Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

Family!!! It was so so great talking to you guys on Christmas! definitely the highlight of my week! it was good to have that reminder that I am where I need to be and that (no offense) I'm not missing too much besides your good company back at home! This week was so good! It was really hard..but it was really good! On Monday after emailing Sister Phelps and I did some thrift shopping! that was a blast! she's such a fun companion! as you know, we had dinner with Susan and Bob that night and we really enjoyed it! Bob was very inquisitive and was shocked to find out that sisters actually knock on doors and do that kind of missionary work! after dinner we went to have FHE with La'vonne. we were going to watch the movie 17 miracles with her (which we have permission to watch, in case you were worried :) ). The movie was too long to watch that night so we talked. Tuesday we had our meetings in the morning. We found out that our district is the youngest district in the whole mission! we have 3 missionaries in our district being trained. our district leader had to go home for about 6 months for surgery so he's technically older but he is still "young" in mission terms. he had us go around the room and say "what I wish I'd known at the beginning of my mission". there were some great ones! i think what i wish I'd known is that our companion is there to help us! that's something i really struggled with. after meetings we had companion and language study and then did facebook. then we had dinner with Asra and a family in the Ward! they love Sister Phelps! we got to share a story with them about the meaning of all the symbols of Christmas. It was a lot of fun! after that our district went caroling! it was such a blast! we saw some members as well as investigators. our district is a lot of fun! sister Phelps and i are the only sisters in our district. we knocked on one investigators door and this super buff shirtless guy answered the door and it was so funny because all the elders just automatically looked at us to see what we would do. the guy told us to wait there for a minute and put a shirt on and came back. It could have been worse, right? on Christmas morning sister Phelps and I opened presents under our "tree". we had 2 Christmas breakfasts and then got to skype you guys! that was a lot of fun! i was honestly anxious about it because i didn't want it to be awkward and i didn't want to cry too much! it was a great reminder that i am loved and it made me very grateful to be out here! i miss you guys and i know you miss me, but once i get home you'll be glad to have the improved Emily to spend time with! :) after skyping, our dinner appointment called and had us come and pick up our dinner because they had a family emergency. we came back to sister Graney's and watched "a little princess" and then ate and talked. They made us peanut butter soup and these rice ball things. it was DELICIOUS!!! it was fun to have a non traditional Christmas dinner! we left sister graneys' planning on visiting a ward family, but they cancelled on us and we couldn't drop in on anyone, so we went home and watched the district haha. it was a very fun Christmas! the day after Christmas i woke up feeling pretty gross, so i slept awhile and then we got up and did our studies. after studies we went and did facebook! we then came home and made dinner. then we went to La'vonne's for a make-up FHE and watched 17 miracles with her. i don't know if you guys have seen it, but it's a super powerful movie! we wanted her to know about the history of the church and about the pioneers. she really enjoyed it! at first, i was nervous because La'vonne kept sort of criticizing the miracles that were happening, but by the end of the movie her heart was really softened and she was just in awe at the sacrifices these people had to make. she was like "wow, you guys must be really proud to have people like that be a part of your history!" after the movie La'vonne was sharing with us this conversation she had with a friend from work and he was mocking a lot of her beliefs. it was cool because she said she wasn't even tempted to lower her standards for this person and that she was strong and proud of all of her beliefs. she is such a powerhouse! I'm so grateful she's a member! she's such a great example to me. Friday was really good! we had weekly planning during the afternoon and it was fun because we got to just talk and bond a lot. we then went and did facebook and then ate dinner. we went and saw Kyra and Mikyla after that. Kyra is the one who came to my apartment at Byu-i who knows my old FHE brother...small world! she's back for the winter semester and we are trying to teach her sister Mikyla, so we had a good visit with them! we then visited a ward member. that's going through some trails with her family right now and really needed a visit. She recently became active in the church again and it was cool to see how she is relying on the gospel during this difficult time! Friday I decided to give up sugar for this transfer. I am now on day 4 so wish me luck with that! so far I have turned down apple pie, and some Tampico orange juice. not too difficult yet... :) Saturday was a very good and productive day! we got up and went on a walk for our morning exercise, got ready and did some studies, and then went to Sarah and Casi's baptism! Casi is the one who gave up smoking to be baptized. her daughter Sarah is 9. it was a wonderful service! there were actually 3 convert baptisms that morning. that's 5 people I've seen be baptized in the last week! pretty incredible! talk about hastening the work!! Baptisms are really great because they remind us missionaries that there are prepared people out there! after the baptism we finished our studies and then had lunch with a ward member. after lunch we went and checked on one of our potential investigators. he was coming out of his home and he was very excited to see us! sadly, his dad passed away the night after we met him. it is kind of cool how heavenly father placed us in his life during this time though! i hope he recognizes this! he's pretty busy right now with the funeral and everything, but he still is interested in the gospel so that's really awesome! after seeing him we checked on a referral. she was definitely not receptive, but we met a man with a lot of potential on her street, so that was good! we then saw a sister in the ward! she got an electric bird feeder for Christmas. it has a remote on it so if there is a squirrel climbing on her feeder, she presses a button and it shocks the squirrel! every time we see her she complains about those squirrels, so she was very pleased with this gift...haha! she's such a funny lady. i love this person, but she is always complaining about relief society and church and uses a lot of excuses not to go. it made me really grateful for my faithful grandmas! they have plenty of excuses not to attend church, but they are so righteous and they just keep going! after dinner we saw Elizabeth, our 10 year old investigator. so her mom is inactive, and her grandma would be active but is really sick so she can't attend church. we were finally able to meet her grandma on Saturday night which was great! we made plans to get Elizabeth to church. i think church would help her out a lot so we'll see what happens there! we ended the night visiting another Ward family. they are a great family! The mom is a saint...she is always so giving and is always doing good things for others. her husband is not active but she and the kids still attend. i really admire her for that! Sunday was really awesome. sadly we were not expecting to have any investigators at church, but Sue surprised us by showing up! we are hoping to teach her more after the new year. sacrament meeting was really great. all the talks were about hope. the theme that really stuck out to me is that we don't have to go through anything alone! Christ is always there and he understands perfectly. that was something i really needed to hear! after church we came home and did our studies. i again had the reminder that i am not in this alone! i only need to reach out and ask for help and it'll be there. i had a good experience sort of brainstorming ways to improve the work in this area and how to be a better example to my companion. it's been difficult this transfer..i think heavenly father is laughing to himself watching me because last transfer i really felt like i was leading the area and that i was such an example to my old companion. We have to go above and beyond in order to be obedient. the alarm is now set at 6:15 so we can get up on time, and we have