Monday, January 24, 2011

Re: All Weeks are busy!!!

Email sent Monday 24 January 2010

Happy January!

Yes I will hit my 8 months mark in two days. And no mom that is not my one third mark. It is one third of an elder's mission. But it is one month short of my half way mark. Weird huh? Do you feel like I'm half-way done. I don't. I feel like I just got here. But then I see my new companion and I rememeber when I was in her spot. Oh how the first transfer so is not fun. Sister Salan is doing awesome. I know my first transfer I pretended to be fine on the outside, but on the inside I didn't really like it at all. You just get thrown into a whole new world and want to act like you know how to deal with it but really you don't and so inside you are falling apart. But somehow over the next six weeks you pick yourself up and put it together and start loving it.

We had an interesting week. Not much success in finding people, but I have come to know that those weeks are preparing us and testing our faith to see if we will continue having a perfect brightness of hope and keep working to be able to see miracles. So we are looking forward to good things.

I got your package! It was awesome. I love the tape. Thank you for everyone who talked on it. Tell them all hi for me. Also if you could send me another tape that I can record on that would be nice. I don't want to record over yours, or buy one. The cardigan is super cute. And the conference CDs! Awesome! Only problem is I don't have a cd player, so I am going to see if someone can put them on my ipod for me. I'm very excited about them though! And the candy and cookie and brownie mix is great! Also my favorite part was probably the pictures!, you were not in a single one of them. :( Did you forget you were part of the family? :)

Dad sounds like you are busy doing lots of heavy labor for Tim. You better be careful, I hear you are about to turn like 58 or something. How old are you going to be this year? I'm so glad that Jimmer is doing me proud!!! Remember how he is my favorite. And leading scorer in the nation?! That's legit. Also 19 and 1 is nice.

How is Quinton doing down at school?

About elder northey, I called him the relief society president, because that's what all the elders always call the elders who are district leaders of a district of only sisters. The relief society president. So yes I did call him the relief society president.

This past week we didn't have any really crazy experiences. I realized that I need to be more observant. Sister Salan is very observant and I have totally missed somethings that I could have learned about people if I was paying better attention. So I am learning. I am learning a lot from her. I'm supposed to train her, but she is awesome so she is helping me a lot. Every other day we speak english or spanish so that we can both practice the two and help each other learn the languages better. It is very interesting our companionship.

Oh, we went to McAllen on tuesday for First Companionship Training. I am the only one training in Laredo, so we had to drive down alone. I made my way there folling sketchy directions from our zone leaders. :) They are funny. But we made the 3 and a half hour drive in safety. The training was really good. It was fun to see McAllen again. I love mcAllen. it will always be my home on the mission. So we left laredo that mornign at 6 am and went to the training, got a bit lost on the way out of mcallen, but figured it out, and made it back to laredo at 8:30 at night. It was a really long day of driving and learning. But well worth it. President Trayner is awesome. And the assistants are really good teachers and leaders.

I hope you have a great week and go to the temple. I love you all.


Sister Petersen

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A sad week...

Email sent Monday 17 January 2011

Wow. Sister Trayner told me the news one day during companion study (We called Sister Trayner to tell Melinda that Cookie, our dog, passed away Thursday 13 January 2011 at 11:48 PM). That was the saddest thing. The very day before I had been telling my new companion stories about her and how she like to jump in the leaves and how we got her on a ward campout. And then...ya. I hope that dogs can be included in God's plan of how families can be together forever. She was almost as old as Brandy. She really is part of the family.

Well, I don't really have much time to write today because we are having to use the Nelson's computers because the library is closed because it is a holiday. But this week has been one full of changes as you know. My new companion that I am training is named Sister Salan. She is from Guatemala. Yes. A native. But don't worry she speaks english pretty well. She doesn't know gospel words so that is something that we are going to have to start working on. But obviously her spanish is perfect. Not mexican spanish like I am used to, but it is still spanish. So things have been good. Training is a new experience. Tomorrow we get to go to McAllen for a first comp. training and so I'm excited to get a little more direction on how exactly I should be handling this huge responsibility.

I haven't gotten the package yet. Hopefully it will come it won't cuz it's a holiday, but maybe tomorrow.

I don't know how you guys are handling it being at home and not having her (Cookie) there. Just thinking about having her not there makes it feel empty to me. I thought about coming home and not having her there to greet me and that made me really sad. So I will just try not to think about it at all.

Well I hope you have a good week. Try to stay busy.

