Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ay las cosas que pasan...

Email sent 22 August 2011

Hola familia,
Wow, lots of changes, kids in school, sounds like they are doing good, Brandy said she loves college and it hasn't even started yet.  She just loves the college life, we'll see how she likes the school part of it this week.  Quinton said he was nervous for classes.  haha.  He will do fine as well.  You two seem like you've been having way to much fun with all of us gone.  Thanksgiving point, Bee's games, ward parties, waterskiing, fishing, high school reunions, etc.  Too much fun.  DOn't forget to work too.  haha
This is our sixth week here in Port Isabel.  We have been working so hard, using every idea possible to help this area progress, but sometimes it seems that our efforts don't produce results.  Yesterday two of our investigators were supposed to be interviewed for their baptisms next sunday, but they wouldn't come to church.  As a missionary sometimes it is easy to think, man if these people just didnt have their agency and we could just make them choose the right, but then we realize...that was Satan's plan.  He wanted to do exactly that, make everyone choose the right and get the glory.  We chose to follow God's plan.  Everybody get's a choice and God gets the glory.  We are only here as instruments to help people know their options and exercise their agency accordingly.  So I guess what we need to work on right now is just loving the people enough to tell them their options, teach them the doctrine, and it will change their behavior.
We set some baptismal dates with some awesome people this week.  One with a nine year old daughter of an inactive family that is coming back.  C.... will be getting baptized on the 11th!  Also with these two young men, J.... and O..., they are friends and both really want to be clean of their sins.  All three of these people made it to church yesterday so we were really excited for that.  September should be a good month.
What I am realizing right now, is that time is so short in life.  Every day we need to focus on what God wants us to accomplish on that day and not get overwhelmed with the bigger picture.  Every day we set goals as missionaries and we need to do everything we can in that one day to reach those goals.  Our daily goals help us reach our weekly goals, which help us reach monthly goals and our yearly goals as a mission.  It is the same in life.  Right now is the perfect time for all of you to set some goals for yourselves.  Mom and Dad, wow congratulations, you have raised three children and gotten them all into college.  That is an accomplishment and probably a goal you set for us a long long time ago.  Way to go!  But now that doesn't mean it's all done.  You are starting another part of your lives and you can set goals and make plans to be able to continue to grow and fullfill the purpose God has for you right now.  Quinton and Brandy, the start of a school year is also a great time to set goals for the semester and year, and even break them down into weeks.  Set goals for everything, scripture study, chruch attendance (100%), church activity attendance, home teaching/vistitng teaching, daily study time, running, grades, money saving, whatever else it is you need.  Set goals and make the plans to help you reach the goals.  Share your goals with someone else so that they can help you reach them and be accountable for them.
THis is the way that our mission has been finding so much more success in recently.  Focus on each day.  Do the small and simple things daily that will lead to the great things that will be brought to pass.  I promise this will help you all so much if you really apply it and use it daily in your lives.  I'm trying to do it over here too and God really blesses you when you show him your efforts and heart.
It's like on Alice and wonderland, it doesn't matter what path you take if you don't know where you want to go.  Make goals, don't be afraid to dream, but make your dreams come true through your efforts and prayer.
Hope you all have a great week.  Pray for me.  I love you all!
Sister Petersen

el fin de la temporada!

