Monday, December 4, 2017

Another Crazy One

Well fam, it's been another crazy week in the FFLM. Terry was baptized! It was a rollercoaster from start to finish. President Garns came to his baptism since he met Terry in a lesson once, so that was pretty cool! Terry was super happy. The gospel is true!

We also got to meet with Brunel a couple times this week. We went over on Saturday and he told us he wiped his phone so there would be room for the Gospel Library App because he wanted to listen to the Book of Mormon (remember Brunel can't read). How sweet is that? Oh I love him. He got the Priesthood yesterday, so we're hoping to go to the temple with him this week.

I got to spend Friday in Plantation with Sister Tueller. We had a blast! We did a lot of knocking, took gingersnaps to some families in their ward, went to Chick-fil-A, and met a lady with a double identity. Let me explain: *Ahem* We went to visit a former investigator named Debbie, but we met her sister outside and she told us Debbie wasn't home. We talked to her for a good 20 minutes, shared the #LightTheWorld video, and got a return appointment. As we finished up she said, "I can't hold it in! The Spirit's telling me not to lie. I am Debbie!" Sister Tueller and I just laughed so hard. I can't count the number of times people say we have the wrong house or number until they know who we are, then suddenly it's right. Missionary life is the best, folks. Happily being lied to since June 2016!

On Saturday we got to the church at 7:30 and helped to sort and distribute toys for about 200 children and families. Sister Murdock and I got to pick out some toys for a struggling family and it was so fun! I really loved thinking of these kids and what they would like most. I feel like the Christmas Devotional focused a lot on love and giving, and I can testify that that's where the true spirit of Christmas comes from.

I had the opportunity to bear my testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday, and I just want to share a few thoughts with you. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. It's not easy, but it is plain and precious. I'm grateful that the Lord doesn't leave us alone to carry out His work, He helps us to follow Him. I am super imperfect and I can't imagine how stressed out I would be if I had to handle everything myself. I'm grateful for Jesus Christ's willingness to sacrifice Himself for all for all of us, but also for each one of us.

I hope you all have a great week! Go Light the World!

See you next week...ah!

Love,
Sister Peterson

Exhanges

Helping with the Toy Drop!

Terry's Baptism

What do you do when you find a giant chair? Make the elders take a picture and then recreate it.


District pday in downtown Ft. Laud.



Monday, November 20, 2017

Think to Thank

Hello!

This week was really fun! We had the opportunity to meek with Brunel a few times and he even got to come to a baptism in the Sunrise Branch! He was late coming home from work and almost missed it, but he came in in time to see the last two members of the family be baptized. He told us that he really enjoyed it and that if that's what God wants him to do, he's going to do it. His baptism is scheduled for this Saturday so we're super excited about that! Brunel is just a really sincere, spiritual man.
 
We met with Terry and decided that he needs a little more time to prepare before being baptized. We had a really good meeting with him and Bishop Brown so he's going to pray about a new baptismal date and let us know :)

The other night we decided to go visit a woman in the ward who has been struggling since she and her husband separated a few weeks ago. She is just the coolest! She is an artist and showed us lots of her work. She was so passionate about the pieces she had created and was working on. That really impressed me! Despite the difficulty she's facing right now, she was finding joy and using her gifts anyway. She's a convert, so our visit meant a lot to her. I also received a prompting out of the blue to give her my necklace, so I did. I don't know why Heavenly Father wanted her to have it, but I'm grateful the Holy Ghost prompted me to give it to her. It was a great chance to feel love for her. It meant more to me than she will know.


I studied a little about miracles this week as I read the Savior's sermon to the Nephites. I looked up the definition of miracle and found that it is something like, "an event that defies known scientific facts." I love that! That really broadened my perspective of what a miracle is. Really, any time the Spirit prompts you it's a miracle. Science can't explain that! In fact, this week we went to visit an investigator and as we were writing a note to leave on his door (he wasn't home) I had an impression that we needed to leave RIGHT NOW. I don't know why I felt that, but I know God does. I'm grateful for the quiet miracle of the Holy Ghost speaking!

