Hey fam!Haha, Karl is so solid. I'm glad that he was able to talk with you guys for a little bit. And no it's not bad that he's talking with you. I'm glad that you've been able to enjoy the nice weather and that things have been going so great. I don't have as much time to write today because we're in the library and we've got a time limit to use the computers for 41 minutes so let's see how fast I can write.You asked me how the mission is hard. Well, I don't want to worry anyone, because I truly am happy out here. There are a lot of things that are so amazing about the mission and so many things that I love. And there are also A LOT of things that are hard about missions. It is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. I think I might have described it before, but it's like being placed in a room with a lot of mirrors that reveal every single flaw that you have. In order to perform the work, your talents are enhanced, but at the same time your flaws are also enhanced. It's hard to explain, but you just notice things more. Anyways while you're in this room of mirrors it's like you're expected to perform a balancing act of playing juggle with a partner you've never met before in front of an audience that is questioning your every movement and almost expecting you to fail. And you're expected to also try and say something clever and witty while you're doing this balancing act, but you can't remember the words that you need to say, and you can't remember how to do everything even though the circus director has entrusted you to do this performance and tells you that you can do it and you already know everything that you need to do. But you feel like you don't have a clue as to what you are doing, and often you feel like you're a failure because you can't seem to get your act together. Whether it's because you don't know how to work with your companion, or you just can't say the right kinds of things. That's the human side of the hardness.However, at the same time, there are moments when the spirit takes over. There are moments where things just happen that you don't even expect. God helps you and gives you the strength to endure these things. You suddenly realize more and more that your companion is just trying to help you and is in the exact same situation. There are people who are in the audience that aren't very kind, but then you have the small few that are amazed by the performance. Who want to keep watching and they want to keep learning more. Those certain few are what makes the difficult challenges worth it.I'll be honest. It's hard to go tracting. It's hard going up to a random person's door and try to talk about the things that you love and know to be true and have it get slammed in your face. The other day we tracted into a guy named Cameron, he was about nineteen and started to ask us a bunch of really deep questions about what we thought on salvation and how Joseph Smith was a drunkard and stupid things like that. My companion tried to answer his questions. (I honestly didn't have a clue how to answer them in the right way, because by how he was acting and reacting he was trying to throw us under the bus) But we're told that when someone tries to do that, all you can do is testify. And that's what I did. I just testified to him about what I knew to be true and that I didn't come there to argue with him. All that we wanted to do was invite others to come to know for themselves whether it was true or not. It seemed to surprise him and he asked how I could know those things and I just told him that it was by prayer and by the process of doing those things that I came to know for myself. That finally stopped most if not all of the questions. He couldn't argue with my testimony. We also found out that he hadn't read the Book of Mormon, so honestly it was just all ridiculous anyways, but he wouldn't let that book into his house so.... haha it was kind of pointless.Another hard thing about the mission is being placed somewhere where you don't know a single soul. It was almost overwhelming going to church for the first time and not knowing anybody. The doctrine was the same, the spirit was the same (Which was a huge blessing), but I didn't know anyone. And I was trying to work with someone who i still didn't know all that well. And I'm a missionary so we're kind of already expected to be at such a high standard of excellence anyways, it's just interesting. So... for the past couple of weeks I've honestly just been in survival mode trying to do all of the things that I'm supposed to do but feeling like I'm almost drowning half the time because I don't really know anybody and there are so many expectations (from myself, from my trainer, from the mission president, from my family etc.) There's A LOT of pressure on a lot of fronts. I'm not surprised that some people just can't do it, because it is really hard.However, I'm learning. This past week, I've finally gotten out of my stressed out survival attitude and things are getting easier. I know more people. Haha, I honestly have the best companion ever and she's always striving to help me. I'm learning how to focus on this area rather than myself. I'm learning how to forget myself and rely on the spirit. I'm learning how to stop focusing and judging other people and learning how to love them. I'm learning that people aren't just out to get me. That everyone has their own problems. It's hard living with a companion twenty four seven when they've had their own life before hand and their own beliefs about things. No matter who my trainer was, it still would've been hard. Luckily I happened to have a sister who's very compassionate and loving and understands me a lot better than I originally thought. I'm just learning a lot.So yeah, there are a lot of hard things about the mission. There are a lot of things that we are expected to do. There are numbers that we got to keep track of. There are areas that we need to go see and people that we need to meet. There's a strict schedule that we've got to adhere to. We're thrust out of our comfort zone ALL OF THE TIME, and honestly you really have to just learn how to trust the Lord and realize that everything is going to be okay. And I'm learning more of how to do that.Even though the mission is