me Timbers

Dear Peeps (should I not say that as a missionary or as a person in general? Oh well),

I don't have a lot of time to write but so much happened this week!
We started teaching a woman named Betty who has two dogs and a cat that are basically from the movie Homeward Bound. Except their names are Patty, Casper, and Lots (oh Betty). The dogs are all over us the whole time and then her son comes in shirtless and starts questioning us about the Book of Mormon, so that's cool haha. She's nice, but we'll have to see how ready she is to receive the gospel. Some people are ready now and it's our job to find them!
We met with James to talk about the Plan of Salvation again and he jumped into this amazing testimony! He talked about how he can see the light that's in me and how peaceful and happy I am when I talk about Christ. He said he wants that and after searching for so long (he's basically been a member of every church in Florida) he's found it! Yes!!!! It was so sweet! His baptism is set for Saturday so pray that everything works out! It's his birthday today and he's spending it with us at FHE:) We called him this morning and when we were saying goodbye he said, "I love you girls!" Melted. my. heart. I love him!
Albert is still super solid-he's even driving James to FHE tonight! He told his wife he couldn't go to the circus because he was coming to the ward BBQ on Saturday. He's basically the coolest. And he stayed after and stacked all the chairs and just proved that he's extremely Christ-like. I love him so much!
This random lady we knocked into gave us like 5 boxes of clothes to donate. We carried them all inside then started planning. Well, I thought I dropped some water on my leg but IT WAS A SPIDER! I literally leaped out of my chair. Sister Garlick killed it and then I laid on the floor for a minute to recuperate. But on the bright side, there was this truly horrible tiger shirt in one of the boxes that I'm 100% keeping. Holla holla!
I can't even begin to say how much I love serving. It's so crazy all the time! I've never learned so much about Christ or our Heavenly Father. I love the people I serve so much! I just want to have James and Albert come with me my whole mission. They have so much light in them! The gospel has completely changed their countenances. They weren't bad people before, but now they're so happy. It's so beautiful to see. I feel so sad when people reject the gospel because I know how much happiness it brings! The gospel is so good, the church is so true, and God loves you so much! I do too!
Sister Peterson

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

There's Two Choices in the "Thug Life": Hell or Jail

Hey Everyone!

Oh man I have the best support system ever! And I'm loving Florida so that's good. This week was brutally hot. High 90s or 100s every single day. These two little girls came up to us when we were knocking and said they remembered us. We gave them pass along cards and asked them how they were. One of them said, "It's so hot I'm fin to melt my little black behind off!" Sister Garlick agreed that it was very hot and she said, "Yeah and you're white, too! So you're melting like a Popsicle. I wanna lick you!" Kids are so funny. I love the people of Florida!!

Which brings me to the subject line for my email this week-James and Albert both came to church! James had a stroke about a year ago and is in a wheelchair. Albert took it upon himself to push James around the church. I've never met someone so eager to serve! He had a chapel tour this week while members were cleaning the church and he was telling us how he does painting, plastering, fixes AC units, does plumbing...and the list goes on. He just wants to help! He's amazing. Anyway, during sunday school we were talking about responsibilty and the teacher asked James what he'd learned about responsibility in his life. He told about how he used to be kind of a thug and things like that then said he's learned that "There's only two choices when you're a thug: Hell or jail." How true James! He's so great. They both continually express a desire to be closer to God and promised us they'd be in church next week without us even asking. Now we're trying to get some families lined up to drive us all to the temple in Fort Lauderdale so they can see it. Considering how happy James was to get outside when we taught him and sat on the grass (he was in his wheelchair, obvs) I just know he'd love to go to the temple.

We had zone training this week and I found out one of my zone leaders is from Bountiful! And he went to USU for a year! His name is Elder Ariotti and I've decided he's pretty okay since we've apparently lived the same life. He also asked me what other areas I'd served in and was shocked that this was my first. He didn't think I was a new missionary-holla holla! I was born like 46 years old though, so I guess it's a maturity thing? Also I do what I want and that tends to give the impression that you know what you're doing. As if! I just follow the Spirit and try not to get in His way.

