Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 28, 2013

What an awesome week it's been here in Virginia!! I have felt so much gratitude for being a missionary this week and being able to witness little miracles that happen every day! I've never been happier than I am now on my mission and I know that this kind of happiness doesn't come from anywhere else! On Monday after we emailed, we went thrifting, which was so fun! I got a really cute dress which will work for here and for Brasil!! I also got some sweaters cause it's getting chilly here, but it's supposed to be like 70 all this week so that'll be really nice!! We had dinner and family home evening with a family in the ward and it was so awesome! They are such a cute family and we played this game where we spinned the bottle and then the 2 people that the ends of the bottle pointed to said something they loved about the other person. it was really cute! their little boy who is about 2 kept trying to crawl all over me and it was so awkward because we're not supposed to hold kids so I just kind of awkwardly sat there haha. then we went to a teaching appointment. it started out really rough. she was just complaining about all this stuff and wouldn't even sit down and was trying to reschedule with us so I just said can we leave a short message with you before we go? of course she said yes and we shared 2 scriptures with her that compared the attitudes of Laman and Lemuel and Nephi. we talked about the difference it makes to have a positive attitude. I understand she has it really rough, but we just really wanted her to see how she could find little things to be grateful for every day. It was cool as we shared the message with her the spirit in the room completely changed and she said the closing prayer and just cried and cried and thanked heavenly father for sending us there and talked about how we always brighten her day. This woman isn't exactly a warm and fuzzy type of lady either so it was so touching to hear her say these things. It was good for us to see that our visits really do make a difference. I got some really adorable pictures of Cash and Colli on Monday night so I was so happy about that!! Tuesday was so awesome! BIG NEWS: OUR MISSION IS GOING ON FACEBOOK!!!! We don't have lots of details, I'm sure we'll get them tomorrow, but yeah, pretty insane! After our studies, we went and knocked some doors for a while. We met a really grumpy old lady, which it always shocks me when grandmas are mean, but then we met this lady who didn't actually live at the house she was at, but we're going to check back with her sometime this week because she was really promising. Then we had dinner with a really cute family in our ward. the husband was talking about how mad Brasil is at the US for spying on them, so who knows when my visa will get here now haha. It pretty much changes every day how I feel about that..lol. So we started doing the work for the other wards less active sisters tuesday night. It was an adventure!! We met one lady, who was really sweet. she was like "oh! you're the lady missionaries!!" She said she is "totally inactive", but would love to have us for dinner! then we tried this other ladies house and her husband answered and asked where we were from. we told him the church and he said "please don't ever come back here again." and slammed the door on us! the good thing is, i've gotten a lot better at dealing with rejection. i also feel a lot more confident when we try to find people now. i feel like i've just learned so much since I started my mission and I can be more confident and be myself. it was really funny at the end of the day we went to the mailbox to check the mail, and the elders were there on their bikes. well the one elder tried to move over and he fell off his bike into the bushes....good thing he had his helmet on! :) On Wednesday, we did service for one of our investigators. It's so mentally exhausting helping her because she's doing EVERYTHING and then her husband and daughter just sit there watching tv...it's a really sad situation. we had dinner at a family in our wards house who have ELEVEN CHILDREN...it was funnny though because the mom was the only one home! she was like "I think this is the first time I've eaten alone with the missionaries..." but we had a really good visit with her and helped her come up with some ideas on how to share the gospel with her friends. After that we went to our lesson with another person. It was the plan of salvation lesson and i was realy nervous because I was supposed to teach most of it, but I've never taught that in english before. but things got crazy as they always do in that house and the lesson turned into the little brother, bringing up all this random information. But the beginning of the lesson was really sweet because her brother, who is 10, was teaching his sister how to pray, so that was just a really sweet moment to watch!! Thursday was the halfway mark of the transfer! I feel like this transfer and this month have just flown by!! we had interviews with both President and our zone leaders. they were really awesome. one of the zone leaders asked me if i could give myself advice, what would it be. i said "be confident in the Lord, not in myself." he told me to take my own advice, so I've been focusing this week on working on my confidence in the Lord. then in my interview with President he talked about how missionary work is hastening. he talked about how the Lord is micro managing my life and if I truly give myself to him, my life will be so good and I can be so much happier! that's another thing I really want to work on. President is just such a great guy. he exudes love. it was an awesome interview with him.after that we had a lesson with 2 other ladies, who I love so much!! then we had the most amazing lesson with a nice woman who is a less active member of our ward!! So remember how on Tuesday we met the woman who said she was "totally inactive"?? turns out that is she is the ex-daughter-in-law, who she is still on really good terms with. This woman’s grand daughter, who is 11, called her and was whispering and said" hey my mom is in the shower and i just had to call you and tell you this exciting news! the sister missionaires came over and my mom told them they could come back! she didn't know I was downstairs listening but I heard the whole thing and I'm so excited!!" So yeah, strange "coincidence" right? I'm really excited to see what happens with that. She is such an amazing person and it would be awesome if we could teach her granddaughter. we had dinner with a ward member who is a caterer so it was amazing!! then we went with the elders and visited some less active members of our ward. i had a minor heart attack because as we walked up to one house, there was this GIANT black snake on the porch and the elders ran over and were like "guys, it's fake." so the lady at the house was like yeah our neighbors always throw that over here as a joke. well they fooled me! haha. on friday we had sisters conference, which was like a mission