Monday, March 27, 2017

The Spirit and Party Tricks

Hello hello hello!

Where to even start this week? Our week was crazy and full of miracles. We started off by having interviews with President Richardson on Tuesday. We talked a lot about me training Sister Cohen and what I can do to help her. I asked him how we know for sure that the Book of Mormon took place in America and he was telling me about when Cortez came to the Americas and the natives fell down and worshipped him. They described him as "a white god with a beard." The only reason they would respond that way is because they had heard stories of a white god visiting their brethren before. Crazy! The gospel is so true!
On Tuesday we went to go visit a former investigator and found out that he had moved. We asked the woman at the door, Rosa, if we could share a prayer with her. She called her son and we prayed with them. Rosa really loved it and we set up a time to come back and teach her family. 

Pause- I went on an exchange with Sister Root on Friday and we had so much fun! In the morning we went to do yard work with a former investigator and had a blast cutting back bushes, weeding (or sometimes pulling out small palm trees that came from birds pooping out the seeds), and helping Yvonne learn how to use her lawn mower. She also started playing music and I heard three One Direction songs, so I know Heavenly Father loves me :) We visited our 11 year old investigator Julian in the afternoon and planned his baptism with him and his mom. It's really happening! We're so excited. Anyway, then we went to visit Rosa.

Unpause- Rosa is from Mexico and her husband, Guido, is from Italy. They have very different religious backgrounds because Rosa was raised devout Catholic, and Guido didn't grow up religious but joined the Catholic church to marry his first wife. Kyle, Rosa's son, said he used to believe in science but really liked the bible stories his mom told him so now he believes in God. Guido is a pastry chef and Rosa is latin so they fed us while we were there and we had an awesome discussion. Guido has a lot of questions but not too much faith, so we threw down a little and told him that God would not answer him if he didn't sincerely want to know and listen with real intent to act. He was a little surprised that we would say that to him when we'd known him for 45 minutes, but when Kyle asked if we would come again the next day Guido was all for it! So we've been teaching them. Rosa came to Women's Conference and she and Kyle came to church yesterday. They definitely understand that this is important so I'm excited to see them progress!

Update on Jackie and Makayla: we went by to teach Savannah a new member lesson but the whole family joined in and it turned into a lesson for Jackie and Makayla. Makayla started asking questions about things she was confused about and her family was making fun of her for asking, so we set up a time to go back and just talk with her. She's beginning to trust us and like us again! She even invited us to come watch her and Savannah play rugby on Saturday. We went and met all her non-member coaches and it was way fun! Savannah was so proud and was bringing people over to meet us. Makayla was a little embarrassed but she's coming around. I'll keep you posted!

Michele called us Friday to say that she felt rushed with baptism and wants to continue to learn but take it slow. That's totally fine, but she hasn't called us back since then so we'll see what happens. I hate how quickly Satan works! Michele was so solid and he pushed his way right in to keep her from happiness. As the scriptures say, "Oh the cunning plan of the evil one!" Don't forget how real he is and how much he hates you. He will never lead you to happiness or anything good!

We had the most wonderful lesson with Julian and his mom on Sunday. We taught Julian about the Plan of Salvation and he thought it was pretty dang cool! Then he went outside and we started to talk to Sister Christiansen. She told us about an experience where a doctor had intentionally misled her with one of her pregnancies. The Spirit was telling her to get up and leave but she didn't. Her baby died and a terrible case concerning that specific doctor was on the news the next week. She has felt so incredibly guilty and unworthy of the blessings of the gospel since then. That's when she stopped going to church. That's why she's so hard on Julian to be absolutely sure about being baptized. We read Alma 36 with her, where Alma the Younger is telling his son about his conversion. He talks about being racked with guilt and eternal torment...until he remembers the Savior. She and I cried as we read this account and the Spirit was so strong. We committed her to read that chapter again and she is so excited to do so. The Spirit is so real and Heavenly Father is so mindful of His children! I could feel the very real love He has for Sister Christiansen and it was beautiful. I'm so grateful I get to be a missionary and experience that love!

On a lighter note, we ate dinner with the Boix family and Brother Boix's Cuban parents. They asked us to pray for them so I said the prayer in Spanish and they were blown away. It's so fun to say prayers in Spanish for people because they don't see it coming from me haha. They complimented me on my excellent Spanish and I had to explain that praying in Spanish is sort of like my party trick. It's all I know how to do but I do it pretty well haha.
I know the Gospel is so true. Everything testifies of the reality of our loving Savior and Redeemer. Never fall for Satan's lies that you are not good enough or that you've gone too far to be forgiven. You are good enough! You can repent! Heavenly Father knows you so personally. I know He loves you and I do too :)

Love,
Sister Peterson

There's a basically abandoned mall in Welly with weird statues so obviously we took pictures.


I've been told by four separate shoe salesmen this week that my feet are really flat and in bad shape. So I'm supposed to soak them. We don't have a bathtub so I use a crate with a garbage bag in it. #ghettolife
The Rodeo District with our horseshoes :)
What a week!