We knocked into a young man this week who was so happy that we visited. We prayed with him and he asked us to thank God for sending us to him. We're super excited to go back and teach him tonight!

Last night we were watching the Face to Face event and my favorite quote from that was, "Every day is a spiritual day." I've been thinking a lot about how I can make every day a spiritual day and I invite you all to do the same! The gospel is wonderful and true. I love being a missionary and seeing God's hand every single day! I'm so grateful for my family, the Book of Mormon, my companion, washi tape, colors, and Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for all of you!

All the love,

Sister Peterson
Dulce de Leche filled churros (straight up delish)
The Swap Shop!
Our A/C broke this week and we found the unit covered in a sheet of ice. That's the only snow Florida will have this year.
Sunday comp pic







Monday, November 13, 2017

Back to My Roots

Hello family!

This week has been a good one. Absolutely crazy, but it was transfer week so what did you expect? I made it to my new area just fine on Wednesday. Our house is only about 15 minutes from the mission home, so we got to our area way faster than I ever have after transfers. I've never had shorter than an hour drive! This is the farthest south I've ever served and the mission culture is so different here! I assumed it would be pretty much the same, but things seem much more relaxed and informal here. For anyone who knows me, that is NOT my style. But I think it will be a fun transfer :)

Ft. Laud has a few high income spots, but is pretty low income so it's been humbling to knock and meet people. I haven't served anywhere like this since my first area, so I've come full circle!

My new companion is Sister Murdock. She is from Kaysville, Utah and we found out that we attended the same event in high school! She came to the Psych bowl I competed in my senior year. She has 3 sisters and 1 brother and is super chill. We have pretty different styles of doing missionary work, but I'm excited to find out what the Lord has prepared for me to learn this transfer as we work together.

We live in a nice apartment complex on the edge of our border and share the apartment with the Sunrise branch sisters, Sister Smith and Sister Muniz!! I can't even tell you how excited I am to live with her again. I love Sister Muniz! And we've already discovered that Sister Smith and I have a ton of the same interests. Across the parking lot live the elders who work in the spanish and creole wards. Apparently they're super into pranking us and each other, so I've already seen a super creepy doll and mask appear haha.

This is turning into a novel, so let me just tell you about the awesome people we're working with:

Terry-Terry has been investigating for a transfer already and has pretty much been taught everything. He's a super cool guy and is trying to overcome smoking right now. He's preparing to be baptized on the 25th of this month and had a great meeting with Bishop Brown that super solidified him.

Brunel- Brunel grew up in Haiti and the Bahamas. The elders found him knocking, but we've been teaching him since he speaks english. This week we got to teach him about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me tell you something, Brunel understands repentance. He told us that he's been on his own since he was about 8 and never went to school. He worked for a fishing company and whenever someone was caught stealing fish, they were beaten, then the police were called. Brunel said that beating the thieves was something people look forward to, but after he was beaten and put in a coma for 2 weeks he realized he didn't want to be like that anymore. He said he prayed for God to change his heart and help him to be better. The Spirit was really strong and he shared that with us and as we all prayed together about him being baptized on the 25th of November.

Church was a pretty crazy experience. We have about 20 active members so they're all quite overwhelmed. They asked me to speak, so I prepared a brief message on faith. After me, a member of the High Council spoke and it was literally the most apostate thing ever! He was yelling over the pulpit, acting things out, and teaching tons of false doctrine. Fortunately(?), Brunel and Terry really liked it because it was similar to what they grew up with. We had a man randomly show up who met the elders and read the Book of Mormon, and it totally scared him off, so that was really sad. Adventure is all around us, folks.