Email sent 15 August 2011

Finally the summer is coming to an end!  Ya!  That means soon we will be out of the hottest part of the year.  But more importantly, as summer ends and the kids here go back to school, all of the work on the island slows down.  This is when people will be able to get sunday's off and be able to come to church!  Yay!  That is the biggest thing holding this area back, and it is a built in part of the culture of port isabel...work on sundays cuz that's when the world vacations.  Ugh.  Just keep the sabath day holy people.   But ya we are excited for people to be able to come to church in the upcoming weeks.
Also we've been lucky here in port isabel.  The rest of the mission has been REALLY hot these past few days.  Sister Trayner even sent out a high heat index warning telling everyone to take frequent breaks in the shade or AC and drink lots of water and wear lots of sunscrean.  But here in Port isabel I guess we've been a few degrees lower than everywhere else and we ahve a really nice ocean breeze so it feels a lot cooler to me than my previous areas.  I think God knew that I needed to be in a cooler place during the summer. I'm not a fan of the heat.  haha
Update on D..., my investigator in Raymondville.  He has recieved approval, but has a bit of cold feet apparently at the moment.  That makes me really sad, I want to be there and just tell him what's what.  But I know that Sister Salan and Sister Ruano will help him to remember the great importance of this step of baptism.   He will follow through.  I know he will.  And I think I will get to go to his baptism when it doesn't happen.  As long as it's not at the same time as one of my baptisms here.
This week we had a couple of lessons that were really amazing to see the spirit work on people.  We found this one lady last week and had set an appointment to come back.  We came by but we were late and she wasn't home, but I guess God knew we needed to be late cuz she pulled up as we were leaving.  So we caught her and she invited us in.  It all started as we were standing in her living room.  She told us straight up that she would listen to what we have to say, but that she was not looking for a church, she doesn't really have a religion and doesn't want one at all.  She said she didn't want to waste our time and wouldn't come to church or change.  This was all before we had really said anything.  But then she said she would give us some time.  She asked us what we teach.  and then invited us to sit down.  So we sat down at her kitchen table in her disorderly little house with kids running around back and forth.  There we began to explain to her that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and that God has sent us to help her and her family return to him.  We began to talk and ask her some more questions about her background.  She told us she was a Jehova's Witness, and that her husband is catholic.  She wants the family united so she goes to churhc with him sometimes but doesn't believe the catholic chruch at all.  She said she doesn't "feel it" in either of the churches.  She has questions and neither of the churches can answer them.  We began to teach simply of the book of mormon and of the spirit.  JWs don't believe in the spirit.  But somewhere deep inside of her she is seeking to feel the spirit testify of truth.  That's why she doesn't "feel it" at those chruches, cuz they are not true.  As soon as we found her need, to understand the spirit and his role in conversion and truth, her demeanor softened.  She began to open her heart.  She became interested in learning more.  She said, "I would really like you to come back and talk to me more about these things."  It is amazing to me how the spirit can testify of truth and change people's hearts.  When we teach truth or even state truth the spirit testifies.  That is something you can do in normal life as well, not just as missionaries.  When you can state a truth of the gospel the spirit will testify and people will recognize it as something familiar and good.  Their desire to learn more will increase.
Another funny thing that happened this week:  this member Brother Alvarado is a really smart guy.  During our lessons though I think he was paying attention more to the way we speak spanish than what we were saying.  After the lesson he says to me, "You think in spanish right?"  I told him yes.  He said, "ya you can tell that you don't have to translate it in your head as you go along, like your companion, you just understand it.  Also, you speak like a mexican...but you have a bit of a different accent, I can't figure out what it is.  You kinda sound like someone from Vera cruz."  People from different parts of mexico speak with different accents or changes in tone and stuff.  I just laughed.  I told him that maybe I speak kind of guatemalan cuz I had a guatemalan companion for about 5 months.  I'm glad I finally learned how to understand this language.  My poor companion is still in the not-understanding state.  She works so hard though, she will be fluent in no time.
Well sounds like your trip was really fun and now you have nothing to do.  :(  You can write me letters!  hah
I love you all lots.
Hermana Petersen

President Trayner's email to us this week. Thought it might be interesting to know

Email sent 15 Aug 20101
Just realized you probably can't understand it cuz it's in spanish.  But try to find someone to translate it for you.  Only (computer) translators aren't very good, don't try that.  haha, but there are some nice stats about the progress the mission has made in the last year.
Sister Petersen

14 agosto 2011

Mis queridos élderes y hermanas,

Este fin de semana, la hermana y yo tuvimos el gran privilegio de reunirnos con la estaca de Harlingen en su conferencia de estaca.  Nos disfrutaron bastante las sesiones en Brownsville y Harlingen.  Había casi mil personas en las sesiones del domingo.  El presidente Mata habló mucho en cuanto a su gratitud por la obra misional.  En verdad, se nos explicó que la obra misional había cambiado por lo mejor el espíritu y amor en su estaca, especialmente en una de las unidades allí.

En preparación por mi discurso por la reunión de líderes del sacerdocio, preparé unos datos que nos ayudan entender lo que está pasando en la obra misional de esta misión en este momento.  Se los comparto con ustedes:

1.  Durante los  años 2006-2009, la misión logró un promedio de 603 bautismos cada año.

2.  En 2010, realizamos 860 bautismos o sea un aumento de más que 42% sobre el promedio de los años 2006-2009. (Hubiera sido más bautismos pero no todos los registros de bautismos del mes de diciembre llegaron a tiempo a la oficina de la misión).