I got to go on my first exchange this week with Sister Kronmiller. I went to Royal Palm and worked with her there. We tried to visit this investigator they'd worked with who'd gone to the hospital then they never heard from her. We stopped by her house and there was a realtor's lock on the door. We definitely looked in her windows and there was still furniture and pictures...and a very creepy blue light. We decided to leave a note and ended up saying something like, "If you know anything about Ann's whereabouts please contact us." I felt like I was in a Nancy Drew game! Like someone was going to pop out and warn us not to keep pursuing this. It was way eerie.

Sister Garlick and I biked to go see James and it started POURING when we were biking home. It was way fun! The heaviest rain I've ever experienced. We were definitely blessed because it only started when we were headed home. Being a missionary is the coolest.

I made a really cool connection about Jesus Christ this week that I'd like to share. Think about Christ in the old testament-very strict, right? Now think of him in the new testament-way more loving, right? Why is that? BECAUSE HE UNDERSTOOD US. Boom. Before the new testament he didn't understand what it was like to be on Earth. Christ truly knows each of us personally and understands everything we feel. He doesn't ever give up on us. Jesus Christ loves YOU. He would have suffered the atonement for YOU ALONE. Crazy to think about having someone so amazing on our side.

Sister Garlick and I were so guided by the Spirit last night. Our appointment fell through, so we decided to go knock. Sister Garlick told me to turn right but I really felt like we should go left so we did. This happened a few more times and we ended up in a part of our area we hadn't been to before. We didn't find anybody who wanted us to come back, but everyone we prayed with expressed that they knew God had sent us. We met with a woman who had come home from the hospital the day before after a three month stay and a double- amputation. What??? I love the Gospel and I know it's true! There's no way my thoughts guided us to these people.

I love you all!


Sister Peterson

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Gospel is True!

Dear...well, whoever reads these letters,

I had such a cool week! I want to tell you about Albert because he is my favorite person ever. But you need some background first: We met this lady named Rosalind at her apartment and ended up talking to her for like 40 minutes. She's a little crazy but we made an appointment to come back and teach her. She's actually pretty cool and very open to the gospel. We went by to visit some less actives by her and she saw us and called us over-so we taught her the first lesson. She loved it! She kept talking about how God is restoring her through the message we bring. Yes Ros! He is! When we were about to pray with her a man came over and interrupted us. Ros was all, "You want to pray with us? Come on." And he was like, "No, but I heard what you were talking about and I need to talk to these two young ladies when you're done." Sister Garlick and I tried not to freak out but we pretty much ran over to him after the prayer. He told us that he heard us talking and was having the questions he'd been asking for quite a while answered through what we were sharing! His name is Albert and he is incredibly ready to receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We left him a Restoration pamphlet and by the time we came back two days later he'd read it three times and asked us for a Book of Mormon because "it's the word of God."  Whaaaaaat? He's cooler than I'll ever be. We've taught him a couple times and yesterday he accepted a baptismal date for July 30! I just keep picturing him in white and I understand the joy of missionary work!

Sister Garlick and I have a lot of interesting things happen to us while we're knocking doors. We went to the gated apartment complex this week and some guy was pretty nasty to us. Five minutes later, security came and kicked us out. The security guy followed us on his golf cart as we walked out. I was a little surprised, but then I couldn't stop laughing about it. He followed us on his golf cart across the parking lot...It was hilarious. Sometimes we see these gross hairballs rolling around that Sister Garlick affectionately refers to as "tumble-weaves." Haha that's really accurate though! There are people from all over in Florida. It's pretty cool-not literally of course. I die of heat all day but it's worth it.

We took Rosalind on a chapel tour and since we can't drive her she told us if we came by she'd follow us to the church on her scooter. And she did. She followed right behind us on her little pink scooter-bike that doesn't go more than 35 mph. We kept accidentally hitting yellow lights and I'd go to pull over so we didn't lose her then she'd blaze through the intersection. It was so funny! I'd be like, "Oh no! We're going to lose Rosalind" then Sister Garlick would tell me, "Nope. She just followed us through." And it got funnier the more I thought about it. I was hysterical by the time we got to the church but I composed myself for Rosalind's lesson. We showed her the baptismal font and she couldn't stop telling us how strongly she felt the spirit. We took her into the chapel and she didn't want to leave. I don't know if she'll be baptized since she's actually homeless right now and hard to keep track of, but I know she knows this is true. She knows the Spirit has testified the truth of it to her-how can you deny that? Well, you can but we both know she knows so there.

