May 23, 2016

Halfway? Nah, not me!!

This week I hit my halfway point!!! Can you believe it? I can't!! 9 months has flown by.
This week, I sent home my companion Sister Brandt. We sent her off with a proper funeral as well. Pictures are attached. Now I have Sister Johnson! She has spent all 6 months of her mission in Fort Walton beach. She is from Logan, Utah (my first Utah comp!) and graduated the same year as Nate. It's kind of weird having a younger companion. I guess the Lord trusts me now or something. Being a senior companion has just slightly pushed me to be a bit better. There are many things I could improve on as a missionary. Now I have a tad bit more motivation to do so!!!
This week I came down with another sinus infection, so we didn't get to do too much. The lessons we had though, were powerful. I don't know how, but they just were. I know Sister Johnson and I are going to kill it here in Madison. We have seen a lot of people start to progress. I am so excited for what will come in the next month. My whole zone and district transformed this transfer too. The new people are amazing! I am just so excited to see what I will learn from them, and what good times we will have!
As I have been reflecting on the first half of my mission, I have been pondering how I want to remember my mission. I thought of the great return missionaries back home and in my areas. I want to be like them. I want to look on my mission and know I did great things and that I did the will of the Lord at all times. Therefore, I have gained some great motivation to change myself. There are going to be lots of trials, as there always are, but I am ready for them now! I have a new comp, new transfer, and soon a new mission president. Change is coming, and that is a good thing. Change is what we do when we repent even. It means, therefore, that we are becoming like God - our eternal goal. I hope you are all doing your best to change every day! I love you all and I hope you have a great, even fantastic week.
-Sister Peterson


May 16, 2016

2 or 20....

I am 20 years old and 2 years born again!!! What a great day! 
As far as this week, I don't think I even have words for it. I will start with our Zone Training on Tuesday. We already had one this transfer, but after the leadership met, they decided that we needed another. Boy was it powerful. I just learned such crucial lessons for my own life and progression. I learned how to improve my missionary work in simple, but influential ways. At the end, we went to the chapel and had a really spiritual moment. I know that moment was an answer to my prayers. I felt it with so much power. I was crying a ton! God wanted me to know that He is always there for me and that I can move past the trials that have befallen me. Our mission president used a metaphor for this that involves the phrase "Move the Chair". I am working hard now to move the chair and help the people I teach do the same. 
Friday I caught several fish and ate them! We also got our less active committed to going back to the temple! The temple has been such a powerful teaching tool this week. I have always wanted it as my goal for my missionary work, but I didn't have a strong testimony of it's usefulness until this weekend. A member used a great analogy for it. He said that the gospel is like all the practice before the game - everything we do in the church on a daily basis. The temple is the game itself. He was really trying to help our part-member family see how great the temple is, which is hard to do when you have never been there. 
Yesterday, we had a great opportunity. This week our branch received the records for a less active lady. She had been living here for a while, but nobody knew that. Well, Sunday, our relief society president took us straight over there. Normally these visits don't go too well, but when we asked if we could come back, she was more than happy for us to do so! I am so excited! God has truly been answering all of our prayers. It's amazing because I often feel that we don't deserve these blessings, but that is evidence of God's love for us and His children. As long as we have a willing and repentant heart, He will bless us and help us. 
I got to give a talk yesterday. It was great doing so the day before my 2 year church birthday. I reflected a lot on how the atonement helps us feel peace. The Holy Ghost literally cleanses us and allows us to taste Heaven. That is only possible if we repent and access the free gift that Christ has given us. My invitation to you all is to try and repent daily and truly prepare for the sacrament. I promise you will feel greater peace and recieve blessings you didn't even know you could have. Have a great week and enjoy the plentiful amount of pictures I took this week!
-Sister Peterson


