March 9, 2017

 Arlington Stake President Williams released Sister Amanda Peterson
as a full-time missionary in the Florida Tallahassee mission
for the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints
in the Nichols' home on March 9, 2017!
The Arlington Ward Laurel class presidency
made a 'Welcome Home' sign for her :)
'Welcome Back' Amanda after serving well and faithfully
for 18 months! ❤


March 6, 2017

Well Done My Faithful Servant

Those are the words I hope to hear from my Heavenly Father in reference to my mission. As I was praying last night, I felt that those will be the words I hear from Him.
Can you believe we are here now? My last email from my mission. And what a week it has been. I will first talk about that, but my testimony will  be at the end.

Monday night, we helped Debby get stuff at the Mardi Gras parade. My back was ruined from then on after holding tons of beads on my neck and bending down every second. 

Tuesday we were able to catch quite a few people and drive in the middle of nowhere to see this lady who is now Methodist. She was super sweet and taught us about living in an area where it floods a lot though. Less active members just really strike me, though. They always are super open and friendly, they just don't want to come. The conundrum of my mission. We ended the night celebrating fat Tuesday with the Boxx's, red beans and rice, as well as King Cake!

Wednesday we had a zone training. It was such a good training. I learned a lot and wish I could be here longer to implement the things taught. Missionary work is truly moving in amazing directions across the world. The Lord is still hastening His work, step by step. I learned some things I hope to apply as I go home. 

Thursday went completely not as planned. We ended up meeting this guy at McDonalds and taught him for like two hours. He accepted the challenge to read the Book of Mormon and find out if it is true though! We had dinner at the Quinelly's that night though. It was such a sweet gathering. I love how members feed off of the spirit we bring to their home. I always feel so good when we can enter their homes and share a message. 

Friday was super random too. We were able to teach Derriyah though! She is so solid. I hope the new sisters can help her out. We had our last dinner with the Langi's that night as well. What an amazing family. I am just so grateful for all the connections I have made here. These members are truly amazing. 

Saturday was super busy. We left early for a family history class at the fancy old folks home, then rushed over to the church for a big church tour for this interfaith group. They are trying to instigate some positive dialogue between Latter-Day Saints and Evangelical Christians. So, they have prepared a trip to Salt Lake and Provo to speak with members of our church as well as their own. We were answering some of their questions and teaching them about Sunday worships. Then we ran down to Fairhope to go to lunch at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear with two of our classiest members :) We call them Southern Debutantes. Boy that was classy! But, on the way there, we found out that Sister Richins is also leaving Fairhope and training. We then spent the rest of the day preparing for that. She's been pretty stressed. I on the other hand, am totally packed and am just trying to get my bike situation figured out. 

Sunday was pretty special. We had a wonderful fast and testimony meeting, mainly about the Atonement of Christ. I bore my testimony. I wanted it to be about what I learned on my mission, so I focused on the Atonement of Christ. Prior to my mission, I didn't even know that repentance was for more than the ten commandments; that I could repent daily as a tool to literally become like Jesus Christ. It was wonderful being a tool for the Lord on the stand as I felt the spirit and bore testimony of the things I have learned for a fact these last 3, almost 4 years. 
After church, we went to lunch at Doug and Linda's. Classic :) We were able to see Angela one last time that afternoon. She was really sad we were leaving, but I reminded her that I can call her when I get home and that the next sisters are super awesome as well. 
Eventually, we went to the Mills for dinner. I love that family! We had a super fun time and I taught a completely different lesson on the spot. Good thing I have been doing this for a while. 
Other than that, we have been saying bye to people and we have been packing and cleaning. Want it to look nice for my best friends who are coming down from Atmore this Tuesday. We will be driving to Tallahassee Tuesday night. My companion is training and white washing Atmore!! It's pretty exciting, but super stressful as we are trying to get everything done!!! 

So, I wanted to bear you all my testimony for probably the last time as a young, full time missionary. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He lives. He suffered so that we wouldn't have to, and His arms are stretched forth continuously. He has picked me up time after time, as I have fallen, been beat up by Satan, and almost given up at times. He knows us perfectly and loves us each uniquely. He knows you. God loves us so much, that after a time of great apostasy, He appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the everlasting gospel through him. We now have the Book of Mormon so that we can find absolute truth and prepare for eternity. I know that book is true and have known since June of 2013. It has changed my life and I read it every day. I know you all can find everlasting and consistent peace as you live the gospel of Jesus Christ and keep His commandments. It is a gift given freely to all who desire it. He loves us and did all He could so that we could be joyful. 
I love you all and am so excited to reconnect and see many of you! I will land in Seattle at about five pm on Thursday. Until then,

-Sister Peterson
Sooo many beads

 Sooo much pollen (my allergies are killing me!)
Elder Johnson forgot that it wasn't an emergency...Right before a church tour...
Grand Hotel
So Crawfish Happened....

Elder Johnson won.

 More of the Lunch Crew
My comp found a funny hat
Transfers are crazy. I did this four times. That's my comp's stuff though.
I was way more organized this time.


