Monday, August 29, 2016

A tough nut to crack

Dear Everyone,

I'm so sorry my email didn't send last week! I'm a dork and didn't realize the pictures never loaded so here we are. Well I'll try to make this one good to make up for it.

Well, I'd like to share a little adventure I had this week. We opened a coconut! Movies totally lie about coconuts guys. Here's what they really look like:

You have to break open this super thick, tough husk to get to the actual nut. We used a screwdriver and a combination of stabbing and dragging the screwdriver down the side. Can you see the nut in there? Pretty cool, right?

As we were opening the coconuts, I realized that they were a lot like the people we teach. Looking at the outside, you'd never know there was something wonderful in there. It takes a lot of work, concentration, and patience to get the husk off. Then you realize that there's more you need to break through. Some people give up, but they miss out on the reward. Because when you finally break open the nut and get to the meat, it's delicious. Beautiful, white, and pure. Just like when someone is being taught by the missionaries. People always seem pretty rough, and sometimes the ones who seem cool turn out to be decoys. You have to put a lot of work and apply pressure exactly right if you want the Spirit to penetrate their heart. But when you are finally able to glimpse what's inside them, it's beautiful. But you'd never know there was something in there if you didn't put in the work to find out. The Savior is a master at cracking through our rough exterior. He knows that there is something wonderful and worth having on the inside, so He patiently applies pressure and helps to reveal the treasure inside. I don't know if I could open a coconut every day, but I'm sure glad that the Savior can see my worth and helps me to get rid of everything holding me back.

We're teaching a few people right now, but nobody is really progressing. That's okay, we are just going to push forward in faith, praying that God will show us how to apply pressure so we can get to their hearts. 

We're teaching one woman right now who informed us that she has a "cussing problem." She didn't have to tell us, because she's already said the f-word like 4 times by that point. We definitely need guidance on that one. Sister Garlick and I just got in the car and blasted Mo Tab. It's a good thing God knows what He's doing, because I sure don't. Tralala. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for being the best and supporting me on this crazy journey.

Sister Peterson 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Knocking in the ghettoest of ghettos

Dearest Family,

Don't be alarmed but your favorite missionary knocked in the ghettoest of ghettos on Monday. We definitely talked to a group of teenagers who were high. I'm sad to say that I can recognize the smell of weed now haha. God needed us there though, because the first person to let us in turned out to be a woman who was baptized years ago in Pennsylvania. Like three of her children and her husband were baptized as well, and she was super touched by the Spirit that was there as we talked with her. She kept saying, "Well, I guess God is trying to tell me something." You're not wrong, ma'am. So our bishop is thrilled to have another less active on our ward list haha. 

Remember how I'm super competitive but I'm not good at sports? Well we had a zone olympics last week and that came out. I try to hold myself back, but I really like to win stuff. We decided to represent Greece, but stupid Russia won. We got to see our zone leader do his own opening ceremonies and he sang the olympic theme so it was pretty legit.

Albert and James are doing SO WELL. I swear, every time we go to teach them they end up teaching us. I asked Albert to keep reading the Book of Mormon the other day, and he goes, "Is that a question?" all sassy. Oh Albert! He actually lost his job this week (a shock because that man is the hardest, most dedicated worker ever) but it's turned out to be a huge blessing. He hated his job but is not the kind of man who would ever quit, so now he's excited to be able to get more involved in church! He asked us how he could work with the youth, if he could go visit less active members with the elders quorum on Tuesdays, when the family history library is open. He's over the moon and God provided a way for him to get involved!

James cracks me up. Every time we go see him he asks if we're teaching anybody in his complex yet (because he wants to come teach with us). He keeps on us to do the work haha. And he told us all about this walked with wheels he's going to get so he can go out on Tuesday  night visits as well. What a champ!

Sister Garlick and I found the coolest little family to teach. Anthony and Jennifer just moved back to the US after living in the Arab Emirates for the last few years. Anthony requested a Book of Mormon online after talking to an LDS man somewhere, and kind of brushed us off when we delivered it. But when we went back this week he had lots of questions about it and he's really excited to learn more. We had a lesson with them and they both showed a lot of interest in having a living prophet and hearing him speak, and told us they'd feed us dinner next time we came by. Anthony grew up Methodist and had a lot of family problems growing up. Jennifer was raised Catholic and then realized she hated it haha. So now they're both excited to learn about a church that "has God in it." Anthony told us he's never let any "religion people" in his house before, but he let us in because he felt God there when we were at the door. God always sends us where he needs us, and when. It's the coolest thing!

Well, this has gotten a tad long and I don't want to bore you, so I guess I'll sign off. I love you all so much!

Sister Peterson <3

Monday, August 15, 2016

She had a beard. And it felt weird.

Hi family!
I'll explain the subject line at the end, but there's a reason for it, I promise!