conference, just with all the sisters of our mission. it was amazing!! Sister Riggs gave an incredible talk on our relationship to the priesthood. I learned a ton about differentiating the Power of the Priestood and priesthood holders. another member of the mission presidency's wives spoke about being a good companion so of course I learned a ton from that. She talked all about how we are all so different and we never really know what is truly going on in someone elses mind of life so to take things as they ought to have been said or intended. i've learned on my mission that i get offended so easily...i need to work on seeing the best in others and in not taking offense so quickly. so when we got back from the mission conference, we went to the library to do progress records. I sat by the most interesting man...as soon as i sat down he satrted telling me how he was so mad because he was telling his friends about some revelation he received and he said they started telling him he is a prophet and he doesnt like labels? then he asked if the elders were from Ohio...he was a goofball. we had a lesson on friday night which went AMAZINGLY!! I love lessons with her soooo much. we read the family a proclamation to the world in portuguese and she talked about how much her relationship with her husband has improved since we began teaching her and she is so excited to get baptized. she said "this is a very important time of my life that I'll never forget." Love her!! so then we had a lesson with another man we have had a hard time getting an appointment to teach. since he hasn't been coming to church, we decided to bring a member with us to meet him and offer him a ride. so this couple who is in their upper 50s came with us. Our investigator is this 26 year old from the Congo..so we get there and he had friends over. he takes us all into his bedroom where there are 3 other guys, in thier 20s, so it's us, this older couple, and these 3 guys in this bedroom. i just had to laugh at how weird it was. one of the guys was pretty drunk so that made things a little interesting. i'm just glad the members were there because that could have been a bad situation! one of the other friends there committed to come to church and is now investigating the church, so that turned out good! on saturday we did service at a home from 8-12. it was our last time with her which was sad. she is going to a center to help her quit smoking so I'm excited for her new changes in life. After service we went to a member of the wards house who is from Brazil!! it was really fun. she is really sweet and has been a great friend to one of our investigators. She was an exchange student in idaho and got baptized then, how cool is that? after lunch we headed to our appointment with another woman. it was sad because she was really upset when we got there because she realized how she's being taken advantage of by her son. she is in her 50s and has lots of health problems, including arthritis, but she walks everywhere. she walks to work and to the grocery store and everything, and her son never will take her anywhere even though he has a car! it's frustrating. it was sad. but in her prayer she said "god, thanks for sending these ladies. they mean a lot. i know they don't think they do, but they mean a lot." she is so sweet. after that we had the ward halloween party! it was so much fun. we swtiched name tags with the Elders, that was our costume. everyone got a kick out of that. there were lots of cross dressing jokes made haha. i also wore yellow orange and white so i looked like a candy corn! One couple came and their son was dressed as a pirate. it was so cute. We also met this new member of our ward who served a mission in Portugal and speaks portuguese so now hopefully one of our investigators can have another friend in the ward! we trunk-or-treated and got SO much candy...way more than the elders! haha :) there were lots of non members at the party too so it was an awesome activity. Sunday was such a great day!! a ward member picked up our guy investigator and for the first time he actually came to church! we were sooo excited!! He was wearing a shirt that said "cool story babe, now go make me a sandwich." i about died laughing when I saw him wearing that to church. he told us he was going to wear a suit! lol you just never know what to expect on the mission. it was the primary program so it was so awesome. i loved hearing the primary kids sing the primary songs. they are so beautiful and simple but show the true simplicity of the gospel! I love sundays on my mission because I don't feel so far from home!! any news on the visa? i think if i don't get it before the transfer, I'll stay in here and my comp will be transferred. we'll see though! I love it here so much and I would love to be here for the baptism. we'll see what happens. Well i love you guys so much and thanks for the mail and everything this week! love, Sister Pehrson

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 21, 2013

Thanks so much for your emails this week! They always make my day :) It was another awesome week here! On Tuesday morning we had zone training, which is where our zone leaders report what they learned at their meeting with the mission president. It was all about how we are a new zone and we are going to be different than the other zones. I've noticed a lot of times on my mission, especially in the beginning, where I have felt weird or uncomfortable because I know people are judging me or looking at me weird because of the dress I'm wearing and my name tag. We talked about how Christ was mocked and judged when He was on the earth, and that's just something we have to go through as part of our missions! It was really cool though because I realized that it doesn't matter what everyone else is thinking, as long as I am doing what Heavenly Father wants me to do! It was a good reminder to me to not worry what everyone else is thinking, but to be different, because that's what's going to make people want to talk to us! We also talked a lot about inviting people to be baptized in the first lesson and always bringing up baptism. I've learned that when you don't bring it up right away, it gets confusing when you do a baptismal invite later. But when the people you are teaching know that that's what you're going to invite them to do eventually, they don't get freaked out by it! I always thought it would be really scary inviting people to be baptized, but it's always the best part of the lesson and people are much more receptive if we do it right away. We had a lesson with L and D on Tuesday as well. D was only there for about 10 minutes so we just had a long talk with L and we brought up baptism but she said we'll talk about it later. I think the real reason we are there is to get her son back to church. After dinner we decided to go visit our investigator J who didn't come to church last Sunday. So apparently he went to his moms church cause he had to interpret her sermon, (he speaks french, swahili and english) so he ended up missing church. But