Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Familia!! What an amazing week we've had. I feel like each week gets better and better and goes faster and's just a crazy time warp! This week I found out that 3 of the Elders from my MTC district got their visas! 2 of them went through San Fran..interesting right?? Anyways, I am not too worried but I would like to get out of VA before it gets too chilly..haha. On Monday after p-day ended, we went to dinner with ward family. I wasn't quite sure what to expect because their son is severely disabled mentally and physically. The wife signed up to feed us every Monday because her husband works late so she likes the company. She is an INCREDIBLE woman! She and her husband have 5 kids ages 4-12. She spends a ton of time at Doctor's for her son. He just started kindergarten this year so when he's not at the doctor he's at school. she told us that this mom in the class e mailed her and she adopted a boy from Ethoipia when he was 5 and so it's been really hard for him to adjust to life in the US. as soon as he saw her son in his class, he basically latched onto him because his best friend in the orphanage was in a wheel chair. The other mom said it's been really healing for her son to have there. How cool is that? She has had so many amazing experiences because of her son. Another story she told us was last Halloween, she was trying to make this bulldozer costume that she saw online. She went to home depot (side story, all the people at home depot know her son because he was the "face" of a campaign that raised money to build a handicap accessible park) so all the workers know their family and she told them what she was trying to make and showed them the picture and the workers were like..hmm lets take this to the manager. so the manager took the picture and was like "come back in a week, we'll take care of this for you." when they came back, the whole staff was in the parking lot and presented this crazy, decked out bull dozer costume with strobe lights and all the works. she said that they put it over his wheel chair and he just started zooming around the parking lot. she said everyone was crying and it was such an amazing experience! It was so cool to see how much joy she finds in every day and you can tell how blessed she feels to have her son. He is an incredible little boy! the spirit in their home is so amazing. After dinner we had 2 appointments which fell through. We were walking around the country club apartments (which are WAY less classy than they sound..) and there is this guy we always see out on his balcony/porch thing and he's always blasting rap and smoking who knows what, but when we saw him monday night he kept yelling at us and saying "i like yo dress!!" "come on up here girls, its a party!" we decided it probably wouldn't be a good idea to go up there, it probably would have been entertaining though haha. But I came home to find 2 letters! They were great to read. Tuesday was an awesome day! we went out tracting and didn't really find anyone but on our way home we found one of our investigators we've been trying to get ahold of and we set up an appointment with him. He's so funny, He's african and when we saw him, he was walking down the street listening to his ipod and just belting out whatever song he was listening to...he has no inhibitions. He also always hugs us when we leave, so we'll have to explain to him that's not allowed next time. We had dinner with a ward family. oh my gosh the wife is HILARIOUS. She's also very profound at times. she and her husband are just so was really fun having dinner with them. after dinner we visited a part member family. Their daughter came to church last week and we were trying to see how she liked it. She was doing homework so she couldn't come talk to us but we had a little lesson with the 12 and 10 year old boys. One of the boys said the prayer and he was like "thanks for the girl mormons and protect them on their way home." It was so funny. when we left their place we had a call and voicemail from a lady we recently met, who we've tried visiting several times this week with no success! She said her son is not okay with us meeting with her, but she still wants to find a way to meet with us so that was great to hear. Wednesday was an answer to so many prayers!! We've been praying for prepared people and also for service opportunities. Both of these answers came in the form of a text message! The first was from the Elders in our ward who told us about this lady who we needed to go see. So we headed to the address and found 2 ladies, one older and in a wheel chair and a younger lady. The older lost both of her legs due to some artery issue and the other lady was her care taker. We talked for about 30 minutes and set up a return appointment for Tuesday. they both seem like incredible and prepared women so i'm excited to teach them this week. The second answer (text) was from Sister in the ward who asked if we'd be interested in a service project. We went to her house and she told us about her neighbor whose family and marriage is basically in shambles and needs to pack and move by October 1st. so we made plans to help her Thursday and Friday. Aafter that we headed to our lesson. I was worried because we thought she had some "different" views about Christ and so we focused our lesson on that, but after asking several questions it seems like she's on the same page. I guess she was really nervous when we brought up the baptismal date so I explained to her how that's really just a goal for us to work toward. She said at the end of the lesson she feels "tranquilo." :) I talked to her for awhile after our lesson about moving to the US and it is so difficult for her. She has no friends and only one family member here who she can fully communicate with. But she knows her son will have a better life here so she's willing to give up all she's ever known for him. That is true love and