Tuesday, March 25, 2014


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

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