Yesterday we felt prompted to go visit a couple who were recent converts but have been less active. As we knocked on the door, a face came to the window. The woman who looked at us immediately put her face in her hands and started to cry. She let us in and we just hugged for a while. She was so happy that we came by and told us how much she misses church. She's facing a lot of trials right now but it meant a lot to her that we came to visit. I'm so grateful the Lord guided us in our planning to go see her!

I love my new area and I would love to hear from you all :)


Love,
Sister Peterson




The companion.

My new area! and random police officers riding horses at a block party




The Elders (and the mask).

The District.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Leaving RPB

Well, transfers are tomorrow and last night we got the news that I'm leaving my beloved Royal Palm Beach and Sister Monson and heading down to Ft. Lauderdale English with Sister Murdock. I'm sad to leave but excited for a new adventure! Sister Murdock is super cute and this is the farthest south that I've ever served! Sister Monson and I always joke that I'm the queen of Palm Beach county because I've served here 10 transfers of my mission, but now I'm leaving!

This week was crazy and good. Freddy and Darlyne were not able to get married since Darlyne's divorce hasn't gone through, so we're focusing on helping them change what they can control. I love them so much and I'm really sad I didn't get to see them married or baptized, but I'll come back and visit. I'm so grateful the Lord has let me work with them and see all the changes they've made. LOVE THEM!

We had to be in early on Halloween night, so on pday we bought pumpkins and on Tuesday we carved them. We decided to make all of them Florida themed, so we've got Florida, Mickey, a pineapple, and some sketchy palm trees (the palm trees one is mine but don't judge me too much). We also watched Meet the Mormons and ate candy that a cute member put in bags for us since we couldn't trick-or-treat. I love this area so much! Basically being a missionary is the best and that's all I can say about it.

Jessica and Erica Henry came to church and loved it! The family is still progressing and learning. They're super busy, so we've been having a hard time meeting with them, but I'm hoping and praying for the best!

This week we had a member call us into a gated community so we could visit some people and knock in there. We were heading out, but felt prompted to stay and knock on a particular street for like 10 minutes instead of visiting the person we had planned. The first person we talked to knows a member of the Wellington Ward since he coached his son in soccer! He remembered Brother Martinez telling him several times where he goes to church and after we taught him a little about the restored gospel he got pumped! We're hoping to go back and teach his family this week. Member missionary work works, fam.

I went on an exchange with Sister Gates this week. This is her first transfer in the mission and she's adorable! I love getting to spend time with so many different sisters. 

SO our lesson in relief society was about prayer. One thing that really stuck out to me was a story that was shared about the power of praying for others. A man, a member of the church, was suddenly overcome with an illness one night and rushed to the ER. He was unconscious for several days and when he awoke offered a prayer of gratitude. He realized that he had not been able to pray for himself in that difficult time, but was blessed by the prayers of others. We were challenged to ask someone what we can pray for for them this week. I invite you to do the same!

I love the gospel and I love you all! Have a good week!

Sister Peterson


Pumpkins!




We drove on this crazy road called Little Gator Lane that was basically a series of hills and dips. The dips were filled with muddy water so we had no idea how deep they were. We definitely floated a little at some points.



Exchange with Sister Gates!


Monday, October 30, 2017

Fall is Here...

Hey fam! 

Let me tell you something, Florida is great. But this week we hit a cold snap and today it's supposed to be in the 50s. I'm such a baby now that when the temperature dips below 70 I pretty much shiver to death. I'm not sure how I'm going to do coming back to a Utah winter...I love Florida and all of the people here so much!

Last week we got a Mormon Helping Hands request to help an older woman clean up her property. We went with the ward on Saturday, then went back with the Wellington sisters on Wednesday and cleared more branches and brush. Mary (the woman we were helping) has a farm with all rescued animals, so we were surrounded by an odd assortment of pigs, goats, bulls (yup), and 3 legged dogs. It made me more than a little nervous to carry a pile of branches part the bulls for fear that I would accidentally clip one with a branch and incur its wrath. Luckily it was all fine and a really cool experience! It meant so much to Mary that we called her and asked to come help. She asked us if we would come back, "not to work, but to teach [her] more about this church stuff." We can do that!

