Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Friends for Life Mission

Hello!

Well fam, my last email is finally here! I'm feeling about 10 different emotions right now, but the most prevalent one is gratitude. I will be forever grateful for the time I've had to serve as a full time missionary and representative of Jesus Christ in the Florida Ft. Lauderdale Mission. I'm grateful for my companions who have been patient with me and helped me to recognize the things that I need to change. I'm grateful for two wonderful mission presidents who have loved me and taught me. I'm grateful for my recent converts who have helped me to see how quickly you can come to love someone and being wonderful examples of giving things up to come unto the Savior. I'm grateful for the wards I've been blessed to serve in for their examples of service and for all they do to build the kingdom of God in their areas. I'm grateful for my family who have written me, prayed for me, and supported me. I'm grateful for the Savior, Jesus Christ, for willingly suffering pains He didn't deserve so that I do not have to suffer through them alone. I'm grateful for the Father's plan of continual progression and the Savior who is my trainer and motivator through all of the trials that come my way. I'm grateful for the beautiful and simple Gospel of Jesus Christ!

My last week has been a wonderful one. A couple weeks ago we knocked into a single-mother family who was not going to be able to afford Christmas gifts. We had the privilege of working with the ward to provide the family with a tree and some gifts and we got to help the mom wrap the gifts, which was a party! I just feel so much love for their family. We actually got to go back and teach them a lesson and it was wonderful. The kids (9,8, and 7) gathered around and helped us turn pages and answer questions. The gospel really is for everyone!

We got to have a Family Home Evening with the Tippetts family, Brunel, and John  (another recent convert in the ward). We had a great time playing charades, talking about the Plan of Salvation, and getting to know one another. Brunel requested that we sing "You Raise Me Up" as our closing hymn because that's his "Holy Ghost song." Brother Tippetts was really cool about it. I just love Brunel so much!

Last night we got to go to the temple with Brother Tippetts, Brunel, John, and Terry. All I can say is that I love the temple and Terry and Brunel did too. 

I had my last zone conference this week as well! Elder Foster, from the Quorum of the Seventy, came and addressed us. He made the point that when we talk to people, they don't really want to know about us. They want to tell us about them, and then that will lead to curiosity about what we believe. He really emphasized that missionary work (and the gospel) is always about THEM, not YOU. And when you think about it, isn't that exactly what the Savior taught?? We had a white elephant gift exchange at lunch. Sister Murdock ended up with a pair of Miami Heat socks and I got hand soaps that the next few sisters who live in my house will really enjoy haha.

Alvin is doing well and came to the ward Christmas party on Saturday. He's still pretty pumped about his baptism on the 23rd!

Also James, my recent convert from my first area, just moved to Ft. Laud. What are the odds??? So I got to see him this week. Tender mercies!

I went on an exchange with cute Sister Gonzalez on Friday in a Spanish area! Good thing I know about 3 sentences in Spanish haha. I prayed that we would meet people who spoke a little bit of English so I could help Sister Gonzalez, and when we were knocking we met like four part member families who fit that exactly! God is in the details, I tell you.

I love the Savior, I love my mission, and I love all of you!

See you soon!

Love,
Sister Peterson


Taking Christmas to that cute family :)





18 months!

The cake we had at our ward Christmas Party (It says Happy Birthday Lord)

Reunited with Sister Monson and Elder Krieger at MLC! Love them.














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!