sacrifice! She just amazes me. We had dinner with the family after the lesson. We had Guarana and the 2 year old drank 3 bottles of it! That's a true brasillian child hahaha. After dinner we went and taught our african friend. we taught the restoration. every time I teach the 1st vision, I gain a stronger testimony and am reminded of how incredible the things we know to be true are! He agreed with all that we said and I think that he would really like being a member of the church! On thursday we started our "little" service project at 10 AM. We had no idea how much stuf she actually had and needed to sort through and sell, so that was quite the project. We were moving all the stuff from her basement to her yard for a big yard sale. I loved it so much though. We helped her until about 4 and made a very small dent. It was amazing to see her gratitude though. We prayed with her before we left and it was amazing how much love I felt for her in the short time we spent with her! After dinner we headed over to see if we could catch the bench boys, the older men we taught a few weeks ago, and we finally did!! I love them so much!! It was just 3 of them that night. They opened up to us a lot more that day. they had a lot of questions for us. some were really funny like "do you believe in holidays?" They asked us if we've been proposed to and said they are very surprised to see two young beautiful women out doing what we are. One was telling us how he hunts and eats squirell..haha. we just need to keep visitng them and get them to church! the ward would love them. Friday we went back to help clean the house some more and she was just a wreck. We were there from 12-4 in 80 something degree weather...we got a lot done but were not able to have a lesson with her like we hoped. I got a great letter from my Aunt that night too which was so awesome! On Saturday we headed over to to the house at 7 AM and she wasn't even awake to help us but we set everything up for the garage sale. We then went to a walk for the homeless that 4 Wards in the area were involved in. I got to wear a helping hands shirt!! There were a lot of members there and it was cool for the community to see our church in action. One of the members of our ward was joseph in the testament movie! how cool is that?? After the walk, we tried to track down one of our investigators cause we had set up a lesson with him, but i guess he doesn't come outside when it's raining so we weren't able to get ahold of him. We went around that night and did church invites for our investigators but no one was home.. Sunday was an amazing day!! I woke up feeling kind of grumpy and nervous about my lesson because I didn't have time to do language study hardly at all this week. During sacrament I was just thinking about how hard of a life the Savior had and how easy I have it in comparison to Him. I realized how much better I need to be! I felt my Heavenly Fathers love so strongly as I prayed for His help to improve my missionary work. in sacrament our ward choir sang, Did you think to pray. The words really stuck out to me and made me think of all the trials we have in this life, but that we are literally GIVEN the solution to all our problems :Prayer! As i looked around at the ward members during sacrament, i was so humbled. i though of all the incredible trials they all are going through. it made me realize how this life isn't supposed to be easy. it's meant to be hard. it is our job to find ways to have peace and joy, even when we are knee deep in the mud! Then in Relief Society our lesson was based off Elaine Dalton's talk about how we are daughters of our heavenly father. as much as I repeated that in Young Womens, it never hit me as hard as it did yesterday. i just felt this amazing sense of identity and i thought of all the experiences i've had in my life where my heavenly father has shown me that he knows and loves me. I felt so much gratitude for my membership in the church. After church we had our lesson. it was on repentance. She always believes and agrees everything we teach so in the middle of the lesson she was like "I believe everything you've taught me. I love the book of mormon. I really don't feel like I do much. It's the Spirit and her husband! After that lesson we headed to a dinner with a ward family. Sister They set up a lesson for us with her neighbor after dinner! It was so great having them at that lesson with us. It's so much more personal for people when they are being taught by their friends who are members because they know they are being taught by someone who really loves them. I think the woman was surprised at how much of what we taught she agreed with. We watched the restoration movie and every time i see that i am reminded of how amazing that first vision was! I just get goose bumps and know that it really happened. I felt so much love for Melanie during that lesson and it was great being able to share with her that this gospel can truly heal her and help her with all of her hardships. I'm not sure what will happen with her, but i'm glad she knows that we really care about her and want to help! This week strengthened my testimony of service so much! It's amazing how much more willing people are to listen to you when they are shown how much you care for them! I also had some great experiences reading the book of mormon. I'm almost done with it again and I've gotten even more out of it this time than i did last time! I love how I can learn different things each time I read! I hope you guys are doing well on your missionary work. I think about you often and pray for you always. I miss you, but I don't wish I was home. I only miss the feeling of being around people who love me 24/7 haha :) I know I am in the right place and I'm so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me this week. Eu amo voces MUITO!!! Love, Sister Pehrson

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013 Post

Hello wonderful family!!
