Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 27, 2014

Hello family!! I still have tons to tell you about!! This week was AMAZING! We got to hear from a general authority, found a new investigator, and had so many miracles happen! This work is the best!! Tuesday morning I studied and waited for the snow to come! At 9:30, we got a text that said district meetings were back on but we couldn't drive after that! Zone training was all about being elect. We studied D&C 25 and then watched this amazing video! It's off the new seminary/institute video. it's all about Emma Smith and her life and the amazing woman she was despite all of the hardship she experienced in her life! It was reallyy inspiring. Then in district meeting we did an "investigator inventory" and we helped each other out with finding solutions to some of the struggles our investigators have. we then practice taught door approaches! after that we came home, ate, and studied. I was trying to think of members we could call and how we could still be productive. but then my companion didn't feel good. I was disappointed because I wanted to be out working. I knelt and prayed one of the most heart felt prayers i've ever prayed before! then i kept doing studies and a member who fed us that night came and picked us up. They are a young couple who are both RM's (returned missionaries). they are super awesome! they dropped us off at a teaching appointment with elizabeth. we taught her the 2nd half of the plan of slavation. i think it's the best lesson we've had with her so far! she was a lot more talkative than usual and when we brought up baptism, she seemed mcuh more open to the idea than ever before! we couldn't find a ride home so we walked home. it was about a 30 minute walk in the snow and wind...it felt good to be productive though!! that night we had a really awesome planning session and we had decided to text bethany and try to have a lesson with her. She set up an appointment with us for the next day! it was a miracle!! Wednesday was also awesome! i learned so much! we studied and we weren't allowed to drive until 1 because of the snow, so we had a member pick us up. last week I got an email from tasha that was a complete answer to my prayers!! she talked to me about how a lot of my mission is learning to love others and to take care of my relationship with my comp. I love my companion and i want her to leave this transfer knowing without any doubt that i love her! i'm grateful that heavenly father allowed me to have this change in perspective!! it reminded me of the quote "never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." so i'm really working on my charity these days!! :) we had the member come pick us up from the the family history center. she is a seahawks fan and one of the elders int he ward is a patriots fan. so the member went to rub it in his face that the seahwaks are going to the super bowl and the patriots aren't. iTheir exchange was really funny. On the way to the car, i slipped and my foot fell into a storm drain that was hidden by the snow! I was not hurt and that too was pretty funny! after we got home we shoveled off our car and headed to the lesson with Bethany! oh my gosh she is amazing! she said she really doesn't like transfers and thats why it took her so long to come back to church and meet with us. She is currently working and going to school so she's really busy. She really wants her daughter to grow up in the church. She brought up baptism and said it is something she wants to work towards. it was so cool because i just immediately felt this great love for her and i'm so excited to get to know her better. She's helping her inactive dad return to church as well! We ate dinner and then had a lesson with The Abbas family. it went really well and they were glad to see us since its been a few weeks! Thursday was a really good day! someone sent me a general conference liahona in portuguese so i studied that! although i had to read very slow, it was awesome to be able to understand what i read. it's funny too because i had been praying about how to improve my language studies and then BOOM ! it shows up in the mail....heavenly father is awesome! :) after studies we went on FB and erik asked me our churches view on alcohol. i explained that we believe our bodies are gifts from God so we don't put anything in them that can harm them. after that we tried to visit TONS of people! we ended up being able to see 2. one was a former investigator who let us in for a few minutes and then the other was a less active member. After dinner, we had the exact same thing happen! we knocked and knocked and knocked and NO ONE WAS HOME! we had an awesome lesson with Teya that night though! it was the most frustrating, intense, yet great lesson ever! We taught the plan of salvation. it's funny how during the really intense, important parts of the lesson, there's always some sort of distraction! We had a talk about Alma 34:32 and how Teya can perpare to meet God. we told her that baptism is one of the BEST ways to prepare to meet Him. we talked to her about setting a goal for a day to be baptized and that we felt March 8 is the day for her. She sat and thought about it for what felt like eternity but then she accepted it! Friday was super awesome! we studied and then had weekly planning! Sister phelps and I are ready to set this area on fire! I just love being her companion! She is so full of love and positivity!!! We went and updated the progress record after that and got on FB. i tried to contact erik but didn't have much luck. i left him with the message with the time we would Skype and hoped to see him then! One of the senior missionaries messaged me on fb and told me how much she loved my page and told me that i'm changing more lives than i think! it was so sweet! A member brought dinner to us. We then went and saw a family in the Ward. The wife had just found out she has cancer.( she has such a positive attitude about it) she is an incredible woman! i had a really cool experience with that visit. It is interesting how the Spirit works in our lives. We were driving to go visit someone else and I had this feeling of "no. go visit this family!" i tried to ignore it at first, but it wouldn't go away! oddly enough, it is very rare that i receive such strong promptings! i'm still not sure why we were meant to go see that family, but i sure hope it helped! from there we headed to sister graney's for our skype lesson. sadly, erik never got on, but we had an amazing visit with sister graney! honestly, when i think of the type of person i want to be after my mission, i think of sister graney! she is so selfless and loving! she talked to us about setting up a new and returning member class for people. we thought that was such an incredible idea! it was cool to see that although the lesson fell through, we were still very needed in that home! we attempted to visit the other Elizabeth after that with no luck! Saturday was incredible!!! i am so so blessed to be serving in this mission! saturday morning we were blessed to attend a whole mission conference! Sister Riggs spoke first and talked about Nephi and some of his life patterns we should follow. then President Riggs spoke all about our faith and