Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greetings from the Petersen missionary

Email sent Monday 27 September 2010

So let's see, how about my week, it was a week of miracles. We had a miracle baptism this week! So there is this 16 year old girl Ge... that I have been teaching ever since I got here, and the other sisters actually found her in May and she had a baptismal date set for June, but...her mom wouldn't let her get baptized. This girl is awesome! She is more of a member than most members.... Ge... has been getting her own rides to church every week since June, and goes to mutual willingly every week sometimes walking there...and it's way further away than our church is from our house. And randomly without anyone telling her to do it or anything, she quit swim team so that she could go to early morning seminary. AND SHE WASN'T EVEN A MEMBER! She's as legit as they come. But she just couldn't get baptized because she had to have her mom's permission. We hadn't even met her mom till like the beginning of September. So when Sister Morrill got here, her and I started talking about how we need to figure out a way to talk to her mom and meet with her or something so that genesis could get baptized. We started talking to Ge... about talking to her mom about letting her get baptized and we were praying for the ability to talk with her ourselves, but she was just never home, always working or spending 2 random weeks in Mexico. But on Sunday, while we were over teaching Ge... her mom, came home from the store and started bringing groceries in. Of course we jumped up to go help her and get to know her better. We then asked her if there would be a time that we could meet with her to talk to her about the things that Ge... has been learning and doing the past 4 months. She said sure so we set up the time for Tuesday.

We were super nervous for Tuesday, but we were sure that with the Lord on our side there would be no way this day wouldn't end without permission for Ge... to be baptized. We had a 2 hour lesson with her mom. TWO HOURS! It was so long. But we finally got all of her doubts out of her. Basically it came down to the fact that she thought that as soon as Ge... got baptized she would be sent off on a mission somewhere. Don't worry we cleared that up. So after two hours of spiritually draining conversation, she said that she would talk to Ge... that night and if it was really what she wanted to do, she would let her.

We got a call from Ge... later that night with the news! She had said yes! We immediately drove over to her house and gave her and her mom hugs and set up the baptism for Saturday. We had it on Saturday so that her mom would be able to come and see her baptized. It was the most amazing baptism. And i'm so glad that her mom was able to come and see it and hope that some day her heart too will be softened to accept the gospel that has brought her daughter so much happiness.

We had a bunch of other crazy miracles this week too, but I just don'thave time to write about all of them. We are still basically only finding troubled youth. I don't know why sister Morrill and I attract them, we just do. Pretty much every investigator we have is under the age of 21 and has been locked up before, or should have been. But that is why there is repentance. I am learning so much about that as I try to help them use the Atonement in their lives and come unto their savior.

I love you all and am definitely praying for you!

Con amor,

Hermana Petersen

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This week here in Texas

Email sent Monday 20 September 2010

So this week Sister Morrill and I (team Jordan) went to work. We had a lot of fun this week and found a lot of success. It seems that everyone that we find and are teaching are troubled youth. We are teaching SO many people betweent he ages of 17 and 26 ish. EVERYONE. We like attract these people or something, or they are like the ones that we can connect with or something I don't know. And they are all very similar in background. They've done stupid things (like in trouble with the law and alternative lifestyle type things) and are trying to change their lives around and get out of trouble.

We had a lot of miracles this week. In planning session on Friday we were going through our investigators and deciding to drop some of them because they were not progressing...by that I mean we had tried countless times and could not get ahold of them in person or on the phone. But there was this one that I hadn't seen in a month that I just didn't want to drop. What I now recognize as the spirit told me that we should try to go by her that day. So first thing after planning session, we went by her house. While we were praying before getting out of the car, the school bus pulled up and our investigators daughter Ashley got off the bus. I had only met her once, but never taught her. So then we went and knocked on the door. Ashley answered and we asked for her mom, but she said she wasn't there. So we asked if we could come in and teach her. She said sure. We got to know her and found some of her needs. We had a realy good lesson. The spirit was there so strong. She started to get more and more into the lesson as we asked inspired questions that really made her think about what she wants in life and her potential as a daughter of God. We taught her about repentance because of her desire to change and baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost and how it will be her companion to guide her as she tries to change her life to stop getting into trouble. Her face just lit up as we talked about how she could have a fresh start. We then extended the invitation to her to prepare to be baptized on the 24th of October. She accepted and proceeded to tell us that she has been waiting for someone to ask her the questions that we had been asking her. She was feeling the spirit so strongly. It was amazing and a testament to me that when we are doing what we are supposed to be doing and are really seeking to have the spirit with us, it will be with us and we will be given the words we need to say in the very moment we need them.