Hope you had a wonderful week, I know I did! It was very humbling as well. On Monday after P day ended the people we had dinner with couldn't be there to feed us so they had us pick up our meal. We went to the house and the kids babysitter who is really good friends with my friend from colege that I met at BYUI! It was such a crazy coincidence. After dinner we had an appointment set up with a lady who I told you about in my last email. She was not home and isn't answering our calls so who knows what the deal is there. We did a lot of tracting around her apartment complex and even got a return appointment. We ended the night teaching our first lesson in portuguese. I was SO nervous for teaching in Portuguese, but the lesson went amazing. She is so sweet and her husband is an amazing man for her. She doesn't really know anything about the gospel. He hasn't taught her because he doesn't want her to feel pressured into joining a church, he wants it to be her choice. She told me she agreed with everything I taught her that night, but she just wants to know more about the church before she gets baptized (duh). I felt like I spoke pretty well, and her husband said he was very impressed with my Portuguese. He served in Sao Paulo and worked in Brasil for a bit after his mission. But really it was the Spirit that was speaking and helping me to teach. And the gift of tongues is definitely real!! So beginning on Monday of this week my companion and I just really began bonding. I've been praying to have more of a connection with her and it finally began happening on Monday so that was really great. I got your package and letters on Monday which was so great! thank you so much for everything, it was all perfect!! 
Tuesday was another great day! We had zone training which is basically where we learn what the zone leaders learned from the Mission President in their meeting.  After the meeting, the Elders that serve in Leesburg with us said "we're going to Carolina Brothers, follow us." so we followed them. it's this bbq place! It was soo good. After lunch and the meeting, we tried visiting some of our potential investigators and had no success until we tried finding this guy, but he doesn't live where he said he did. The guy that does live there is from Congo and was very interested!  We set up an appointment with he and his mom for Saturday. We had dinner at a ward family. They have like 5 kids I think but only 2 of them were there to eat with us. They are a very interesting family. They have a bunny, rats, beetles, and all kinds of other creepy animals haha! They are really sweet though. After dinner we tried visitinga guy. He is like 40 years old but still lives with his mom. So when we knocked on the door his mom answered and basically told us to buzz off and that he thought that we were members of his grandmas church (which totally isn't true!). It was ridiculous because this guy is 40 years old and his mom is still running his life! We have to try to catch him outside of his apartment now haha. So after visiting there we decided to visit a family. we knocked on their door and there were lights on and everything and we heard like 5 different people come up and look through the peep hole, and then we heard yelling and the garage lights flicked on and off, but we waited on the porch for about 5 minutes and no one answered!! It was so weird.. After that we visited the home of a couple. She said he has a sweet spot for sisters so that's good. They have these 3 HUGE dogs. They are so cute. Their house is kind of out in the country too. it's very beautiful. 
On Wednesday we had a meeting called launching leaders which is taught by one of the senior couples. They are so cute! It's a leadership course and I got a lot out of it. It was basically about finding balance in our lives during our missions. After that we headed out to tract and check on people. This was the hottest day I've experienced here, 97 DEGREES!!! Plus humidity. I was sweaty and so gross. But so fun! we met 2 potentials and we set up an appointment with him for Thursday. Then we had dinner with the a family at Pei Wei which is a branch of PF Chang's..that was really good. plus they had one of those cool touch screen soda machines like at 5 guys! haha After that we had our appointment. We're always apprehensive about return appointments because the majority fall through, but he was home! he said he didn't have much time, but as soon as we started talking with him he really opened up. he said he's felt like he really needs to be meeting with us. he told us more about his past.they lived in baton rouge. then (Hurricane) Katrina hit. they had nothing and he began selling weed. he one day realized this wasn't what he wanted, a series of events led him here to Leesburg where he's been ever since. he asked us today if we've been members our whole life. I said yes but then shared with him my conversion process and I was so grateful for the process it took me to get to this point. I love sharing that with people and helping them realize that we are normal, human people who are out here because we want to share the happiness that we have through the gospel. He said the closing prayer in the lesson and we set up another appointment with him for today. 