February 27, 2017

This week was just super random. But, that happens a lot as a missionary, so it really doesn't come as any surprise anymore.

On Monday we went to Gulf Shores to play sports with our district! It was President's day, but that's not really a holiday down here. We weren't expecting anything weird, but this drunk couple came and started talking to me, and then got mad at us for some reason. We just went back to playing sports...It was a fun time though! 

Tuesday night I went through security at a fancy assisted living community to eat dinner with the coolest sister! Patylynn is a convert of about 17  years. She was raised in an atheist home and lived most of her life like that, but then had this super cool conversion experience. She then met the love of her life (after her husband leaving her because she was Mormon). He died several years ago. Now she does all she can to be an amazing member missionary. I hope to grow up and be like her one day!

On Wednesday we were able to see several people. We contacted a referral in Loxley! His name is Rodney and he has been trying to get back into church. He really wants to change his life! So, he requested a Bible because he didn't have one. We introduced him to the Book of Mormon and are going to start teaching him this week! Just a little miracle for ya.

We then met some really cool people on the pier on Thursday. It had been a while since we had been there. We really just gave tons of service all day on Thursday. Sadly, most of our set appointments fell through this week, so we replaced that time with more service. We have found some great potentials through our service though! I have never seen that on my mission, so I am really excited. 
Then the Mardi Gras madness ensued once again.

Friday night we went to the parade in Fairhope and tried to meet new people. We met this sweet couple who are snowbirds from Michigan and had been in contact with the church before through family history. We also met an excommunicated member that night. Our favorite part was when this band kid marched past, and yelled to the elders; "Are you from 'The Book of Mormon'?", as in the musical. Never gotten that one before!

Saturday was just weird. That's all I got. We taught people and had great lessons, but it was weird. We went to another Mardi Gras parade and made more friends with non-members. 

On Sunday, we, the missionaries, sang in sacrament meeting. We sang the EFY medley and it was awesome! People were crying and the spirit was there. I prayed so hard that morning for the spirit to speak through our music. Prayer always works. 

Not much else noteworthy happened. This is a really odd time for me. Much is changing in missionary work, and I am getting ready to transition into regular adult life. Many emotions are flying, but my main goal is to just work as hard as I can this week. I will talk to you all one more time as a missionary next week.
Go out there and be the best member missionaries for me, will ya? :)
-Sister Peterson
Mardi Gras 
Mr. T? 
Making faces 
Debby :) 
I taught a Pelican!  
Mardi Gras with friends :) 

Silverhill Park 
Linda and King Cake 
sooooo many beads 
My ministerial cert ends tomorrow... Am I not a real missionary then? 
All the sisters who stayed together for the mission conference. Couldn't send a normal one ;) 
My ride buddies for the Tally trip


February 20, 2017

"Seminoles, you Sinners!"

The title is a quote from Elder Stevenson doing role plays with us in our training on Saturday. Oh, by the way, I saw Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12 on Saturday with our entire mission in Tallahassee. This was quite a special experience. I don't know how much I can convey over email, but I promise it will still be fresh when I get home, and I can tell you much more in person or over the phone.


February 13, 2017

The Miracle of Prayers

Hey Everyone! This week was AMAZING for the Fairhope, Alabama Sisters.

First, we went on exchanges on Tuesday. We were both in the Atmore area. I got to be with my pal Sister Housel! We are such good friends. I will steal a term a member used; she is my best spiritual friend :) We also saw the first miracle of the week. That morning, Sister Housel felt that we should give our morning appointments to the other sisters, so we just went to go try some people. When we got to these apartments, the person we were looking for had just left. We saw a man outside and felt like we should talk to him. As we talked to Russ, we found out that he didn't know if there was a God, that his fiancee of 13 years just left him, he has three boys, and they have been attending a church just to have structure for them. Lots of the concerns he shared were similar to what mine were growing up. I was able to testify of how we can know God through the feelings of the Holy Ghost. It is a tangible feeling that we can have! He was pretty interested, so we set a return appointment! Then, we found out that he didn't even live in that neighborhood. He was on break doing work!!! 

That night we had the craziest Book of Mormon class. We had three of our investigators come, and they had lots of questions. They know a lot about the Bible and are pretty challenging. The class turned into a testimony meeting from our members that were there... we got through 15 verses... The class was three hours instead of 1... They had me lead it and I kept trying to get people back on track, and it just wouldn't happen. We have since discussed a plan for the next week. I will have to update yall next week on the class's progression. 

Thursday was also amazing. We did service like all day. My favorite part was taking Debby out of the nursing home and pushing her in her wheelchair to the market for snacks she wanted. What a sight that must have been!!! After more service we gave, we met with the Coll family after trying to contact them the entire time I have been here! They have lots of great questions and are super open. We set a return appointment and everything! Then we even caught Tracy home! She still wants to meet with us, they have just been crazy busy. We set an appointment with her and invited her to whatever she could attend of church or our Book of Mormon class. She shared experiences of prayer and how she wants to not work on Sundays for church. 

Friday was great. We ate at my fellow Northwesterners' home.