he told us that he only had 2 more pages of the Book of Mormon left to read! We invited him to be baptized on November 9 and he said he would! it was very unexpected but it was really cool! On wednesday we did some service for M, who is trying to get everything packed up by this saturday for her big move...she is so overwhelmed and i feel so sorry for her, but I know that this move will be a really good thing to her. She got a phone call while we were there and she was like "Sorry I gotta go, my sweet mormon sisters are here helping me!" she's such a cute lady. We had dinner at one of our favorite ward members home that night. It's funny because we always do what we call "member invitations" where we share a thought and then challenge them to do something whether it's inviting a non member to something or reading the scriptures more, but I feel like the members are always feeling guilt tripped by us! they always tell us all the stuff they haven't been doing and how they know they need to be better and I think some of them just think we are perfect. If only they knew how many mistakes we make every day and how far from perfect we are!! it helps me to recognize what the members expect of me and helps me realized how i can do better! i'm realizing more and more how my mission is preparing me for the rest of my life. the habits i am developing will bless my life and my future families lives so much! it's awesome. So after dinner we had a meeting with the goose creek ward mission leader and we will be doing some work over in that area from now on. I think things are going to be a lot busier around here now! After the meeting we had a lesson with N. it was about temples, which was really intimidating seeing as it was our second actual lesson with her, but it went really well. the spirit was very strong and we got her really excited to go to the visitors center the next day. Their dog Nino jumped on my and started trying to eat my nametag and one of the little boys said "I told you, Nino loves eating Mormon's stuff!" hahaha I love that little family. On Thursday we had a class called launching leaders. One of the senior missionaries in our mission was one of the founders of franklin and covey and he does this leadership course with us and it's so awesome!! we watched this seminar and this speaker talked about these 2 salesman who went to south africa to sell shoes. the first one wrote home saying "this is a failure, no one here wears shoes." the 2nd salesman wrote home: "this is the most amazing opportunity!! no one here has shoes yet!" when you compare this to missionary work, you have to have a good attitude always. you have to believe that you will be a success because if you're negative, you'll discourage others and hinder the work. the speaker talked a lot about believing in your cause as well. I know I am guilty of looking or talking to a person and thinking "They're not going to accept this! " I am limiting my own potential and the potential of others!! So something I am really trying to work on is being more enthusiastic when we're out talking to people and being more confident as well! so the youth of our ward had a temple trip on thursday so we rode with one of the leaders to the temple. but before the temple, sister S and I grabbed some dinner at Mcdonalds and we were eating it at the church and this guy told us that his daughter was like "missionaries can eat fast food??" lol. it's so funny because before my mission, I was the exact same way. I never pictured missionaries going out and shopping at Walmart and doing all the stuff normal people do, so now when I do all that stuff I just laugh to myself because it feels so weird doing it as a missionary! so the visitors center with N was SO AWESOME!! There's this really cool art exhibit up which you can actually read about in the church news on lds.org, a woman from our Stake here did all the art work there and it's all about the life of Christ as a child. and what the artist calls the "in between moments" like Joseph looking at Mary right after he found out she was the mother of Christ. N absolutley loved that because her mom is an artist and she really enjoys art as well. It was so beautiful... It's hard to describe how amazing these paintings were, but I loved them so much and it was awesome looking at them with N and talking to her more about Christ. Then we watched a movie about eternal families which she really liked. she's really close to her family and I think she is starting to recognize how the gospel can help her be with them forever. Then we watched a book of mormon movie. I felt the spirit so strongly as we went through and taught her more about the gospel. The more i share the gospel, the more I love it. It is a perfect gospel! we are not, but the gospel is. Thursday was an interesting day! We had another lesson with L and D. L had just heard some bad news about a friend so literally the entire time we were there she had "wind beneath my wings" by Gladys Knight on repeat..apparently that's what she does when she's sad...haha i would be happy to never hear that song again!! but we saw her son while we were there and invited him to church on sunday. then we had our correlation at the ward mission leaders house! it was a good meeting and we are going to set up exchanges with some of the young women and relief society members! we had a lesson with A which was so awesome. I found out that I am apparently not going to get my visa until December because she chose November 30 for her baptism date. A bunch of her husband’s family is coming for thanksgiving so she wanted them all there! it's weird now because i'm actually worried that my visa will come!!! i want to be at her baptism really badly, but i know whatever happens is exactly what needs to happen! I am just so grateful that I have been able to see the gospel improve her life. I would be sad to miss her baptism, but really seeing that change that I have seen in her is enough for me! We talked more about the baptismal covenant. We have been sharing mosiah 18:8-9 with members this week and talking about the promises we make at baptism. When i was 8, I don’t think I fully realized those promises I was making. It's cool to read in Mosiah and see what those promises are and kind of do a check on how well we are living those promises!! On Saturday we were heading to the library and we saw 2 of our investigators on the street holding "free hugs" signs. they saw us and called us and told us to come back , but we just said we were too busy because we didn't want to explain how we can only hug girls ha ha. so then we were driving to our appointment with J (which we rescheduled like 80 times this week!!) and we saw him walking down the road so we called and rescheduled AGAIN for later that night. we talked to him about church attendance since he hasn't been coming to church. so we started reading Moroni 6 with him and we had him start reading, and he couldn't actually read which confused us since he told us on Tuesday he only had 2 pages of the book of mormon left to read. So