November 28, 2016

...And He WILL Lift You Higher

This week was amazing. I am going to try to put it into words for you all. In essence, the Lord did bring us higher after bringing us very low.
First, everyone canceled on Monday. I can't even remember what we did to make up for that.
Tuesday, we were super busy after our district meeting. I received a tender mercy as the member who drove us there offered to take us to eat and I let her know that I've been wanting Chick-fil-A. She took us there :) That night though, we drove to Atmore for our exchanges with the STL's. We had dinner and taught a Book of Mormon class that night. 
The next day was extraordinary though. Sister Housel helped me so much. I have had such a ridiculous fear of personal finding lately. I just froze at the opportunity of going and doing it. Well, I decided to make my exchange purpose "overcoming my fear of finding". I knew it was what the Lord needed me to do. We talked about it a lot and Sister Housel reminded me that I have many skills that I just have forgotten due to Satan. She reminded me that he is the reason I freeze up. If I can get past the initial interaction, I have no problem teaching and getting to know people. The adversary is indeed very aware of the skills we have that can aid in the gathering of Israel. Well, we got out there and did some tracting. It went well. At first I was so awkward, but I realized I could trust her to help. Every interaction was positive and the Spirit just whispered to me "Now, I told you it wouldn't be that bad.. " The rest of the day was just fantastic. Talking to random strangers and asking if we can come back and share our message is easy! 
Thanksgiving was the next day and it was fantastic. We had way too much food. It was delicious, but that wasn't the best part of the day. We went to see an investigator who has taken residence in front of the library. While there, we met Sheila. Sheila has been searching the scriptures and trying to absorb all that she can about Christ. We introduced her to the Book of Mormon and she was just so curious! She wanted to know everything about the plan of salvation too! We gave her the book and asked if we could come visit her. She was very willing to meet and talk more!
Friday, I had one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. We attended the funeral for a 38 year old member of our ward. The family has been very involved in the stake and it has been really hard on everyone. This was the first funeral I have ever attended though. The spirit there was just awe inspiring. Two doctrines became even more clear that day. First, our Heavenly Father, He knows us personally, and loves us dearly. Second, the plan of salvation is real, and this life is a very short moment in the plan. I think the way we respond to tragedy in this life is much like a child having a tantrum. Since we don't realize that we are only briefly separated, due to our mortal perspective, we get so upset and sad. God comforts us, but He knows that when we get to the other side, it will not have been that bad. 
Saturday, my companion was sick. We were able to make it to our morning appointment though. It was a miracle and we both knew that Satan wanted us so badly to cancel. This former investigator brought his fiancee and soon to be step daughter into the lesson and boy are they prepared! Tracy was so excited about the Book of Mormon. She said "I can't wait to read this book!" The whole lesson was just full of the spirit. She reminds me much of where I was before I received the gospel. Most of the rest of the day I got area book stuff, and house cleaning done. I also decorated for Christmas!!! Most importantly, I spent some good time on the lesson we would be teaching in Relief Society.
We were still finishing the details of our lesson during Sacrament meeting...oops. I hate being that person. I was quite humbled that the Lord chose us to teach this class though. These women are so strong and so brilliant. They really needed a good lesson to help with their mourning as well. The mother of the recently deceased was sitting right there in the front row. We did our best and the spirit was there. The conversation was of course directed towards the trials they have been facing. Us young 20 somethings did our best to follow the spirit. It goes to show that the Lord is really the one who enables us to do anything. I am so grateful for His divine help and hand in my life. 
Miracles do occur my friends. He will always lift us higher. All of our trials are but a small moment. One day I will learn how to bear them with the patience I desire. I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful start to your Christmas season. PLEASE check out the Light the World initiative. The international day of service is this Thursday. We with many others will be participating in this activity! Please join us! 
-Sister Peterson


November 21, 2016

I am going to try to go back to daily reports!!!