3.  En el año presente por los fines de julio, logramos 650 bautismos.  Durante el mismo periodo de tiempo en 2009, logramos 520.  Esto significa un aumento de 25% sobre el año pasado.

4.  Según la memoria de los misioneros, la misión nunca había bautizado más que 99 personas en un mes.  Ya hemos bautizado más que cien personas tres veces en este año (¡y dos en seguida!).

 5.  A este paso, lograremos 1114 bautismos en este año (un aumento de 30% sobre el numero de bautismos en 2010).   (o en otras palabras hay mucho que hacer para lograr la meta de 1200).

6.  Uno de los indicadores claves más esencial es la asistencia a la iglesia.  En 2010, tuvimos siete domingos con más que 200 investigadores.  Hasta esta fecha, hemos tenido 17 domingos con 200 o más investigadores asistiendo a la iglesia.

Como pueden ver, tenemos mucho que dar gracias a Dios por el éxito en la obra misional de esta misión.  ¡Les felicito por sus esfuerzos tan poderosos!

En la semana pasada llegaron a los diecinueve nuevos misioneros.  Están muy animados por haber llegado aquí.  ¿Los han visto?  Son los misioneros con tanto ánimo y caras rojas.  Ya saben que hace mucho sol aquí en la misión.  Favor de prestárselos loción bronceadora.

Cerramos o cambiamos los nombres de unas áreas de McAllen Central (cerrada y conjuntada con La Vista), Helms Deep (unos cambios de límites y ya se conoce como Colegio Sur), San Isidro (una división de Laredo North), Laredo North (cambio de nombre, ya se conoce como Country Club), Del Norte (antes se conocía como Laredo Central, con unos cambios de límites), Los Encinos (una división de Mission East), y Ingleside (cerrada).  Esperamos abrir una nueva área en la zona de Brownsville en septiembre.

Milagrosamente llevamos a cabo el traslado de casi la mitad parte de los misioneros sin problemas gigantes durante la semana pasada.  Gracias a todos por su ayuda y paciencia.  Sabemos que todavía nos falta cumplir unos arreglos con algunas viviendas.   

Hoy cayó lluvia en McAllen por la tarde.  Casi no sabía lo que era.  Esta es una temporada muy calorosa. No se les olviden de tomar bastante agua a lo largo del día.  Por este momento el Caribe no tiene ninguna tormenta que nos molesta.  Sigan vigentes con sus preparativos de emergencia y garrafones llenos.  ¡También tengan listos su ropa blanca porque vamos a bautizar este mes!

Tenemos la capacitación sobre las ocho lecciones de los fundamentos de Predicad mi Evangelio esta semana en Corpus Christi.  La próxima semana la tendremos en el valle.  ¡Prepárense!

Si no ha recibido algún certificado o alfiler de los capitanes, favor de mandarme un text hoy mismo diciéndome lo que le hace falta.  Quiero presentarles los certificados y alfileres durante las sesiones de capacitación.

¡Con mucho cariño y bautismos!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cowboy Boots and more!

For those who are faithful followers of Melinda's blog, I am finally updating her blog for the past four weeks with her emails from July 18, 25, August 1, and 8.  Sorry to be so slow.  Enjoy reading about her adventures.

Email sent Monday 8 August 2011


Wow there have been three convert baptisms in our ward this year? Who else? That is so cool! Baptize the whole neighborhood that should be the plan! That's awesome. These people need to experience the blessings of the gospel in their lives. They are living in darkness and just don't know it cuz their eyes have adjusted to it, but somebody just needs to turn on the light.

This week our district leader gave us a great word of advise. He said, "Church is the kink in our hose, and as soon as you un-kink it, port isabel will be wet." AKA we are going to baptize as soon as we figure out how to get our investigators with baptismal dates to come to church. And it is true. This area is really great. And mom, we can't work in the area that is by the church. Our area only includes Port Isabel, Laguna Heights and Laguna vista. THe church is in the elder's area in Los fresnos. But we have taken the advice of our zone leader and decided to work more in the area where people are more likely to have cars which is laguna vista. It is helping we think. But this week we found two pretty legit people AND they came to church! So we are progressing.