we are hoping he's just one of those people who can't read out loud because we really don't think he'd flat out lie to us. We are going to get him a book of mormon in french though because he said that would be better for him. Sunday was a really great day! we had set up a ride for J but he didn't show up to church. A was at church like she always is! :) We got to teach relief society yesterday since it was on missionary work. it was really awesome! we used Elder Ballards challenge to reach out to one person between now and christmas. I talked about when a friend had the lessons at our hourse and it made me realize waht an impact that had on me! I'm sure back then you guys probably didn't think it affected me very much, but I'm so grateful I was able to see that change in him, it was a really cool experience! I want my future family to have experiences like this as well! We had dinner at the ward members home who is neighbors with melanie, and she had invited M and her husband to dinner with us all. it was a really cool experience. we shared a spiritual thought with them about the atonement. I had read Alma 7:11-13 earlier that day and I had noticed something different. it says in verse 13 that the Spirit knows all things, but Christ chose to atone for us and our sins so he would know exactly how to understand us and help us. it's amazing how much the knowledge that someone truly, 100 percent understands you and can help you can truly change your life! This next week we are going to really try and focus on finding new people to teach. We need to get out and do more tracting because we haven't done as much as we should have been doing these last few weeks, so look forward to some good door-knocking stories next week! :) one of the sisters in the ward gave me a bunch of sweaters yesterday, and a coat, so don't worry about sending warm stuff! I am just going to return all that to her whenever i get my visa or leave this area. Things here are going so great and I'm excited for how these next 3 weeks of the transfer will go! time is flying...I love you all so much and am so grateful to have you in my life! I don't know if I could do this without your support. Keep us in your prayers, Love you so much!! love, Sister Pehrson

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 15, 2013

These are pictures of the Washington DC Temple, Sister Pehrson and her companion at the Temple, a "Snake" she mentions in this blog and groundhogs that she finds very cute. I didn't realize that people actually celebrated the columbus day holiday, but everyone was off work and school yesterday so welcome to the east coast I guess! This week has been SO INCREDIBLE! I am so excited to tell you all about it. On Monday night after P day ended, we headed over to an investigator's house. She lives in government housing and had a big inspection so she needed help changing her shower curtain and her curtains in her living room. Her house is not fun to be in..she opened the dishwasher and tons of bugs started crawling out. Then my companion got to change the shower curtain which hadn't been changed in four years. Then my companion changed the curtains in the living room and the whole time she did that all these bugs were flying out of them! I just talked to the investigator while my companion did that. hahaha I am a very supportive companion ;) We tried to teach her a little but she was very busy so we set up a time to come back later in the week. After that, we headed to go track down our investigator. He is from the Congo and is VERY hard to get in contact with. We were able to talk to him and he told us he's been reading the Book of Mormon almost daily and comparing it to the bible and he says "wow, they're so similar!" and we're like "yeah, we know!!" so he told us he wanted to meet later in the week and that he wanted to come to church. It's so funny because whenever we meet with him, we try to shake his hand at the end, but he always hugs us! And we just kind of stand there super awkwardly with our hands by our sides and wait til the hug is over haha. On Tuesday we woke up to finding these 2 giant centipede looking bugs in our apartment!! They were disgusting, but I guess that's just a taste of what I'll have in Brasil! We had zone and district meetings and we are in a new zone and district. Our new district is much smaller, there are only 3 companionships. It's a really fun district thought. We talked a lot about finding new people to teach because we haven't been very good about that lately, so we needed to focus on that. We had dinner with our Bishop on tuesday and his son just got reassigned to Knoxville, Tennessee while he waits for his visa! Their 6 year old daughter, prayed for us to get our visas. it was really cute. Wednesday was so awesome! The mission is putting us through the addiction recovery classes so we can help our investigators with addictions, so we had that wednesday morning. it was really cool because i think it relates to so much more than addiction. We talked about humility and forgiveness which are 2 things I am not very good at. After the meeting we had an appointment with one of the less active members of our ward. it's been really hard planning for her lessons lately because she already recognized that she needs to come to church, she just won't come. so we taught her about faith and how it leads to action and we strongly challenged her to come to church. It went so well and she said she would see if one of the members would get her a ride. I felt really confident during that lesson and the spirit was very strong! After that we had a lesson with another investigator. we invited a ward member to come with us so we got there and waited...and waited...and waited.. so we called and rescheduled with him. it was a bummer because I know the ward member was super excited to teach with us but it didn't work out. After that we headed to the a ward family and they made Brasillian food...it was so delicious! The brasillain dessert was the best though...We had a lesson after and it went really well. Our investigaro said she wants to see a baptism before she gets baptized, so we are going to try to get that set up soon. She said she knows she is super close but we weren't able to pick a day with her so we were kind of bummed about that. After that we went to see another investigator. It is really hard to teach her because there is never enough focus to actually teach her anything. So we realized we needed to try a new way of teaching her, like maybe at a members house or something. Thursday was my 3 month-iversary as a missionary!!! It was fun thinking back on my first day in the MTC and how much has changed since then and how different the mission is than what I expected! It's so much better... these have been the hardest 3 months of my life, but I've never felt more happy with where I am in life. We did a district fast on Thursday to find new investigators. It was pouring down rain all morning, but cleared up a bit so we decided to walk to our appointment...we did a little door knocking