to be ready early so we can leave on time. but i know that if we obey, we'll be blessed! I got some really good ideas on what i can do better during my studies, and i was filled with a lot of hope! i also started reading the book of Mormon again. I've been studying other things lately but i decided i wanted to read through the book of Mormon again and it was really awesome! I just love that book. reading it brings me so much peace and true happiness! after studies we had dinner with a member. the wife is from japan so we ate with chopsticks. she made the Japanese version of chicken noodle soup. it was super good! we then went and saw the abbas' since they weren't at church yesterday. they have a sick bug going around the family but they expressed a lot of gratitude for the ward helping them out on Christmas. i was so grateful for the wards help! we kept asking and asking them to help out and they did a great job. I'm grateful for that! we then went and visited a less active family. they are going through some struggles right now, so hopefully our visit helped! on the way home we added up our key indicators for the week. even though the mission is not about numbers, we still count all of our lessons and everything. i was very discouraged to see that we only taught one lesson this week. it's really hard to take over an area because you are constantly worrying about if you're doing a good job and you don't want to let anyone down! sadly last transfer we were so focused on La'vonne that we didn't do much finding. this has made it hard for sister Phelps and i because we don't have many people to teach. I'm learning that each transfer needs to be a mixture of finding and teaching because if you don't find, the next missionaries really suffer! I know the Lord will help me through this transfer and that as long as I do my best and keep working hard, we'll see results. it may not be as quick as I'd like, but the good things will come! i am so grateful for you guys. for your love and support and the smiles you put on my faces! i hope you have a wonderful new year and I'll talk to you in 2014!! :) love, Sister Pehrson

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 23, 2013

FELIZ NATAL FAMILIA!!! man, I don't know what it was about this week but it feels like forever since we last talked! well..emailed :) this was a crazy week! a great one for sure! but also very insane... transfer week is always exhausting but I'm loving my new companion, sister Phelps and i know we'll have a great companionship!!! I'm glad you guys got my Christmas card. I hope you liked it! i had fun making it! so Monday night, we got to go to the temple with La'vonne and Teya. it was SO beautiful! we saw a concert with Jenny Oaks Baker which was really good. we also ran into quite a few ward members! La'vonne used to drive by the temple all the time and she could never figure out how to get to it, so it was fun for her to finally be able to see it! on our way there the gas light came on, and La'vonne realized she didn't have her purse. thanks to a 20$ bill and some McDonald's coupons and gift cards, we were able to get gas and food and head on home afterwards haha. it was quite an adventure! we talked to her a lot about the structure of the church and how prophets are called and things like that. she has the most amazing questions, so i love teaching her! Tuesday was a day of miracles!! Tuesday morning during studies I read a lot of the finding chapter of preach my gospel. we haven't been able to find new investigators lately so i decided to see what we could improve on. we had zone training that morning and President actually did a conference call with us! i guess our mission is doing really great on everything except finding. he encouraged us to have the faith to find. we were also told to go caroling! then we talked about the "culture" of our mission and what we need to keep and what needs changed. i left feeling so excited!! I'm learning so much about communication out here! when i got on FB on Tuesday, i had a message from Andresa!! we got to chat in Portuguese. it was incredible! she told me how grateful she is that Heavenly Father placed me in her path and all this sweet stuff. i will remember her and treasure my experiences with her for the rest of my life! talking to her really made my day!! after that we witnessed a true miracle!! we were only going to have time to visit one person before dinner. we chose a former investigator. as we got out of the car, this woman with a dog walked towards us. we started talking to her and it turns out she's the referral a member gave us! we had an amazing conversation with her and it was so incredible to see how Heavenly Father literally put her directly in our path! if we wouldn't have opened our mouths, we wouldn't have had this GOLDEN opportunity! we also had time to check on the former investigator! :) we then had dinner with the relief society president. we have created a policy that whenever we visit someone, before we get back in the car we have to knock on 2 doors. we hadn't been doing that and I thought about it as we headed back to the car. I tried to ignore the prompting and we had the car on and had just finished praying and I told Sister B we needed to go knock on the 2 doors. we sang a Christmas carol to one of the families and the other didn't want us to. I'm so grateful I followed that prompting and did what I really didn't want to do! we went to visit another woman and it was almost 8 and we were in a more wealthy area so we really didn't want to knock those 2 doors, but we knocked! the 1st house was a man who said he didn't want us to carol for him. the 2nd house was a darling old couple! their names are Tom and Elanor. We sang for them and they gave us hot chocolate and cookies. they both served in the Korean War, where Tom lost his legs. He met Elanor at the MASH hospital. they are Lutheran but they believe every religion is good. They were involved in a lot of charities when they were younger and they have actually visited a bishops storehouse in Maryland. they told us we are welcome to come by anytime and if we need somewhere to go on Christmas, we are welcome there. we sang joy to the word and had a prayer with them before we left. it was so incredible meeting them!! we came home and got a call that Sister B is being transferred!! i had very mixed emotions about this! I've loved serving with her. i was also afraid of getting a crazy companion! haha but i heard a great quote that i want to live by. "don't let your surroundings determine your effectiveness." we are all agents! we can blame the way we act on others, but in reality we have total control over how we act and we CAN make a big difference! the day before transfers is always crazy. it's never very productive, but Wednesday was pretty good. we went and helped a Sister in her wedding shop for a bit. She had Sister B pick out a veil to use in her future wedding and gave it to her as a gift! she is so sweet. i really love visiting with this Sister! she has such a strong testimony. she is an incredible woman. after that visit we went and saw an investigator who has been very distant lately. she told us that she doesn't want to get baptized right now, but she still wants to learn about the church, so there is still hope! i don't know if you guys got to watch the mormon message i posted Wednesday, but it was all about the atonement and how we don't need to hold things from the past against ourselves because the Atonement is meant to set us free from that pain and guilt. i felt like a lot of people needed to hear that so i shared that on facebook. after dinner we went to the church for La'vonnes baptismal interview. President B got stuck in traffic so he was about an hour late! La'vonne was worried, but it all worked out! la'vonne was so happy and I think the interview relieved much of her stress. we ended the night seeing a member family who sister b wanted to say bye to. the mom knitted us these really cute scarves for Christmas ! it was so sweet. Thursday we headed out to transfer meeting after studies. it's funny because you always kind of scope out all the sisters during the meeting and wonder who you'll be with!! transfer meeting was so incredible though. it reminded me of the fact that this season is the prefect time to share the gospel! so many people are prepared. there is a special spirit this time of year that makes sharing the gospel so much fun! since the departing missionaries left Tuesday, President Riggs chose some random missionaries to bear testimony. he chose a senior couple, the Carlisle's. they are AMAZING!! Sister Carlisle's testimony was especially incredible. she talked