Monday, June 26, 2017

Peaceful & Bright Eyes

My dearest family,

What an eventful week! Naturally I'll tell you all about it.

The Ft. Lauderdale Temple President and Matron live in the Boca Ward, and once a month they have a family home evening called "Empty Nesters" for all the people without kids at home. They have an incredibly beautiful mansion and I was wearing a shirt from Target #classy  I loved the Spirit in their home and the chance for all of those who may feel alone to get together.

This week was President and Sister Richardson's last zone conference! I love them so much. President Richardson has been like a father to me here and I know his call to serve was inspired of God. I'm excited to meet President and Sister Garns because I know they have been called to the FFLM at this time because they are what we need.

After zone conference, we had a zone wide exchange! I went with Sister Rosario to Palm Beach North, my first area! I saw the ward mission leader and knocked in some of the places that I had been in before. Together we were able to find four new investigators! I really love Palm Beach North and I'm so grateful I started my mission there :) 

On Wednesday we attended the Book of Mormon class our ward holds every week. I had a revelation as we were studying the words of Bruce R. McConkie in regards to the Priesthood. He made the point that the Priesthood is the same power the Earth was created by. It's the same power that will be used to resurrect each one of us. For some reason, I had never thought of the Priesthood that way. I was overwhelmed realizing that the Priesthood really is the power of God here on the Earth. This week I've been so excited to teach people about the Priesthood being back on the Earth. I'm grateful that He's shared His power with us here on the Earth to bless us. 

Laura has been doing amazingly well! She received a blessing of healing last Sunday and on Tuesday, she was walking without crutches! She has full confidence that it was the blessing and is more excited than ever to be baptized. She just soaks the gospel up and says that everything feels familiar and right to her. She's been so prepared!! So she's getting baptized on July 8 :)

As for Teresa, her grandson up in West Palm Beach got very sick so she spent the week with him. We've been talking to her over the phone and she's very eager to come home and "get caught up on her studies" haha. Love her!

On Saturday we decided to bike. We biked out to visit a less active member and help her set up her inversion table (oh, the skills you learn as a missionary!). Afterwards, we were going to go see Carmen. The road we were on didn't have a sidewalk or a bike lane, but we didn't have to go very far so we just stayed as far right as possible and biked on our merry way! The thing about Florida is, people are crazy drivers. They were whizzing past us at full speed and were getting within inches of us. I panicked and swerved into the gutter. At that point, one of my feet was on a pedal and the other was pushing along the curb. I tried to get my foot back on the pedal and ended up kicking it instead. I started bleeding, so we stopped and at that point Sister Johnson realized we were going the wrong way. We were able to turn around and we were just fine, but I feel like Heavenly Father let me get a little hurt so that we would stop and go the right way. He really cares!

Okay, one last story! Remember the Boggess? The temple president and matron? Well, on Saturday, Sister Boggess called us. She told us that she had invited the woman who did her nails to church and lunch afterwards, so she invited us to come as well. Yuvi came to church and loved it, then as we ate lunch she kept asking what made our church different from other Christians. We shared the Restoration with her and she was touched deeply by the Spirit. I didn't even get to finish extending the baptismal invite before she enthusiastically accepted. She has been so prepared! Sometimes I forget that there are truly elect people waiting for the truth, who have only been kept from the truth because they know not where to find it. We invited her to be baptized on July 8 and she just started to cry. Apparently that's the birthday of her favorite aunt who passed away. Heavenly Father is in the details, people!

In other news, this week we found out that Carmen can't remember our names, so she has nicknames for us. Turns out I'm "Bright Eyes" or "Blue Eyes" and Sister Johnson is "Peaceful." Haha sounds like a power duo!

Well, I've gone on and on, so I suppose I'll finish up. I know this is the Lord's work and I'm so grateful to be part of it.

I love you all!

Love,
Sister Peterson

The Boggess Mansion!
Pre bike day and post bike day
Zone conference! Sister Cohen is doing so well :)
PBN with Sister Rosario 
The Palm Beach Dream Team Zone
The damage from the kicking-the-pedal incident.
Someone gave us water bottled in Italy. It's so Boca.













Monday, June 19, 2017

#MiraclesOnMiracles

Well hello there!