This week was transfers. It feels like this transfer flew by. SO fast! I can't believe it. And now we start another one. I feel like time is winding down way too fast. I'm not going to think about it though cuz I don't want to.

I found the boots (Melinda sent ised cowboy boots home for Mike or Quinton) in this members house that we were helping her clean out. There was tons of all this old stuff and she was throughing lots away and stuff. It was like treasure hunting in Raymondville. haha Did you find the memory cards?!?!?!?!? There should be three of them. If you could put those on the computer and back them up real good and then send them back to me that would be good. I'll need them at some point soon.

Oh also if you do send me a package could you send me my BYU ID card? I can get discounts on some sight seeing stuff if I have a student ID.

D... got 1st presidency approval to get baptized this week!!! I think he will be getting baptized on Sunday. At least I hope. I don't really know what is going on up in Raymondville, but that is what I am praying for.

Sounds like lots of fun moving everyone down to school and stuff. Yall are going to be alone in So Jo. :( Get a dog. A good one. And NOT a chiuwaua. A golden retriever. Nothing else. Understand.

There are lots of changes happening in the mission! For the past three months straight we have broken records and baptized over 100 each month. President Trayner really is called of God to help the people of south texas accept the true gospel and come unto christ through baptism in his church. We are excited for the upcoming conferences in which elder Zivic of the seventy (who is also my MTC teachers dad) will be coming to take a mission tour. Things are going great and are also still quite hot here in the great state of texas.

I love you all,


Sister Petersen

ps have yall made mormon.org profiles yet? or checked out mine?

tropical storm...that never came haha

Email sent Monday 1 August 2011

So this week was cool. Interesting with the storm. We had all these preparations like having our water and 72 hour kits ready and gas in our cars and everything and waiting on word to see if we needed to evacuate. And everyone and their dog was leaving the island. The bridge was backed up all morning long on friday. But then the rain came and that's all it was. Just a little rain. Not even very hard. Nothing exciting. It was just a little normal storm. Everyone freaked out for nothing. But I was happy that it rained. I love the rain. So we had that one day of nice (rainy, not so hot) weather and then the very next day it went right back up to super hot. I think it was only like 95 but it was super humid. super humid.

Oh also this week somebody keyed part of our car this week on the hood. And another morning the gardener at our apartments came and knocked on our door and told us that someone had egged our car and the the neighbor said we could use his hose to get it off before the sun baked it and ruined the paint. So ya, we were a bit late to the zone meeting/interviews with President cuz we had to wash egg off of our car. The neighbor was really nice though and washed it all off for us and everything.

We found a lot of people this week, but we are still in the same problem that nobody comes to church. It is a hard area for that reason. I have heard that port isabel goes through spurts of success adn baptizes a lot, and then it dies and is dry for months. Right now there hasn't been a baptism here for 4 months. That is WAY too long. We are going to fix that for sure, we just have to figure out how to help people get to church, to have that faith enough to drive the 30 minutes to get there. Any ideas?

Have you all gotten my package yet? I hope the sisters sent it and that it didn't get lost. That would stink so bad. If you didn't get it you should send them a letter right now straight to the raymondville address and tell them to send it allready. goodness they are slow.

No I don't ride my bike. My companion has hypoglycemia so she can't exert to much energy or she'll pass out. And she has to eat like every couple hours. So we definitely canNOT ride bikes with her. She eats a lot of apples.

Sorry this is short but it's all the time I have. Love you!


Sister Petersen

The field is white....

Email sent Monday 25 July 2011

Dear Family,

Week two in Port Isabel texas. What a crazy adventure this is. I feel that I am getting more and more tired as teh weeks go on. We are working really hard and I think the sun is getting to us a bit too. haha. But the cotton fields really are "white and ready to harvest" here in south texas. We drive by them a lot and are reminded of how there are also many people ready and waiting to accept the gospel here.

This week was a bit slow in terms helping people progress, there seemed to be wierd road blocks at every turn. But we still found some awesome people this week that we are really excited for. We are looking for ideas on how to make our work more productive. Knocking doors is not very successful...so we haven't done it at all here. We ahve just been going by all of the members on our list and all the former investigators in our area book. We are finding some people, but we need a breakthrough idea on how to get the work moving a lot faster. Any of you returned missionaries out htere have any ideas, please send them to me.