We also had this other super cool lesson this week in which we were SO bold. Bold with love though. This guy we were teaching was unsure about his belief in God. He is a very logical thinker and has had many experiences in life that lead him to question the existance of a loving supreme being. But we really laid it down in the lesson. Another testament to the fact that when we are studying diligently in the mornings and praying for the spirit to guide us we will have the confidence in ourselves and the trust in the Lord and the Spirit that we can say the things the Lord would have us say to help people exercise their faith.

All in all this week was really long, really good, and then...not so good in that only one came to church. But on the up note we have an appoinment to talk to our amazing investigator Ge...'s mom. We are going to ask her if Ge... can get baptized. We are stoked about this. Ge... is basicaly a member. She comes to church, seminary mutual you name it she comes.

I love you,

Sister Petersen

Monday, September 13, 2010

A better week

Email sent Monday 13 September 2010

Ok so this week was better than last. Anything would have been better than last I think, but this week really was good. Let's recap.

Monday: we went bowling for p-day! I decided to try see if I could whip out my skills, but I fell a little short. I took 2nd out of 14 missionaries and I only lost by 3 points. What was my score that got me such a high place you ask? 128. Let's just say that the missionaries here in McAllen Texas stink at bowling, only 4 of them getting over 100 , but it was really fun nonetheless...especially since I did it in a skirt. Funny looking with the bowling shoes I know. Also on Monday night Sister Smith and I went over to the Trayners to help sister trayner cook the meal for the new incoming missionaries. That was fun. So we didn't work any on monday.

Tuesday: At 9 am I said goodbye to my trainer, Sister Smith, because she got transfered after only 6 weeks with me to Raymondville. But my new companion, Sister Morrill wouldn't be getting here till later that night, so for the day from 9am -7:30pm I was in a trio with Sister Nelson (who is training and has only been out here since may) and her BRAND new companion Sister Ruano. So it was a trio of newbies. It was fun. We worked in her area all day and then went to the Trayners again to help with the meal for the missionaries who were leaving. Then at 7:30 I got to go pick up my new companion! Sister Morrill is awesome! I already knew that from having worked with her before, but she still is. She is from West Jordan and went to WJ high school. So it's really funny when people ask us where we're from and we are basically from the same place. Funny. She knew Chase Petery also. So when we picked her up we went straight to our dinner appointment with awesome Gutierrez family.

Wednesday: So after 2 whole days of having no one work in our area, we went to work. Sister Morrill and I decided that what we need to do to turn this area around is to get to know the members better. You know me, I like organizing, so we are going to fix up the area book and the member book and turn this area back into a baptizing machine. :) So anyway we have decided to focus on going by member and getting to know them all and get referrals from them and stuff. And we are going by former investigators and talking to everyone we see throughout our travels, maybe knocking some doors on the streets with member and formers. It's a really great system I think. It's starting to work really well. We have found that a lot of members (people on the ward list we got) are inactive. Or there are part-member families. So this will give us a really good start at finding new people to teach. Because we had a big investigator pool before but no one was progressing really. So we just want to start new, and since we are both pretty much new to this area it is sweet. We feel like we're really on the same page. She's only been out for 9 months, and me almost 4 months, so both being pretty new, hopefully we can figure something out. ;)

Thursday: We were knocking in the middle of the day wondering if anyone would be home because everyone should be at work, but we knocked by this place where a member should've lived, but must have moved, and we knocked into this awesome couple. This man, Cruz, had been taught by missionaries int he 90's and actually had a baptismal date but backed out the day of the baptism...the font was already full. But anyway him and his wife are awesome. They have both been through a ton of crazy health problems and Cruz just had heart surgery on Saturday. They have had a lot of near death expereinces but they are still here and they know that it is because God still needs them here, they have a purpose to fulfill before they go. And mind you this is a pretty young couple probably in their 30's. But anyway, we found them and are really excited to be working with them and to help them realize the blessing the gospel can bring to them.

Friday: So once upon a time before I came here, Sister Smith had taught this crazy guy. And we hadn't heard from him in forever, but he called last week and said he wanted to be baptized. That is so not possible, but we went and taught him tonight. It was crazy. We brought two members with us which was awesome because the Roque's (from Puerto Rico) rock, but this guy just doesn't listen. He even came to church yesterday and the bishop had to be brought into our gospel principles class to control the false doctrine and random outbursts. The poor teacher. We just couldn't stop him. But whatever, it makes the mission intersting to have some crazies. One day he'll understand.

Saturday: Fiesta Mexicana! I love our Spanish ward. It was awesome.