about their conversion process and what a righteous priesthood holder her husband is. she was sick for the first 10 weeks of their mission and he was so obedient and stayed with her the entire time. she said that whenever she needs a blessing, it doesn't matter what time it is, her husband will get in his white shirt and tie. she told us sisters to find a man like that! I would love to! i definitely have higher standards for who I date now, which i am sure we are all grateful for ;) when her husband bore testimony he said something really cool: "i will be a missionary for the rest of my life, with or without a badge." the name tag is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary, but i can still do this work without It! and i will! so my new comp, sister Phelps is great! she's from Syracuse, Utah. She's very social and fun! we headed to a young family in the ward who we visited last week. we challenged them to share their favorite scripture with someone last week. they told us they hadn't done that but they were doing different forms of missionary work. this week we challenged them to ask someone a question that would lead to a gospel discussion like "do you believe in god" or "do you go to church" so they all came up with their own question and told us they'd ask someone! after dinner we saw sister k. man i love that lady! then we went to our family fun night with la'vonne, Teya, sister G, and her roommate. it was so much fun! i don't know if i told you guys about family fun night. but it's a thing President Riggs came up with. so we can go to a ward members home and play a game with them, then share a spiritual message. at the end we ask "is there anyone you know who would enjoy a night like this?" this is the first we've done. it is ideal to have an investigator there, but you can do it just with a member family. we had la'vonne and teya there so it was really awesome. we played taboo and then i told this story that i got in a package from Norisah about 3 trees. you should ask her about it. it's an awesome story!! Friday was wonderful!! we did weekly planning and then went on facebook. there were a bunch of people setting up for the ward party at the church and these little boys came up to us and told us that they had asked their friend if he believed in god at school that day. it was so adorable and they were so excited to report to us what they'd done!! we then got to attend our ward Christmas party! it was such a blast. before it started we met with La'vonne to try on baptism jumpsuits. they seriously didn't have any in her size!! the one that fit looked straight out of the 70s. we all just busted up laughing when she walked out. she looked so beautiful though and she decided to lay her vanity aside for the day :) the ward party was very well attended!! la'vonne planned on doing a musical number for her baptism but she needed someone to accompany her. sister G's friend let us borrow her guitar so we practiced for that after the party. Saturday was so so great! i learned so much! since my last 2 baptisms have been after i left the area, i got to learn what it was like preparing for a baptism and being the missionaries in charge of a baptism. LOTS OF WORK! but lots of fun too!! before the baptism started, lavonne had all of us sisters plus sister graney and teya come into a room and pray with her. she cried and thanked us for what we've done for her. it was so humbling because she's the one who has really taught us so much and it there was a wonderful spirit in that room! i felt the spirit most strong when la'vonne was actually baptized. she looked so happy!! sister g had a reception for la'vonne after at her house. after all that, sister phelps and i got to work!! we met several potentials and ended the night seeing a less active member, sister b. i was nervous because I've only met her once. we had an amazing lesson though! she was on vacation for awhile, and left her Book of Mormon at home, but she told us she had begun reading it again and she felt really happy and excited to do so. we had planned on teaching her about repentance, and i really didn't want to for some reason, but i felt the spirit telling me to teach that, so we did. it went super well and at the end she told us how that's exactly what she needed to hear. it was good to know i was teaching what needed to be taught, even if it felt uncomfortable at first!! Sunday was another wonderful day! different ward members gave us over $45 in gift cards and then some hot chocolate and other gifts. it was so sweet! this ward is amazing. sister b and her husband both came to church, which was awesome!! la'vonne was confirmed which was incredible! she was honestly just glowing. it was kind of funny because a bunch of members came up to her and congratulated her and told her how they thought she was already a member! she's just amazing like that. during church sister A asked us to come help them set up their Christmas tree. we did that after ward correlation. They have never had a Christmas tree before, so they were SO excited! it was really humbling to witness that because I've been so blessed throughout my life to always have Christmas and always have more than enough at the holidays, so to see the ward members reaching out to people like that was so great! as we were leaving, she handed us 20 dollars and told us to buy ourselves a Christmas cake. we kept trying to give it back and she said "no, you are OUR sisters and we want you to have it." it made me feel so good to know that I am a little piece of string in someones quilt of life! :) it really is humbling to know how much these people appreciate the small, simple things we do for them! it inspires me to do this work for the rest of my life! we had "linner" with a ward member after that and we are going to start teaching someone in their home. the rest of the day was full of attempted visits with no luck! i honestly had no desire to tract, but i knew i needed to do it. i didn't want to knock those 2 doors, so I would knock 4! we didn't meet any potentials or anything, but i knew i was doing what i was supposed to be doing and that was a really incredible feeling! I'm so excited to talk to you guys on Wednesday. i miss you all so much, but am also so aware that I'm in the right place! i get more and more attached to this mission each day!! i don't know if I'm ready for my visa to come! i hope you all have a great week!! i will be looking forward to seeing your beautiful faces! love you so much! love, Sister Pehrson

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 16, 2013

It's interesting how when you have a really awesome week on the mission, Satan just throws a really crummy one at you! But in retrospect, this week was AWESOME! I have loved getting all of your letters and reading them each night. It means so much to me to know how many people still care about me! I'm gone but not forgotten ;) I hope your weeks went well!!! This week was COLD!!! Thanks to thrift stores, I am fully equipped with warm clothes. when we finished emailing on monday, this sister in our ward and her daughter took us thrifting! it was soo fun! I got some boots which i desperately needed, and a new skirt! it was nice to spend some time with members. we did our grocery shopping super crazy fast and then went and had dinner with one of the elders investigators! she is getting baptized on december 28. happy birthday davey!! :) she quit smoking a few weeks ago and is such an inspiration! she has a really rough life. she is a single mom and i can tell she wants male support but she's been through so much.... i told her about the mid singles ward in the area and she seemed pretty interested in that!i was in kind of a bummed out mood because my mtc companion got her visa and i had been thinking about everything that wasn't going my way and blah blah blah. hearing about these families i was so humbled and realized how easy i've had it! it really made me stop and think about how much more life is all about. it's so much bigger than all of us and yet i get so caught up in my own selfish desires! we ended the night having FHE with La'vonne and Teya. i love ending the nights with them! we taught them tithing and fast offerings and we played a game where we gave starbursts and had to figure out 10% of them to give back. it was fun and we had a great time! Tuesday was my 5 month mark if we're counting by the exact date. i'm not sure how that actually works, but whatever! i can't believe how fast 5 months has gone by! there have definitely been some slow days, but in reality it's all flown by! the day was a bit ca-razy! we woke up to beautiful snow falling!! but we got a text that informed