October 24, 2016

This One was a Toughie

As I said, this week was a tough one. We reached all of our goals, thank goodness, but I feel like I about died in the process. Lots of lessons have dropped on us, none of our plans worked out, and I just was stretched, physically, to my limits. Of course, I have had many weeks like this on my mission and I know that this is the low part right before things get super good.

Here is a great tender mercy though. So, our car decided to overheat and therefore, we needed to take it into Pepboys. Well, that is also 10 miles from our house. So, we wandered around the town and got some lunch, and then decided that since they hadn't called us yet, we would walk back to see what was up. On our way back, a member found us, and picked us up! God knew that we had no idea how we were going to get home and that we needed help. Our car is still in the shop at this moment because they didn't have the part that we needed.
So, on Saturday when this happened, we had to bike super far in our area (all up and down hills), and then walk that night. I know, lots of people have to do this, but for some reason, my body was not up for it after all that we have done this week. 
In other news, we were able to see a less active at the pier this week. Her husband (also a member), does not want us by the house any more, so we have to meet with her elsewhere now. It was great though. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and really wants to come to church, she just doesn't know how to do so without upsetting her husband too much. It was nice having my background, because I was really able to relate to her, and help her know that it is all possible. 
I also got to help sew a quilt this week! I love sewing! They even let me take home the pieces to work on, and the old ladies all want to take me to this quilt show in February haha! Friday is what made things worth it. 
On Friday, we went to Linda and Doug's house and helped them finish Halloween decorations and do a dinner with a bunch of other recent converts and an investigator. It was so fun! All of our recent converts like to hang out together and it just makes me so happy! 
So, even though things could be better, there are just so many tender mercies and miracles that the Lord puts in our path to show us His love and His plan. I hope you all remember to seek those and treasure them. 
-Sister Peterson
My pumpkin lit up
Our investigator, Angela :)
More pumpkin. This is the best one I have ever made! 


October 17, 2016

This week, we worked our butts off. Our numbers really don't show it, but we tried so hard to see people this week. There were quite a few small miracles though, and that's what I want to focus on!
The first was on Tuesday afternoon. We went to see this less active that is super hard to get an appointment with. She was just so up front about where she was at with the restored gospel. Kathy has been inactive most of her life, and she now wants to understand the gospel. She knows the church is true, but she is attending the Methodist church with her husband. She wants to just understand the gospel simply though, and our church was so over her head. I can understand that, even though I would rather her be with us. I prayed right then and there to know what God would have me say to His precious daughter. Whatever I said helped her to decide that meeting with us to learn more about the gospel would be helpful. I was upfront about how our dream as missionaries is to see her go to the temple. Though she is not ready to come back, she wants to progress. That's all we can ever ask for. 

We also finally met with this 13 year old who is super solid. We wanted to meet with her and her grandma, so we keep putting it off in hopes her grandma could attend, but this time we just decided to go ahead and meet with Alliyah alone (outside of course). She was pretty receptive and accepted Alma 32 as a commitment. It always makes my day when people are willing to read the Book of Mormon. 

Friday, we had another miracle. We picked up this investigator who was a Bible referral. He's a little out there, but we thought we would give him a chance and teach him the restoration. While we were sitting on his porch, who should roll up but Dewayne Bosby. Dewayne is someone who had learned about the church in the past and was on date for baptism. He has been so hard to contact, so this really was a miracle. He is the reason why we were there. We had a great lesson with him the next day and he set his own return appointment!
This weekend we also had Stake conference. Honestly, I was just super excited to see President and Sister Smith. It makes my day when I get to see them. The conference itself was fantastic though. We had Elder Eduardo Gavarret of the 70 come as well, and he was a fantastic teacher! I feel so blessed to experience all of these general authorities lately. They are such talented servants of the Lord. Something I loved from conference was the added emphasis on the Sabbath day. Growing up, the Sabbath day was not a concept in my life. So, that was one of the harder commandments I had to learn to keep. Now, I am learning more and more how to actually make it a delight and honor it. This is super poignant because on Sunday, we got a ride from members to conference. Our Stake center is in Mobile, which is about 45 minutes from Daphne (our area). The members who took us were starving after conference and had convinced themselves that it would be okay to go out for lunch. Since they were our ride, we had to go along. They offered to feed us, but I respectfully declined. That came with a little mocking and some attempts to make me eat out, but I was determined to keep the Sabbath holy. Afterwards, the members told me they were actually proud of me for upholding my standards. I actually love getting opportunities to stand up and keep my standards. It makes me realize how wonderful this gospel is and what power having exact obedience can bring. 