This week we spent some time street contacting and inviting people to our ward Halloween party. We invited one guy at the park and were surprised when he actually came! His name is Zeke and he's a 25 year old art student. We were showing him around the chapel when he suddenly started telling us that he met with missionaries in Ft. Lauderdale 5 years ago and attended church several times. I know the Lord is aware of this young man and led us to be in the park at the time he was there to invite him to come back and learn more. It's funny how God is preparing people you'd never expect!

On Saturday we had a tropical storm. Members and the people we knocked into were telling us to go home and expressing complete shock that we would be out in the weather. We just told them, "The Lord's work never stops!" When it rains like that we just get excited because it should mean more people will be at home. I love being a missionary and sharing the gospel. 

I also got to see the Mogni family and Sister Christiansen at the ward party. Sister Christiansen (the mom of my recent convert, Julian) and her family just moved into the ward! So I get to visit them again. #holla

I've been studying about Samuel the Lamanite this week. Samuel the Lamanite is one of my favorite people in the Book of Mormon. We don't know much about him. He sort of comes out of the blue, preaches, and leaves again, but I'm grateful for his powerful example. I love when he is rejected by the people, begins to leave, and is told to turn back. We are told that the people wouldn't let him in the city, so he got upon the wall. Literally nothing was going to stop him from delivering his message. He did something crazy, radical, and frankly dangerous to share the word of the Lord and warn his brothers and sisters. If Samuel can do that, then why should we be scared to tell someone about what we believe? Or knock in a gated community? Or share the Book of Mormon with a preacher? Samuel teaches us that when we are on the errand of the Lord there is nothing to fear.

I hope I'm not too frozen to email again next week. I love you all so much!

Love,
Sister Peterson


Zone Conference!






Monday, October 23, 2017

Let the Lower Lights be Burning

Hello!

This week Sister Monson and I decided to break out of our normal ways of finding people to teach. We decided to spend time in parks talking to people. One day we took chalk and drew the Plan of Salvation, then invited people to come see and told them a little about God's plan for us. We also advertised for our ward party. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but it was so fun! I loved talking to people in a different way and creating opportunities for Heavenly Father to lead people to us.

We found another family this week! The Henry family, from Jamaica. Well, Terrence and Erica are from Jamaica, but their daughter Jessica was born here. They met missionaries several months ago and remember feeling so loved when the sisters were there, so they let us come back! Terrence and Jessica are especially receptive and really seeking to know if what we say is true. Erica is nice, but she seems pretty content in her own church. We're excited to keep teaching them and helping them prepare for baptism!

Freddy and Darlyne are on track for baptism. This week we found out that to get married in the state of Florida, you have to have four hours of marriage counseling. Well, there's two problems with that. 1) They don't have a way to get anywhere, and 2) they don't have any money. Luckily there's a member in Davie who used to be in the mission presidency who was willing to help us out. He's certified to do the marriage counseling, and he said that as long as we've been focusing on families than our visits count as 3 hours of the counseling. He was kind enough to drive all the way up to Royal Palm to visit them in their home and teach them about "The Family, A Proclamation to the World" for the last hour. Freddy and Darlyne already knew all of the things he was trying to teach them and I was just so proud. I love them! Please pray that Darlyne's divorce will go through quickly so they can be baptized on November 11th!

On Friday we did an exchange with the sisters in Port St. Lucie so I got to spend the day with Sister Wingert! We had a super fun time visiting Freddy and Darlyne, then going out to Loxahatchee. Loxahatchee is straight Florida wilderness. We were knocking and ended up meeting a man who gave us Gatorade then traded us a little comic book made by his church for a pass-along card. The things people give you as a missionary!