us we couldn't use our cars. since we don't actually live in our area, this put us in a bit of a predicament! BUT, we did what we could! we scraped peoples cars for them, went and bought a pie for La'vonne for her birthday, and then decided to walk to the library. on our way there, we got a text saying we could use our cars until it got dark, but we had already walked about halfway to the library at this point! a few minutes later, a member pulled over and picked us up! she told us she'd seen tons of elders walking around, but we were the first sisters so she picked us up! she took us to the church where we practiced for our musical number the missionaries in our stake did for the stake christmas program on sunday. we came home and ate and to be completely honest, i was dreading going out to work. it was FREEZING and ICY and I was so TIRED! I could tell my companion wanted to be in too. I decided to be the leader and get us out of the apartment. so we walked and walked and walked and saw a member who informed us they are creating a byu california? is this true?? if so i want to go to there! haha. by the time we left her place, it was too late to visit anyone else! the boots i bought at the thrift store are cute but not comfy or waterproof. but i survived the trek when i was younger, so i knew i could make it back to our apartment!! i am glad that i experienced walking around in extreme weather and nobody bailed us out!! sister B and i had great talks and i just felt a lot of love for her. i know i'm here with her for a reason. i had a bit of a "i want my visa" pity party that morning, but throughout the day i noticed so many things that made me grateful to be serving here right now. i know i'll make it brazil. i need to be better about having patience and really, REALLY being 100% okay with serving here. Wednesday was yet another crazy day! In the morning between studies, we scraped ice off peoples cars. talk about a workout! it was a lot of fun. we finished studying and went and visited a sister in our ward who wasn't home but her granddaughter was. we had a really great visit with her and she has a lot of potential! we went and did facebook and i saw that BRANDON SCHAUERS IS LEAVING ON HIS MISSION! AHHH THAT MADE MY DAY! I am really excited for him!! after facebook we checked on a potential investigator who is leaving for a month so that was disappointing. we talked to some people on the street who weren't interested. i MADE myself talk to them. and it really wasn't scary! we then decided to go pick up sister k, a 78 yr old woman in our ward, and go see our 87 year old investigator. that was an adventure! Sister K was shocked by how much we pray. it was funny! i think it was a really good experience for her. he kept talking about how he doesn't go to church now because it's so cold. sister k is old too and she has plenty of excuses not to come to church. but she does come and I think coming to the lesson with us helped strengthen her testimony. we went out to diner with a sister in our ward and we had the coolest experience! as we talked to our waitress, i could tell she noticed something was different about us. in the middle of our dinner she came over and started talking to us about how she is a member of this church that she was raised in but is really searching for truth and wants to leave that church. well, the sister we were with used to be a member of the church this woman was talking about! she bore testimony to this woman and it was so powerful! we left our number and an invite to the Christmas lights on the table, not really sure if the woman would act on the invite. as we were in the parking lot, i heard someone yell "SISTERS!" i looked and saw our waitress. she yelled "thank you!" and was holding the pamphlet! talk about the Lord placing a prepared person in our path! that was truly the highlight of my day. We went and saw a family in the ward after that. side note...when we were visiting J that day we told him some members live down the street from him. he described them to us and told us how a few weeks ago they brought him dinner after he had surgery! he thought they were from his old baptist church but when he found out they were LDS, he was so grateful! it was amazing! I had a cool experience that night as we were driving. sister B gets super stressed out about driving and we were in a stressful driving situation and instead of getting annoyed, i calmly gave her directions. she was so grateful. i learned that the better we treat others, the more influence we have in their lives! if we want someone to change their behavior, we have to show them how to act! i realized that day more than ever that I am in control of every happiness i feel! i can choose happiness or grumpiness, laziness or diligence! i know i'm late to the party on this realization, but i'm glad i learned that! Thursday morning sister k called us and needed us to go by and help her set up her christmas tree! we did so and she treated us to lunch. she's a real hoot. she told us she felt really "bah humbug" but i think we helped her get in the holiday spirit! we then went to our last rehearsal for our performance. it was supposed to be one hour but ended up being 2. we then did Facebook! one of our investigators wanted us to come see her and she hasn't ben talking to us much so that made us really happy! we then stopped by a member families and shared a message with them! i love teaching little kids! it is so much fun! i love being called "sister missionary." it really makes my day! we then had dinner with a family. the mom is an RM and as we ate i thought of the type of member missionary i want to be and the things i want to do for the missionaries in my ward! the mission doesn't end after 18 months! we then had to take money to our zone leaders for mission t shirts! My companion ordered one but i know she doesn't have a lot of money so i paid for hers. instead of feeling annoyed, i felt really good!! our family is so temporally blessed and i want to share that blessing with others. we then had our lesson with La'vonne! it went so well! we taught the second half of the plan of salvation. it started out really rough. but i kept praying for the spirit to be there and it was like every doubt and question she had she answered for herself. it was pretty incredible! there is so much power in having a member present during lessons. I really want all of our lessons to be with members! Friday was such a busy day! we had our mission christmas conference! it was so amazing! the departing missionaries this transfer bore testimonies and it was so powerful! one elder told of a sister who had created this sculpture of the tree of life. she spend hours and hours on it and when she was done, she was very unhappy with how withered it looked. someone nearby said "it's okay, it's not done yet!" the elder talked about how none of us are done yet! not even RMS! he talked about how even when things don't work out and we aren't doing as well as we think we should be, it's okay because we're not done yet! president riggs spoke about a lot of cool things. one thing that really hit me was when he talked about setting goals. he said "you may not reach them in the first month. but you'll reach them in month 2. and even if you never reach them, if you're giving all you've got to give, you will witness a tremendous change and you'll never let yourself down! its funny because he was talking about goals, but that totally applies to my visa even if it never comes, if i give all i've got to give, i won't let anyone down and i'll love every minute of my service!! it was fun seeing all my mission friends at the conference! when i saw sister S i thought of all that i'm grateful for about her and what she taught me. my first 2 transfers were so hard but now i have the perspective that transfers do end and that new companions come so you gotta make the best of what you've got!! after the conference, we did service for sister e at her wedding dress shop! we then ate dinner and dropped off a secret santa gift for a ward member. we knocked on this great door that night! the man was from peru and his grandma was mormon! he says he wants to come to church and to learn more and i'm really excited for that. we then visited another family the and i'm really worried about them. i am realizing more and more how the only way to true happiness is service and charity! you have to focus on others! when i think about myself, i think about all my problems and i get discouraged. as i focus on others, i forget about myself and feel joy! it seems simple but it's actually hard to do. Saturday was great!!! we headed to Leesburg in the morning with La'vonne