Monday, March 20, 2017

The Ghettoest of Ghettoes

My Dearest Familia,

This week has been crazy full of miracles! As I read in 2 Nephi this week I came across 2 Nephi 8:7 which says, "Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness...fear not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings." That really hit me and I was thinking-hey-I know the truth! I know righteousness! And because I know I have no reason to fear any man. So Sister Cohen and I went hard at talking to everyone this week. In our mission we call talking to someone we see an OYM (open your mouth). So we OYM'd everyone! It was awesome to see Sister Cohen change from standing behind me all embarrassed to pointing people out that we could go talk to. The gospel is beautiful! Share it without fear! So we were able to see a lot happen from our OYMing efforts.

We were going to an appointment that we had set up with a potential investigator and he wasn't home. We walked down the stairs and saw a lady with two little girls carrying in groceries. We ran over to help her and it turned out that she's the wife of the man we had come to see! We helped her to her apartment (she was very impressed by our grocery carrying skills-thanks Mom), then she let us right in to teach her a lesson. It's so amazing how our Heavenly Father works! I know if we hadn't OYM'd her there is no way we would have been able to see that miracle that God had set up.

Another really cool miracle happened on Saturday. We were going to go help the Royal Palm Beach sisters with a service project they were going to but we had a little time between studies and when that would start, so we decided to put in some time knocking doors. We accidentally went to a pretty rich, spread-out place  but the third door we knocked on was Michele. She came outside and was so happy to see us! She kept saying how wonderful what we're doing is. She told us that she was raised Roman Catholic but had stopped attending church five years ago when she stopped feeling the Spirit there. She insisted that she would never change religions, but she called us Sunday morning to ask what to wear to church. We had an awesome lesson with her after church where she told us that she had been waiting and hoping we would come back. Apparently sisters knocked on her door a couple months ago and talked to a friend who was staying with her. He told her about the experience and she hoped that those sisters would come back to help her. Then we showed up! She was so engaged in our lesson and really felt the Spirit! Before we could even offer, she asked us where she could buy a copy of the Book of Mormon. She is so elect and I'm so excited to teach her! She loves feeling the Spirit in church and in our lessons!

Do y'all remember Julian? He's the son of a less active member that Sister Schiers and I were working with. Well, they had us over for dinner this week and the first thing Sister Christiansen said to us was, "I was thinking April 8th for Julian's baptism." So yeah. We're meeting with him again tomorrow and he'll be baptized before we know it!

Somehow we got permission to go to Belle Glade and knock there with our district. It was the best day of my mission! Belle Glade is the ghettoest of ghettos and my dream area. Sister Root and I have both served in Palm Beach (which includes Riviera Beach) so we were absolutely giddy with excitement. So fun!

We had zone conference so I was able to see some of my old mission homies and we all got pumped about hitting our goal of baptizing 100 souls in April in #TheRiseoftheFFLM Holla!

I love you all so much! I know that this Gospel is absolutely true and there is nothing that can replace it. Because we have been blessed to know, it is our duty to share that with others! Go OYM some of your coworkers and pals this week!

Love,
Sister Peterson

Juno Beach up in Jupiter


Zone Conference! Sister Soto, who I lived with back in Palm Beach, and Sister Davis, who I lived with in the MTC


We made chocolate mustaches (thanks Grandma <3)



Belle Glade!

Sister Cohen's first bike day! She didn't even hate it and I got to rock my 2 braids again. Holla. 


Cuban corn :)


Monday, March 13, 2017

Hump Day

Dear Family,

I hear spring is coming for most of you, but here summer is coming and I'm dreading it. The sisters wear pants now, which was great in the winter but is about to become the bane of my existence as we enter hot and humid time (well, hottest and most humid time). Sister Cohen is still in awe of Florida and so confused about the temperature here haha.

We had a crazy week! We were trying really hard to serve, or offer to serve, everybody we talked to and a couple people actually let us! We helped a lady named Arlene wash her car and she told us about her husband dying and how much she misses New York. She didn't want to meet with us, but she did say she was grateful God sent us to her and gave us hugs, so you win some, you lose some. We also had the opportunity to help some members with their housework and other things. We even got to help somebody stamp and seal wedding invitations, so that was fun! I just have so much love for service. I want to help everybody!  I just wish people would be more willing to let us help them. It makes me think of the Savior-He's already made the sacrifice and paid the price, but we have to choose to let that take effect. Oh agency!

We had kind of a roller-coaster week with Jackie. She was set to be baptized on the 18th, but for some reason she was very evasive about setting a time and committing to it solidly. She and Makayla came to church yesterday and as we sat down with them and Bishop it became clear that Jackie is totally ready for baptism. She knows it's true and it makes her happy-but she wants to be baptized with Makayla. The only problem is that Makayla seems to hate us now and she is not interested in getting baptized right now. I know Jackie wants to do this with Makayla, but I wish she wouldn't hold herself back from all the blessings she can have right now!