what we need to do to accomplish our goals. what an inspired man! the biggest treat was hearing from Elder S. Gifford Nielson! What an amazing man!!! His talk was so inpsiring! he is such a great speaker!! he helped us understand the true importance of our call and how we cannot waste our time. he said over and over again "this is your time. don't waste a second of it!" he talked about how this mission is what will carry us through the rest of our lives and that we must use this time to gain a strong relationship with Christ. when speaking about the importance of our call, he talked about how we've all been called to the Washington D.C. South Mission. he then said, "I know we've got some visa blessings in this room" and he told us that we are where we need to be right now! honestly and thankfully, i haven't felt too brasil trunky this transfer. but it was still so powerful to hear those words from him and to realize that i am doing what i was called to do. i am still doing the Lord's work and I am where I need to be! after the meeting, elder nielson came up to me and a few other sisters. he told us to keep working hard and being rays of sunshine in people's lives. President Riggs then came up and said "this is one of our visa blessings! the one i told you about who taught a woman in portuguese who was then baptized!" Elder Nielson talked about how he's sure those consolates are just wondering why our church is sending so many of us over there! it was a really cool experience for me because i felt my mission presidents love for me! he doesn't see me as just a visa waiter. i am another one of his missionaries and i'm special to him! it meant so much! it was so amazing to see my old companions-especially sister stott! it was great to give her a huge hug and say i love you! sister butts told me she met Andresa and Andresa started crying when she talked about me. i think time has really dimmed the true brilliance of that experience for me, but i was so thankful for the remoinders i received from both president riggs and sister butts. i left that conference so inspired!! our first attempted visits of the day were unsuccessful. we then saw sister ketch! she has some incredible stories! i love learning from her. she told us taht she really appreciates our visits. on our way to the ward potluck we called and got permission for elizabeth to come to church and then at the potluck we set up a ride for her. the activity was so amazing!! it was the best activity for me so far on my mission! i felt so inspired by elder nielsons talk and i knew that i could find someone for us to teach at this activity! that opportunity was provided (sort of). one of the members told sister phelps and i to come by her table and meet the friends she had brought. there is a blind couple in our ward and they invited their blind neighbors to the party! i got to talk to samantha, the wife. she is amazing! she's from the bahamas and has only lived in the US for 2 years. she and her husband are raising her niece. i honestly had one of the most powerful short lessons with samantha. she gave us her information and we got her okay to try and visit her! sue also came to the activity which was great! The member family then came and thanked us for talking to samantha and said she wants us to help her when she visits them because she reads to the niece and helps her learn since her aunt and uncle are blind. after the potluck we went and had a lesson with sister thompson. she's making amazing progress and we cahllenged her to read one chapter of the book of mormon a day! sunday was super awesome! church was pretty intense that day!! we had teya, bethany, and elizabeth come, and then sue showed up at the end! i've never had 4 people at church before! we sat by teya and elizabeth and so i explained the significance of sacrament to them. after sacrament was sunday school. we talked about the spirit world. it was such an awesome lesson! la'vonne had a few questions and so we all helped her use the sciprtures to find answers! she was really really excited! bethany helped her cousin in primary for the second hour, but she came back for relief society. After church was crazy hectic as always! yesterday was probably one of the most productive days of church i've had though so it was a really cool experience. we then came home, ate, studied, and then went to dinner at the smith's. sister smith is a single mom of 2 teenage daughters! i admire her a lot! after that we went to check on 2 people our ward mission leader told us about with no luck. then we visited kaira. shes only been to church once since being home from school so we're a little worried about her. she is super amazing and i want to do all i can to help her come back to church! after that we had ward correlation! it was a really great day! i have learned a ton this week and i wish i could have just had you all in my pocket for the conference with Elder Nielson! it was one of my favorite talks i've ever heard! i hope your weeks are amazing...i love you all so so much and am grateful for all you do to support me out here! love you!! Sister Pehrson

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

hello! sorry for the late email!! apparently we are allowed to email at the church, which me and my companion didn't know. so Monday we didn't email, and Tuesday we got snowed in!! so here I am, emailing on Wednesday. This week was super awesome!!! I feel like every week goes faster and faster and I learn more and more. Yet the more I learn the more I realize I need to work on and improve on!! Last Monday we had dinner with the a ward family. they are a really awesome young couple in the ward. they are both RM'S and are expecting their first baby next month! they are the one's who brought the Christmas tree to another ward family. we had a really good visit with them! after dinner we worked on a list of names our Relief Society President gave us. the first woman turned her light off when she saw us. the second wasn't home and it was a good thing she didn't answer the door cause sister Phelps and i had a random laugh attack when we got to the door haha! the third woman has apparently been moved out for about 5 years! it's always sad meeting people like that because it's like really no one has checked on them for so long. after that we went and had FHE with La'vonne and Teya! they are so much fun! we talked to them about seminary since Teya will be in 9th grade next year. La'vonne thought it sounded really great, but Teya was not as convinced. I can't really blame her since 6 am scripture study sounds a little bit insane to a teenager! I really wanted Teya to know how much it would help her though. at first I thought "well, I didnt' really take advantage of seminary like i should have. doesn't this make me a hypocrite?!" but then i thought of the testimony I gained because of seminary. i thought about the times in high school where i made dumb choices and didn't hang out with the best people. my seminary friends never judged me for that and they always showed their love for me, no matter the decisions i was making! Who are my high school friends that I still actually talk to? Friends I made in seminary. I shared this with Teya and testified of what a true blessing