and teya for nicole's baptims! we got there early so i got to visit with a lot of the ward members that i've missed so much! seeing nicole get baptized was truly amazing! i was so happy! i'm still in disbelief that she's baptized to be honest! she got out of the water and with a big smile on her face she threw both hands in the air! it was so cute! on our way home we prepared la'vonne for her baptism interview. from the interview we went straight home and began helping her move! the elders could only help for like an hour so it was really just us and one other lady. it was intense! we finished barely at 7 and we had a 730 appointment. we hadn't had food for a long time and when we got in the car our appointment texted us and told us they were gonna feed us! it was so sweet and even though it was a small, temporal blessing i just had so much gratitude for that day and for the fact that Heavenly Father is aware of all our ridiculous needs! Sunday was such a great day! it was really exactly what i needed. As this week was a true roller coaster. I had just been really grumpy and irritable all week and didn't like it. we went to church and it was ward conference. bishop spoke and said something that really struck me. he said that when we have trials and burdens we often ask why when we should be asking "what am i to learn from this?" our stake president also talked about trials. to begin his talk he asked anyone who has been through or is going through a trial to stand. basically everyone in the room was standing! he encouraged us to remember that the Lord is doing what he knows is best for us and that he truly has the perspective to know what is right for us! that was encouraging to me! so last week the gospel principles teacher asked la'vonne to do part of the lesson! she did amazing! she's going to be a power house of a member! we came home and we needed to do weekly planning. i was dreading it. i told sister butts all that i was feeling. our numbers were so awful this week and i felt like i failed and was letting my heavenly father down. sister b went through our planners and went over all we actually did this week, and it was a lot and it was all good, it just didn't all reflect in our key indicators. i felt much better after that and apologized to her for being a grump. we talked about a lot of stuff and i told her how i have trouble letting people help me because i feel like i am being judged for my weakness. she said that i need to let her know when i'm struggling. even when i am homesick! she said that even though we come from very different home lives, i can still tell her when i'm struggling and she'll help. i know that we were meant to be companions! we had dinner at our bishops and then went to our stake music program. I am not trying to brag, our number was amazing! there were tons of non members there, so everyone clapped after the songs, but after we sang we got a standing ovation and people were crying and cheering. it was super powerful and one of the most spiritual experiences i've had singing! it was amazing! La'vonne came and afterwards we were talking to these members and told them la'vonnes getting baptized. turns out they are both converts and they encouraged her and helped her feel more excited! this week i have learned SO SO MUCH! i am really learning to be assertive here and to communicate with others in the way I need to. I am learning to be more bold, but not overbearing. i am leading my companionship which is scary but i learn a lot from it! La'vonne is going to take us to the temple and see the lights tonight which will be amazing! i hope your weeks are great! love you all so much! Sister Pehrson

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 9, 2013

It's been an amazing week here in Franconia! Lots of crazy stuff going on, but it's all part of the adventure right? It's so much fun serving here and I love it more every day!! I have loved reading my Christmas letters every day this month. I have felt so loved and it's just made my day!! On Monday when preparation day ended, we went and had dinner at the H’s home. Their kids shared their favorite scriptures with us and it was very sweet and fun. Their 5 year old drew us pictures! Sister B made them all balloon animals...yes she can make balloon animals haha! after that we saw Sister E. She was very busy but let us in and we shared a bit of President Monson's talk "We never walk alone" it was so good! we are really making progress with her and I hope she comes back to church soon. We then stopped by the P's. We got to share a spiritual message with Brother P, which was great since he's not super active. Then we tried to see the F’s, another less active family. Their door has a window on it so we knocked and saw someone peek out. then they turned on their super bright porch light and kept flicking it on and off so we left...interesting technique to get rid of us! We had FHE with L and T and watched “The Restoration” with them. it's really cool teaching L because she is so inquisitive. She asks REALLY hard questions and yet she's okay with us not having all the answers. She says she realizes that there are some things we won't have earthly answers for. She really identifies with Joseph Smith, which I think is pretty great! Tuesday morning we had studies and everything I studied made me so excited to just get out and work! But that had to wait cause we had district meetings! For some reason I had a lot of trouble that day comparing myself to other missionaries so that made the meetings really difficult. Satan really uses that against me! he also tries to make me feel sad and lonely and do the whole self-pity thing, but I am learning that the way to cure that is to focus on others. "Forget yourself and go to work!" right? so that's what I've really been working on and I feel like it's brought a lot more enthusiasm into the work and helped me get rid of Satan!! On Tuesday I found out that 2 of my MTC district missionaries got their visas! crazy right? I got on facebook for about an hour and did my missionary thing. it's so weird how used to it I am already! it's a great tool though. After that, we went and saw Sister K. she's in her late 70s and is so sassy! I love her so much! so it was really cool because when Elder Teh came, he talked to us about earning our referrals and not just begging for them. well I think we did that with sister k! she never talks about anyone we can teach, but since we've been visiting her quite a bit, she told us tuesday of her friend she wants us to go see who lives down the street from her! we were so excited!! from there we had dinner with a family in our ward who are just such great missionaries! they both served in Japan. actually, the husband was the wive's first zone leader..slightly awkward right? but they are truly great people! from there we went and checked on our 14 year old potential investigator. sadly she doesn't seem very interested at this time. we then saw the A’s'. they are still struggling quite a bit, but we made plans to take Sister A out with us to some lessons! Wednesday I went on exchanges! I always get sooo nervous for exchanges, and I have no idea why! they're always amazing! after our studies in the morning we had addiction recovery. it was all about receiving personal revelation and how important that is in our lives-as missionaries and as members! it really made me want to learn more about how i can better receive and act on promptings and revelation i receive. then we practiced for a musical number we're doing with a bunch of other missionaries in our stake. the entire time I was really dreading the exchange! so we exchanged and Sister B and I headed to the apartment. I talked to her about how I can help my companion more and then she taught me more about teaching repentance to investigators, members, and less active members. i learned a lot about asking questions and that's something I really want to implement in the work more. we then tried to contact our referral from Sister K, but she wasn't home. Then we tried to see a former investigator and ended up teaching her sister! then we talked to a man who was so darn stubborn! we tried to give him a book of mormon but he was like "I'll read it but I can promise you that i won't believe any thing in it.." it was pretty sad! we then had dinner with a family in our ward who have been members about 5 years. the husband is from peru! we taught our 10 year old investigator and realized that she really hasn't understood anything we've taught her yet, so we're going to have to go back and reteach a lot of stuff. Since she's not allowed to be baptized til she's 13, i think we have time for that! ;) We