Sister Petersen

P.S. still there?  how are you doing with Cookie being gone?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sister staying in Laredo...and...

For those that are trying to stay current with Melinda by reading her blog, I have just added her emails from 20 December to 10 January.  I know that it really doesn't take that long to update the blog, but somehow I didn't get it done with all the activities of Christmas.  Thanks so much for your love for Melinda, writing her, and even just reading about her mission!!! Laurie

Email sent Monday 10 January 2011

Dear family,

Wow what a week we had here. Monday evening we got a text from the zone leaders telling us that Sister Villalobos and I would need to be in Corpus the next morning for a two day leadership training that would start at 9 am. We had no idea what that meant or why we were going to leadership training. But we went. We had to leave at 6 am and drive the 3 hours to corpus. Mom yes I drove. Aren't you so proud of me. When I get home you will never have to wonder if I have had enough practice driving. (As senior companion I always have to drive, so I drive...all the time. And we drive a lot.) But anyway sister Villalobos and I made the trek in the dark through the nothingness that is between Laredo and Corpus in the wee hours of the morning. We did not get lost at all. And then we had the training from 9-6 on Tuesday and then they told us, "you get to go work with the sisters over in Ingleside...which is like another 45 minute drive away. So then I got to drive some more and we crossed this huge bridge over the ocean! It was crazy. We saw the Lexington, which is this huge boat and the ocean of course and it was so pretty up there. Anyway and then we got to go on splits with the sisters there and work for about an hour and a half and then drive back to corpus. But while I was there I got to see the real ocean. THE gulf of mexico. I was standing right next to it. It was crazy. I wish it had been day and it would have been so much prettier. But all of the houses over there are on stilts and there is water under them and their boats are parked under them. It is so crazy and awesome. I hope I get to serve there sometime. It was super humid though. That part is not fun. But other than that it was pretty. So then at 8 we had to drive back to corpus and...nobody gave us directions, well sort of we had some, and we got lost. We were heading off into the darkness and finally called someone and they told us we were on our way to mcallen and so we finally turned around, and made it back to corpus where Sister Villalobos and I stayed the night in this SUPER NICE guest room in these member's house. They were so nice to us. The bed was so comfortable. And they made us a nice breakfast in the morning. Wow it was good. Then the training started again. It went from 8:30-4 or so. And then we had to start the trek back to Laredo. Sister Villa drove us home and we made it safely. Sick of driving, but safely. But anyways, what we found out before we left the training was that.....ready for this....I am training. Yes. Crazy. But true. I have only been in the field for a little over 5 months. But ya. Tomorrow I get a greenie. It is going to be crazy but I am excited. I don't know if she is a native or not, so this week may be full of surprises.

Yesterday, Ralph, got BAPTIZED!!! It was awesome. All three of the companionships in our district baptized yesterday and we held the service all together so it was really fun and extra special. Our district leader Elder Northey goes home tomorrow and we are all really sad to see him (as the "relief society president) go. But it was good and awesome for us all to end with a baptism. Ralph is 17 and he is super cool. The gospel has changed him, even in the short time that we have been teaching him, only five weeks or so, but we can see the difference. It truly does bring hope and joy. I hope that one day he choses to serve a mission.

I'm sorry you all are having crazy car troubles. Breaking in with hangers and being truckless and such. I hope that all gets fixed. That's crazy about the baptisms in justin's mission. The trainings they are giving us now on the new 8 lessons are awesome and we have seen miracle and the work is so much more effective because of them.

I love you tons and hope you are getting this new year off to a great start. Remember to do your visiting and home teaching. In Utah you only have 3 or so people to visit. Here...let me just say it is a lot 10 or more. Just magnify your callings by performing the service that pertains to it, just like President Monson said. I know you will be blessed, in no matter what calling you have.


Hermana Petersen

2011! I thought that was way far in the future!

Email sent Monday 3 January 20100

2011. Wow I can not believe that it is already 2011. Crazy. I still feel like time has frozen back in May 2010. And it won't start moving again until Dec. 2011. But here I am in Texas. People celebrated New Years super crazy here. Well for us as missionaries we started the new years eve day out normally. Just working. But 4 we all (the zone of laredo) went to the church where presidente trayner had arranged for us all to be able to watch Toy Story 3!!! (so that we could improve our spanish haha) It was super fun. Well first they fed us an awesome turkey dinner and then we just got to relax in the relief society room and watch toy story 3 which I had never seen because it came out while I was in the MTC. It was a super good, super funny movie. And of course our favorite parts were the spanish lessons we learned from Buzz. It was awesome.