The gospel is so true and it's so powerful! You can just see the change in people when they begin to learn the truth. And I know that doing the small and simple things of the gospel will bring new spiritual power like you've never experienced into your lives. Be at church every week! Pray every day! Read your scriptures every day! God is just waiting for an excuse to bless you. I've definitely learned that here. (President and Sister Richardson were in sacrament meeting when I had to bear my testimony...if only I'd been as well organized then!)

I love you all!


Sister Peterson

P.S. I'm learning a little Spanish and I can now introduce us as missionaries! Somos las misionares!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Florida, Land of the Sweaty

Wow! It's been a crazy crazy week. I arrived in Florida after a long day of flying. We left the MTC at 2:30, got to the airport about 3, and found out that Delta doesn't start checking bags until 4:45!! What? Come on MTC! So by the time I went to bed the next night I had been up for like 20 hours. You all know how much I hate sleeping, so it was pretty cool. Oh wait, that was someone else:) I've never slept so well in my life!

My trainer is Sister Garlick and she's from Layton. Her cousins went to WX so we actually have some mutual friends! Remember Anthony Mills? That's her cousin. She's really cute and fun. We laugh and have a grand old time knocking doors. We share an apartment with 2 Spanish sisters-it really weirded me out at first but now it's so fun! Sister Larson and Sister Quimbao (kim-bow) are so funny! Sister Larson is a lot like me so obviously she's pretty cool.

My first area is Palm Beach North! We have 4 companionships in my district-4 sisters and 4 elders. Elder Kiser is the district leader and he is CRAZY! He named our district "The Gr8 Gangs of Palm Beach" and always texts us to have a "dope" proselyting day. We all came  up with gang names for our companionship so ours is "Sass Squad." Not too bad, right? Pretty accurate for me anyway.

My mission has a very specific approach when we knock doors. First of all, we knock for at least an hour every single day, no exceptions. We ask to pray with the person, then we invite to baptism, then we invite to church. Pretty dang bold approach. When the APs told us on our first day that we did that I thought they were joking, but then they dropped us off on a street to try it and told us they'd be back in an hour. Sister Ricardo and I sort of panicked but I'm no quitter. Now that I knock so much with Sister Garlick I can see the power in approaching it this way. A lot of people say no, but some people pray with us and the Spirit is unbelievably strong! The Lord has prepared a lot of people to hear this message and even if they're not ready to hear it from us at least we can be part of their progression. Yesterday we asked someone if we could pray with her and she closed the door on us. When we were a few apartments away, she opened her door and called us back. She started to cry and basically told us her life story. It's crazy how much people open up to us as missionaries. When I prayed for her all 3 of us started crying a little-the Spirit was that strong! She didn't invite us back but I think she needed to feel God's love for her to give her some hope. I love being part of things like that!

We have a rule in the mission that if someone gets in a car accident and the damage is over $3000 every missionary bikes the next Thursday, so I got to bike my second day in the mission! It was a...sweaty experience haha. It was actually really fun but I haven't ridden a bike in forever so I did run into a fence in the first 5 minutes... My trainer's got her work cut out for her, man. But I actually really love missionary work and I'm so ready to learn so we're good. I'm not that bad, I promise.

Anyway, I'm loving Florida and trying my best to adjust to the heat and the humidity. Besides that and the insane drivers Florida is cool. It's so green! I see lots of crazy stuff here. Trees with branches growing down into the earth, giant iguanas (my comp and I like to chase them into the water because they belly flop haha), and the widest variety of people ever. I also tried a mango smoothie-it was sort of like drinking a smoothing and licking a man's face at the same time. Sooooo maybe mangoes aren't my favorite.

I love you all, you're in my prayers!!


Sister Peterson