Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Milagros!

My dearest, darlingest family and friends,

What an insane week! I've been super excited to tell you all about it. We met this lady who was cooler than cool and so down to be baptized, but then she didn't meet us at the church for a chapel tour like we had planned (sidenote: our chapel is 8 miles outside our area, so thanks for that Jennifer). We decided to go by her house and none of her lights were on. Her car was there but the house was totally quiet. It was about 7:45 at this point so we were sure she wouldn't be asleep. We saw that there was an alarm of some sort flashing on her wall and we both had a really bad feeling. It honestly looked a lot like a carbon monoxide detector. We talked to a cop down the street and he told us to call the police because there was nothing he could do off-duty. We asked Jennifer's neighbor if she had seen her today and when she saw the alarm she said she would call the police if we didn't. We prayed about it and really felt like we needed to call, so we did. An officer showed up and started going around her house with his flashlight and knocking on her doors. Well, we'd been calling Jennifer over and over and decided to call one more time...then her porch light switched on and she came out of her house looking very confused. Right then, two more cop cars and a firetruck drove up. Well, it became apparent that she was fine, she'd just had to work a double shift the night before and that morning, so she went to bed early and didn't hear our calls. The cop made sure she was okay and the brigade left, then we apologized to Jennifer. She said she was just glad somebody cared and we set up an appointment for the next day. She wasn't there when we went by and her phone rejected all our calls. We're like 90% sure she blocked our number. Honestly, you call the cops for someone one time! The whole situation was ridiculous, but I refuse to feel silly about it. I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father wanted us to call the police. I don't know why. Maybe Jennifer just needed to know that someone cared. It doesn't really matter, what matters is that there is power in acting on promptings immediately. In fact, I think Heavenly Father was testing our obedience for later on in the week.

We've been trying so dang hard to find people to baptize and we've had no luck. We meet cool people and then they turn out to be totally un-elect. We prayed before weekly planning and two part member families came to mind. We knew that their children were ready to be baptized on the 29, so we stopped by the Harbisons and basically just told her that her kids were getting baptized next week. She was cool with it and her daughters were way excited! Sister Neeley and I were over the moon! Imagine our disappointment the next day, when she texted us to say it was too rushed and she wanted to wait until the end of November. It was really hard to have that rug ripped out from under our feet!

I was thinking of the time I was at a swim meet and felt so sick. I hadn't done great in my other events, and I didn't want to swim, but I decided to get in the water and just do it! I remember getting to the wall, looking around, and thinking, "I literally finished last. They've all gotten out of the pool," but to my great surprise I had won! The point of that story is when decided to just do it and not care about anyone else, I was able to do my best. About two hours after thinking about that story, we got a call from the other part member family telling us that they wanted Austin to be baptized next Saturday!! We've already been over to teach Austin twice and he is the cutest kid. He feels the Spirit and always tells us "It feels really warm and good." Darn right it does! He's super ready. When we leave he always says, "Be safe!" which I guess is because he hears his dad say it :) Basically I'm just really excited and I know that truly was a miracle. Sometimes you think you finish last and then realize that somehow you've won. God is definitely the "somehow" in this situation!

Well, I think I've just about bored you all to death with this super long message so I'll sign off. The Gospel is so true! The church is perfect, even if the people (and the missionaries) aren't. And above all, God does answer prayers! But in His timing. I love you!

Love,
Sister Peterson


Posterity picture! Also, pants + sass = sister peterson

You are witnessing the first sister missionary in the US to wear pants proselyting 
(as far as I know)







Monday, October 17, 2016

Regina George. How do I even begin to describe Regina George?

Hi Family!

Regina George. How do I even begin to describe Regina George?

Well, this week was less eventful than expected. The hurricane really wasn't bad here so people weren't really humbled. I mean, you've got those who recognize that we were spared by the hand of God, and there's those who are making fun of it. We were still going hard trying to find people, though! Our mission has a goal to have 100 baptisms in October and we are going to do it, gosh darnit! But our teaching pool has gotten a deep cleaning this week because the people we were working with just aren't ready to commit. Sherry texted us Friday to tell us she would be at church and then again Sunday morning to tell us she was too depressed and Spicy dropped us like we were hot. That's okay though. God definitely will lead us to those that are ready! 

Speaking of which, we met a super cool family this week! Actually, two families. One with 5 children, one with 6. I went over to give someone a card and we offered to share a prayer. She brought her friend out and we started talking. It turns out that Ratisha recently lost her mom and Lemay (the names in the ghetto crack me up) wants to know what her purpose is in this life. We whipped out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and let them know our Heavenly Father has a plan for us in this life and that families can be together forever. The kids were all running around when we walked over, but that all pulled chairs over to listen to us. I forget sometimes how sensitive children are to the Spirit. We are planning to go see them tomorrow and help them understand that Jesus Christ's true church is back on the Earth and they can be part of it! I know I sound super missionary-ish right now but it was so exciting! I love meeting people who actually want to learn about the gospel.