But then that got over around 6:30 and guess what we had to do? Go home to our apartments and do weekly planning. Yes. Party right? No. We planned till about 9:30 and then we got ready for bed and such and said goodnight and tried to sleep around 10:30. But our neighbors don't understand that we are missionareis and have to follow the rules even if it is new years eve. And so they were loudly partying and dancing, and yelling and shooting off fireworks and drinking and who knows what else right outside Sister Zamora and I's bedroom window until about 12:30am so we didn't sleep very well until they called it a night. So That was our new years celebration. I remember rolling over in bed annoyed at the fireworks and screaming and looking at the clock and seeing "12:00" and thinking, "yay" with little enthusiasum because I was so tired and then falling back asleep. Ya it was pretty funny. The funniest new years celebration I have ever had. But now it is 2011 and that is weird to think but we are here and ready to baptize 1200 people in the year 2011 here in the Texas McAllen Mission!

Our investigator Ralph should be getting baptized this weekend! Well we need a miracle, but I know that those can happen. He needs permission from his mom. And she has said no twice so far. So that is what we will be focusing on this week is getting her permision so he can be baptized. He is an awesome kid. We have really been able to see the change in him since we started teaching him. He is 17 and even though he tries to act cool, really likes church. We are super excited for him.

Our Ghanain investigator should be getting back from Ghana this week so hopefully I can meet him. And maybe he'd like for Quinton (Quinton went to the Ghana Cape Coast mission and speaks Twi and Fante) to teach him about the doctrine of christ. Maybe I'll lend him your talk. :) He'd probably like that.

Dad, I hope you are feeling better. Don't let your truck slide into curbs. I hear that's bad. Hope your side heals and everyone keeps helping you shovel so you don't have to hurt yourself more doing it.

A new bishopric? Wow. Sad. I love Bishop Bangerter. I was meaning to write them a letter already because they send all of us missionareis things about every couple months. And I got a christmas card from them. Bishop Wilkins will be good too though. Wow they are young. That's about the age of most bishops we have here in Texas, or younger actually. But it isn't quite as normal in Utah. One thing that I have learned from being in Laredo is that when God calls people to be your leaders you should follow them regardless of whatever weird past things that have happened. The branches here are still struggling in supporting the changes. This I think stems from not having a true testimony of prophets and how the prophet of God has called President Trayner to be the mission president here at this time and that he has the authortity of God to preside over the district here in Laredo. People who do not accept the changes that he makes here are not accepting the will of God in their lives. This is what we are struggling with here, but the members who are strong are very strong. We hope to keep becoming stronger.

Well, we find out about transfers this next saturday and transfers are tuesday. I am pretty sure I am staying. And Sister Zamora will probably stay too, but she might leave. Who knows. President is unpredictable. There are 3 new sisters so a new area will have to open up in McAllen. The mission is also opening up a new zone in Edinburg and another elders area. We just keep growing. We are excited to start this year and work towards our goals.

I love you all and hope you keep remembering your gift you are giving to Christ this year and work to be better every single day.


Sister Petersen

ps. I think one of my friends got called to spencer's (a cousin) mission. Marlene Ricks. Cool huh?!

pps I got to talk to Nicole (daughter of President Trayner and great friend who just came back from China and came to visit with her parents for Christmas) on the phone on new years eve for about 15 minutes. That was really fun!

Happy New Year!

Email sent Monday 27 December 2010

Wow, well it feels like I just talked to you...because I did. But I guess I can tell you how we spent christmas. We made an awesome breakfast in our apartment and all ate together and then I called you and then later we left and went here and there visiting some members and investigators and giving them cookies that we had made and singing some christmas songs for people. Never before in my life have a sang so many times for people. And I'm not a great singer, but to the people here everyone always says that we sing like angels. They love to hear us sing. So ya and then around 5 we went over the the gibson's house for dinner. They are a super cute family...well two families. Bro. Gibson and all of his sons and daughter and then his girlfriend who is also in our branch, Sister Rodriguez, and her son and daughter and Sister Zamora and I and 2 elders. The food was really good. Turkey and pie and potatoes and everything. And then the kids were all playing this new game they got for christmas called "dance central" or something like that. Basically it is this awesome new technology I'm sure you've heard of but we were so amazed by it. The tv like video records you as you try to do these dance moves that they teach you. You don't havfe to be hooked up to it or anything, it just watches you. Crazy high-tech. So we watched them attempt to dance and play it, and then we even took a couple turns trying it. (Don't worry, President said that Christmas was our day off, so I don't think we were breaking any rules) Mostly it was just funny because it made us really feel at home, the whole family was in there trying to learn these weird dance moves that it teaches you. It was super funny to watch. And then after that we came back to our apartment and hung out with the sisters for a bit. It was a good day.