May 9, 2016

We are Kind of Special Here in Madison

Man we are special. This was a weird week haha.
Monday was semi normal. We had a wienie roast FHE at the Waddoups. That was fun. I love being outside and it was cool to see so many less active members come out for that.
Tuesday we were stuck in Tallahassee all day. We went to district meeting, then to taco bell with the sisters. Then we dropped off our car to take care of the damage from the armadillo. We kind of floated around Tallahassee all day doing things we needed to, waiting for a call from the car place. They never called and we had nothing to do! Eventually, we called them after one of our members took us to eat in Tally. Our car was ready and it was six!!! Well, we went to get it and were able to make it in to Sister Ponce that night for her 93rd birthday!!! Holy cow she is old.
Wednesday we had a super successful day. It was random, but great. That night, we called Marvin Goldstein, a member of the church in Tallahassee. We were hoping to do a fireside in Madison with him playing piano. He is a world renowned pianist. Well we knew it was too short notice for us to do it before Sister Brandt left, so he invited us to go sing with him in Crawfordville, just south of Tallahassee that Friday. The next day we called President Smith for permission to go. He let us!!!!
Friday, we got a lot of work done before we had to leave, but then we went out and sang a beautiful duet accompanied by a world renowned pianist! Then, my companion sang O Divine Redeemer. She sang opera in college and has her degree in vocal performance. It was amazing. What an experience. It reminded me a lot of how almost three years ago, I was at a piano fireside that would later lead to my membership in the church. What a tender mercy.
Saturday was great too. Our GPS almost led us out of the mission because it doesn't know dirt roads. I was smarter than it though. We were offered food all day that day though! The best part of the day was teaching Tammy though. She was excommunicated before and is now investigating with us. She has a lot of questions, and it has been so cool responding to her concerns. She has a lot of misunderstandings about the church that we are resolving!
Sunday we sang in sacrament "A Child's Prayer". I miss performing, so this was wonderful. I love singing songs in church so much. We got to Skype that afternoon with our families which was wonderful. That night we got slobbered on by cows when we went to check on the Floyds. They had lost a lot of cows this week, so we went to comfort them. I love this area so much!!!
All has been good. I have learned a lot this week about how true it is that God loves us unconditionally. I get frustrated with myself a lot. I was pondering that the other day and I was like "man, He has to be so frustrated with me!". Then I heard the still small voice remind me that "He is never frustrated with me". It's not in His nature. Don't let yourself be frustrated! He isn't with you. Get up, and try again. Christ suffered so you could!
I love you all and hope you have a great week!
-Sister Peterson
1)My companion exists! I promise!
2)This puppy is adorable!!!
3) Seriously, I love this puppy!


May 2, 2016


I cannot believe that it is already May. I don't get another one as a missionary! Nor do I get another April though...Having a companion who is going home in a few weeks has really helped me put my mission into perspective. I am almost half way through, and I couldn't be more grateful for another 9 months in the field.
The truth is, I almost didn't get that extra time! I almost had to go home because I wasn't feeling well. Over the last few months, I have been able to realize how much God needs me on my mission. I may not personally see any of the fruits of my labors, but there is a purpose for me here. Even if it is to help my companions to learn valuable life lessons.
Well, this week was an interesting one! Tuesday, we went to the Floyd farm for dinner and a lesson. I love going out there! We had a dinner completely made up of food they grew or hunted. I tried duck. It's not my favorite food in the world. Charlie Floyd, told us something so sweet this week! He said that we were what got him off the fence. He has been less active for a while and we gave him the push he needed to get back into church!
In other news, this week has been getting hot! We had to bike and walk quite a bit. We have been out trying to find new people to teach a lot lately. That has proved to be a blessing though! We found a new investigator through our own efforts and received many member referrals. I have been praying a lot for the members' missionary opportunities. I pray that they might recognize those who have been prepared as well as that we might. In a small town like Madison, working through the members is going to be the most effective way to work. God answered my prayers! Our members have been having amazing missionary moments and have helped us find a lot of new people to teach! I couldn't be more grateful for them and their desire to help us find the lost sheep. They take that commission very seriously here in Madison.
Our most progressing investigator, Samantha, has been reading the Book of Mormon this week! She started our lesson for us by asking questions from her reading. She has been asking questions that are very similar to mine when I started reading. She also has a very similar background with religion to me. It is always so cool to teach those people, because it takes me back and I can truly empathize with them!
Yesterday we had fast and testimony meeting. I wasn't going to bear my testimony until I realized that this month is May and will mark my anniversary of membership in the church as well as my 20th birthday! I decided to go up to the stand and bear my testimony of the Savior and his power to change lives. He has truly changed mine. I can't even imagine where I would be without the restored gospel of Christ. I know it couldn't be a very good place with the way I was going. I have felt more joy and love in my life ever since I came to know the Book of Mormon to be true. God loves each of us. He knows us uniquely and perfectly. As Elder Holland said, He loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength.
This week I was privileged to feel a lot of that love He has for His children. People that others don't give a chance. He loves all of them. And I am glad to be a tool in His hand to help them know that. Remember the story of the prodigal son, my friends. There is hope for everyone. We should be willing to send the missionaries to anyone as well as share the gospel with whomever ourselves. I love you all! Keep praying, keep studying, and keep changing!
-Sister Peterson