Let me just start by sharing something I learned as I was studying King Benjamin's address this week. His words about the Atonement really caught my interest. He talks about the bitterness and pain of sin and how the Atonement is the only thing that can take that away. Repentance is such a beautiful gift. It is not a process free of pain, but it is a process that frees us from pain. So just remember that!
I had a super great week! I had the opportunity to go on exchanges to Boynton on Tuesday. That's the first time I've ever gone on an exchange to somewhere besides Royal Palm Beach! I went with Sister Jensen and we had a ton of fun :) She actually had the same branch president as me in the MTC! The coolest thing was when an investigator cancelled our appointment and we decided to go see a less active member. We needed to finish up our hour of knocking, so we chose a couple doors. We ended up meeting a woman named Deitra who had prayed the night before and begun a plan to bring her back to God. That was the only time I got to spend with her, but the sisters have been teaching her and they said she's super cool! I'm just grateful I got to be there to meet her  :)
We received two referrals from church headquarters this week and those are the best! We received one referral just as our appointment for that afternoon cancelled on us, so we decided to go deliver a bible to Dream right away. We started talking to Dream and she told us that she had only requested the bible two hours before we came! Her reasons for ordering a bible were still so fresh that we were able to have a lesson about the Restoration right there. Now she wants to come to church and bring her daughter!
The other referral we received on Saturday afternoon. We stopped by right away since the result had been so great with Dream, but nobody answered. Later that evening we got a call from an unknown number and it was the referral, Laura, asking us to come over! She is going through such a hard time right now. She recently paralyzed her shoulder, then broke her wrist and was unable to afford treatment so she walked around with it broken for 5 weeks, then she broke her ankle, and now she has a torn meniscus. To top it all off, she was fired the day she called us, from a job she'd had for 8 years. We were able to testify to her about the plan that God has for each of us and teach her about the Plan of Salvation so she could see that this life if just the time for men to prepare to meet God.  I felt so much love for her in that moment and I know the Savior was working through me. I love being able to represent Him! Laura came to church and even accepted a baptismal date for July 1st, so we're excited to work towards that with her.
We went to a somewhat ghetto area to visit a past investigator (don't worry Mom-it was mid-afternoon and it's not that sketchy) who ended up not being home. Sister Johnson wanted to knock on two doors and we ended up meeting Teresa (she's the one who sent the selfie for Father's Day :)). We prayed with Teresa and invited her to be baptized and she did this excited dance and said, "I've always wanted to be baptized!" She's so excited! She told us that she'd seen the elders out when she was growing up and had always wanted to talk to them. She knew God sent us to her and it was such a testimony to me of how God prepares people. Teresa loved church and fit right in with the ward! She is the sweetest, funniest person I've ever taught. I love her so much! She's also preparing to be baptized July 1st :)
Carmen finally came to church! We've struggled to get her to come and she finally kept her promise and came. Carmen is so anxious, but I know she felt the Spirit as we partook of the Sacrament. I will miss her so much when she moves back to Oregon!
I met a very interesting man this week. Our ward has a Book of Mormon class on Wednesday nights, and we were able to attend because we didn't have any appointments. That's where I met Xeron. He ended up finding the church because he wanted an opportunity to serve. He's now been coming to church every other week and has read the Book of Mormon up to Helaman over the last year. He hasn't been baptized because he insists that he doesn't believe in God, but I just don't see how you could come to church for that long and read the Book of Mormon so diligently without feeling anything. I think it all comes back to having a sincere heart and real intent. When I asked Xeron if he'd ever prayed to ask if God was really there, or if the Book of Mormon is true, he told me that he had never said a prayer by himself. God truly gives us what we sincerely ask for, but if we don't ask, we can't expect to receive.
On a lighter note, we volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Boca and they let Sister Johnson and I use the pricing guns. Let's just say I had the time of my life.
I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my Savior so much! I know this is His work and I'm so grateful to be able to be part of it here in Florida.
All my love,Sister Peterson

Celebrating my one year mark with Ice Cream Sundaes (shout-out to Jessica for the supplies!)

Elder Hantz wanted to sit with the sisters, so naturally I stood with the elders??
I finally tried Coxina! Brazilian food is bomb.

This is what happens to fortune cookies in Florida (note, this was left out on our kitchen counter over night)
Sister Muniz and I being obedient to the whole, "you have to wear skirts in the chapel" thing when we go email.







Monday, June 12, 2017

Rain + ONE YEAR!

We had sooo much rain this week! It basically rained for three days straight. It was so fun to tract through puddles us to mid-calf and then see people's faces when we knocked on their door. This one guy just opened the door and said, "Seriously? In the rain?" I said back, "Of course! The Lord's work never stops." He didn't think that was very funny, but I did. The weather did make for some interesting experiences, though. Every night Sister Johnson and I came home and put our shoes in front of the fan and then prayed really hard they'd be dry in the morning. Usually they were, so #blessed.

On Tuesday night we realized we were below half a tank of gas (during hurricane season we are supposed to make sure we're never below a half tank), so we went to the closest gas station. While I was waiting for Sister Johnson in the bathroom I started talking to this guy who was waiting in line to use the bathroom (literally there's never a time that missionaries won't talk to someone. On the phone? Yep. Getting gas? Yep. Waiting in line to use the bathroom? You betcha.) Anyway, I gave him a card and then he asked when we could meet. I was a little confused, but he told me that he met elders a couple years ago and wanted to learn more. Inspired pit stop!