ended our night visiting L. We were supposed to teach T the gospel of christ, but she was at the young women activity. we had a wonderful talk with L though. she was praying to know if God really has a body, because that's something she struggles with understanding, and so as she prayed she remembered the story in the bible where jacob wrestles with God. so cool right?! the thing I loved about my exchange was that i learned so much just from Sister B’s example. she's getting ready to go home this transfer. She helped me realize that the only thing holding me back from being the missionary I want to be is myself! I have this idea of the person i want to be at the end of my mission, and I realized when talking to Sister B that that is totally possible and that the harder i work, the sooner I'll become that person! it was just great learning from her. Thursday was quite the adventure!! Sister B and I studied together and she told me that my meekness is a huge strenth and that it is a characteristic of Christ. I have often felt like my meekness holds me back out here and that I need to be bold and loud. but Sister B pointed out that I am not timid, i'm just calm. that made me feel really good and also made me want to improve and make sure that my meekness is never confused for apathy! when we exchanged back, we had launching leaders. it was our last one!! it was amazing though. we learn so much about being better leaders! Serving here, I've really had the opportunity to be a leader. My companion is a little shy and gets nervous talking to others, so I am usually the one to speak up and talk to people! it's scary but it's a lot of fun and I'm glad I'm learning all of this! after our meeting we went to Sister E's wedding dress shop. IT'S SO CUTE!! we got to do service for her there so that was so much fun!! as we left the shop, we realized that our car got towed! We had a lesson at 7 and there was no way we were getting our car back that night, so an older couple in our ward came and got us and took us to our lesson. the funny thing is that i wasn't stressed out at all about it. I just don't really get stressed and i've seen from my 2 companions that this is a huge blessing! i don't want to be one of those moms running around panicking all the time. I'm just glad that I could stay calm through that situation because it really helped my companion haha. our lesson that night went soo amazing! it was with L and T and it was on chastity. the spirit was so strong! we got home and finally had dinner...that day reminded me of the scripture where Christ tells the disciples not to worry about purse or scrip. because we had no food, no car and yet I was so happy! I wasn't worried about it at all. it was the strangest thing. Friday was great! we got our car back in the morning and then went to our zone conference. it was so great! Sister Riggs talked about having faith and how being faithful really means going above and beyond what we are asked to do. i have had many examples of this in my life and i want to do this in missionary work! then President Riggs talked about repentance and how important it is to teach this. my mind was pretty much blown! i learned that to repent daily means to take inventory of our day and then to change what needs changed and ask for strength. so i'm really going to work on teaching that and doing that! we went to check on our referral from sister k but she wasn't home. we then saw the A's. On Thursday, Brother A lost his job, but when we saw them Friday, they had both gotten hired again! talk about blessings! we did this really fun activity with them where we made christmas count down chains but on the strips of paper we wrote gifts we will give to Christ this season, like helping others feel good about themselves, or thinking positivelly. The things Sister A' wrote were so amazing and gospel centered and it made me realize how we really need to find friends for her because she has so much potential and it would be such a shame for her to fall away! We ended the night at Sister T's. we shared Alma 37:45&46 with her. these are some of my favorite scriptures! i was very slothful before my mission about reading scriptures, but now i've felt the joy that comes from scripture study and i don't want to miss out on that happiness again! On Saturday morning we took L to a baptism with us. There were actually 3 children getting baptized! the kids in this ward love us so much and it's so much fun! There are these 3 little girls in particular that are the relief society presidents daughters and they always draw pictures for us and things. Well we were sitting by them and one little girl asked me how old I am. I told her I'm 20 and she goes "20?! You should be getting married by now!" nothing like being humbled by a 7 year old! hahah it was so funny sister b and i were cracking up! L had a really wonderful experience. i think it made her feel more comfortable, but also nervous. She started crying and said she felt like a bride before her wedding day! we were talking with her about who she wants to baptize and confirm her and she couldn't decide between these two people so she's like "Okay, we're going to flip a coin. but we're going to pray first!" it was so funny! after studies that day, we went and saw P. She's an older woman who has a lot of health problems. she'd been progressing really well but then something happened. she didn't really want to let us in, but she did and so we're still working with her and trying to figure out how to help her! when we got to the car we had a voicemail. it was from N in Leesburg inviting me to her baptism this weekend! :D :D :D I am sooo excited! and L and T are going to come with us to it, so we have our ride set up and everything. It's so amazing! we then went and tried to visit some people but no one was answering so we street contacted! It was like 20 some degrees...I was FREEZING! But it went super well! i've just been praying for confidence and the Lord has truly filled my mouth! we were walking around Sister K's neighborhood and she saw us and gave us brownies and let us use her bathroom. I think we're her granddaughters now :) there are definitely perks to serving stateside! after dinner we saw L and T. we taught T the gospel of Jesus Christ. i've been really wanting to use more analogy's and involve investigators more in lessons and that nights lesson went super well in that aspect! we invited T to really pray about baptism and i know if she does, she'll get her answer! we then went and saw was really sad. she has super bad paranoia. she thinks the government is after her and is following her and she said her phone is tapped and all this crazy stuff. I don't think we can really teach her anymore. Sunday was so great! we had ward council and bishop talked to us about receiving revelation for the people we serve. both L and T came to church as usual, and L had a really wonderful time! everyone was coming up and introducing themselves to her and she felt so good! she is progressing so well and so fast and she's going to be such a powerful member! S showed up at the end of church which was a shocker!! after church we talked to her and she kept saying she wanted to talk to this man she met who is her age. so she takes me and we go find him and he's the ward clerk and i guess last time just to be friendly he said "i hope to get to know you better!" well, i think she thought he was flirting or something because she asked him when she can get to know him better. It was so awkward and funny! it started dumping snow during church so when we went to head home we needed to scrape off our car. one of the members was like "sisters get in the car, i'll take care of it!" it was so small and seemingly insignificant, but it's so nice to be cared about and I just love the members of the wards. they make being away from home much easier and just make me feel so grateful to serve! we had invited L to come to ward choir with us, but it got cancelled. our ward does weekly missionary videos. there are 3 companionships in the ward, so we switch off each week. well we decided to invite L to be in our video this week! i'll forward it to's pretty hilarious and it's so awesome that she was so willing to be in it! i am so excited for her baptism!! when we were doing the video, we got the message that we should stay in but if we need to be out, we need members to drive us. So L dropped us off at a members where we stayed for awhile. we talked to the member about her conversion and she was showing us pictures of all the missionaries who taught her. She said the name kyle N and up pops a picture of my FHE BROTHER FROM LAST WINTER SEMESTER!!! Small world right?!! it