Thursday was so awesome! We had addiction recovery class and then headed to our appointment, who then cancelled, because he got called into work. so we tried visiting a less active member, who wasn't home. then we had dinner with Bishop's family.  I love how the spirit is so strong in their house. they are an amazing couple and bishop is so good at fulfilling his calling. They were telling us how they still haven't gotten any mail from their son in the MTC! can you imagine? It's been like 3 weeks!! He's their first missionary too so it's been hard for them. But after that we had the assignment to speak at a relief society activity about missionary work. We had to call and reschedule our return appointment with this guy, luckily he was out of town, but he called sistmy companion "baby" on the phone, we were laughing so hard! But I was so glad to be able to be at the activity. I learned a lot.(a hilarious lady in our ward) told us a story about her sons first YM (young men's) activity. she went to pick him up and she got there early so she went in to see what they were doing. she found them playing basketball and as she watched she realized that her son was being totally ignored and left out. she looked around the gym and saw the bishopric and ym leaders watching the boys and not noticing what was going on. her first instinct was to be mad and to go up and try and fix everything, but then she had this overwhelming feeling that the people ignoring him truly didn't realize their mistakes. she watched her son angrily leave the gym. as they drove away he said " i never want to go to YM again." she pulled over and told him that she saw what happened and that she hurt so badly for him, but that he had to choose if he was going to learn from this experience or not. she told him he now had the responsibility to help those who are lonely and left out, or he could just have his own little pity party. so often we blame others for people leaving the church, or for our own emotions. in reality it is often ourselves not being able to look outside of the situation! I'm not just here to teach, I am here to learn, and my companion is a huge part of that. she and I have begun to get really close, because I'm finally putting away my pride and selfishness and letting her in. it was me all along who was keeping this companionship from bonding! A lady in the ward also talked about that same son who is now on his mission and some issues he has with his companions. A lot of what bothers him is passive aggression. I think I kind of struggle with this and so I've been learning to be more direct in my communication and it's been so so helpful! 
Friday was such a fun day!! We had an appointment set up with a woman before the baseball game, so we headed over there and kind of went over how her Book of Mormon reading is going and how her praying is going. She said she had only been able to read a little, but that she really likes reading it, even though it is a little difficult. it's so nice teaching her because she has her husband's help and support through this journey. We rode to the Nationals game with some members. Both the dc north and dc south missions were there so there were about 500 missionaries! Can you believe it?? I got to see a sister from the MTC which was so fun!! I talked to a lot of missionaries in our zone and mission so that was really fun.  We got home at 1 am, and then woke up on Saturday at 630 am. NEVER AGAIN. I was so so so tired. Saturday started out rough because we had set up an appointment, and when we showed up at his house this lady was sitting on the porch smoking and she was like "yeah, he isn't interested. he's been too paranoid to leave the house the last 2 days because of you two." we told her we were sorry and that he seemed interested and he could have just told us he wasn't interested. she told us that we're a cult and that women are not equal in our church and that we all have to have 10 kids and all this crazy stuff. we told her to go to next time she does research and she was like "no way that's biased." haha!! funny because other websites aren't biased at all right?? anywho....after that we had our appointment, the guy from Congo, and his mom. well they didn't show up. we had dinner with an older couple in our ward. they are so funny! He has a very dry sense of humor. He reminded me of Grandpa Peahson a bit. it's so cool though, they've only been married for 4 years! they met in the DC temple and got married 1 month and 2 days later. they first met in the Philippines when she was graduating from high school and he was in the Air Force. when they met in DC, they were both widows. She had felt impressed to move to Virginia and she knew right away that she was supposed to marry him. I love their story though, it's so cute!