We had exchanges this week, so I stayed in Palm Beach and Sister Erickson came over from Royal Palm Beach. Things started out a tad awkward, but then somehow One Direction came up. It turns out Sister Erickson loves them too! We had to righteously fangirl for a second over Harry Styles. It was a nice moment haha. We had a lot of fun together and accidentally knocked on the door of a less active woman from Miami who was visiting for the day. What? Crazy sauce. We were able to get her information so we can send some missionaries over and also  use her bathroom (missionary probs). I love Sister Erickson and spending a day with her was exactly what I needed. I'm learning that every missionary is super different, but it's cool. God doesn't need robots!

For P day we went to the beach to take cliche white girl pics and I texted Sister Richardson to tell her I want to get some pants! Zika is a thing, so...We had to call President for permission to go to an event for Rosemary and he told me I'm the only sister in the mission who has expressed interest in getting pants. #trendsetter (I actually said #trendsetter to him but I don't think he got my humor over the phone.) But let me  tell you a little bit about Rosemary's event. She was getting a brick in a veteran's memorial at a Catholic Church and she basically had us and like 3 friends there. She was all dressed up in uniform and had me carry the Coast Guard flag to march over to the memorial. I don't really know what was going on, but Rosemary was sure happy we were there. She's really done so much! She's the President of the American Flag Society and is constantly insisting that we get her President Monson's address so she can write to tell him how wonderful the people in the church are. Sister Neeley and I don't quite know what to do with her, but we'll let the Spirit guide :)

Mi espanol es mucho mejor. The gift of tongues is a real thing and I can pray in Spanish with much more confidence now, so that's cool. I love learning another language! I think I'm going to ask President for permission to continue studying language and ask if I can actually study ASL. This mission has four languages, but it used to have five and ASL was one of them. I just want to learn and talk to as many people as possible!

I love you all very much! Have a great apple and sandwich! (Or a great week. You choose.)

Love,
Sister Peterson

I love you all so very much! Muah!

Rosemary's event

Awww Cute

There was a store called "restoration" so we obviously had to take a picture.

A little girl of a less active member we're working with gave me this shell and told me to keep it in a safe place, so I carry it around with me : )

The SASS is strong with this one. "Well, THAT'S true!"

Hey! That me!

Take a look at that comp unity!
When you find coconuts of varying sizes and learn how to use your self-timer in the same week, this is just a thing that happens.




Sister Erickson "gets" me

Rosemary's Event

A weird dinosaur that i love

Hunting pictures






Monday, October 10, 2016

In the Eye of a Hurricane There is Quiet

Hi Family!

For any of you who don't know, the subject line is a quote from Hamilton. I try not to think of worldly music, but with my week it was a must! Anyway, in lieu of a normal email I thought I'd tell you about experiencing hurricane Matthew since that's probably what you all want to hear about anyway.

We've been having investigators drop hints about a hurricane for a couple weeks, but this week it got real. On Monday we got a text from the mission office telling us there was a possibility of a hurricane this week and to get ready. Wednesday morning during our studies we received a text telling us that we had to be on a conference call at 11:55 and we had to pause our studies to check our 72 hour kits, clean and fill our bathtubs with water, and begin to pack up all of our things that we wouldn't want trashed. So that obviously didn't make us nervous at all. We ran around like maniacs getting stuff together and anxiously waiting for the call. When 11:55 finally rolled around (actually, I made us be on the call by like 11:45 because of who I am as a person) we heard President Richardson say, "The hurricane has shifted paths and will hit the north east part of our mission." I was like, hold on-that's me! They then explained that 3 zones would be evacuated to other chapels and the other missionaries would shelter in their homes during the storm. My zone was evacuated and my district was sent to Wellington.

We were still expected to proselyte on Wednesday, so we went and helped a former investigator "clean" her house. I don't know if you remember Rosemary, but she called us Tuesday to tell us she wanted us to come by! So we've been teaching her again. She's old and a little bit crazy but we'll see where this goes! 