We were able to get 6 new investigators this week! We're working with some really cool people. I don't know what I've said about Morgan, but I love her a lot. Her boyfriend was baptized in Haiti when he was 9 and forgot he even joined until they were looking for a church to go to as a family (they have an adorable 2 month old named Corbin). Densky referred himself online and BOOM. We met Morgan. Guys, she is so ready for the gospel. We've taught her the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation and she keeps saying it makes sense. She misses going to church and learning more about how to understand the bible so we whipped out the Book of Mormon and got her started. We told her she has to get married to Densky to be baptized and she said she'd been thinking about it since we met. We told her about the temple and she's super pumped! So we're praying super hard that she can get Densky on board.

We've been working with a less active man named David, and he's totally coming back to church! He and his wife have raised their grandson and he's 8 and wants to be baptized. David is so excited and he loves having us over to visit. He keeps saying he's back for good now! Holla holla, David. 

This week one of my very favorite members spoke in sacrament meeting. Brother Cano talked about Ephesians 6 and putting on the armor of God. He started talking about how the commandments have almost become suggestions to some people. "Thou shalt honor thy mother and thy father...unless they tell you something you really don't want to do. Thou shalt not kill...unless they haven't been born yet." Brother Cano is pretty much the Jeffery R. Holland of the Palm Beach ward. He started talking about the different pieces of armor. I was especially struck by his words about the shield. Your shield of faith has to be strong, or one fiery dart is enough to knock you over. If your faith isn't planted solidly, one person contradicting you will make you question what you know. Don't forget that this is the time for man to prepare to meet God. Don't try to put on all the armor at once or by yourself. Take it one piece at a time and ask for help if you can't lift if. You've got this!

Now on to the subject line:
The other day the Elders Quorum president asked us to go visit a lady who is moving. Her sister is a member in Georgia but she is not, so I guess they want us to help her sister so she'll come back to church? I dunno. Anyway, we went to go see her to get the scope on how many boxes we'll need to pack us all her knick-knacks. The experience is best summed up by the song Sister Garlick and I wrote (sung to the tune of "I Love My Lips" by Larry the Cucumber):

On the day that we had planned
we went to see our brand new friend.
She had a beard.
And it was weird.

Went inside her house today
looked around and couldn't stay.
It was so gross. 
I plugged my nose.

On the day we helped her move
we packed her things up like brand-new.
She had knick-knacks.
Like, stacks and stacks.

That's it folks. Creativity + hours of knocking = this glorious song that we've been singing for days. She really did have a beard! Not just whiskers but a full beard and mustache. Maybe if we help her move I'll get a picture with her. Florida is wild, I tell you!

I love you all so much! Thank you for your emails and prayers. Don't tell the other missionaries, but I have the best support system EVAH! Muah!

Sister Peterson

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I can't think of any puns, so...

Dear family,

This week was pretty cool. There's a less active woman in our area named Angela who hasn't been to church in who knows how long. She's Deaf, so the missionaries in this area haven't reached out to her in the past. Sister Garlick and I were finally able to get in contact with her! I introduced us and talked to her a little bit-it was pretty scary since my ASL is pretty rusty, but I've been practicing and totally loving it! I'm really excited to see her again, so I'll keep you updated. On our way to see Angela we saw two very interesting things:  a man in an orange jumpsuit in a very sketchy car (I'm not saying he was an escaped convict, but I'm not saying he wasn't), and a man riding a motorcycle while smoking a pipe. Like, a legitimate pipe. What the what??? 

Here's a little tender mercy for the week: the other day I NEEDED Dr. Pepper so we went to Publix and I bought a 6 pack of DP. Well, when I went to pay the cashier told me they were having a sale and I got another one free! Holla holla! I know it's silly, but I know God cares about the small things :) I've been praying for help in being more awake and I swear I've been yawning less! I'm definitely still super tired, but I'm pretty sure that's a given in missionary work haha

were knocking doors when a horrifying thing happened. We were talking to this super cool guy, a straight up homie (I clearly spend a lot of time around black people. It's fine.) when I felt something on my shoulder. I swiped it off and it was a giant poky cockroach!!! So gross! It was on me! The very idea. So terrible. The guy and I were both yelling "Kill it! Get it Sister Garlick!" and she was like "I'm wearing rubber shoes!" so I smashed it with my sandal in panic. It wasn't until after that I laughed about it. This man is a personal trainer for heaven's sake! But he wanted the 19 year old girls to kill the bug haha.