Sunday was amazing as it usually is. But I was so nervous for my lesson with and i just knew I needed to have the spirit with me really strong and so Satan was trying real hard on me to get me to be contentious and everything. On Sunday I had probably the most unpleasant experience I'll have here in the states, which was showering with a broken water heater!! I have a feeling I'll actually enjoy that in Brasil. church was wonderful as always. the girl who spoke in sacrament meeting today is heading to Brasil Tuesday, she actually got her visa!  relief society was all about being unified and we talked a lot about families. it's funny because before my mission i was never that excited for marriage and kids, but now that I'm out here and have met so many different families and seen so many different parenting "philosophies" I'm so excited for what my family will be like and i have a lot more ideas of how i want things to go. i don't know what I did to deserve you guys, but I'm so glad to have you! after church we had the plan of salvation lesson with a woman. i'm not as comfortable with this lesson as i am the restoration. Her last church believes in reincarnation and has some different views on Christ, so we'll do a more in depth lesson next time. we told her we've been praying and feel like she'll be ready for baptism on October 12, and she said she'll pray about it and let us know!!! Yay for my 1st baptismal date invite!! I love how excited her husband is for all this. i wish i could have taken a picture of his face when he heard her agree to pray about baptism. he was just beaming. and you could tell how badly he wants his family to be together forever. it's kind of funny that non members can help their spouses return to church! I'm just so excited to see where things go with them. there is so much love in that tiny family! they have 1 little boy, who is 2 years old. he's so adorable and speaks "portuglish." haha! after dinner we went to the farewell. her parents asked us to come because there would be non members there. so crazy enough one her dad's co workers that is a non member is from Sao Paulo! We got to talk in Portuguese and i told him more about missions and he says Fortaleza is so hot, but it's the most beautiful part of Brasil! I feel so blessed to have these opportunities to speak Portuguese so much here. I love the ward and the people here and i know i'm here for a reason! 
I had to take another cold shower this morning, but we got the water heater fixed when the office opened this morning! who knew the polar dip and girls camp would be mission prep!? :) It's rainy and a bit chilly here today but it'll warm up real quick. They say the cold doesn't hit til October ish so I'm good on clothes and stuff for now! i'll definitely let you know if i need stuff or need to go buy stuff. looks like you guys are having a lot of fun! I'm so glad. I love hearing from you each week and sharing my experiences with you guys. I love you so much and am so grateful for all the prayers on my behalf. I know that I am being led and helped by angels every day! Have a wonderful week and pray for missionary opportunities for yourself! LOVE YOU!!!
Sister Pehrson

September 9, 2013 Post

I still can't believe how the weeks fly here! I feel like I was just emailing you guys yesterday! It's great! This was a really good week for finding people! After writing you guys on Tuesday we tracted and got two return appointments. one was with this guy who is probably in his 30s. He is Baptist but talked a lot with us about his experiences feeling the spirit and he seemed pretty interested in what we had to say. It was kind of funny because I think we were both so excited to be teaching someone that we kind of overloaded him with information, I felt bad. We visited a family in our ward that knows a friend of mine from College! It was funny she showed me a bunch of pictures of my friend when she was younger and she said she'd try to have us for dinner and invite my friend's mom that same night, but we'd have to get permission for that and I don't know if President would want that. Speaking of which, I'm not sure I'll be able to have lunch with anyone we know because my companion said President probably wouldn't allow that. Wednesday was a really long, great day! We had zone conference which was from 8 am to 4 pm. It was really great. Sister Riggs (President's Wife) talked a lot about distractions and temptations. She talked about how when we're aware of our weaknesses, distractions and temptations, we know how to handle them better. We will prepare ourselves for them so that we can overcome them. I have been praying a lot more for the things that I know I will struggle with throughout the day and it's been helping a ton. We got a new investigator on Wednesday too which was AWESOME! She's like 55 I think. She is the mom of a guy we scheduled an appointment with but is never home to teach. so we went to go see if he was home and this older woman answered the door. i wouldn't say she was friendly, but she wasn't mean either. she told us all about herself and her life. she is on welfare and has been very poor all her life. I'm really excited to teach her and I hope that her life will improve. After