was soo wierd! we were talking about him and i brought up this “sassy” girl he baptized who came to visit him and she came to our apartment (at BYUI) for a few hours one day. well the member goes "oh yeah Kyra? she's in our ward!" she's at byui right now but will be back on christmas break. So i'll get to see her again! someone from my past life..hahah :) it's crazy how small this world is though! we spent the rest of the night cooking dinner, having a lesson, and watching the christmas devotional with L and T and Sister G. the lesson really couldn't have gone much better. i expected L to freak out about the no tea rule, but she was more concerned with coffee. as always though she told us she'd really try to live this and it wasn't a deal breaker or anything! she is so humble, patient, and faithful. i love the relationship we have with her and T! it's just fun! it's like i'm teaching my best friends! i wish every missionary could baptize someone like L. This week has beeen so wonderful for me. I've gained a lot of confidence in myself and I am able to form relationships with people much easier and not be so shy! i've been trying extra hard to have a positive attitude, and it has made a tremendous difference in me! every morning i wake up and i'm so full of energy and i'm just excited to go and see people! I know i am doing the Lord's work. and I am so humbled to be doing that! thank you guys for all you are doing. thanks for the prayers and the things you did to prepare me for serving. I am so grateful that i have a loving family to write home to each week! i hope your christmas season is going wonderful and that you guys realize that I'll be home around this time next year...i hit my 5 months this week...WHERE IS THE TIME GOING?! I can't wait to see you on the big screen in a few weeks! love you so much! love, Sister Pehrson

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

I just received your package and I am SO overwhelmed with gratitude for you guys. You don't know how much that means to me. There are so many missionaries out here whose families aren't very supportive, and I am just so grateful that you all support my decision to serve and that you keep me staying positive! I honestly could not do this without your support. so thank you thank you THANK YOU!! This was definitely the best week of my mission so far...I've had some of the most joyful, spiritual experiences of my life this week and I will treasure these memories for the rest of my life!!! After preparation day ended last week, we went and visited Sister E. Shes a less active member and she owns a shop here in Alexandria and works a lot so her life is very hectic. She was really busy and was having a really awful day and we shared a quick spiritual message with her and I think it really lifted her spirits! From there we went and tried to visit TONS of people, but no one was home. we ended up at S's! She let us in and told us how frustrated she is right now because her apartment management isn't helping her out with all the issues her apartment has because she is Chinese. That apartment complex is known for taking advantage of immigrants and people of different races so it was just so disappointing to hear this! She invited us to come back for dinner on Saturday. She asked us if we've ever eaten duck before, but with her accent it sounded like she said dog. she was like "have you had dog before? I haven't ever cooked it, but I'm going to make it for you!" I was freaking out and then she got the duck out of the fridge and I was just like " oh good.." haha!! as we were leaving she asked us where we live. we live about 15 minutes away from her and so she just hugged us and thanked us for coming just to visit her. it made me feel so good to make her feel cared about!! we ended the night having FHE with L and T! I just can't tell you enough how much I love those two...they are so full of joy and every time we go over there I leave with a big smile on my face. They are truly my friends and it's so much fun to teach them! On Tuesday we did studies and then for language study we went over to a woman named Angela. she's a member of a neighboring ward and she's from BRASIL!! She's a member of the church but her husband is not supportive of her membership so she doesn't come to church anymore. She had about 3 other Brasillians there and none of them spoke English!! It was amazing practice! I really understood a lot of what was said and I felt really confident. After that we went and saw Do. She's the sister of a ward member and she's living with them for awhile. We've been teaching her a bit but up to this point I think she had felt really pressured into listening to us. So we went and saw her and it was just us and her and it was such a great visit! we got to know her better and let her know that we really care about her and she realized that we are just normal people so she shouldn't feel pressured into anything! it was funny because last time we had challenged her to pray daily and her sister was like "yes. just focus on one thing and see if you get an answer" well, she thought she could only ask for one thing while praying! she was like "I've been really selfish this week. I actually prayed for 3 things the other night.." so we cleared that up for her!! we had dinner with the relief society president and then had a meeting with her and our ward mission leader. we ended the night visiting another family i love so much! we read the scriptures with them. it's really hard for them to understand the book of mormon, but they're making great progress. Thanksgiving Eve was a wonderful day as well! we had zone and district meetings and I really learned a lot there. we were reminded that there needs to be a sense of urgency in this work! you know i'm a laid back person, but since becoming a missionary I've been working 10X harder than before and I have never been happier! We are so exhausted at the end of the day, but it's just so rewarding and I know that I just need to keep trying harder!! it's been really great serving with my current companion because we respect each other and we both have a say in things and that our opinion really matter. we learn and grow together and that's something i really appreciate! we went and did facebook. I think there is potential there for someone to teach! we then went and had dinner with Sister B, and her daughter and daughters friend. we went to this place called the silver was sooo good! i had a banana nutella milkshake. to die for!! but the best part of the meal was talking to her daughter. she's in her junior year of college...exactly where I'd be if i weren't out here! this time of year, it's incredibly hard to be away from home. I am very lonely and I miss you guys a lot! but talking to sister b's daughter helped me recognize that i am exactly where I need to be! i am giving up the instant gratification of being with friends and family and dating and all that stuff, for a lifetime of irreplaceable experiences and an opportunity to build my testimony so i can raise strong children! the experiences i am having on my mission are teaching me things i could not learn anywhere else! I don't mean to sound like a snob or rude about her daughter not being on a mission. I'm just saying I'm where i am meant to be and it's wonderful to know that! as we ate, a waiter walked by and asked if we were all sisters. he got baptized 2 years ago. the b's were baptized 5 years ago. sister b was super mean to the missionaries at first, but now she's such an amazing member! after dinner we met the W's. they're probably in their 50s. great couple! then we had a lesson with E, our 10 year old investigator. i am learning a lot about teaching young people here! it's really fun and it helps me explain things more simply. we found out on Tuesday that we're not allowed to knock doors on Thanksgiving, so we had been trying all day to find places to go for Thanksgiving! as of Wednesday night we only had 3 solid places to visit!! This was probably the most unique thanksgiving I've ever had! after studies, we were sort of at a loss of what to do. we didn't want to just drop in on anyone so we called sister r and asked if we could come rake her leaves. so we did! then we headed to our first meal of the day at the D's! :) bother d told us his conversion story. they only have one child left at home so it was a pretty small gathering. for our spiritual thought we sang for the beauty of the earth. i played guitar. they loved it! it was so fun. from there we went back to the r's for our dinner! i thought of you guys and how great dad treats mom. dad is so patient and kind. I NEVER doubted the love you two have for each