before the appointment, which is way better when it's raining because people have more sympathy on you !! But no one really was receptive. So we go to our appointment and at first the lady told us we could only have a short lesson because her caretaker was leaving soon. So we just talked to them for awhile and in the middle of our conversation, a guy came in. and It turns out he was baptized a few years ago but had some bad experiences with members in the ward he was in. So he is not active. He's never been to our ward and said he would try it out! the ladies didn't seem phased, they just told him to try our ward so that was really nice! As soon as we started walking home from that appointment, it started DUMPING rain...we had to hurry home and completely change EVERYTHING because we were so soaked. I wonder what it'll be like in Brasil haha. I doubt I'll have a dryer in my apartment for when that happens!!! After that we went to our lesson which ended up him being on the phone while we sat their awkwardly for like 30 minutes until he told us he needed to reschedule. We went to mutual with our investigator that night and it went amazing!! the young women leaders in this ward are so incredible and i know they're making a big impact on her. this week the activity is a temple trip, so we get to take her to the visitors center! I'm sooo excited!! Friday was another really great day. During my studies I found this really beautiful scripture in D&andC 88:41-46 or 47. It's all about the creation and i think you guys will like it. We had weekly planning. We talked about how much things have improved. Then we had a guy cancelled our appointment with him again. and then we ran around trying to visit people with no luck. We had a couple answer their door and we had a good visit with them about missionary work until things got awkward because they started having this big argument in front of us and neither of them would drop it. so we're just sitting on the couch, not sure what to do...moral of the story: don't get in an argument with your husband or wife when the missionaries are there. it's uncomfortable for everyone... On Saturday we walked out of the house to find a giant SNAKE on our porch!!! it was a fake snake, a little gift from the elders. Yes, I did have a minor heart attack. Sadly, I think there is a possibility of a real snake outside my door in brasil..haha. We had lunch at a members home who served her mission in England! It was cool to talk to her about how her mission has helped her. After that we had an appointment. she was super sick so we couldn't stay for long. She is a really hard one to get focused lessons with, so if you have any advice on that, let me know! We had dinner at a ward family. Everyone in the ward is afraid of the man, but I can talk to him really well and he just cracks me up. He calls his laptop his mistress..he's just crazy. We had a really good dinner with them and he gave us some names to take to the temple, which we did yesterday! My Companion got a migraine so we spend the rest of the night at home so that was kind of a bummer. Sunday was seriously one of the best days of my mission so far. On saturday night as we were falling asleep, and an invetigator called us and told us he wanted to come to church so we got his ride all figured out sunday morning. After ward council, we talked to the member who was going to pick him up, but apparently he said that someone else from a different church had picked him up? I don't know but we were super bummed out!! right before sacrament meeting started, the young women president came over and asked us to teach all the young women. Since se had an investigator, she said we could just teach her one of the lessons if we wanted. We decided to teach the restoration to the young women. I was very nervous...teaching is something i am still learning and I just get so nervous before I teach! especially since I was teaching the young women. I'm still learning so much about the gospel that i often feel inadequate, but i wanted this lesson to be so spiritual and for our investigator She is really starting to learn the doctrines. the lesson went great and the girls all participated, but the best part was teaching about Joseph Smith and the first vision. As I told her about Joseph Smith seeking the truth and then seeing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, she was mesmerized. As I taught her, the spirit reminded me of my own testimony of this event, and i was reminded what a miracle it was and how that event changed my life as well as my whole families' lives! Nicole told us she really relates to Joseph Smith and she wants to know if this church is true,. It is so humbling being able to teach someone as young as she is who is seeking to know the truth. teaching the young women reminded me of how much i've grown since that time and it was one of the most spiritual experiences i've had on my mission so far. After church we had a meeting with all the presidencies and the bishopric where we go over the ward list and they find people for us to go visit. they decided i need to teach a class on how to communicate with one of the ward members because everyone else is scared to talk to him haha. We had dinner with a family in the ward who have an autistic son. i admire them so much! they are very young, but are some of the most patient people i have ever met. Sunday night we had a lesson with an investigator. I wasn't sure how it would go because we wanted to do a question and answer type lesson with her so we could figure out what else she needs to know. You can see how i would be nervous, seeing as i have a very limited knowledge of portuguese and the gospel!! We also had planned on selecting a date for baptism. I expected that to be like pulling teeth. but after a little talking she piped up and said "I want to be baptized on december 24, on our one year anniversary, but i realized you might not be there and I want you both at my baptism." We told her how transfers are November 14 so this week she is choosing either November 2 or 9!!! I AM SO EXCITED!! Her baptism is really happening! We spent the rest of the lesson making plans for the program and everything. I was prompted to share with her about my own baptism. I remember how happy i was that day and I remember feeling better than I've ever felt before. It made me realized how all these events in my life that seemed small have led me to where I am today and have led me to help others improve their lives and gain testimonies. It's so incredible to see what grwoth she is experiencing and I am so humbled to be a part of this work. Our investigator said that I am like her angel, but she is really mine because she's helping me recognize what really matters and why I am here in VA. Yesterday was another really amazing day! we got up at 5:15 so we could go to the temple! WOW the DC temple is probably the most beautiful one i've ever been in or to! i had such a great time being there and it brought so much peace that i really needed. later that day we had to drive the elders in our district to go shopping because none of them have a car, so we had 4 elders crammed in our backseat and i've never been in a more crazy car. They help us to laugh and to have fun with this work so it's a real blessing to be around them sometimes!! we got a call from this other wards ward mission leader who told us he wants to work with us because they don't have sisters in their ward, so i think the work here is going to really pick up a lot in these next few weeks! it's been so cool to see how much this area has grown and changed since we first arrived. I am falling in love with VA and everyone here. I've had a lot of times this week where i've felt like this really is MY mission, not just my reassignment. I miss you guys so much but i'm having the time of my life out here. I love you all so much and hope your week is amazing!!!eu amo voces!! love, Sister Pehrson