Today I will be able to go to the post office to pick up my package. So that will be exciting. Sorry you guys didn't get any surprises for christmas...I guess that's my fault cuz I'm usually the one who finds the surprise presents. I'll do better next year. :) That's awesome that you are going to get temple clothes! It's about time. Especially when you get a huge discount. :)

Yesterday Laura got confirmed. After she told me that she felt something "curiouso" enter inside her. That's the spirit. Love it. She is awesome. She got sister Zamora and I christmas presents too. She's so sweet. The other day we helped this other investigator make tamales. They were so good. The lady made her own masa-which apparently is a really big deal, it takes forever to make. But her tamales were awesome!

Something that is cool about being a missionary at christmas time is that you get to see how other families spend christmas. We get to see their traditions and get-togethers and learn from them. One thing that I have thought that was really cool that some families have done is that every christmas they give a gift to Christ. Just as the wise men came to the baby Jesus bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh, we too can give of something that we have to our Savior as we celebrate his birth and life. The things that we have to give, or to give up, can show our Savior of our true gratitude for what he has done for us. At this time of the year, think about something that you could give to your Savior. Whether it be a commitment to read from your Book of Mormon every day, making temple attendance a regular part of your life, or something like sacrificing something to bring the spirit more into your life on a daily basis. Whatever it is, make it a commitment or a sacrifice that will show your Savior that you really do love him. As we all give these gifts of ourselves to Christ we can grow closer together and closer to him.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to be here at this time and serve the Lord as His representative. This will be a Christmas season I will never forget. While I do miss you all I know that God puts us where we need to be throughout our lives so that we can grow and help others to do the same.

I love you all and hope you have a very happy new year tambien!

Con amor,

Hermana Petersen

Merry Christmas!!!/Ours was white!!!

Email sent Monday 20 December 2010

Feliz Navidad!!!

Wow I don't really know what to write to you because I figure I will just be calling you in a couple of days. :) I'm super excited to talk to you all. So I was thinking that the morning would probably be the time you would want me to call verdad?! So how does about 9:00 utah time sound? That will be 10:00 here. And sorry bad news, I will not be able to have a call as long as Quinton's were. No 3 hour calls will be taking place. Sorry. I have 40 minutes MAX. This is a rule in the white handbook and President reiterated it at our zone conference this past week. So as I want to be an obedient missionary I will have to keep my call to 40 minutes. Sad. But true. But that's ok. You have Christmas things you want to attend to anyway, so I'll let you get on with the partying.

Ok, this week was an actually really good week for us. We had a baptism!!! Laura this 22 year old got baptized yesterday and it was really good. She is awesome. We had gone to her birthday party the night before as well. She is a great example to her family. I hope that they will be able to see her and feel of the spirit that she is bringing into their home and have desires to as Alma says "experiment upon the word" as well.

We also had 3 people come to church on Sunday. It was a week of miracles. Every week is it seems.

Ok the package thing: sorry I hate to be a pain, but it is a pain having to go pick up packages from the Nelsons. That takes time out of our day where we should be working, or time out of our breaks which are short and we just want to get home and eat or take a 20 minute nap. And it takes gas, and it's just ya. Or the Nelson's have to worry about getting it to me, so I have to wait to sunday or something. How much does it cost for the signature? I don't know a better way to do this but, I just don't know if the Nelson's is the best way.

Other questions: no I did not get sick. I am immune to sickness. It's all the chocolate I eat. :) Cockroaches...eww. End of story. But I live with them and it's ok. We're friends now. As long as they don't touch my food we have a nice relationship.

I got a letter from the YW in our home ward a while back. And this week I got one from a whole bunch of people in Elders Quorum. It was really nice to hear from all of them (Dad included). And I got your package from the Nelson's for my birthday. Thank you so much!!! The shirts and cd and cards and book and everything. Thanks guys! I got a package from Tommy for my birthday and one from Bryce and Nathan Anderson together. THat was nice of them. But nothing else. Everyone is caught up in christmas so I understand.

Well will you be sure to go to Ali's reception. I sent her some money but you can get her a gift too if you want. It is on the 28th. Did you get an invite? I did. :)

I love you all and will talk to you soon.


Sister Petersen