difficult, I can see the Lord's hand in everything. There are tiny miracles that happen every single day. There are moments where I say things and I know that it didn't come from me, it came from the Spirit. All good things come from God. It's sooooo true. There are moments where I'm tired and stressed, but I'm learning how to take a step back and try to figure things out. There are moments of joy, moments of pain. I have fun times where I can just laugh with my companion. And there have been times where we've both cried and had to comfort each other because of all of the pressure and stress. Haha, that's the mission. It's the best and the hardest 18 months of my life and it's definitely holding true. But, I'm loving it. I love that I'm seeing so many new things about the gospel that I never realized before. I am meeting so many different people and getting immersed in a brand new culture. Haha, I love it here. I truly do. I feel like the Lord is constantly by my side and guiding me because this is His work. He called me to it with all of my flaws and weaknesses. He wants me to do the best that I can to help His children because He believes in me. And I am coming to know that I can believe in Him and believe Him. And that's what makes it all worth it.My testimony has definitely changed because I've been out here. You kind of have to learn how to grow up and focus on those around you. It's extremely humbling realizing that your actions can directly affect those around you. It's humbling to realize your flaws and to be human. It's humbling to know that you're not perfect and you never will be. But, you can work with the spirit. God knows that we're not perfect. We don't have to beat ourselves up about it. When we beat ourselves up about it, it just makes things worse and we can't feel the Spirit. Haha, and when you don't feel the spirit out here, you can't do the work. So it has been hard, but I'm grateful for it. I've been learning a lot and I'm so grateful for that. Even with all of the hardships, God has been blessing me one hundred fold. He gives us the strength to keep moving forward. He allows little moments of happiness to come so that we don't have to be bogged down by our load. And for that I am very grateful.Anyways, I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for you. Thank you so much for your prayers and your letters. They really do mean the world to me. I'm so glad that you've been praying for those mission experiences. I'm sorry that they've been hard to find, but I know that if we keep praying and looking for those opportunities, we'll find them. As long as we stay true and always remain grateful for what we have, things will turn out for the best. I definitely have had to learn that a lot out here. Thanks for all that you do. Thanks for being such an awesome support and wonderful family. Anyways, I'll talk to ya'll later!Just Believe,Sister Petersen
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
It sounds like you've been crazy busy! But I'm glad that everything is going good for you! And I'm really glad that you're praying for missionary experiences. That's so awesome :) I'm truly grateful that I have you for my mom. You really are an inspiring person.
Oh the mission, phew, it's been a crazy busy week. There have been ups and downs and a lot of spiritual awakenings that I've definitely needed from the Lord. Elder Cook also came on Saturday which was really awesome! He and a couple of other speakers came and spoke to us. Haha, I was worried that it was going to be a smack down because it was a complete surprise and no one had been planning on him coming! But it turned out to be amazing and really just what I needed to hear. He also gave us a special blessing and just spoke about a lot of great things about missionary work and trying to get the members involved and really trying to have the spirit with us as we taught.
I am learning SO much on my mission. So much. Haha, and not all of the lessons have been easy to learn. Some have actually been quite painful and humbling, but they've been what I've needed. There are a lot of things that I still need to learn and a lot of things that I want to learn. Our investigators are really progressing and we've got two of them on date!! Karl (I learned that his name is spelled with a K :) Is set for March 23rd and Sterling is set for March 22nd. So cross your fingers that everything will go well. Sister DeBry said that that was really incredible to have two people on date so quickly and in this area. She said that for the last transfer they didn't have as much luck. Which is interesting because I feel like there's so much potential here. I know that there is potential here and I know there are people here who need to hear the gospel and in many places all over Georgia. But I'm really grateful for these experiences. God has been really good to us here, and he's been so merciful.
It's interesting. There's quite a few things that I learned this week and there's one that I want to share if ya'll don't mind. (Haha, I get the feeling I'm going to start saying that all the time. All the missionaries do, even though many of the members here don't have Southern Accents which is weird). Just that life is just like a set of different doors. And that with each door there's a room that's filled with many hardships and different experiences, but many more opportunities for growth and joy. And eventually you'll have to close the door to that room and open the door to a new room. You can't turn back, but you'll always have the memory of that previous room and what you learned. And sometimes you find yourself in a hallway where you're just waiting for things to happen. But that doesn't mean that you can't have joy studying the things around you and learning more. I feel like that's how a mission is. There are going to be many stages here that I'll have to go through. Many opportunities for growth and learning, happiness and hardships. Then that door will close and I'll move to a new area and that will be filled with different things. It's like with parenthood I guess. You get filled with a lot of new opportunities of growth and happiness that you never experience until you are a parent. Haha, I don't know I just find that to be really interesting.