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7,2013

Wow..what a crazy week it's been in Leesburg. I've definitely had some of the best and worst moments of my mission so far!! Not much happened Monday night after P day. We talked to a woman who a ward member told us thought might be interested and are waiting to hear back from her still! We tracted for a really long time but didn't really meet anyone! Tuesday we had district meetings in the AM which was all about setting good goals and then trying to achieve them. Also we talked about the fact that we have all the tools that we need, we just limit our own potential a lot. So I made a goal to really "waste and wear out" my time here in Leesburg, which is hard because I get pretty Brasil trunky sometimes! One of the Elders in our district was leaving this Friday so he gave his departing testimony to us. That always makes me think of what I want to be like by the end of my mission and what goals I can set to become that person. After meetings, we had a lesson with 2 investigators. We basically just got to know them better. They are both such awesome women! One has so much faith and she hasn't let her trials make her bitter. I really admire her a lot and am excited to teach her more. After that we had a lesson with another invetigator. I love lessons with her! She is such an amazing person. The lesson was on keeping the sabbath day holy and then we talked about baptism. She still doesn't feel "ready" but her said he feels like she's really close. she is an incredible example of faith. It's cool seeing how much her life has already changed. After the lesson, we went to a ward family to help serve food for the cross country team. A couple kids talked to us, but besides that not much success. It was funny because this one girl goes "Are you guys really sisters?" haha. That night we visited the a family who has a son going on his mission to Sao Paulo! It was fun getting to know them and sharing my excitement for Brasil with someone. Wednesday was so much fun because we got asked to help out at Seminary!! We had to wake up at 5:45 which wasn't fun.. but seminary was great. The class wrote down questions their friends have or they have had and then we did a bunch of role plays with them. It was so weird being in Seminary...I never thought I'd be one of the missionaries visiting the seminary class!! I've come a long way... After seminary we did studies and I had the best experience practice teaching. Normally I hate practice teaching because I feel so dumb and unexperienced, but that day I realized how much I've already learned since being here and I felt really confident!! Of course this wears off once I have to talk to real people...haha. Wednesday was like 94 degrees..so we were dying!! But we had a lesson with a less active member, about general conference. Then we had an appointment we set up on exchanges, but she was really rude and pretended she didn't know us..so that was a bummer! We went and talked with an investigator about church some more. She is so great and I am so glad to be teaching her!! Thursday was such an awesome day! I have been really worried about being prepared physically for Brasil since we drive everywhere and never really have to go without, so I've been praying for opportunities to prepare for that better. So Thursday after studies we walked over to our appointment, but she wasn't home. So as we were walking to go get to the car, My companion was like "hey, we should just walk there, it's not that far." 7 miles later and 2 giant blisters..we had walked in 90 degree heat!! It was so much FUN!!!! We helped her pack some stuff for a while since her husband NEVER helps and her daughter sits on the computer all day..it's so so sad!! But it was so funny because as we were walking, there were all these guys who looked like they belong on Duck Dynasty hollering at us and honking...It's like they've never seen sister missionaries before. And if they knew who we were I'm not sure they'd be honking and hollering! haha for real though I've never seen so many hairy shirtless old men....Grandma would not be pleased ;) The rest of the people just gave us really weird looks...no one really walks here so it's funny to see peoples reactions. After that we went to mutual. It was a modesty fashion show and it was so cool to see her in that! She honestly looked more modest than some of the members lol. She looked so beautiful and she just fits right in. I'm so excited to seee how things progress with her! Friday we had weekly planning which is always great. We had dinner with a ward family that night who have 5 kids under the age of 11....it's always crazy eating with them. The younger kids always call us "sister missionary" cause they can't remember our names but they are just so funny. We told the wife after dinnner that we'd been trying to see this less active member and I guess she is good friends with her so she was like okay I'll talk you to the Saks outlet where she works. So you can just imagine how funny that looked to see 5 kids and a mom and 2 missionaries walk into Saks...they didn't know what hit em! sadly the lady wasn't there. We spent the rest of the night trying to track other people down with no luck! Saturday was so great! In the morning we went to the baptism of a ward members daughter which was so sweet to watch and made me excited to attend the baptisms of the people I teach. After the baptism, A friend's mom picked us up to watch conference at their house! Conference was so amazing!!! I think people were expecting another big announcement. A lot of missionaries were like "sisters are gonna serve for 2 years now" haha obviously no big announcements happened, but it was cool to hear there are now 80,000 missionaries!! I'm one of them..so crazy!. We went to the church to watch the afternoon session. I really like watching conference at the church! I got an awesome letter from Grandma that night who told me a cool story about how she realized she needed to be herself, I felt like I really needed to hear that that night. Sunday was a really good day/bad day. I felt great watching conference, but after I started feeling very