Our phone broke and when we got a new one we were told that they don't make slide phones anymore, so we were downgraded to a flip phone. Texting has been interesting. This week a member told us he could come to a lesson with us and we tried to respond, "Awesome! We will be teaching about missionary work tonight." But accidentally typed, "Hydrone! We will be teaching about missiocry work tonigu." So it's been a wild few weeks haha.

I just wanted to share a quick thought with you all :) This week as we were driving "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" came on and I remembered a District Training I had way back in my second transfer. That song was written about a certain bay where boats came in to dock. There were many rocks and it was treacherous. Many ships had sunken and crews drowned in this bay. The reason was because the lower lights often went out. Lighthouses have the main light, and then one or two lower lights. In order to sail safely into harbor, the sailor must line up the main light and the lower lights, then he is safely on course. When the lights go out, he is left to guess and this often resulted in sunken ships. Elder Heath likened this unto us as missionaries. We being the lower lights, and the main light being the Savior. Our job is to lead people safely home by aligning ourselves with the Savior and continually shining. This is true of missionaries, but I also think it's true of every member of the church. We have the truth. We have the light. We have to make sure we are in line with Christ and always shining to help everyone we meet come unto Him. Remember, "some poor fainting, struggling seaman, you may rescue, you may save."

I love you all!


Sister Peterson

Monday, October 9, 2017

Back to Normal...ish

Hi fam! 
It looks like we're finally done with the crazy proselyting-week days, service weekends thing. So this week we got to spend the whole week working in our area! We've kind of been all over the place and crazy all the time, but that's pretty much the norm for us. Being a missionary is great haha.

We met with Freddy and Darlyne a couple times. Freddy's been out of work and the family is really struggling, so a member of our ward took Freddy to work for him for the day doing mold remediation (that's a big business here in humid-land). Ten minutes into the first job Freddy was carrying a huge vase, tripped, and to protect the vase let it land in his hands. He busted his fingers open really badly and is now out of commission for the next little while. Satan is literally working every angle with them! But they still came to church and we've got a temple tour set up with them for Saturday! I also realized that November 11 is 3 days after transfers and I probably won't stay in Royal Palm for 4 transfers, so pray for a miracle that they can get baptized earlier!!

We're having the unique experience of teaching an excommunicated man who wants to be rebaptized. He chose to be excommunicated when he was younger because he wasn't living the commandments and didn't want to misrepresent the church. He's expressed a desire to come back to us, the bishop, and his home teachers, so now we're finally getting the ball rolling! It feels kind of weird to teach the lessons to somebody who already knows this stuff, but if you think about it everyone we teach once knew this stuff.

We had MLC (mission leadership council) on Friday, so we got to go to the mission home and see all our other leadership homies. The training was mostly about being Christlike leaders. I really liked a story that President Garns shared about his brother in law. He got a call from President Hinkley when he was called to the Seventy. He had never served in prominent leadership callings, so he was really nervous. He expressed his concerns to President Hinkley and the prophet asked him one question,
"Can you travel around and uplift and inspire the saints?" 
"Yes, I can do that."
"Then you're qualified."

I love that exchange! As leaders, our job really is just to uplift and inspire those in our stewardship. Sister Monson and I have been talking about how we can better do that and we have some great plans up our sleeves. I can't wait to tell you all about them as we put them into action!

This morning I read in Alma about the Stripling Warriors and Captain Moroni preparing to go to war. Although I love the story of the Stripling Warriors, what really caught my attention was the epistles between Moroni and Ammoron. Moroni writes his letter in anger, but he expresses that his army will not attack the Lamanites if they will retreat. The Nephites are only fighting to protect themselves. Ammoron, on the other hand, writes that they are trying to conquer or destroy the Lamanites because their fathers robbed them of the right to rule. When you look at those reasons, the Lamanites seem so petty! The Nephites understand that what really matters is God and family. Those are the things that last. I love that!