teaching her we headed to another family's home. Their house is a bed and breakfast! It's sooo cool! the wife does catering and weddings and so their backyard has this cute dance floor. It reminded me a bit of where Dave and Tasha got married. She sent us home with brownies and lemon bars...dang they were good! They are both very much into member missionary work and so we are really excited to work with them. Thursday we didn't find any investigators or potentials, but I really bonded with my companion. We tracted for FOREVER!! and walked a ton which felt really good. This one guy opened his door and was like "yeah, I'm a born-again Christian. we have nothing in common, so I can't talk to you." I was like "we're christian too!" and he was like" no you're not." and slammed the door. it made me laugh. On Friday we had weekly planning so after that we decided to tract around our dinner appointments house. on our way, we met a guy. we started talking to him and as soon as we brought up the church he said he wasn't interested. of course, as soon as i heard him say that i was ready to get out, but my companion kept at him. he said he didn't know if he believed in god because his mom is dead and his dad is sick with Alzheimer's. he asked what kind of God would let his dad, a good man, lose every thing i told him that even though we go through so much hardship in this life, we can have hope. maybe god is preparing him to help someone else who will go through the same trials he is facing. he softened and we really witnessed the Spirit touch him and a complete change in his demeanor. we tried to get a return appt. and all he said was you can give my your number but i won't call you. but I'm always home. I think we wil visit him again. We had dinner at Ruby Tuesdays with this lady in our ward and her mom. her mom is like 70 something and just got baptized like 5 years ago! it was fun being with them. The mom kept correcting her daughters made me laugh. On Saturday we had 2 appointments set up that fell through, but on our way back from the second one we ran into a guy and set up a time to come back and teach him a bit later. We went and tuaght him and it was so awesome! he didn't read the pamphlet we left him, but he had tons of questions for us and I felt like I could answer most of them. After that we went to this pizza buffet with the a family and the elders. The pizza was not very good but I had my first diet coke since being on the mission!! haha Then after that to visita girl. She is the sister of these 2 little boys (age 10 and 12) who just got baptized and their mom is a member as well. she told us last week she'd come to church this week. I thought it would be difficult to get her to come but she was like "yeah, i told you I'd come so I'll be there!". it was awesome! Their family is so dang cute. they are from Chile and the little boys have the cutest accents. Sunday was great! we had ward council in the morning and my companion and I had to speak in sacrament. I was pretty nervous but I think it went alright. the girl came to church and we didn't get to talk to her after, but a bunch of the girls her age came and took her to class so that was great. I got to talk with a couple and we set up an appointment for tonight and Friday! I GET TO TEACH IN PORTUGUESE!! I'm very nervous, but also really excited. I'm excited to teach in the language I was called to teach in! I also talked to a lady who is from Brasil. Brasillians are so nice! 3rd hour of church was a special combined lesson taught by a couple in the ward about administering to those with special needs. there are about 5 or 6 families in this ward with special needs children, so it was a really cool meeting. After church we had a ministering meeting at bishops where we go over like every name on the ward list and see who needs missionary visits and what not. we got a lot of names to go see! Our dinner calender is completely filled for this month...the members here are so great! This Friday, we get to go to the Washington nationals baseball game with the dc north and south missions! If you can watch it, you should cause they'll probably show us!! We only get to go because Saturday is the national day of service, so its like PR! I'm super excited though! I got quite a few letters from Grandma P this week! sounds like she is doing great. I hope everyone else is doing good as well! I don't remember if I told you this when I was in the MTC, but remember how I met the lead singer from the mighty Sequoyah? well he gave me and my companion cd's of hymns he recorded..oh my gosh!! I am obsessed. I will send it home so you guys can listen and burn copies of it. It's amazing! I can't think of much else to tell ya. Just know that I love you all so much and feel your prayers. I am doing great and am loving the work as hard as it is! It's crazy to think that a year ago I was starting my sophomore year of college, not planning to serve a mission at all! I'm so glad that I am here. It's beginning to cool off and feels a lot like home. It's so beautiful where we are. I know I'm here in Virginia for a reason, I'm just not sure what the reason is yet, but I'll find out I'm sure. I love you all and am so grateful for your support!! 