Our mission president said something really cool in his talk that I loved. In the middle of conference, he had all of the missionaries stand up. There are 38 of us in this Stake, which is a lot. He invited the members to all pray for us by name. I would like to invite you all to do the same with your missionaries. They need you more than you may ever realize. This work cannot be done with us doing our parts out of sync. Please pray and ask God what you can do THIS WEEK to help the work progress.
I love you all so much and I am just so incredibly grateful for your support, prayers, and little notes. They mean the world to me. Keep on Keeping on Folks! Enjoy the pictures!
-Sister Peterson
Montez. She's a great investigator who wants to leave the Jehovah Witnesses. I love my sassy old black ladies :)
We got to go to a football game in the south! It's super legit here!
cotton :)
Alliyah. I talked about her. 
Deriyah. She is so fun! She had a similar situation to me with baptism, but now that she's 18, she's not sure if she wants to be baptized. 
We had a starbucks date
The cotton is snow to people of Alabama


October 10, 2016

Working Hard

Every time I run into our stake president (he lives in our ward), he always asks us "working hard or hardly working?". This week, I feel like I very honestly answered "Working Hard". We did a lot of work this week, along with some traveling. There were many moments when I would have loved to taken a break, and it would have been okay in the eyes of my mission president, but my desire to serve as a consecrated missionary overcame those temptations. Every morning my comp and I have been running down from our apartment to the edge of Mobile Bay. Now, this isn't that far, but if you know me, I am not much of a runner. I think by attempting this challenge at the start of my day, every day, has helped me to overcome so many other challenges that I previously had no motivation to conquer.
There were some sad moments this week in the work, such as our less active politely asking us to not return. Her husband is still very against the church (he being a member as well), and so she is going to just keep our visits to rare, outside of the home visits. On Friday, we were finally able to try and see Jhemarial, our most progressing investigator at one point. She is not as lost as we thought. She is in a similar position to Joseph Smith right now, as she has many churches catching her attention, and she just isn't sure which one to join. She accepted our invitation to read Alma 32 though, and I really think she will find her answers there. 
This Friday, we also had a half mission conference with Elder Sitati of the 70. He taught out of Alma 32 in regards to a question I posed. I have been wondering for quite some time what it truly means to be valiant in the testimony of Christ. This is required to receive salvation in the Celestial kingdom, according to Doctrine and Covenants 76. As we studied the section about the seed and it's relation to faith, we learned how one progresses to gain a full knowledge of the truth. As we abide by the truths we come to know and understand, and live as Christ's disciples, we will be valiant in this testimony. There were many other wonderful things about that conference though and I could write an entire essay about it. It was comforting to see many of my mission friends there as well. This really has become my family. 
One family in the ward that we have spent a lot of time with and I have come to love is the Williams. Doug and Linda Williams are recent converts who love the church and missionary work. They take us to lessons all the time. They are true southerners and just have strong testimonies. I love my converts for whatever reason it is. I just feel like we get each other I guess. 
Many wonderful things have been happening, and we have more than reached our goals this week. Weeks like that make every sad and difficult things worth it. Today we also got to really enjoy ourselves as we taught seminary, and then went to Alligator Alley. I have many pictures that I will send of that experience. We also went to this place called Lambert's Cafe, where they throw rolls at you and have super authentic southern food. It was a great day to be in Alabama.
I love you all and I am so grateful for your prayers Everyone of them means so much to me. Please, keep studying the lessons of General Conference. They are filled with things that our Heavenly Father needs us to know and prepare for at this specific time. 
Have a great week!
-Sister Peterson
Conference - Sister Fletcher, me, Sister Jackson, Sister Fox
I held a gator!
They are huge!
More gator :)


October 3, 2016

A Season for Revelation

Was that title dramatic enough? I am just on fire with all the revelation I have received from the last two weekends of conference. In addition to it all, our mission is being toured by a seventy, named Elder Sitati this week and we will be having a conference on Friday with him!

Before I get into what I learned from conference, I need to talk about the week leading up to it; mainly Friday. On Friday, we had an exchange with our STL's. I got to be with Sister Masi, who I met when she came out on her mission in the Pensacola area. So, we were already friends! We had a lot of really good conversations and she really helped me feel better about my efforts, as well as find areas I can improve in. Miracles happened on our exchange though! My companion was able to set a baptismal date with one of our investigators on her exchange. This girl is solid! Her name is Angela, and she has some special needs, but she knows enough to want to be baptized. She is so sweet and we love seeing her. Her baptism is going to be a special day! I also got to visit someone who the sisters had lost hope with, and we had a powerful lesson. I love seeing the divine potential people have. I hate giving up on them. So many people are out there, ready to receive the restored gospel. Our job is to help them take down their personal barriers and let the spirit teach them. 
So, conference! I learned so much. One of the main focuses of it was joy. I have really struggled feeling the joy that I know Heavenly Father wants me to feel in my life. President Nelson's talk helped me find a greater motivation to seek that joy that I know Heavenly Father gives His disciples freely. Also, the talks from Saturday afternoon were completely centered on what we have been so focused on lately. We have been really emphasizing the need to work with members in our missionary efforts. This work is nearly impossible without member's efforts. I really encourage all of you to check out the book "The Power of the Everyday Missionary" by Clayton M. Christenson. It is full of powerful examples and great ways to share the gospel. 
Keep sharing this wonderful message and make sure you all study your notes from conference! You can still grow and receive revelation now that it's over!
-Sister Peterson
Super cool old wheel chair
Service is so rough. ;)
Sister Fletcher's first eyebrow plucking!
Me on a swing ;)
Cotton is in bloom!