Yesterday we were running around like crazy. It came to the point that we had to decide to either eat dinner or get a full hour of knocking. We decided to knock and ended up meeting a family that we got to teach! From the moment they opened the door, the husband was really interested and the wife was not. They invited us in, though, and we felt strongly that we needed to teach them about the Restoration. The Spirit was incredibly strong the whole time and the whole family was listening so intently! Sadly, they would not accept a solid return appointment, but I know they felt the Spirit and whether they call us or not, they will not forget what they felt or the ideas we shared.

Have a wonderful week!

Love,
Sister Peterson


A couple pics from MLC


Monday, October 2, 2017

The Hurricane Madness Continues

Transfer week is crazy. This transfer week was coupled with another trip down to the keys, so literally everything was insane. Sister Monson and I are working hard here in Royal Palm and it's been fun. This week we were able to meet with Freddy and Darlyne a couple times and teach them about the temple. It reminded me of when we taught them about the Plan of Salvation and mentioned that they could be sealed together forever. Freddy turned to Darlyne and said, "You hear that, babe? We can be together forever." Darlyne gave him the sassiest look, but we know she's happy about it. Those two are still trying to get Darlyne divorced. It's made things a little more difficult with Freddy losing his job, because they need money for her to get divorced. Satan is throwing all sorts of things at them right now. Keep them in your prayers! We met with Freddy on Friday night and talked about the Priesthood and helped him catch the vision of being the priesthood holder in his home. He said the cutest prayer, just thanking God for "his sisters," the members, the gospel, and all he was learning. He ended his prayer by saying "We'll talk again soon." I loved that! First of all, my heart was so full of love and the Spirit. The gospel is amazing! Second of all, the thought that we'll talk to Heavenly Father again soon should always be our attitude. I'm learning so much from teaching.

Elder Thompson, our area Seventy, asked us to miss General Conference and go down to the Keys again. I was sad to miss conference, but happy to serve. President Garns is giving us four hours this week to catch up, then we have to wait until pday to watch the rest. We had a great weekend doing what the Lord would have been doing.

We got up at 3 AM on Saturday and drove over to a member's house so we could carpool down to Marathon. Little did we know, we were going to be riding in their 8 passenger van with every seat filled. Sister Monson and I squished in next to a brother in the ward and we were off. We finally arrived in Marathon at about 8 AM and we started our day! We spent a little time getting camp set up. The owners of the museum at the campsite were nice enough to open it again so the sister missionaries could stay there. Yay for AC!

We did a lot of outside work this weekend. It's amazing how many people's homes are still covered in trees, branches, seaweed, and other debris! I'm so grateful to be able to help where I can. On Sunday they sent our group down to Big Pine Key and we were able to clean up a few homes there. That's the area that the eye passed over when the hurricane first hit land here, and it was BAD. Trailers were flattened, homes were flattened, and there were downed trees everywhere! We helped one man shovel a thick layer of muck out of his garage and bring all his furniture out to be thrown away. I'm grateful we ended up there because there's no way he could have done it by himself. He was saying that he'd only lived in the Keys about two years and he definitely wasn't rebuilding there. We also helped a woman who had a collapsed fence, tons of seaweed, a refrigerator, and a hot tub in her back yard. The funny thing was, the hot tub wasn't even hers! That and a desk had blown in from someone else's house! Hurricanes are cray.

I have begun reading the war chapters in Alma. I especially love reading about Captain Moroni and contrasting him to Amalakiah. Captain Moroni is appointed to be the chief captain and he leads in righteousness. Amalakiah achieves leadership by trickery and crime, then uses hate to stir the people up to anger against the Nephites. I feel like Satan often uses the same tricks as Amalakiah to confuse us or make us lose sight of who we are. It's our job to follow the example of Moroni and remember who we are and what we're fighting for. 

I'm thoroughly exhausted, but excited for this upcoming week. Miracles loading!