uneasy and anxious. Then we went to the Takemoto's for lunch and had SCONE SUNDAY!!! I was so happy because it was like a little bit of home here in VA :) then we went back to the church and finished conference. I finally told my companion that I wanted a Priesthood blessing. It's the hardest thing to admit that you are having a hard time when you're on your mission. It's supposed to be the happiest time of your life and everythings supposed to be rainbows and butterflies-right? But there is so much pressure on us as missionaries and I feel like all the negative thoughts I've had over the past 6 weeks just built up and I needed help getting them out of my mind. So the Elders in our Ward came and gave me an amazing blessing. It was just exactly what I needed to hear and Heavenly Father reminded me that I'm here for a reason and He wants and needs me here. I felt so much love from my Heavenly Father and I knew that he is proud of me. I learned to control what I can and let go of what I cannot. I have sooo many weaknesses, but I have a Heavenly Father who is perfect and is the strongest! And in Him I can change what I need to and become a better person.. Admitting weaknesses is not giving up. It actually makes you a lot stronger! Ever since I got the blessing, I feel a million times better. Things aren't perfect, and they never will be, but now I know that I CAN handle all of this and that I'm exactly where I need to be. Sometimes it's hard to admit that sadness and trials are all part of Heavenly Fathers plans. If I hadn't felt so sad, I wouldn't be able to feel as happy as I do now. I'm so grateful for your guys support through my mission so far. I could not be here without you. I am constantly thinking of you and using your examples to gain strength! I hope you guys loved conference as much as I did! Any news on the visa yet? I love you all so much and hope your week is wonderful, I know mine will be!Love, Sister Pehrson

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 30, 2013

Family!!! Thanks for all the letters and emails this week!! They mean so much to me! I am grateful for all the support I get! This week was sooo amazing!! We didn't expect it to be super busy teaching wise because we had a ton of meetings, but it was so cool to see how the Lord magnified the time we did have for teaching and finding people!! On Monday after P day ended, we headed to go check on a referral we received from church headquarters. That was awkward...this guy answered the door and when we asked for the person. He acted super confused to see us and then she came to the door and said she didn't request missionaries..so probably someone sent her name in without her knowing it. She told us she was Catholic and wasn't interested! Then we went to check on a less active member. We shared a spiritual message with her and her husband and they didn't talk about not being at church or anything so we'll see what happens with that! Tuesday we had district meetings which were all about getting our investigators to church and ways to invite them and all that. After meetings we went to our lesson with 2 women. one of them lost her legs and her husband in the same year..it's been a crazy lifestyle adjustment but she seems okay with it all. She really has amazing faith. I love teaching her because she's just so warm and full of love. So is her care giver. I'm not sure where things will go with them but I think with faith they will be baptized! After studies and dinner we went to meet a fmaily in the Ward. we kept hearing that we needed to meet them! The husband wasn't home, but the wife was. she is so great! She told us her conversion/love story. They are so cute... after visiting with her, we went to teach an investigator that has a lot of financial pressures in her life it was hard for her to focus on the lesson. A very cute moment came at the end when she prayed. She said "Oh lord, help us cause the Devil done got his nose up into everything!!" I loved it!! After teaching her we checked on another lady we recently taught. she is such a loving person. I wish she could see that she needs the gospel. She talked to us about her plans for the future. She hasn't realized that the real her is within her reach!! she is just looking in the wrong places. I love her so much though. Wednesday was such a great day! We had launching leaders at 1 and it was all about teaching the commandments as liberating, not restrictive. which was perfect for the upcoming lesson we had with Andresa!! after the meeting we had our first exchange! I was nervous because of things I had heard, but my experince was so good. I went with one of the Sisters and I was able to do practice teaching with her and I felt super comfortable and encouraged. We walked over to our dinner at a ward members and we talked to everyone on our way there! It was awesome. after dinner we taught a lesson to a lady. Then we went and saw another person, whose little brothers and mom are members, and invited her to mutual and church! Exchanges were awesome because I got to see how much potential this area has and I realized how I need to really talk to EVERYONE and have full trust in my companion. I also really learned that I can be myself in this work. I think before this point, I've just been so nervous and I've felt like i have to fit a certain missionary mold in order to teach well, but seeing this other missionary teach with her own personality and everything I realized that Heavenly father made me exactly how I am for a reason. There are people who need me to teach them and who will connect with the real me way better than they would connect with who I've been trying to be! So i was really happy to realize that i don't have to change my entire personality to be a missionary...I'm sure i should have realized that before but at least i realized it eventually right?! Thursday we had a meeting called return and report which is for trainers and missionaries being trained. President showed us this movie clip that was so awesome. it was this football player whose coach tells him to run 50 yards with this other player on his back. the kid complains and says he can maybe do 30. then the coach tells him he'll do it blindfolded. the coach leads him along, encouraging him and by the end of it he makes it all the way to the end zone. The point was to show us how much potential we have, but how we often settle for less and put limitations on ourselves. Heavenly Father knows what we can accomplish, so I need to be constantly turning to Him for encouragement and advice!! After showing us that clip, they put the trainers in one room and new missionaries in the other and said "tell us what you want to tell your companion, but are too scared to tell them." ha ha you can imagine how that went!!! It was awesome though because I realized that so many other these other new missionaries are going through exactly what I am and some are going through worse! I also realized that I really need to communicate with my companion better. So I did and it went super well! After the meeting