Saturday was another day of miracles though. We had our normal coordination meeting and then we went out to Silverhill to try Chad, the elders' investigator that ended up living in our area. He wasn't home, but we saw a family outside with an adorable dog, so we went to talk to them. After a little bit, we found out that they didn't have a church. I taught them about the Book of Mormon and Robert, the man, asked if I had a spare one! We set a return appointment and they said if they didn't have something come up they would come to church with us! It was so great. The best part is that we both prayed specifically for a new investigator that day. Sister Richins even asked for a family that would set a return appointment and was willing/able to come to church! Heavenly Father hit it on the nose. We have been just so much more productive with this new focus from the church. I love it. I don't feel compelled to teach lessons all day. I feel compelled to be a missionary and do what missionaries do. 

I know the Lord is so aware of us. I love Him so much. He placed me in this wonderful ward with wonderful people to teach and find. I got to bear my testimony yesterday when a youth speaker couldn't make it. I talked about my conversion and how I made it here. I am just so grateful that someone invited me. Our goal right now is to help our youth do the same. They are the best missionaries we have. 

I love you all! Have a great week!
-Sister Peterson
This stream at a park in Silver Hill. We stopped to have comp study over here :)

Elder Johnson wanted to wear my shoes..

The Daphne Gaggle plays soccer too!

Most are from our exchange, and there is one from our beach Pday the other week!


February 6, 2017

Hey everyone who still reads these emails! This week was a wild one!

First off, on Monday, we went to the beach! It was so fun. Our whole district, plus the STL's went. Then that night, we had two sets of sisters stay the night in preparation for the Zone Conference the next day. 
Boy was this a good, last Zone Conference! We watched the worldwide missionary broadcast and discussed it with our zone and mission president. I learned sooo much from this broadcast. I wish I had been able to see this over a year ago! One of the biggest things I gained from it, is knowing that there is no such thing as a gospel checklist. There is no way that we can compare how to get from point a to point b. There are certain and essential steps, but the in between is immeasurable. Another thing to remember is that whatever my best is, God will magnify it. My favorite parts of the broadcast were when the camera would center in on Elder Dallin H Oaks, and he would speak directly to the missionaries watching. I could feel the intensity of his message as I looked in his eyes and he reminded us of our responsibility to bear witness of Christ. His name should always be on our lips. (That goes for any baptized member of the church). 

This week was full of little miracles here and there though. Tuesday night, I felt impressed to try the Bosby's, who we hadn't had contact with in a while. We had that great restoration lesson, and then nothing for months. Well, while at the door, Dewayne drives up and says we can come back tomorrow! I thought they wanted nothing to do with us now! Though they weren't home when he said, I know they are worth still working on.

Thursday night we had an amazing lesson with the Brooks family. Jeff is leaving on deployment for a year this week, and we wanted to touch base with them. The lesson ended up on the topic of the temple and they were feeling incredibly repentant. I felt kind of bad at first, and then remembered this is my job. I did my best to lovingly help them realize that these are attainable goals and that we will be there to help them get back into activity on their way to the temple. 

In other news, as typical of a life in service of Christ, an 80 year old man told us about how badly he wants a wife and his dating life. That was a first for me. I also got really sick this week. It was gross. My companion wouldn't let me go see people or anything. If you know me, that was torture on its own. I tried to get as much as I could from church yesterday, but all I wanted was a nap and a bowl of soup. 

That was my week though! I love my mission so much yall. I don't want to ever stop serving and bearing the name of Christ on my chest. It is wonderful and I would never trade this experience for anything in the world. I hope all is well on your end! 

-Sister PetersonDistrict Picture

Fairhope flowers (they change these every 2 weeks...)

Gulf Shores with my bestie :)

Fairhope Pier at Sunset


January 30, 2017

It's the Final Countdown!

I am by no means trunky, but I just hear that song in the back of my head as I start the last transfer of my mission. It's kind of motivating to realize the amount of time I have left is so little.

This week just felt good. I don't really know what to say about it though! We just were where the Lord needed us when He needed us there. Much of that was taking advantage of opportunities to serve.

We helped one of the elders' investigators move on Saturday and it was so much fun. She was so grateful for what seemed like such little help to us. Those moments are just heavenly. 

I really don't have too much to report from this week though. It was just one of those average missionary weeks. We also don't get to know what happened in the missionary broadcast till tomorrow, because transfers were on last Wednesday. I am so excited for these changes though! Even though I have only six weeks left, they are going to be the best!

Sister Richins and I are having a ball and the work here is ready to move forward. Our members have taken well to the efforts we have made to help them in their missionary work. I am amazed by their willingness to talk to others about the gospel and invite them to learn more.

I can't wait to be a better member missionary! As President Odom (Mobile Stake presidency) said, "Missionary work is the life of the church". It truly is. It is not just for the full-time missionaries. Our job is to invite others to come unto Christ. That means working with those who have already made those covenants to build up the kingdom of God wherever we may be! It is magnificent. 

Sorry, I am really excited today. That's all though! I hope you all have a great week and keep your eyes singled to His glory. 

-Sister Peterson