Love,
Sister Peterson

P.S. I'd love to hear from you!!
488 Goldenwood Way
Wellington, FL 33414


The new District!

Us with the Garns

Keys life-this is where the water came up to!!


As close to the ocean as we could get


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Workin' in Marathon

Well, it's been another crazy week in the FFLM. I am continually blown away by how much God loves us as His children and all the opportunities He gives us to grow. I'm excited for the new transfer and how I'll grow in the next 6 weeks. Sister Monson and I are staying together in Royal Palm. She is the only companion I've spent more than one transfer with except when I was being trained and training. We found out that Sister Johnson, my old companion, will be coming to Wellington so we'll live together! I'm so excited! I literally love her so much. God is so good!

We found a really cool investigator this week named Fitore (Fih-tor-ee). People in Royal Palm have interesting names, man. She is so cool! She has a one year old daughter named Athena who keeps trying to climb on my lap and it's taking all my will power to resist haha. We actually met Fitore when we were trying to visit a former investigator. We found out that they'd moved, but she let us right in and we were able to teach her. She was baptized Christian about 4 years ago when she was really struggling after her divorce. She feels like she's fallen away and we were literally an answer to her prayers. She loves what we share with her. We told her about the Book of Mormon and she was like, "That's so cool!" which is a pretty good reaction.

Freddy and Darlyne picked a new date for baptism and are now on track for November 11. They are so ready to be baptized, but with all the work that needs to be done so Darlyne can be divorced and she and Freddy can get married, they need some time. Freddy lost his job and Darlyne is starting at McDonald's this week. They could really use your prayers! I love this family!

We met with Amy again and sadly she is not ready to commit. She told us she might come to church sometime, though. It's always sad to see someone reject the Gospel because I know how it can change their life, but God has a plan for everyone. Hopefully she'll be ready one day!

We had zone conference this week and talked about being 100% responsible. I'm working to figure out how I can take full responsibility of my stewardship here!

We've had lots of opportunities to serve since the hurricane. During the week we proselyte normally and offer to help when we can. The past couple weekends have been completely devoted to hurricane clean up. All the missionaries on the east coast of our mission were sent down to the Keys to serve this weekend. Sister Monson and I drove down on Friday and left Sunday night. We were stationed in Marathon and I was shocked by the devastation. Some streets we went to literally looked like a third world country! It was so humbling to see. We had a very hardworking crew and helped to remove furniture, drywall, trees, and debris. The smell of the rotting homes was haunting. I can't imagine coming home to a completely destroyed house! It really makes you reconsider what is truly important. 

As I was praying about the opportunity to serve, I thanked Heavenly Father for allowing us to fully devote those few days to helping people clean up and rebuild their lives. The Spirit taught me that that is my job as a missionary every single day. With the hurricane, we're helping people repair their physical lives. As missionaries, we're helping people to clean and rebuild their spiritual lives. Hurricane clean up is important, but these homes can be destroyed again. The seaweed and trees can be washed back up. But with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our spirits receive full healing and cannot be destroyed by the circumstances around us. I'm so grateful for the Gospel!

We camped out for a few nights. Luckily, there was a museum at the campsite that they opened for the missionaries. We got to sleep in air conditioning and have flushing toilets. What a blessing! The stake provided portable showers. There were two showers inside this tarp block, but the divider between the two was only waist high...sadly the lines were very long to shower so there always needed to be two people going at the same time. Let's just say that Sister Monson and I have bonded in a way that I haven't with any of my other companions haha.

I just want all of you to know that I am incredibly grateful to be a missionary. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all my heart. I'm grateful for the opportunity to hear from living prophets and apostles. Take advantage of this weekend to receive what the Lord needs to teach you. I know that I learned a ton from Women's Conference! I learned that I love myself and I hate myself, but luckily the Atonement is infinite!

Love,
Sister Peterson


Clean up craziness in Marathon. Side note-the Keys are really beautiful! And it looked like fall there.