Sister Perkins has been sick this whole time, but wednesday it got pretty bad, so we couldn't even work. I organized our area book and continued our cleaning quest as she slept and then we took her to the doctor. They gave her lots of meds, and she felt a little better the next day so we've continued working but she is still sick. Poor girl. She's a trooper and is so excited and ready to get the job done always. She has so much enthusiasm for the work. Working with her is really fun.

Our ward mission leader here is really awesome. The best one that I have had in my whole mission. He is so willing to come out with us to lessons and get the ward excited about missionary work also. He has been a member all his life but they went inactive for like 12 years or something, but the missionaries about 8 months ago found them and helped re-activate them and they are AWESOME! His wife is the YW's president and there are SO many strong YW in our ward probably partly because of her. And they should be going to the temple next month to get sealed, so that is super exciting.

Well that's all for now. Love you!


Sister Petersen

I never knew a place like this was part of my mission!

Email sent Monday 18 July 2011

What a roller coaster crazy week! This week I realized how much my mission has taught me about handling stress and just being chill in the face of huge challenges. So as you know last Sunday night I got the news I would be white-washing this area that formerly belonged to elders here in Port Isabel. Port Isabel is exactly that - a port, or basically, it is right on the bay, the ocean you can see from my apartment. South Padre Island is part of my area...but we are not aloud to go over there really. But we can see it, and the bridge to get there is right by our apartment. This town is so interesting! It is really pretty! It's population is only around 5000 something, which is less than Raymondville by 3000 but it feels like a bigger, more civilized city I guess you can say. It is a touristy town. On the weekends it is packed because everyone and there dog is going to the island. There are tons of cool places that will be fun for us to go to on p-days. Today we are going to kinda go and explore and really see what there is to do here, cuz it seems there are lots of things.

So basically, when we got here on Tuesday, we followed the elders to our new apartment, which is the one that they lived in before. Our apartment is SUPER cute. Sister Trayner says it is the cutest apartment in the mission, but I had been told from Sister Swayne that elders had lived in there for too long and that the inside was going to need some cleanup work. The elders left us and went to the car to get more of our luggage, and we explored the upstairs. We smiled and laughed and called em out on the cleanliness a little. The elders then showed us around town to the members here in our area. We began to realize that we have someone scheduled to feed us like every single day. So much food. We asked them about our investigators. They took us by two houses and told us that in one of them lived this family and two of the people had baptismal dates. We asked if that was all of our investigators, and they said...ya. En serio elders?!!?!?! So ya, we had two investigators.

This city is awesome. On wednesday after district meeting, our district leader actually called us and told us that those 2 investigators they had told us we had weren't really investigators and didn't have baptismal dates. So the reality of it set in that we literally have NO investigators. So instead of white-washing this area, we are basically opening it up, starting from scratch. So we have a big task ahead of us but we are so excited about it! The members are so awesome here! And all of the people we ahve met are pretty receptive. It actually isn't really a rich area. It is pretty much trailers and little homes for the most part. We also ahve this city called laguna vista though, and that seems to have the big fancy houses on teh beach and stuff. But here in Port Isabel and Laguna Vista it is mostly lower class and TONS of spanish! So after being with a native companion for 6 months I am now with Sister Perkins, who has only been in the field for about 3 months and is still very much learning spanish. So I get to practice a lot.

Sister Perkins is an awesome missionary! She had a ton of success in Weslaco before coming here and is so ready to get to work. She is from Colorado, her name is Kathryn and she went to BYU before the mission and I look familiar to her, and we decided we think it is because we both always used to go country dancing at the Center in Provo. Maybe we saw each other before. haha.

The ward here is combined with Los Fresnos, 25 minutes north. There used to be a branch in Los Fresnos and Port isabel, but in march they closed the Port Isabel branch because it was small, and combined it with the Los Fresnos one to make a ward. So we have a spanish ward there. It's cute. THe members are really really excited for sisters to be here. Everyone was freaking out. Some people can never ever remember having sisters in like 14 years, so they were really happy to have us. I felt bad for the elders, cuz everyone kept saying how excited they were for us to be here.

But anyway sounds like ya'll are pretty busy. Girls camp, uintah camp etc. Have so much fun. Remember to relax, even if things get stressful at camp. haha. Just laugh at the unfortunite situations.

Love you tons!


Sister Petersen

ps everyone should check out my profile on mormon.org and make one for yourselves