seminary was and still is in my life! Teya agreed to at least give seminary a try! it was a really great lesson and made me realize what a powerful influence seminary had on me! Tuesday was a good day! But that night i was up all night coughing, so that wasn't very fun. our zone meeting got cancelled so we only had district meeting! it was really good! we talked about recognizing if our lessons are being led by the spirit or not. we also talked about introducing and inviting to read the book of Mormon. sister Phelps and i did our practice teach in front of the whole district. i learned a lot that i need to improve on! i got to evaluate the other missionaries practices and it was interesting to see the difference between when a sister teaches and when an elder teaches. Elders are much for matter of fact and use logical examples. sisters seem to be more about feelings! but it was good to see some elders teach and see how i can improve. after out meeting we ate and then did language study. then we got on facebook! i was super nervous because the last time i got on i asked a fried if he wanted to learn more and I knew there would be a response from him that day. well...he said yes! we made plans to have a Skype lesson with him on Friday and give lesson 1. that day was definitely the most productive and fruitful day I've had on FB so far! after fb we checked on several less active members from the list our RElief Society President gave us. then we went and had dinner with her! it was good to have names to talk to her about becuase she knew we would do what she asked us to do. after dinner we checked on a few more people and my sickness got the best of me. i needed extra rest so we went in at about 7:30. Wednesday was super awesome!! i didn't wake up on time because I had taken NyQuil, so I woke up later and was feeling really crummy. not like sick crummy but "i didn't get up on time!" crummy. i did my personal study and i received the exact direction and council i needed at that time!! i read 2 Nephi 2-4. these are some amazing chapters! the part that really helped me was when Nephi talks about how this life is for us to repent and prepare to meet God. It was a great reminder to me that this life is NOT for us to be perfect and to always do everything right and to understand everything! we came here as imperfect beings and we were given the gift of repentance to use for our growth! If I'm not repenting, I'm not changing. so we shouldn't get down on ourselves if we need to repent! it just means we are trying to be better! after our studies we headed to the church and got on FB. i spent a lot of time on www.mormon.orgsince there wasn't much going on on FB. after fb we went and checked on a former investigator. he said to check back later because his wife and him are both out of work right now and don't have time for the lessons. we then decided to see a member who we just met on Sunday. turns out she'd just gotten her wisdom teeth pulled! her husband answered the door and told us that, so we went to leave and he's like " I'll see if she's up for visitors". she was! she was in a lot of pain but she said our visit was really helpful for her. it could have just been the drugs she was on, but i hope it really helped :) we came home and ate, then went to check on a 10 year old girl we are teaching. no one was home so we left a sticky note! the rest of the night was full of attempts to visit people! no luck though! the funny thing is, i was not discouraged! i was just grateful to be out working! i had to take NyQuil that night, so I just prayed that i would have the strength to wake up at 6:30 the next morning. you'd think after reading all those "ask and ye shall receive" scriptures, I'd expect my prayer to be answered! but i doubted! more in myself than in the Lord. but nevertheless, 6:30 came and I was ready to take on the world!!! it was such a simple thing, but i can't even tell you how much it really meant to me to know that the Lord would help me with a silly thing like that! that afternoon was another "no one is home!!!" marathon. so we knocked. and knocked. and knocked some more! we got some people with a lot of potential so that was exciting! we had been waiting all day for our dinner appt to confirm, but no one had called us! we called her husband who gave us her work number. she apologized and told her her phone had broken, so we should meet her at the Verizon store at 6:30 and then we'd go to dinner. we checked on a couple of investigators. the first person had the flu. the other didn't open her door! by that time it was time to head to Verizon. we got there and were waiting outside and one of the Verizon employees was out smoking so he asks why we were standing outside. we explain and have a good chat with him. we then see a woman in her military uniform trying to get her car to work. we didn't have jumper cables, so we didn't offer to help. she got out of the car and the Verizon guy talks to her and she walked away. he told us that no one would help her! we told him we would if we had cables! he told us she had cables. so he yelled after her and we jumped her car! i couldn't believe that no one would help her. she had asked several people and they all said no! and she was in her uniform! but it was a great service opportunity and showed me that i always need to offer my help, even if i don't think i can really help! the member finally got there and we went in to Verizon's with her to drop her phone off. we ended up having a really awesome gospel discussion with the Verizon guy.after dinner we had our lesson with teya! we taught her about the book of Mormon and it was a powerful lesson! Friday was awesome!!! we did weekly planning and we spent some time frantically trying to find a place to Skype. we finally found a place and so we went and updated the progress record and then did FB. A recently baptized member called and invited us for dinner! we had a great visit with her. our Skype lesson was supposed to start at 7 but he got caught up with work til about 7 50. i was sooo nervous!! he didn't really have questions or objections and he said he'd like to keep learning more! we challenged him to read the book of Mormon and i am super excited to continue teaching him! it's so cool to see how powerful of a tool facebook really is! Saturday was FUH REEZING!! it was in the mid 20s all day, but it felt much colder!! we had forgotten to attach the progress record to our email the day before, so we went and attached that. we then saw sister ketch! she is such fun! She has an incredible testimony! we shared an article with her about prayer. she still prays every single day! someone told us the other day that she took care of her husband for 5 years before he passed away. she is a tough lady! i really look up to her a lot! after that, Sister Jordan called and invited us to her friends house to try some Filipino food! it was pretty tasty! it was fun because there were about 7 or 8 people there and they asked us about our missions and the church. from there we went and had a lesson with a lady from Ghana. i love that lady more and more each time i talk with her! we talked to her about the book of Mormon and i felt the spirit very strong! she talked a lot about her family and she said