Love, Sister Pehrson

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3, 2013 Post

Hello amazing family!! Sounds like you all had an amazing last week, especially David and Tasha (pics please). This was a great week for me as well!! Since we are opening the area, we do lots and lots of tracting! After P day we had an appointment with a less active lady. She has a great testimony, but she never comes to church because her mom is sick and she visits her mom on Sundays. My goal is to get her back to church before I leave this area. Later that night we actually had an appointment with a girl we had met on Saturday, but she wasn't home. There were these 2 adorable little kids in the yard next door and the little boy was like "are you from a church?" and I was like "yep! do you go to church?" he was like, "no, but I still believe in God." how cute is that!? it made me smile!! After tracting for a little bit, we went to visit a less active woman who lives in an apartment complex that is probably the most ghetto of our area. We went and had to knock on a bunch of doors because we didn't have her apartment number. it was a little scary but we finally found her apartment and her husband was home and told us to come back the next day. We ended the night talking to a man in a courtyard of an apartment complex. he is in his 40s or 50s i'd say and believes god is good but hasn't found the right fit as far as churches go. We invited him to come to church on Sunday. I love talking to people about church and about God because it's amazing how many people truly believe in Him. It kind of restores my faith in humanity. Tuesday we had District Meetings at the Stake Center. This is where we do a bunch of practice teaching. Being around all the other missionaries was so much fun. Tuesday afternoon we had an appointment set up, but when we got to his apartment he said he had to work. He had read parts of the Book of Mormon so we answered some of his questions and then tried to reschedule an appointment but didn't get anything really solid. He's in school and working right now so it's hard to get a solid time with him. We had dinner with the a family that night. They are an adorable older couple in our ward. All of her kids have served missions. She also served as a trial 19 year old mission in the "Western state mission". I didn't even realize they had those!! How cool is that?? In the middle of dinner she told us how her husband isn't a member, which we were suprised by because he offered the dinner prayer exactly how a member would offer it and knew like everything about missions and the church! She met him while she was teaching in Germany and he was in the Airforce there. It would be awesome if we could get him to church! After dinner we visited another family. the wife is the Young Women's President here. She is such a cute lady and her family is great! Her husband is a convert to the church. He was introduced to the gospel by one of his friends in the Marines and when he got home from one of his tours, he called a church building and a random member answered (it was a Tuesday) and he told the man he wanted to be baptized. The member found one of the Bishopric Members and 9 days later he was baptized! Tuesday night we had our appointment witht the another family. They are a really great couple. The wife converted about a year ago and her husband has been a member his whole life. They haven't been coming to church much lately so we are trying to reactivate them. When we left their apartment, there was a huge german shepard police dog and a bunch of cops trying to get into the neighbors apartment...not going back there at night again haha! Wednesday was pretty much exactly what I needed! I had a new missionary expectations meeting. I drove the car down to Centerville, which is about 30 minutes away. Virginia driving is scary!! I was able to see a Sister from the MTC and some other sisters I knew in the MTC so that was fun. President talked to us a lot about fearing God more than fearing man, which was something I was really struggling with. It's not like I cared if people thought I was weird, I just didn't want to offend the people we talk to and once they start seeming like they are going to reject us I would just kind of back off. So that really inspired me that I needed to be bold and not care what people think. We had dinner with a ward family that night who are a younger family in the Ward. They have a little 2 year old boy, he is soo cute! The wife is really excited to have sisters here and wants to work with us a lot. After dinner we went and found people. I loved it so much more than earlier in the week! I was able to be bold and to not get disappointed in myself when people rejected us. Thursday we didn't anticipate to be a very good day because we had zero appointments scheduled. That meant from 1-5 and 6-9 we'd be out tracting. I was soo nervous. It started out pretty rough because no one is home at 3 o clock in Virginia. Then this grouchy old lady cussed us out, but I was able to laugh about it and her next door neighbor was a really nice woman so that made me feel better too. We met a younger guy who seems really interested in the church. He said his parents are atheist and wouldn't like us coming to the house but that he'd like us to teach him at the church! I'm excited for that. We were tracting at these town homes up the street from us so we just walked there and by the end of the tracting, I was wet with sweat all down my sides! IT WAS SO GROSS!! But I was just like "YEAH !! this is missionary WORK!" it was seriously so much fun. I had a really great language study idea this week. I have been reading the Portguese Book of Mormon out loud. I think it's been helping me. Friday was amazing as well. We go to