Monday: We taught two lessons in the MORNING!!! That was awesome. I just wrote all about it and then remembered that I had already told you. Awkward.
Tuesday: "Almost Didn't Make it Home". Well, we had to drive ourselves to district meeting because none of our members could take us. Well, our car has been overheating, but we had no other choice. So, we stopped every couple minutes on our way there and back. It was pretty crazy. But, it is always worth it, because our district is so fun and supportive. We finally got our car to the dealership that afternoon and went to the relief society activity. I got to paint pieces of wood. Fun :)
Wednesday: We taught one of my favorite less actives, Debby Winters. She had a stroke some years ago and lives at a nursing home in Fairhope. She is so funny though! She made me want to cry with a note she wrote on her ipad to us. I will send the picture of it. She really wants to come back to church if it is at all possible. I ate Lebanese food for the first time for lunch, and then we biked a lot of places for lessons afterwards. We got home just in time to be taken to the church for this event called Quilts of valor. That was a great. 
Thursday: We thought we were supposed to get our car at noon, and had planned for it, but it turns out that it wasn't finished till 5. We got a ride from our dry mormon, Demaris, to go and do service at Linda and Dougs. It was pretty fun and the elders came and helped. There were six of us there doing a job for really 2 people haha. We were pretty much there until we could get to our car and go back to demaris' house for dinner with all the missionaries again. She took 7 years to make dinner, so we really didn't get to do anything else that night. Sad day.
Friday: I ended up sick most of this day. It was pretty sad. My stomach had been killing me and I was exhausted. My comp let me sleep on the couch while she did area book stuff. We were able to teach Dimples, an awesome, super strong willed, 90 year old. Deirrya and us had a great lesson on the plan of salvation. We had dinner with a super fun couple, the Clarkson's after that. 
Saturday: What a crazy day. We taught a lot in the morning. We actually picked up a new investigator!!! Her name is Debbie and she lived in Salt lake for a while. We asked if we could teach her after getting to know her, and she said yes! I am so excited! She was a member referral too, so even better! We went to the church later and had a coordination meeting. Our ward mission leader is awesome. The elders were supposed to have a baptism after that, but fifteen minutes before, we heard it was off because the family had experienced an emergency. Basically, a very prominent family in our ward lost a daughter that night. It was so heartbreaking. I did the first thing I could think of and offered a kneeling prayer with the other missionaries. The ward did such a good job gathering around to take care of this family though. They have truly recovered. 
Sunday: Church was fantastic. I was constantly reminded of my conversion and how grateful I was for the gospel in my life. It brought me to tears at one point. After church, I had had enough of the stomach pain and the lack of relief from different medicines. I received a priesthood blessing from the elders. That blessing brought me so much comfort in other areas, but specifically promised that I would be made whole. I was indeed, as I am feeling completely better today. What a miracle. We taught many people that day and then had dinner with the wonderful Langi family and the elders. One more lesson finished off the night. It was a really good day. I was very exhausted by the end of it though. 
So, gratitude has been on my mind a lot since church yesterday. It is also the season of gratitude. I am doing my best to notice the little things that the Lord gives us each day and throughout our lives. He has given me the greatest gift of all, being my conversion. Keep seeking the little things my friends! Also, please look at the church's Christmas initiative this Friday!!! It's all about serving your fellow man, which anyone who has been baptized covenanted to do already!!! 
I love you all!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!
-Sister Peterson
Dinner on the Cosway
Mobile from the bay
The Brooke Twins :)
We didn't have a mixer, so I used my hands...
Demaris awarding a quilt to her friend Herman


November 14, 2016

He Brings Us Low Only to Bring Us Higher

This week was a hard one. I struggled with a lot of things, but it ended up working out really well. I will just go over some key moments.
So, it felt like all of our investigators just disappeared at the same time. People have not been progressing too much lately either. Wednesday I called President Smith for some counsel. Being my priesthood leader, he gave me some divine counsel that I immediately applied. I also started praying for a miracle this week. I decided I had the faith to receive one, and I knew that Fairhope needed one. 
The first miracle we received was hearing that Angela was really going to get baptized. She is really afraid of the water, so we weren't sure if she would follow through, but when we went to her house this week, she assured us that she is going to really do it. 
Friday, we helped with the parking at the playoff game in Daphne and I felt just so good. I felt like myself again. After that, we met the Elders at the church for me to receive a blessing. That was part of President's counsel. This blessing was the most powerful blessing I have ever received. I feel that part of this was the preparation I did. Everything that my Heavenly Father had to say to me was so perfect and it struck deep in my heart. Ever since then, things have been a lot easier. 
Our next miracles took place this morning and are why I am emailing so late. We met with Jhemerial for the first time in many weeks. She still wants to meet with us and come to know if this church is true! That made me so happy. I know that she will get her answer when she makes time for it. She really needs this gospel right now with all that is happening at home. Then, we met the Sanchez's.
Apparently they moved here in June, but Bro. Sanchez had left the church for a while, so we never got his records. He is divorced and has remarried to a Peruvian, non-member who speaks less English than I do Spanish. He reached out to the Elders and then got sent to us this last week, so we met with him and his wife this morning! He wants the gospel back in his life so badly, and he really wants her to take the lessons! To my surprise, my companion can speak Spanish! I witnessed the Lord grant her the gift of tongues today and it was awesome. This couple is just fantastic. It also helps that they are Peruvian, so I get to feel like I am back at the Martin's house :)
Things are going great here. The Lord always provides. I am doing my best to just take each moment as they come and follow Him. There is no way in the world that I could ever do this work without the help of my Heavenly Father. I am comforted by the knowledge that I was called by an apostle and have been set apart by the priesthood of God to do this work. It is not easy and Satan does not want me to succeed by any means. I am grateful for every prayer said for the missionaries and for my sake personally. I feel them and I am strengthened by them. I love you all and I am sorry that I forgot my camera cord. Pictures were taken, but you will have to get them next week!
-Sister Peterson