her mom always said "if you're not happy in your home, you'll never be happy anywhere else." I thought that was awesome!! after our lesson with her we went and visited sister Thompson. she only started coming back to church in march. She feels like she forgot a lot. so we've started teaching her the missionary discussions. we started with lesson one. i never ever ever!!! get sick of teaching the restoration. especially when i share the first vision. it's amazing how much teaching that really strengthens my testimony and reminds me of why I'm on my mission!! Sunday was so wonderful! we had ward council which is always an adventure! it was brother Rosenberg's first ward council as our Ward Mission Leader. he's amazing! i am so excited to have him lead out the work in this ward. his plan for the ward mission is "pray. serve. share. invite." it's simple but powerful! one of our investigators showed up for church! she was taught by the last sisters in this area and once i showed up we could not get in touch with her, i thought she dropped of the face of the planet! it was so cool to see her there and see that we should never give up on people because they will eventually come around! sacrament was all about organizing ourselves. Sunday school was about temple work and family history! La'vonne got a calling that day as well! she'll be serving in the young women ! she is sooo excited! I'm excited for her! we got to see Teya's reaction to La'vonne being called to serve in young women...priceless! she acts like she's not excited but I know she will love having her mom in there with her! we got double booked for dinner that day :( dinner number 1 was a potluck type meal at sister May's. she invited several of the single women in the ward. it was a lot of fun! dinner number 2 was with sue! on our way there we received a text telling us that S. Gifford Neilson is coming to our mission for a special mission conference this Saturday! hes' the one who gave the exclamation point talk!!!!! soooo excited! so sue fed us some delicious authentic Chinese food! she made this egg/tomato dish with tofu. it was so good! we had a really incredible lesson with her as well! she talked about how afraid she is right now and how if God helps her survive, she'll believe in him. we talked to her about prayer and encouraged her to pray for protection. we talked to her about baptism as well. normally it's a pretty touchy subject with her, but she seemed honestly committed to think and pray about it! she may be finally coming around! from the lesson we rushed over to the Rosenberg's for ward correlation. brother Rosenberg is super on top of things!!! our goal is 20 lessons per week per companionship! Monday I deep cleaned the apartment to get all the sick bugs out! i think mom would be impressed :) then i wrote a bunch of letters. funnily enough the weather was gorgeous that day! we had our windows open all afternoon and it wasn't even cold! we tried to visit a few former investigator that night but neither were home. La'vonne was late to fhe, but I was still an awesome time! we did "stump the missionaries' where La'vonne and Teya asked us anything they wanted to. I'm not sure why we chose to play this with La'vonne since she pretty much always stumps us :) but she asked some cool questions like if there must be opposition in all things will there be opposition in heaven? mind boggling! I'll tell you about Tuesday next week since I'm running out of time! basically it snowed all day long:( today it's just super freezing but not snowing so that's good!! I love you all so much and hope your week is WONDERFUL!! Love, Sister Pehrson

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Family!!!! I am soooo excited to hear the news that I have another niece on the way!! We need more Pehrson girls in this world! ;) Super excited for David and Tasha!! This week was a little bit cray cray...but it was fun! I definitely learned a lot as I always do... Yesterday after emailing we went coat shopping! since Tuesday was the coldest day it's been in 20 years (allegedly..) I needed a coat super bad! Found one at Burlington for 35 dolla!! Pretty good deal and I can use it at BYU I later on! On the way back to the area we got lost but we found T.C. Williams High School that's where Remember the Titans was based off of! We both freaked out and got out and took pictures! we then did our grocery shopping and baked like crazy. I decided to make splenda banana bread since I'm off sugar. IT turned out a little sketchy looking but tasted decent..you'll have to tell me what i did wrong, I'll send you a picture! We had FHE with La'vonne and Teya! it was good to have Teya back. she was at her grandmas all winter break. her mom was really proud of her because she found 5$ that day and turned it in instead of just keeping it! we watched a Mormon message about the restoration with them and talked about how we can all receive answers to our prayers no matter our age. we talked to Teya about having lessons with her and La'vonne told us she wants it to be just us and Teya so that Teya can make the decision to be baptized on her own! we set up a lesson for Thursday with her. Honestly I don't know how anyone related to La'vonne could not get baptized! she is so powerful!!! but we'll see what happens. Keep her in your prayers! Tuesday was super awesome! I had a really amazing personal study! the assistants sent out a text telling us to study D&C 121,122,123 and Hebrews 11. They are all pretty much my favorite now! 121-22 are when Joseph Smith was in jail and had been in terrible conditions for a pretty long time and he is basically asking the Lord why he is letting him suffer and he's at a very discouraging point in his life. The Lord reminds Joseph of the story of Job and tells Joseph that he doesn't have it as bad as Job did and showed Joseph the many blessings he had and comforted him with promises for the future. it was really comforting for me to read this because I have had many discouraging moments in my life--mostly on my mission where I've thought "why me?" or "why isn't the Lord doing something about this!" this verse really reminded me to look around and see what others are going through or have gone through and then to count my blessings because my trials have not been that severe at all! it's always nice to study things like that and start the day with a new perspective. we had zone training that morning and it was super amazing! they showed this video of a bunch of quotes and a few of them really stuck out to me. one was "being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity." i loved this, especially when applying it to missionary work. i feel like I often go about this work just hoping to meet people to teach, but I have these thoughts in my mind like "well, not many people will listen" or "no one will accept this in this area!" i am putting a limit on what the Lord can do! after hearing that quote and reading Hebrews 11, I realized I am lacking a lot of faith!! of course I have faith, but not enough to work miracles, and that's something I really want to develop here in the mission field. the other thing he said that struck me was "if you're not making someone's life better, you're wasting your time!" this is