Back to the story: we delivered a bible and tried to knock some doors, but West Palm Beach was a ghost town. I've never seen hurricane shutters before, but I'm very familiar with them now. People were looking at us like we were crazy (accurate). We came home for dinner and loaded up our cars with lots of water, canned food, and our little bags of personal items as well as our bikes. We drove to the chapel and to our surprise, every single door was covered in shutters. We definitely looked sketchy as we tried to break in. The elders came a billion hours later as we were almost finished prying shutters off of one door and used their screwdriver to finish the job. We got everything in and went to do our next task: filling the font. Well, the control box was locked. We took shifts using our one screwdriver and a dime to get the screws out while our district leader used a bobby pin to try to pick the lock. We're all a bunch of criminals, it's fine. We finally got that going, then we basically just messed (around in a dignified, I-represent-the-Lord way). We slept in a mysteriously humid primary room while the elders slept in the scouts room. Well, "slept" probably isn't the right word for what I did, which was flip around all night because I was so uncomfortable. Tra la la!

Then next morning we got on another conference call where our mission president informed us that all the missionaries in the Wellington chapel had to move. What? So we packed up, shuttered the place back up, and drove to Jupiter. The wind was crazy and everything  was shuttered up. We really wanted to get some real food, but everything was closed. It was pretty eerie seeing all the shutters and no people...But we made it to Jupiter and got all settled in. A member of the Jupiter bishopric came and closed the shutters behind us so we were literally locked in. We watched Legacy (hey-it's your favorite movie Mom!) and Meet the Mormons in Spanish. I didn't understand too much, but I got to hear "Glorious" and also color, so I enjoyed myself. I was forced to sport and accidentally broke a sweat playing volleyball. I wouldn't have minded except we couldn't shower and I knew if I was sweating the elders were really going to stink. We made interesting meals and played hide-and-seek and werewolf for a while. It was kind of the longest day of my life. We could see wind out a high window and we were all a little nervous. The fire alarm in the chapel was broken and went off like every 3 minutes so I almost smashed it with my scriptures. Is that bad? Should I not have considered doing that? Haha it was a weird day but I got really close with my district. Elder Heath is sassier than I knew, and Elder Widney is the most athletic person I've ever met (he lifted up a tree in one hand. What is that??). I just have a lot of love for these missionaries I'm serving with! We forgot to take a hurricane crew pic, but I'll work on getting one of those this week. 

We had another long night and heard the wind absolutely howling outside, but in the morning we were cleared to go home! We didn't lose power or anything. It really was a miracle! God is so good. I'm not going to lie, I sort of wished it was a little more intense so this story could be more interesting, but I really am grateful we were kept safe. This email has just rambled on so I'll finish with this: The church is true, the book is blue, Jesus Christ loves YOU. (Was that cheesy enough? Good.)

I love you all!

Love,
Sister Peterson, hurricane Matthew survivor

















Monday, October 3, 2016

It's October Third

Hi Everyone! 
It's October third and I didn't even wear pink so clearly I'm not in control of my life.

In other news, I learned how to say "I do what I want" in Spanish! HAGO LO QUE QUIERO. That's pretty much my favorite thing to say, so I'm pretty pleased with myself.

We met the coolest new gator this week! Her name is Sherry. Her son unexpectedly died about 6 months ago so we testified super hard about eternal families and taught her the Resto right there! She is so sweet! She was raised methodist so she takes the bible very seriously. That made Sister Neeley and I a tad bit nervous because often people like that have a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon. Well, when we taught her about it the Spirit was so strong and she was way curious about it! She went to Key West with her daughter this weekend, so we haven't been able to see her since, but I know that if she's been doing her part she'll have received an answer!

And that brings me to Gen Conf. Um...why didn't somebody tell me how amazing it is before now! I'm just kidding...BUT REALLY. I guess I've never paid that close of attention before but I'm sure grateful I did this time. I'm only human, so I caught the nods a few times in that dark chapel, but I had mini starbursts and dried apricots to save me! I felt like every talk came from a chapter of Preach My Gospel. It was so wonderful to hear counsel that applies directly to me and the questions I'm having right now. I've always known with my head that I can receive an answer specific to me from conference, but now I know from experience! Man I'm grateful for a living prophet and apostles.

None of our investigators came to church, so that was sad. Sister Neeley and I had to drop a lot of people, but I know that the Lord is making sure we have the faith to drop people that aren't elect so he can lead us to the people that truly are ready.

I saw a miracle this week-Sister Neeley and I prayed and came up with a vision of the family the Lord wants us to find, teach, and baptize in October. Our family has Latin roots but prefers to be taught in English and attend an English ward. The mother experienced a loss in the past that has made her wary of the future. Well, I'm pretty sure we found them! Fabiola is from Mexico but when we asked she said she would prefer English missionaries! She and her daughter were both interested in having us come back. We're going back to teach them tonight, but it's just crazy how God will give you exactly what you pray for.

Sister Neeley and I recorded a couple stories for you all, so I'll send those your way! In the meantime, I love you, I pray for you, and I'm so grateful for your support!

Love,
Sister Peterson