November 7, 2016

A New Era in Fairhope, AL

Well, I now have a new companion. Her name is Sister Richins. I promise I will get a picture next week when I am not wearing my Pday clothes.

I don't have as much to report this week, as we had transfers and I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. We did have some successes, but they were really just little tender mercies the Lord placed in my life to help me get through the day. 
One exciting thing was that when we taught our investigator, Montez, the plan of salvation she really got it. She was previously a Jehovah's witness, so I was super excited to show her where our two beliefs are similar and how ours just adds onto hers. That's the great thing about this gospel; it builds onto the faith that others already have in their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The restored gospel simply completes the knowledge others have. 
Because so many things fell through this week, I realized that I need to get better at finding people to teach. I have this problem where I just freeze at the opportunity to share the gospel with random strangers. Sadly, this is how we find people to teach, so I need to change that. My studies are now very focused on finding, in hopes that I can overcome this stumbling block with the Lord's help. 
I want you all to know how much I love the Lord. He is risen, He is real, He hears us, and He loves us. He loves you. I know that this church is true, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ works because it is real and divinely inspired. Please remember the Savior in all that you do.
-Sister Peterson
Fletch and I on Pday :)
 District Picture
 Amanda Ave???
 Squeezed in the back seat
 Mobile Bay map. I really like this one. 

October 31, 2016

Hey everyone! This week was better! We taught a record amount of lessons for my mission - 23!
Tuesday we got our car back, so no worries there. We were able to see a lot of great investigators this week and see so many progress. They are starting to keep their commitments and they are willing to make more. Our focus this week was getting as many people as possible to church. It worked pretty well! We saw four investigators at church, whereas we normally see one or two. 
We also had a trunk or treat this week and our recent convert showed up! Today is her year mark! Maddie Miller has such a similar story to me. I had heard all about her before I got here, and this was the first time we met. Her grandparents, who she lives with, are very anti-Mormon. Her mom gave her permission to be baptized a year ago, but she hasn't been very active due to the tension in her house. She has to find opportunities at random to drop in at church. We hit it off immediately though, and she still wants to meet with us. She has a firm testimony in the church still, and that is more than enough to make a missionary's day. 
This week really was just full of success, and the cherry on top was going to church yesterday. We had an area 70, Elder Parker come to visit us. He is this super fun, black guy from Atlanta and he just gave some great talks and lessons. I really learned a lot this Sunday and it pulled all that I have been learning this week in together. After the block, we had a meeting with just recent converts and future members. He was blown away when we introduced ourselves and how long we have been members when we got to me. He was surprised to know I have only been a member for 2.5 years. I am too sometimes, hahah. 
I learned a really important lesson in humility this week though. I have realized that I have areas to work on, such as my defensiveness. My prayers have been focused on gathering the ability to welcome criticism and discerning what I need to change. It's been working out, I have been offending less often I guess :)
Oh the joys of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. I hope you all know that I would never trade this experience for anything. I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and to be one of God's missionaries, sent to gather His sheep for the coming of Christ. 
Love yall!

-Sister Peterson
 Cinderella Pumpkins in Loxley
 Blue pumpkin?
 more cotton
 trees :)
 Sister Giles and Tipsy! 
 Sister Fletcher is leaving me!!!!