Ok so anyway the two main things that I realized this week were that we take the temple so close to our home so much for granted. The people here have been waiting forever to have a temple closer. There are some, those without papers that will never be able to go to the temple because they can't go back to mexico and they can't go up to San Antonio because of the check-points. It is really sad. But also for those who can it is a long drive. Like 3 hours or something. They have to plan ward temple trips to get people to be able to go. I think of how it is back home, when we have "Ward temple night" and how not everyone even cares enought to take the little time to go when the temple is so close. These people ahve to take work off for a whole day and pay lots in gas money to go to the temple. They are amazing.

Also, I have realized that the members who are the most actively involved in the missionary work are the converts. Basicaly all of the families that feed us are converts to the church. Whether it be recent converts of a year or less, or those who joined 10, 20 40 years ago. They are the ones who are bringing people to church, giving us referals, and actively seeking to share what they know with others. I think this is because they know what it's like to not have the gospel. We should follow their leed and share it as well. Missionary work would progress so much more ever member was really a missionary. Think about a way you can be a better member missionary and do it. Make a plan and put it in action. Everyone deserves to hear this gospel and have it bless their lives.

 I love you all and hope you have an awesome week.


Sister Petersen

Also, we have a Mission conference tomorrow with a 70! That should be cool.

Rain: the hurricane just kinda came and went. It rained a lot that day I told you about and the streets were crazy rivers, but then like an hour later everyting was dry and it was over. but now it's really humid. ugh

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

La semana de muerte...but don't worry there were redeeming qualities

Email sent Monday, 6 September 2010

Hola familia,

Sorry I haven't had time to read your emails so sorry if I don't respond to your questions. But I think I should tell you how my week went. This was the hardest week of my mission, and my comp (who only has 3 months left, said it was her hardest too). It started out sort of ok. We finally got ahold of this former investigator and had two awesome lessons and were excited for her to progress, so that was good. We also were teaching this 11 yr old and told her if she prayed about getting baptized that she would have an answer in two days when we returned, she was excited to get an answer. I also went on an exchange with Sister Lopez (who I live with). She is from El Salvador and she is going home tomorrow. She is an amazing missionary and she helped me out with her spanish, while I helped her with English. It was cool to switch it up and see how someone else does missionary work. I taught the word of wisdom for the first time and we set a BD. So that was good. Also on Tuesday after district meeting our district all went out to eat at this Mexican resaurant and we all got these $11 buffets. And as we were sitting there eating, this guy walks by on his way out and says, "Hey guys, I got your check today. I'll pay it all." And we were just dumb-founded, shocked. There were 8 of us so that was over $100 of food, that this one random guy that we don't even know was going to pay. We told him he didn't need to do that but he said, I got it, and we thanked him and he walked out. Then he came back like a couple seconds later and said, "sorry I was talking to just the sisters." and we laughed and then he said just kidding and reassured us that he would pay it all and then he left. What a nice guy. We don't know if he's a member or not. He's just a nice guy.

Anyway...so then thursday and friday came. Thursday was horrible, but we just laughed the whole time. We were knocking doors and we talked to a lot of people, but it was people with the sadest most horribly misled beliefs. False doctrine all over the place. This lady even gave us these brochures from her church where this guy the leader clames to be God and Jesus and that there is no sin and no devil and all this stuff. False doctrine like I have never seen before and she was SO sure it was true. It was sad. A couple other ladies were nice to us but they were sure that the only truth was the bible. Also the dinner appointment we had fell through with member...as in, they forgot, bless there hearts. So we ate at Dairy Queen. We got scared by a rattle snake...we don't know what it was but it sounded like that when we stepped on somehting at a doorstep. We could see what it was cuz it was dark. That among other sad things was Thursday.

Then Friday.RAIN! Which I love, but ya. We got drenched it was fun. But there were a lot of sad things that happened. Like this investigator that, that very morning we had decided to focus on in weekly planning, she told us she didn't believe JS saw God and Jesus Christ and had tons of scriptures to back it up and wow...it was sad. Basically, I don't have time to tell about all the sadness that was Friday, but it ended in tears..un poco.

Saturday, there was a little relief. We found an awesome lady named Istella. We are really excited about her. Also we found out about transfers. I am staying, but I am getting a new companion tomorrow. Sister Morrill! Way excited. Also you should tell Chase Petry that after only being out here for 4 months his student, Sister Nelson is training!

Sunday the Trayners showed up at Church. I love Sister Trayner. Seeing a face I know just made all the frustration of the week come out. Really I'm fine. This week will be better.

I haven't gotten your letters yet. I'll look. I'll try to write you some today too. Brandy awesome job at pre-region!!! That's legit! You are a rock star. Keep it up.

Love you all!

Sister Petersen