applicable for everyone, but I think it is especially true for me as a missionary. i have 18 full months to give my ALL to the Lord! Am I really doing so? as you can see, that day was a day of much self reflection and evaluation! i am obviously not perfect, but I have a good foundation to build on, and that matters a lot! I think that's one of the hardest parts of the mission to get used to...never being fully satisfied with what you're doing, yet still loving yourself and being positive! after the meeting we ate and i did my language study. I'm going through my Portuguese hymn book and figuring out what the songs are in English. it's fun! after that we did facebook. we came home and I cooked a pretty impressive meal of shrimp, rice, and veggies! it was pretty delicious! after dinner we saw a less active member. She was busy so she couldn't let us in, but at least she knows we love her! we then tried to see another less active member. Her husband answered the door and told us she was in bed so he told us he'd tell her we stopped by. he looked at our name tags and told sister Phelps he'd remember her name because he has cousins who are Phelps. she said "yeah, it's a cool last name." He was like "man you guys are cool missionaries" it was pretty entertaining. after that we went and saw some members and shared a message with them about social media. we ended the night attempting to visit Elizabeth from Ghana, but she didn't answer the door! Wednesday was a good day! we went to see our investigator Doni, but she wasn't at home. So we decided to try and see her at work. she was really happy to see us but she didn't let us set up a return appointment! after seeing Doni we decided to do some visits to some people on a list our RS president gave us. we visited the first family who hasn't been to church for awhile. they were really sweet! they have 3 cute little boys.we talked to the husband about his mission in Minnesota and we will definitely go see them again soon! after that we knocked doors with no luck! we then had dinner with the Bakers. brother baker served his mission in Japan and met his wife who is from Japan after his mission at BYU. they are a really cute couple. they are both ward missionaries! after dinner we went and taught Elizabeth (the ten year old). we had planned on teaching the restoration but sister Phelps felt inclined to teach the plan of salvation. I realized we're both on the same team and she should follow the spirit when she feels it! We also taught Elizabeth to pray and it went really well! she's such a sweet little girl! after that we went and taught our other Elizabeth! Ghana Elizabeth! she is a member of the new apostolic church. as we taught her the restoration, i realized that i am now at the point on my mission where I know the doctrine. i know what to teach, i know how to teach it! but the thing I need is love! if we just go through the motions, this work is meaningless!! I'm grateful for this realization I had. I've been praying to have more charity for those I teach and not to fall into the trap of being a robot missionary! Thursday was so wonderful! we had interviews! they are my favorite!! President Riggs asked us to set goals before our interviews so i worked on that during my personal study. after studies we headed to our interviews! My interview with President Riggs was SO amazing though!! I told him my concerns and he talked to me about how everyone struggles at times with being motivated and that during the atonement even Christ had to pray "more earnestly". he needed more motivation! he told me to pray more earnestly and he talked about Corianton- whose sins were much greater than my sin of lack of motivation and how after his father Alma counseled him he told him to return to the ministry he was called to! the same thing happened to Joseph Smith when he lost the 116 pages. he then laughed a little bit and said he enjoyed seeing the difference between interviews with Elders and Sisters. Sisters feel like they're not motivated enough! he told me that I am still in his "trust box" and I'm still in the Lord's trust box! that made me feel better! he then told me about this district who taught 137 lessons last week! there are four missionaries in that district! FOUR!! Blew my mind! but it also really motivated me and reminded me that I am serving during "the hastening" and I need to expect the miracles that will come because of this! President then told me "Sister, you're amazing and you're doing great things! your companion adores you! keep working hard and pray more earnestly. you'll continue to do great things!" I left feeling SO inspired and ready to conquer the world! I LOVE my mission president! :) we went home and finished our studies, did facebook and then it was time for dinner. we had dinner with the elders and our ward mission leader. we went to this Thai place that was pretty tasty! it was slightly awkward because the Elders aren't really good at making conversation so it was up to us and Brother Lindsay to make the conversation! luckily we were eventually able to get the Elders to talk and it was really funny because Elder Egly, who is from Germany, and he ordered something and asked for it to be REALLY spicy. he definitely regretted it! he was crying and sweating! it was entertaining! after dinner we had our first one-on-one lesson with Teya! it was sooo awesome!! she had a bad day at school so we helped her out with that and then we taught the restoration. sister Phelps has this awesome visual aid she uses called the apostasy cups. it really helps people see WHY there needed to be a restoration. the spirit was so strong during the lesson and Teya was able to ask all the questions she needed to! we talked a lot about baptism and why we invite her to be baptized. i think she'll feel less pressure now! Friday was probably the craziest day of my mission thus far! it started out pretty normal! we studied and then did weekly planning! I'm so thankful i don't have to dread comp inventory anymore! i used to think it was just my companion criticizing me but now I realize that it allows me to recognize weaknesses I don't see in myself and then to work on them! one of the biggest things I've learned is that people can and do change!! i was a little too judgmental before my mission and I just assumed if someone was a certain way they'd never change! that was very wrong of me. I've seen changes in myself that I never thought would happen...that i never thought needed to be changed! and I've seen my companions change in ways i never thought they would! so I'm grateful I'm learning this now and that I'm learning how to communicate with others. we set some really good goals and talked about ideas to improve our teaching and working with members. after planning we did FB. after FB we had dinner with a member. on our way home we called sister Riggs because sister Phelps has been having health issues. we then called them Mission Dr. he told sister Phelps to take 3 Advil and then to call him in the A.M. since we couldn't go back out, i was trying to find way to be productive still. we called sue, who will be at church on Sunday! then we called Elizabeth's mom who gave us permission to bring her to church on Sunday! i made a few more calls when