We decided to pass Jairo to the Spanish elders this week and that was happy and sad. I really miss that sweet old man, but Sister Cohen and I both felt that he needed to meet with the Spanish elders. He still went to church yesterday and is doing well and that is all that matters!

In reference to the subject line of this email, I hit my half-way mark this week. I can't believe it! I feel like I just got to the mission field. I'm so grateful for all those that reached out to me this week. I love you! I'm also grateful for all I've learned this past nine months. I've learned to really rely on the Savior and allow Him to help me. I've learned to accept and seek the will of God in my life. I've learned that the Gospel truly is the greatest gift we've been given and I want ERRYBODY to have it.

I love you all so much!

Love,
Sister Peterson

Oh-I made Sister Cohen let me hold her like a baby because apparently that's a thing


Enjoy my hump day pics haha 




Monday, March 6, 2017

I HAVE A BABY!

Hello!

Well, I have a child. In the mission field, they call somebody who trains a new missionary a "mom" or "dad" and the trainee is the "baby." So I have posterity now! When I met Sister Cohen at transfers, we took a picture with my mission mom, Sister Garlick!: 


Aren't we cute? P.S. this is one of the only times I've been outside in a skirt since October. Luckily they told Sister Cohen to buy pants in her call letter!

So here's the deets on my baby: Sister Cohen is from Carson City, Nevada. She's the youngest of 5 and the first to serve a mission out of her siblings. She's a dancer, so I lose her if she turns sideways. She loves country music and hates reading. She's super quiet but has got some serious SASS (so I guess she has the right trainer haha). SHe has a killer testimony and is such an example to me of seeking and following the Spirit! I love her a lot. She's doing so well for only being in Florida for 5 days!

Transfer week is always crazy and this week was no different! It was weird to say goodbye to Sister Schiers after we'd been through so much together, but I'm so excited to have a new companion to learn from! We got back from Ft. Lauderdale at like 4:30 and had to leave dinner early so we could get to all our appointments on time. But then everything fell through...so I was able to show Sister Cohen how we just keep going when people cancel on us, and how it's an opportunity to find what God really wants you to be doing. That's great lesson for missionary work and for life, so there ya go.

Savannah is doing awesome and is so happy! When they had her stand to welcome her to the ward she actually smiled! And usually she's quite sullen when she's in a crowd, especially if she's being singled out. She's just the best!! Jackie is doing really well and has a new baptismal date for March 18th. She's been telling us how she's just felt like singing and smiling lately and you can just see the light of that Gospel that's come into her life! She's still waiting for her "sign," so now our job is to help her see that God has already answered her through the way she feels! Makayla has done a total 180 and seems mad when we come over. She says she used to feel excited when we'd come and now she just feels nothing all the time. She even told us that she had a feeling of fear at Savannah's baptism (we think maybe she's scared of water because the prayer didn't scare her...?) We're going to have to let the Spirit work on her for a little while, but we'll try again :)

We've been teaching a little Columbian man named Jairo and he's so cute! He actually received a Book of Mormon 20 years ago but had to leave it behind when he moved to the United States. He loves our lessons and he always prays and thanks God for "his sisters" and asks Him to help him become a Mormon. It's super cute. He came to church on Sunday and really liked it! We just had a Spanish branch open in our area, so we might pass him to those elders and see how he does. It would be sad, but we just want to do what will be the best for Jairo!

I just want to tell you about a little miracle that meant the world to me yesterday. I was super stressed because we didn't have time to knock for a full hour and when we were half way to our dinner appointment I realized the members lived in a gated community and I didn't have my ID! In Florida they will not let you in if you don't have it. At this point we were 10 minutes into the drive and if we went back home to get my ID we'd be 30 minutes late for dinner! We decided to see what happened at the gate and I was just praying so hard that Heavenly Father would provide a way for us to get in. When we got to the gate the guard didn't even stop us! She just waved us on! It was such a tender mercy! I know that God is so mindful of each of us, even with the small things in our lives. He truly is our father and He cares so much! I'm grateful that He cared enough to help us get to dinner on time :)

WAIT! One more miracle. We had a little taste of ghetto this week! We went to make sure Savannah, Makayla, and Jackie were all set for church on Sunday and as we pulled in 3 ambulances, a cop car, and 2 electrical trucks pulled up. Apparently a transformer had blown, but at the same time somebody had OD'd down the street! (Or skreet, as they say in the ghetto). Obviously I wasn't happy that someone had OD'd (they were okay when they took them in the ambulance but I have no idea what happened after that) but I loved being there for that. I know that sounds weird, but I felt so at home and I honestly feel like that was a little gift from Heavenly Father.

Well, I love you all a lot! The church is so true and so GOOD. Have a fabulous week!

Love,
Sister Peterson


Sister Schiers and I trying to be cute on our only day to take pictures outside

Sugar cane picked in Belle Glade (my dream area that I will never serve in because it's too ghetto for sisters :( )


The Rodeo District!

Sister Cohen and I with our animal crackers! (thanks Grandma!)