we met with a woman with an AMAZING testimony but she never comes to church! She read the first article in the ensign this month which i guess was on rescuing less actives. she was like "this is me! I need to come to church!!" so she told us she'd come to church on Sunday. Then we had dinner with a lady in our ward whose daughter is on her mission in Denmark. I loved our visit wit her. It's crazy..her daughters apartment caught on fire while they were at church on Sunday and they all lost everything...so they thought. when they went in after, the things that didn't burn were their scriptures, journals, and cameras, and a few of their clothes!!!! how cool is that???? Heavenly Father is so aware of us and our needs! So after that dinner we went to mutual with Nicole! It was so awesome to see how sweet the young women were to her. I don't remember being that nice when i was that age..seriously though i feel like the youth are really stepping it up and it's so fun to work with them! tell the youth in our ward how much I admire them and that they are setting examples for me!! Our invetigator had an awesome time though and felt very accepted. I was soo happy! Friday was crazy!!! We had a half mission conference which was amazing. we talked all about getting back to the fundamentals and studying Preach My Gospel. After conference we went to lunch with some other sisters. Then we had addiction recovery which was about "change of heart". I felt like I needed to hear that one! I am really trying to work on humility and not being critical and i know the only way i can do this is through prayer and faith. after the class, we had our lesson on the word of wisdom with andresa! I was so nervous, because I really had hardly any time for language study this week. But I had been praying all week that it would go well and the spirit would be there. it went SO well!! . I told her she should focus on her relationship with Heavenly Father and that's all we're here to help with! Then we taught about the Word of wisdom. I told her how I'm from Seattle which is like the coffee capital and how we need to ressit temptations to drink coffee. I've seen how addicted people can get to it and that it's way better for us not to drink it! I explained how these are not commandments to restrict us, but to help us and there are promised blessings that come from living the commandments. It was amazing to feel the spirit as we taught and when she broke down in the beginning, I was just praying to be able to understand what she was going through, because a lot of times I can't actually understand everything she's saying. As she opened up to us, i could understand everything!! It was amazing. We visited some members that night who have like 5 little boys and 1 girl. After we said the closing prayer the 2nd youngest boy was said "(name withheld) eyes were open the whole time during prayer!" I remember when we used to do that during prayer, ha ha! It was so funny. Saturday was so hard! I have been fighting a bad cold all week and so we decided i should rest inside all day Saturday until the Relief Society roadcast, which was AMAZING! I was so jealous of the Sisters in the MTC choir who got to sing there! di ha ha so cool! The 3 talks given were all on covenant keeping and making. it made me really think about all the covenants I've made and how well I'm keeping them. as the prophet spoke, i felt my heavenly father's love for me so strong! it's actually really hard to be a missionary because I'm constantly surrounded by these amazing missionaries and members and I am guilty of comparing myself to them too often. The prophet shared that that's not how Heavenly Father wants us to think of ourselves. I realized I need to work on being less self critical and on just improving what I need to! When we sang "I'll go where you want me to go" it hit me so hard! waiting for my visa is so frustrating at times. But i know that I am not in VA out of coincidence. The Lord needs me here. It also hit me during the broadcast how much the members of the church are counting on me! And that I have millions of people praying for ME each day...it's so cool to think about and I have felt those prayers so often and I couldn't do this without them! Sunday was seriously THE BEST!! I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the 2nd time as a missionary...that book is so amazing! Then we went to church and both our investigators were there! It was so fun to watch the husband explain things to his wife during church and to see how much her faith has grown since we first met her. And we sat by our other investigator and her little brother got up and bore his testimony. I think she realized she was where she should be! and she was happy to be with her family. We also got to teach sharing time which was so fun..it was about service and so my compoanion was trying to get the kids to come up with a way to serve this week. so she was like "how about when your mom makes a big delicious meal, you do the dishes for her?" and this little girl goes "yeah..if my mom actually makes a big delicious dinner!" so sassy... after church we had a lesson. She made us a Brazilian dessert which we have yet to try!! I will explain that later..ha ha but the lesson was on tithing and fasting. she loved both of these concepts and they made a lot of sense to her! I talked about the programs in the church that help us all so much and I told about when grandma and grandpa had to use the Bishops storehouse when they were struggling. I'm so grateful that I have such a wonderful family and have so many experiences I can share with those I teach!! We talked more with her about the date for her Baptism. she said she knows baptism is what she needs to do, and she wants to, She's just not sure about when! So we'll see what happens. I'm just so glad to be able to teach her and to be able to see how she is growing. She had a cool experience because after our lesson Saturday, she ran into a member of our ward who is from Brasil! The member shared that her experience joining the church and moving to the states was very similar. She was so comforted to see how her life has turned out and she realized that she really can make all of these changes in her life! it's so cool how heavenly father helps us out through other people. So something crazy happened yesterday that I thought only happened to Utah missionaries...we got double booked for dinner! what happened was that one family had talked to us at the beginning of the month about setting up a big dinner, but she never actually told us if it was happening or not. so someone else signed up to feed us! so we ate at both places (very small portions..but still SO MUCH FOOD..) I am supposed to tell you to hold your letters because of transfers, but I am almost positive they aren't going to effect us. I love you all so much and I couldn't be doing this without you! It's definitely getting chillier here...but I think I'll get my visa before it gets too cold...we'll see!! Love you all, you're always in my prayers!! Love, Sister Pehrson