sister Phelps face started turning bright red and her throat was closing up! we called sister Riggs and i got permission to drive sister Phelps to the ER. she had an awful sinus infection and had a bad reaction to the Advil she took. we got home at about 2 in the morning. I'm glad she wasn't dying or anything! definitely an adventure though. Saturday was basically a day to recover from Friday. i got up and cleaned and studied, and then studied and cleaned some more while my comp slept. When she woke up, she felt better so we got ready and headed to the Rosenberg's they are such an incredible family! they invited some recent converts over for dinner with us! after dinner we decided to go check on sister ketch. she had brother Calhoun over, who is a less active member due to his health! we had a really great visit with them and it was nice to see that brother Calhoun still has a very strong testimony. after that we went to see sister bryk but she wasn't able to visit with us! we did have a good visit with her husband though so that was good! it was good for me to realize Saturday that i can still be, and need to be productive when my comp isn't feeling well! Sunday was a really great day, as always! let me just tell you...the first Sunday in the mission field i was sooo excited to go to church and just relax...but Sundays as a missionary are NOT relaxing! you have to make sure every investigator at church is having a good time and then yo have to try to get something out of it yourself...so help the missionaries out and try and take their investigators under your wing at church! but Sunday was awesome! Elizabeth (the 10 yr old) came to church for the first time!!! SUPER EXCITING!! she is so shy, but hopefully church will help her open up a little! sacrament was amazing! it was all about obedience since D&C 130 : 20 and 21 is our new ward theme. my favorite talk was by brother pinkney. he can really captivate an audience! he talked about 3 scriptural shirt rippings! my favorite was captain Moroni's shirt ripping where he creates the title of liberty. he talked about how bishop is our captain moroni and we should obey his counsel. he also talked about picking and choosing which commandments to obey and how wrong that is. bishop spoke after that and told us all to think of one thing that we need to be more obedient in. it's a cool challenge he issued and he told us to pray about it for 30 days. then pray 30 more days. and at the end of 60 days spend the next 30 days thanking heavenly father for helping you be more obedient. it's something i really want to try! Sue showed up to church and told us she wants to come on a regular basis now, so that was exciting! Sunday school as about the law of chastity. lets just say the teacher was VERY bold! 3rd hour was combined and was more about obedience. we found out Saturday night that our WML brother Lindsay is moving to the mid singles ward so our new WML is brother Rosenberg. I'm sad to see brother Lindsay go! but he deserves to be happy and married! after church we had correlation and then came home and finished studies. someone had signed up to feed us but then taken their name off the list, but then decided to drop dinner off to us, but since they took their name off the list someone else signed up so we had 2 meals last night! we had to stick the one in the fridge. we went to sister May's house for dinner. she's a real sweetie! we had planned to tract after dinner but it was too dark to knock. we ended up seeing Kaira, who wasn't at church today. after that we saw sister Olsen. we told her we'd visited her son and she was pretty shocked! she was very happy, but surprised! it made me feel glad that we could help such a sweet lady's family! tonight i read a talk by Quentin L. cook where he quotes "what ere thou art, act well thy part." it really stuck out to me as I pondered some of the things I haven't done as well as i should on my mission. i think the lord gave me this companion to test me. he wanted to see who i would be with a sick companion. so far, I'm positive I've let him down! but as I read that quote I realized that I need to decide now who I am. I need to choose the type of missionary I am and be that person no matter who I'm serving with or where I'm serving! I'm grateful for this realization and I feel like it was one of those "turning points' of the mission where I'm really becoming someone. I don't want to be "Sister Phelps companion" or "Sister Stott's companion". I want to be remembered as Sister Pehrson and be the same person no matter who my comp is or where I'm at! this morning I studied a really awesome talk. it was about personal prayer and improving personal prayer. it was in the ensign awhile ago, but it's a really great one you guys should look up! it talked a lot about how prayer is not just asking god for what we want and telling him what he needs to do, but it's figuring out who he wants us to be and asking him how to become that way....it's by elder Pearson. I'll try to get the title to you but yeah it was amazing! I'm super excited for this upcoming week! I love you guys SO much and pray for you daily! let me know what I can do to help you guys out. Keep the ward missionaries in your prayers and do all you can to find people for them to teach, or to fellowship those they are already teaching. Remember that being a missionary is simply being a friend. that's one of the greatest things I've learned on my mission! Love you all! xoxoxoxoox

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 6, 2014

Wow!! I can't even believe 6 months is almost up! These last months have really gone fast (in retrospect) :). I love my mission SO SO much and I know that I am serving here in D.C. for a reason! This week was really great! On Monday we deep cleaned the apartment. It has been pretty messy since the day I got there but Sister B always wanted to do a bunch of stuff on P day, so it was nice to get everything all clean and fresh! I never believed it before, but the Spirit really is stronger in a clean house! Sorry for my room back home mom... :) After all of that we went and had family home evening with La'vonne! Teya was supposed to be there but she was at her Grandma's house. we shared a Mormon message as well as personal testimonies of the Book of Mormon. We encouraged La'vonne to keep reading and to stay strong! we then played a game called "book of Mormon scramble". it's hard to explain the rules, but you basically build your own crossword puzzle using letter tiles and if you use book of Mormon words, you get extra points! the funny thing is that none of us actually used book of Mormon words..haha. we had a great time though! it reminded me a bit of Quiddler...you'll have to look it up! Tuesday was such an awesome day! being the last day of the year, I was thinking about all that happened in my life in the last year! I've gone through some of the most difficult moments of my life, but I've also experienced joys I never imagined I'd experience! i am so thankful for the way my life has turned out so far! the mission is hard, but I wouldn't be this happy anywhere else! It was funny because the only reason sister Phelps and i realized it was new years eve was because a member told us. we had zone and district