We decided to bike to go see a less active the other day, and we biked so far! She was trying to get us to help her decorate for her baby shower (she's 49. Oh Florida.) so Sister Garlick quickly started talking about the temple. Nice save Sister. We were biking to our dinner appointment and had just made it over the overpass when we saw the rain. In Florida, you can literally bike into the storm, and that's exactly what we did. We were completely soaked by the time we got to the Canos. They just met us at the door with a towel haha. The Canos were so cool about it. I'm pretty sure Brother Cano is my kindred spirit. We both make really lame jokes and laugh so hard! Anyway, we dried off only to bike back home in the rain to change. The Canos gave us emergency ponchos so we were soaking wet, riding bikes in skirts in the rain, and wearing plastic ponchos that were billowing out behind us-it was so funny! 
I know that I've written about Rosalind before, but she kind of fell off the map with the whole homeless thing going on. I saw a road called Pineknot when we were biking home, so I suggested we go knock there. Literally the first door we knocked on a woman answered and asked if we were looking for Rosalind. What?! It was Rosalind's daughter and Rosalind was staying there! We hadn't planned to even see her but now we're back in contact and she's coming to church next week! God has made it pretty clear that we're not done working with her yet. He knows I'm stubborn, so He has to make things really clear for me. Thank goodness God knows all of us so well! 

We don't really have anybody we're teaching right now since our teaching pool got so wet last week! But we've met some cool people this week and we're going to work really hard to find the people who are ready for the good news of the gospel! The gospel is so true and I love it so much. It truly changes lives. Albert got the Aaronic priesthood this week and I don't think I've ever been so proud! And James is pretty much my best friend. He loves to talk about us to other people in the ward and to his daughters-it's the cutest thing. He kept saying to his daughter the other day "This is who I go to church with! They come here to kidnap my garbage! This is who I want you to meet!" (we take his garbage out against his will)Our brothers and sisters are so precious. They need the gospel! And I never realized until now how important members are in the conversion process. The missionaries are great, but we're different. Members are people like them and it helps so much for them to have a friend. So ask people you know if they're interested in the gospel! Ask the missionaries if they need you to go out with them! Pray for the Lord to show you how you can help accomplish His work. You're amazing. You're a child of God and there's great power in that!

I love you all so much!

Sister Peterson

P.S. transfers are this week but I'm staying in West Palm with Sister Garlick :)

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Tomb is Empty; The Font is Full

Dear family (you're all my family, so it works),

This week was so good! Albert and James were baptized on Saturday!! I've only known these two for about a month, but I love them like I've known them forever. We were worried about James since he can't walk very well, but we had two worthy priesthood holders and everything went so smoothly! They both felt so much peace. James told us he hasn't felt this good in a really long time, and the smile on his face when he was confirmed was so bright! Albert has been being prepared for so long and he's just jumping right in. They've both asked us when they can go to the temple, so they're pretty much the best. Sister Garlick an I performed "Beautiful Savior" at the baptism-she played the guitar and I sang. We're not fantastic, but I know that music touches James and Albert and they were so happy. Gosh I love them!

President has put a rule in place that we can only use our camera's on p-days or in members homes (basically when we're not proselyting) so I can't send any more iguana pictures but I'll do my best to keep you all entertained.

My district leader, Elder Kiser, talked to us about how we are in a war. The battle is raging and we are all soldiers. So pick a side! You can't be somewhere in the middle when you're fighting a war. In a war, one of the most important things is communication. Satan tries desperately to take out our line of communication with our leader. Don't give in! Talk to God every single day and listen! Read your scriptures! There is revelation specifically for YOU in the Book of Mormon. Don't let Satan gain victory over you!

Following that intense spiritual thought, I've met people with the craziest names this week! To name a few: Tamiracle, Tredarius, Zyrell,Tiajuana, Adnike,Jocytene, and Phterris. Try your best to remember those when you're praying haha! Florida is just full of interesting people.

Last night when we were going to our knocking spot we both had to go to the bathroom pretty bad, so Sister Garlick suggested we park at the train station to find one and talk to people there. Well, that sounded like a great idea so we did it. We found the bathroom, but it was behind a fence, so we reasoned that if we walked around to the other side we could get in, 30 minutes later I was desperate and we had not found an opening. We had to walk clear back to our car (I was making in-pain noises at this point, so that was really cute) and then ended up driving ANOTHER 20 MINUTES. I got out of the car and ran up to some people to ask if we could use their bathroom (does that sound like me? That should tell you the kind of stress I was under) and they said no...We made it to a gas station just in time or this story would have ended in me wetting my pants (skirt?). Anyway, all's well that ends well, right? 

After that fiasco we still needed to knock for an hour, so we went somewhere close and that was where we found Samantha and Tredarius, mother and son. We taught them the Restoration and committed them to baptism, so hopefully I'll be writing more about their progress next week!

I testify that the Lord's plan is better than yours, even if it includes you almost wetting your pants :) Jesus Christ is our savior who understands each of us personally, and He is Risen!

I love you all!


Sistah Peterson