Carmen had an estate sale this past weekend so we did a lot of work to help her prepare. We made 32 signs for advertising and helped her sort things to put out. Let me tell you, she has a ton of stuff! We were getting really frustrated because we'd go help her and then we wouldn't be able to have a lesson because we ran out of time. We stopped by on Saturday night after her sale ended to talk about the Sabbath Day. She told us that she's been feeling a little voice inside her telling her to come to church and that the things we teach her are right. We explained that that was the Spirit and then invited her to be baptized! She accepted and now she's feeling the Spirit more and more. She's moving back to Oregon on the 28th and her date for baptism is the 24th, so we're praying about whether she should be baptized here or in Oregon. I love her so much! She says the most beautiful prayers now-when I first met her she always started, "Dear God, IF you're there..." and now she just starts talking to Him. It's wonderful!

We had the opportunity to meet a very friendly atheist woman yesterday. She initially told us that we caught her at a bad time (she had literally just pulled into her driveway) but she let us help her carry in her groceries. We brought them in, complimented the pictures of her grandchildren, then proceeded to talk with her for 40 minutes. She definitely didn't accept the gospel, but we were able to testify to her and plant a seed. I think sometimes Heavenly Father sends us to people just so He can remind them that He loves them. Some missionaries may say that meeting her was a waste of time, but to me it's a testimony that Heavenly Father is mindful of and loves all His children.

I read Words of Mormon this week and studied a bit more about the background of the book. For some reason, it really stood out to me that he really abridged the plates. He physically rewrote everything that we have. Remember that Jacob told us in his book that he would only write a few things because of the difficulty of engraving upon the plates. To me, that means that everything we have from Mormon's abridgment is vitally important, especially because he points out that he is abridging according to the Spirit and the understanding he has gained from God. I think I will appreciate every word a little more with that in mind. The Book of Mormon was written and brought forth for us by great sacrifice on the behalf of many. How grateful I am for all those who sacrificed so I can have guidance.

Also, I heard from Rosa this week and Kyle got baptized on Saturday!! I so wish I could have been there, but I'm just so happy for their family!

con mucho amor,
Sister Peterson

SO. MUCH. RAIN.





Monday, June 5, 2017

Livin La Vida {en} Boca

So, this week was super fun. Sister Johnson and I bonded and I love her so much! She's basically the nicest person ever, guys. No really. I had this super sunken in mattress and the mission brought me a new one this week and she took her journal time to help me make my bed. How nice is that? She's awesome. We also live with the Portuguese sisters, Sister Tilby and Sister Muniz. I lived with Sister Tilby before and I love her so much! Sister Muniz is from Brazil and we're basically best friends. She cracks me up! Her favorite phrase is "super cute."

But enough about that. Boca is so fun! We had crazy rain this week so we were constantly wet. My grandma shoes are not holding up super well in the weather, BUT We were able to meet with most of our investigators this week! So here's the lowdown:

La familia Vasquez: our miracle family from last week! We had a lesson with them this week and the Spanish Elders invited themselves to come with us. They took over the lesson and the next thing we knew, they were not our investigators anymore. The Elders are teaching them now. The family is doing really well though! The girls have been reading the Book of Mormon and the mom, Iris is so sensitive to the Spirit! We're not exactly sure how the whole teach/baptize situation is going to pan out because the younger girls don't really speak or understand Spanish and that's the language the Elders teach them in. They came to church on Sunday and Iris went to the Spanish sacrament meeting, but her girls went to the English ward classes. So basically this situation is super confusing but the Vasquez family is cool.

Linda: We had two appointments fall through with Linda this week, so we were a little worried. She ended up coming to church for fast and testimony meeting! Sister Johnson and I were nervous because you never know what people will say, but the meeting was very spiritual. Afterwards I asked Linda how she felt and she kept saying, "I was so moved." We explained that she can have that feeling always and she accepted to be baptized on the 24th of this month! Yay Linda!

Carmen: She's really struggling. She's scared of her roommate, but she's seen so many miracles since she started investigating the church. We had a really great talk about faith and repentance and she's committed to keep learning and growing her faith!

Shelley: Shelley is a less active member that the Portuguese Elders knocked into last week. She recently divorced her Muslim husband and she wants her son to be involved with our church. She called us on Saturday and asked to meet with us! That is the first time on my mission that somebody has called and asked to meet. She came to church on Sunday, stayed all three hours, and loved it! We're so excited to help her come back and to teach her son!

I have studied a lot about faith this week. The scriptures tell us that whatsoever thing we ask in faith, we will be given, right? But Heavenly Father doesn't always give us what we ask for. I looked up faith in the bible dictionary and found that in order for faith to be real, it must be in something true (the phrase ""true faith"" comes to mind). When our desires aren't truly in line with His will, He can't give us what we ask for. I know that when we focus on developing our faith in the Savior and growing our trust in Him that God will be able to answer all of our prayers. 

Well, I could go on and on but I'll spare you all :) I love you! Have a wonderful week!

Love,
Sister Peterson

The District. We're all nerds.

Popcorn!

There was just an Aston Martin in our parking lot. It's fine.

Our house! I love living with Sister Tilby again :)

Getting ready for bed.