meetings in the morning. we talked about getting members to lessons. i was really dreading district meeting because i felt like the district would see our numbers for last week and think badly of me or think I'm not doing well taking over the area. thankfully i was just being paranoid. our district leader told us how our district had their best week yet and he said he knew that some of us (me and sister Phelps) probably felt discouraged by this week, but that we should just stay positive and keep working hard! it was something I needed to hear. it's funny because I feel like when I make a mistake or don't do my best, I feel hopeless. I teach people all the time that they are not their weaknesses, and that through Christ they can overcome any and all obstacles, yet I wasn't really believing this myself! it was a much needed reminder and helped me stay positive the rest of the week! the rest of the meeting we talked about diligence, church attendance, and inviting to baptism in ALL lessons. Sister Phelps and i were the only ones who didn't invite last week so we all committed to do better this week! after our meeting we did language study and then facebook. after that we went and checked on some potentials. one was home but was "busy" and the other wasn't home. we started knocking on doors! we talked to an older Methodist woman who was very friendly but definitely not interested. we stopped and saw a ward family and they ended up feeding us dinner which was sweet! we saw Doni, who is an investigator, for a few minutes but she'd just gotten off work and was tired. we then had a lesson with Elizabeth. she's from Ghana and is a former investigator. we tried to figure out all that she believes and tried to help her see how our beliefs are similar! she's hard to read. we had had to be in by 8 due to the holiday so we planned for about an hour and looked through all the former investigators and chose some to visit. we watched the restoration and i tried to teach sister Phelps how to do a sock bun! i love holidays as a missionary! they are memories i will definitely treasure for the rest of my life! it's just fun to look back and think of what we would be doing if we were home. but these moments out here are so irreplaceable and I love them!!! Wednesday was a great start to the new year! after studies, sister graney invited us over to make cookies with her, la'vonne, and 2 of her friends, jeff and tara. it was so fun and a really good opportunity to meet people! when we first got there it was just us la'vonne and sister graney. the night before we were texting la'vonne and told her to remember who she is and make good choices, etc. we were just teasing her because we knew she was going to sister graneys. well she told us that morning that she almost really needed that advice! she said that she had planned on going to sister graney's with teya, but then teya called and told her she wanted to stay in d.c. with her aunt and grandma. this is the first time teya has ever chosen someone else over la'vonne so it was really hard for her to take. she was feeling very sad and vulnerable and one of her ex's was trying to get her to go to a new years eve party with him. she knew if she went she would be tempted by many different things, but she also felt like she just wanted to get out and forget her worries. she prayed for the strength to make the right choice. she told the guy that her friend was expecting her to come over for the holiday and she'd be sad if she didn't come. Sister Graney was like "la'vonne, i will gladly be your "out" ANYTIME!" it was so cool and it made me so proud of la'vonne! it has to be so difficult to give up things that were such a big part of who you were for the gospel. I'm pretty used to making these sacrifices because I've done it many times in my life, but for La'vonne this requires giving up things she's been doing for years! it made me admire and respect la'vonne even more than I already do! she's amazing! so after awhile Jeff and Tara showed up. they are both great people. we gave them our facebook info. I'm so grateful we have facebook as missionaries because we probably wouldn't have easily gotten in contact with those two again! we headed to a ward family's home after that. we brought some clothes, shoes, and makeup for the daughter to try. it was fun and she was really grateful. as we left she told me "you guys are the best sisters we've had! you dress so cute and your nails are always done. it was so sweet! it's really hard to find the balance of being friends with and teaching people. but the friendship part is so very important! if people don't know we love them, they won't really care about what we have to say! i know i have a ton to still work on, but it made me feel good that I'm doing one thing right! after that we went and did FB. we then went and had dinner with a ward family. we had a great visit with them and then we went and had a family fun night with another family! they are awesome! we played apples to apples. I'm not sure if i told you about family fun nights but what they are is we get to go to a members home and play a game with them and their family and then we share a spiritual thought. the first time it can be just the member family, but the next time an investigator or less active member has to be there. it's a lot of fun and we're trying to get the ward to do these so that people can get to know us in a less intimidating way! i think they are really great missionary tools! Thursday was awesome. we had to do weekly planning that day because we had an exchange on Friday. we had a really great companionship inventory and it's good to know i can be open with my companion. after our weekly planning we went and did FB. i got to have a really great conversation with a person about his religious beliefs and background! definitely making progress there! we then had dinner with a ward family. they had their sister there who is not a member. we had some good conversation with her and invited them all to add us on FB. we then decided to check on our potential, who lives in the same area. he didn't answer so we just started knocking doors. it was dumping snow at this point and the second door we knocked was a woman i met at the stake Christmas program. she shared some encouraging thoughts with La'vonne and is a convert herself. she attends the Potomac mid singles ward. she lives with her mom and sister who are also converts! they dried our coats off for us and helped us warm up. when we left they thanked us for coming over and said it had been way too long since the missionaries knocked on their door! sometimes the members need just as much encouragement as investigators. tracting in the freezing snow is one memory I will always remember! :) Friday was crazy! we weren't sure if we'd have exchanges due to the bad weather. but as we were finishing our studies the other sisters called and told us we were still exchanging and i would be leaving and working with sister Billman in Fort Belvoir. I was excited because I've never left the area for an exchange before! so we packed, ate, did some facebook and then exchanged! i was honestly a little nervous but luckily like always i was just over thinking everything! sister billman and i had a really