an addiction recovery training class once a month taught by Senior Missionaries. I learned a lot there just about getting the Lord's help in our missionary work and about relying on the Lord through our trials. Then we had our weekly planning session and I was able to talk to my companion.... We set some really good goals and I'm excited to see how they'll turn out this week. We tracted for 2 hours after that and didn't really meet anyone, but it was fun. After dinner we tracted at these apartments and when we got out of the car we heard this woman cussing and screaming and then this guy walked out of an apartment with his friend and was cussing and screaming and then the woman came out on the phone to the police and was yelling at them and telling them to get to her was crazy. So of course I was watching and then she hung up the phone and started yelling at me. That's when things turned from funny to scary for me. So we just went to the other side of the complex and started tracting. That's where we met the Bench Boys! They are GREAT. They are a group of 4 70 year old men who sit on this bench at their complex every night. We talked to them about the gospel and they all told us how they'd had these experiences recently where they felt they should go back to church. We left them with Book of Mormons and will return to teach them more this Friday! They are so fun. When we went back to our car, the cops were at the apartment with the screaming lady, and luckily we didn't have to deal with her. We decided to find a guy and make sure he wanted to go to church still. He is quite the character. He kept telling us how great we looked and that we looked like we had just come from a beauty pageant. I don't know what beauty pageants he's been to, but I'm pretty sure 2 sweaty Sister Missionaries who have been tracting for 3 hours don't win beauty pageants! He couldn't come to church this week but he said he will next week! After that we tried to visit Evan, who wasn't home, but his roomate was. he is AWESOME! I had the most powerful teaching experience with him. Being on my mission I've gained such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. It just becomes more and more interesting the more I read it. I was able to testify to him of the Book of Mormon and we invited him to church, but he goes to a church in DC with his family, so he has to work some things out there before he comes to church with us. We ended the night by visitinga family. They are so cute! Only the kids were home. the boys are 10 and 12 and they both just got baptized last month. Their mom has been a member for a long time but just recently got active again. They are from Chile! They have 3 daughters, the oldest is a member but is moving to San Diego to live with her husband. There is a 16 year old and a 14 year old girl. The 16 year old had a friend over so we didn't talk to her but we talked to her alot. She is going to come to church next week! She's an amazing girl. When we told the Bishop that we talked to her he was really surprised because she won't even come downstairs when the Elders are there. I loved talking with her. Saturday was hard because my companion's back was hurting really bad so we had to stay inside til our dinner appointment at 5. We had dinner with the Bishop and his family. They are so awesome! They gave us a bunch of names to go and see and after dinner. She really wanted to gain a testimony and know the church was true but she never felt that. So we talked to her almost all night and she is a really amazing person. I hope that through meeting with us she will be able to finally gain that testimony for herself. Sunday was Fast Sunday. We weren't expecting any of our investigators to come to church because they were all busy this weekend. Church starts at 11 and at about 10 Sunday morning we got a call asking where our church was. We hurried and got to the church and there we found 2 guests . We had given one a card earlier in the week and he decided to come check the place out. It was awesome!! Everyone in the ward was so excited to have new people there. I couldn't even count the number of people who came and introduced themselves! It was funny because they are Baptist so they were doing a lot of "amens" during the testimony meeting and prayers. It was GREAT. They said they want to come back to church another week! In Sunday School I met the husband of the woman from Brasil!!!!! And then I finally got to meet her! She is soo so sweet and I got to talk to her for awhile and I totally understood what she was saying and she understood me too. We are going to start teaching her soon. Apparently the missionaries in Brasil were really dumb and they would either not show up to the appointments with her or only come for like 5 minutes! I was so excited to speak Portuguese and to realize that I haven't lost it at all! P day felt super weird not emailing home! It was a good day though. We did zone sports at the Stake Center. We were the only Sisters there and the only sport to play was Basketball, so at first i wasn't excited. Then my competetive side came out and I almost won the game of bump we were playing. I only had one more Elder to beat and I would of won! Oh well, next time for sure! We tracted pretty much all day after that. Tracting at 8 PM is NOT fun!! I was so scared we were going to wake someone up and get yelled at. But no one yelled at us so it was fine. It was a great week and I'm sure this week will be even better. I am learning so much about myself and about the gospel every day. I love meeting all these new people and sharing with them what I KNOW is true! Thanks for all the wonderful support and know that I love you all and pray for you all! Have a wonderful week familia! eu amo voces!! love, Sister Pehrson