other. we were in their home for most of the evening. we were supposed to go see the A's, but they weren't home so we grabbed the ward list and decided to call the H's. we shared a spiritual thought with them and i wondered what one earth we'd do with the rest of our night as we left their home. we had a text from Lsaying we could come over! so we did! we sang for her and talked with her. My companion brought up baptism and L said she 100% decided that she and T are getting baptized!!!! I can't even explain the joy I felt in that moment. I just thought "This is why I'm here!!" This makes all the hard stuff worth it! The mission is not easy! I expected Thanksgiving to be full of fun times in members homes, but it didn't turn out that way. This experience showed me how the gospel and the work I'm doing now are the only way to lasting joy and peace. did i get to play games and have fun all day? no. was i with my family and loved ones? no. but this was definitely one of the best, most memorable thanksgivings EVER!! Friday did not start out very well. i felt very homesick. i really just wanted to be home and with my family. at first i just kept this to myself because i was kind of embarrassed that i felt this way, but then i to;ld my companion how I felt. it's kind of interesting because both my companions here in DC have not come from super warm, loving homes and they don't get home sick very often. sister b really helped me feel better and about an hour later i realized how irrational i had been! funny how those hormones work! so we did weekly planning and it went great! i really love being with Sister B because she's very genuine. apparently i have been offending her by not eating what she cooks, so we made a deal that I'll eat one thing she makes per day. you have to make these kind of sacrifices to be a unified companionship. I'm sure this will help me compromise in my marriage!! we then went on facebook! after that we went and helped L organize and pack for her move. we then went with her to a members home where she wants to rent out there basement. they are vegetarians so L can't cook meat in their home! but she's cool with it and is gonna move in there so i hope it works out wel1. L went and got us dinner and we took it to her place and watched finding faith in Christ. it was like a Friday night with friends, but in a super mormon/ religious way! it was a lot of fun and we answered lots of her questions and just strengthened our relationship with her! when we were out in public with her i laughed at how funny we must look and she goes "you know you guys are more than just missionaries to me. you're like my cool little sisters, with a big religious emphasis!" it was so sweet. i have loved being in Franconia and working on building friendships with my investigators! Saturday truly exceeded every expectation I had. I feel like it was almost indescribable, but I'll try my best to do it justice! I was really nervous that I'd miss Leesburg so much and not want to come back to Franconia. Luckily, that wasn't the case. Obviously I miss it a lot and it'll always hold a special place in my heart, but I've grown to love Franconia a lot! so Sister D drove sister s and i up to leesburg for the baptism. at transfers we literally swapped companions so we just did a mini exchange for the baptism. in typical mormon/brasillian fashion, it started late! Andresa looked so beautiful in white! she was so excited that i could come. it was really great seeing the members. Sister S said the ward really misses me, and that made me feel so great! we helped Andresa get ready and then the program began. i said the opening prayer, then Fielding's brother gave a talk in Portuguese about baptism. then Andresa's niece played "i am a child of god" on violin. that's when the water works began for both Andresa and I!! after the musical number, Sister W gave a beautiful talk on the gift of the holy ghost. She had Andresa come up to the stage and she wrapped her in a comforter, it was so cute. but then she just looked at Andresa and told her how incredibly happy she was and how this is truly one of the great days of her life, to see her baptized. as i listened to this talk and looked around me at all of Fielding's family, i was so overwhelmed at the magnitude of what was happening for this family. the strength of the Spirit i felt was indescribable and Andresa felt that so strongly! we then headed to the baptims. we skyped Andresa's mom so she could watch. I'm not sure I've experienced such immense happiness before. sister s and i just hugged and cried and it was like i could never experience more happiness than I did in that moment. I will treasure that memory forever...we then had a testimony by the ward mission leader and the bishop welcomed her into the ward. the program ended and we had to say goodbye. Andresa and I just hugged and cried and she thanked me over and over again. It really amazes me the love I develop for these people. it comes so quickly and easily! i will remember Andresa for the rest of my life! shes my first convert, and my first brasillian convert! :) i wish everyone could feel the joy i felt that day. i wish every family could be brought together the way the W's family were that day. Andresa was so prepared for the gospel, but it was still such an amazing experience to witness her life change because of and through the gospel. I really didn't want to leave! when we got back to Franconia we went and saw brother C. he is an older man. he is so sassy! i love him! we then went and had a lesson with L at a members home. we taught the gospel of Christ and i really don't think it could have gone much better. L is an incredible person. we rode to the appointment with her and when she was driving she cussed in front of us, so when she said the prayer in the lesson she asked the Lord for forgiveness for that. it was so funny! after that we had dinner at S's! I'm so glad I'm not on a mission in china cause they don't stop feeding you! the food was really great though! and i ate with chopsticks! we got to talk to sue a bit about who God is. we are just taking it as slow as possible with her. then we stopped by the A's for awhile. it's so sad because none of the members have reached out to them and they are really discouraged. we're trying our best to find members to help them!! Sunday was so great!! i wasn't too excited since it was fast Sunday, but it really exceeded my expectations! ;) we had testimony meeting and L got up and bore her testimony! It was wonderful! she is so brave and I just love her so much! she even went up and told bishop she's getting baptized. she's so excited.the lesson in relief society was really awesome. it was all about why life is so hard. many sisters shared their struggles and it made me realized that i shouldn't ever wish for my mission to end so that life can be "easy." life is never easy! the way to make it easy is to find joy in spite of all our trials. that just really hit me yesterday and reminded me to enjoy this season of my life as much as i can. we had lunch with the Bayouths after church. we then went and saw doni and the cumberlands! it's great because doni is recognizing that we visit her because we love her. D left the room for a bit and her sister just cried and told us how happy she is that D is now learning about the gospel because it's really strengthening their relationship. that made me so happy! we then had dinner at the D's. sister d is an amazing cook! she gave us a cute mini Christmas tree for our apartment. we ended the night having yet another lesson with L and T! it's been a L week! but i think she needed. we talked about obedience, prophets, 10 commandments, and the sabbath day. she took it so well! I'm just so amazed at how the spirit is working in her! on our way home, My companion expressed some concerns because she feels like she hasn't been feeling the spirit very much. i told her that as missionaries i think we can get stuck in ruts because we feel the spirit so much that it doesn't seem as special to us at times. i was kind of experiencing this before andresa's baptism and i was worried that after the baptism, nothing would compare to that spirit i felt. the complete opposite has happened though! i just feel renewed and more motivated to do this work because I've seen the results that can come of it! this truly has been a marvelous week. i wish you all could be here to experience it with me! but you're not and i know that heavenly father is taking care of us all while were' apart! i love you all so much and miss you tons, but i feel your love so strongly as well as heavenly fathers. hope your weeks are great! love you!! Sister Pehrson :)