good talk and i told her some of my concerns. she told me that i should work on figuring out the "why" behind all i do as a missionary. do i get up at 6:30 because i know I'll get in trouble if i don't? do i knock doors because I have to? or do i do these things because I know it's what the Lord expects of me and I want to do His work? she also talked about having the faith to find. Am I expecting each person I contact to accept what I tell them or am I just filling time finding? this was all exactly what I needed to hear! Then she talked about being proactive. i told her how this is my first time leading an area and being the more experienced companion. it's been hard because I'm not a great self motivator! she explained that the Lord is allowing me to lead this area and to have these experiences because He wants me to become something. the other thing she mentioned is to not dwell on it when i screw up! so after our talk we went and knocked doors for awhile! Friday was definitely THE coldest day I've experienced on the mission thus far. i didn't actually get to see what the temperature was, but everything was covered in ice and it was seriously so painful! but we kept trekking on! we knocked doors with no success, but we had fun with it! we ate dinner and then went to see this less active woman. she's from Greece! We had a great lesson with her after that about prophets and then we headed out to do more tracting in the dark and dreary wilderness! we talked to tons of people and it was cool seeing all the backgrounds they came from. we talked to Muslims, Christians, Catholics. You name it and we probably talked to one! sadly none wanted to hear our message! we ended then night visiting a member. the husband has been a member for a little over a year and is from England. he is waiting on his visa so he can live here with his wife permanently! I'm glad I'm not waiting on a visa in that situation! it makes my visa situation seem pretty miniscule in comparison! it was fun going to another area and seeing that even the sister training leaders have struggles to find people. I've been feeling down about finding new people to teach in my area but it was good to see that the work just ebbs and flows and you have to be positive through it all! Saturday we did our studies and then exchanged back. exchanges make you grateful for your companion! sister billman is great, but sister Phelps and i have a special bond! I was excited to get back and improve the work in our area and implement all i learned into the work! we went and tried to visit an investigator, but he wasn't home. we knocked a few doors and then tried to see Makila and Kaira. no luck there either! we ended up seeing sister ketch. her neighbor Alan was visiting. he's in the military and his family is living in Georgia. we had a really great talk with them and then had dinner at the Pajuelo's. they are a great family! strange, but great. it's really cool because brother pajuelo is from Peru and is a convert to the church of about 5 years. his dad was recently diagnosed with cancer so brother pajuelo called his dad and asked if the missionaries could come give him a blessing. he agreed. they came and since then have begun teaching him! this would have been a great story, but it doesn't end there! at the next appointment his dad had, the doctors told him the cancer was gone!!! how amazing is that?! miracles still happen today! after that visit, we went and saw sister Thompson. we had a really awesome time with her and taught about setting goals. we shared some of Elder Uchtdorf's talk "the best time to plant a tree" and we all 3 set goals in 3 areas: physical, mental, and spiritual. I have been off sugar for over a week now so my physical goal was to not have sugar until February 14th. my mental goal was to not dwell on the past! and my spiritual goal is to finish the book of Mormon by the 1st of February! elder Uchtdorf talked a lot about recognizing the fact that we will fail at first as we strive to accomplish our goals. a lot of the times if i fail, i just give up! but this is a journey and as we make small improvements every day we will become the person heavenly father wants us to be and we want ourselves to be! it's funny because a lot of times when i am teaching, i find things in the lesson that I really need to hear! it's a good reminder that this mission is helping me become someone the Lord needs me to be. Sunday was wonderful! we had church at 11, so we got most of our studies in before church. teya came to church and so did our investigator regassa. there was a senior missionary couple in our ward and we were talking to them after and they asked me about my visa. a few times this past week people have seemed super upset after i tell them that I have been waiting on my visa for this long. it's funny because i think it upsets other people more than it upsets me! it made me realize how grateful I am for the time I've had here in D.C. I used to always identify myself as a "visa waiter" and i made sure all the members and everyone knew i was waiting on my visa. but now it just doesn't seem that important!! I'm grateful that the Lord has helped me see how important the work is, no matter where I am serving. it was fast Sunday so that meant testimony meeting! sister Orme bore her testimony and it was very entertaining! she's a sassy old lady! probably in her 70s. she talked about how awesome it is to have 3 sets of missionaries in the ward and she goes, "not to discriminate, but we especially love the sisters. they have been helping us with our daughter and they've made a big impact in her life!" it was really sweet! in relief society we talked about tender mercies. it was really awesome! it made me think about all I've experienced on my mission and just my life in general! they have been full of those mercies. this one woman was talking about a rough time she went through and her sister said "i can't fix it for you, but I can love you through it!" she talked about how that's what heavenly Father tells us during our trials in life. la'vonne told us she wants to find some moms in the ward who have raised teenagers. She would like to get some advice right now. it was cool that she recognizes where she can turn for help! after church we did language study and then had dinner at the reeders! we then went and saw some investigators, tony and Barbara. they told us the elders had just knocked on their door a few minutes earlier. they were getting ready to leave so we went to visit someone else and we saw the elder's bikes. we left them some encouraging sticky notes! we ended the night seeing Karia. her sister makila was home but was tired so we had a visit with kaira. she will be home for the next few months so we hope we can help her stay active! the work definitely picked up this week and I know that I just need to stay positive through all the ups and downs! it's been a ton of fun working with Sister Phelps. We are a lot alike and have a lot of great laughs and have a really good friendship, so it's fun serving with her! I hope you guys have a wonderful week and find some people for the missionaries to teach! member referrals are DA BEST! i love you all so so much and will talk to you in a week! love, Sister E Star :)