I hope that everyone is doing great! Keep on praying for missionary work for your area and for ours. There is so much potential in the world today. There is so much still to be done and so much that Heavenly Father wants us to do before He can declare the work as finished. Haha, not that I know much, I'm still learning A Lot, but I know that you guys can add a lot more to the mission effort. The mission is nothing without the members. Missionary work is nothing without membership and fellowship. Haha, I just hope that all of you will continue to get out of your comfort zones and be good neighbors. Be good friends and listeners. Be the kind of person that you'd like others to be, and be the kind of disciple that God wants you to be. (Which you're all amazing at doing anyways, but whatever :) ) Haha, it's not meant to be easy. It wasn't easy for our Savior so why should it be any easier for us? But I know that in these last days, we can be good missionaries. I know that if we put the effort in and really try to find those who need that light, we will meet success. And maybe it's not the success in numbers. Maybe it's not success that we'll necessarily see the fruit of our labors. But it's the success knowing that we did our best. That God is proud of our efforts and we can meet Him at the Judgement Bar and He can say "Well Done." At least, that's what I'd like Him to say to me :)
I love you all and I hope that everything is going great for you! I love my companion and my area. Haha, both are teaching me so much about how to be a better missionary and how to be a better person. Mom you missed your quote this week! But that's okay, I've got one for you :)
"Come What May and Love It."
Take care!! I love you!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Bahahaha, don't worry, I love all the letters that I'm getting :) I feel very spoiled but I'm grateful to have such a loving family :) That's awesome that you were able to hand that Book of Mormon out! Well done! Haha, now if you see him again you should invite him to church :P I'm glad that you were able to do that.I'm been learning a lot out here. A lot about the gospel, about myself, and about other people. It's interesting being with a companion 24/7 because your actions can directly affect your companion. Like you can't go anywhere without them, and you don't often get too many moments to be alone (unless you get to the bathroom haha) so I'm really just learning more about how to be open. Which is really good and something that I definitely need to work on so I'm grateful for that. I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful trainer. She's so compassionate towards me and everyone around her. I'm so very grateful that she's my companion for this first while.The people here are awesome. I don't think I've ever met so many people from India before in my life! Seriously, there are a lot of Muslims and Hindus. I think when you go more towards South Georgia that you get more of the true blue Southerners, but I've been meeting a lot of diversity here. I love it though. (They have the coolest names too!) I'm learning a lot more about other faiths and what others believe. It's really cool. And thanks Mom for the packages! I love everything that I got and I'm so glad it all came when it did :)The mission is truly wonderful. There are a lot of hard days, but I have an awesome, understanding trainer and so it's manageable. It often scares me to think that I'm supposed to be teaching the gospel. That I'm actually on a mission. I have moments where I have to pause and think I'm actually here in Georgia. I'm actually going to random strangers' houses, knocking on their doors, and talking about Jesus. Haha, it'd be the craziest thing ever if I didn't know that what I was doing was right and true.I already feel like I'm changing. I'm not quite sure how, but being plopped down in Georgia and asked to serve the Lord is really molding me into something different. Of course I'm still me, but I don't know. You kind of have to learn fast here if you want to be able to become the best missionary that you can. There's still SOOOOOO MUCH that I need to learn. And SOOOOO MUCH that I want to learn. But I love it. Haha, it truly is the best decision that I ever made.I hope that everyone is doing good back home. I hope that you have fun on your trip mom and dad! And have an awesome girl's night :) I'm glad that you were able to see the celebration! It's been raining here too! (It was kind of miserable this morning when we went to exercise, but I it's all good. It makes me want to drink hot chocolate. Thanks for all of the letters and the support. I really appreciate it.There's a lot of work to be done here in Webb Bridge. I feel that if the fire could be ignited in the ward, there would be a lot of great missionary moments. No Baptisms, but we did have a man named Carl come to church with us thebefore yesterday. He's our investigator that's progressing the most. (I can't remember if I told you about him or not) But he's an awesome man from South Africa. We just had a fast for him because he's going through a pretty difficult divorce. Luckily, the judge postponed the court date to be in May, which is exactly what he wanted. His wife keeps pushing for the divorce, but he doesn't want it to happen mainly so his boys don't have to suffer through it and have a broken family. He's an awesome man and if you met him you would think that he's a member!! We've asked him to be baptized, but he's still hesitant with how things are. But we're hopeful that he'll stick around because he's amazing. And he's definitely seen a lot of miracles since we knocked on his door. So we're hopeful :)They are feeding us very well here. (A little too well :/ ) So far, my experience with Southern food has been excellent :) I miss you all! I hope that you have a wonderful week and thanks for all that you do! Keep up the missionary work. (Seriously it's the members that make missionary work possible. Tracting hardly does anything. If more members were willing to reach out towards others, the work would hasten even more. But! What's awesome about that is because so many of us rushed out into the field, that means that when we get back, there are going to be more members that have gone on missions. More members that will have that experience which hopefully will mean that there will be even more work done once they all return. Just got to cross our fingers :)Anyways, I love you!Just Believe,Sister Petersen