Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 18, 2014

Family!!! I hope you all had an AMAZING week! I'm so grateful for all the packages and letters I received! You are all so supportive and I'm so grateful for the constant reminders of your love! This week has been ca-razayyy! It's been so much fun though and I'm so grateful to be out here! Monday when P day ended, we decided to get out and do some finding. We've been really focusing on that lately and so we picked out this street and got to work. The first people we talked to were Charlie and Sandy. I think they were Baptist. They were really happy to see us though! we asked him how he developed his faith and had a really great conversation with him. sadly he had a meeting so our talk was cut short. it started to get pretty dark but we wanted to keep tracting! at the next house, sister phelps had a feeling we needed to go back to the car. i'm not sure what would have happened if we would have kept tracting, but i'm grateful we chose to follow the spirit! we tried to check on a few other people but none were home. We went and checked on a less active woman we've been trying to visit for weeks and she finally answered! she was happy to see us and was having a book club meeting so she gave us some food and then told us to call her and set up an appt for later in the week so that was some awesome progress! then we went and checked on a family that comes to church occasionally. we always end up just talking to the wife, which i don't mind at all cause she's amazing! she has a wonderful testimony so we just want to get her coming to church more! on tuesday we had zone training in the morning. it was all about working with members and teaching the members the lessons. i know it's something we really need to do, it's just hard to plan ahead for it. but i know it'll really help the work in this area so we're going to work on it. after the meeting we ate and studied and did FB. then we attempted to visit a member who wasn't home. so we checked on a less active member. she told us that we should try and come back during the mornings. we got to eat with the little's that night. they are such an awesome family! their kids are awesome missionaries. after dinner we did some tracting. it was going really bad!! everyone was grumpy and this one lady got really mad and scared because last week this guy knocked on a random woman's door in downtown Alexandria and shot her and they still haven't caught him so a lot of people are on edge. this lady was so mad at us so we were really discouraged. i just kept praying that we would be led to a family. the next door we knocked on , this guy answered and said that his wife would be home in an hour and would love to talk to us. we were so excited! we decided to go do our visits we'd planned for the next hour. they both fell through so we came back and this woman answered the door. we told her where we were from and how her husband had said she'd want to talk to us. she was pretty shocked and laughed a little and told us she is a member but doesn't attend and wasn't really interested in a visit. it was pretty funny and i think it was important that we saw her! from there we tried to visit a few people who weren't home and then we visited a member family who the Elders told us about. they are from Bulgaria. it was just the mom and the daughters there and we had a really great visit with them. they are so sweet and were pretty excited to have the missionaries stop by! wednesday was great! we were supposed to do service for a member whose pipes burst last week, but that fell through so we did our normal studies and FB. we then went to see a woman named Sister Marler. she's older and doesn't get out to church very much. shes a very interesting woman! her dad was an aerial photographer so she showed us a bunch of pictures of what D.C. used to look like! it was pretty amazing. after that we headed to dinner. we ate with the womack's who were recently called as ward missionaries and sister womack is the "sister coordinator". she's from Equador and met her husband while he was serving his mission in Pennsylvania. they are actually getting ready to move to Oklahoma for his job. after dinner we decided to go check on the Aquino's. Brother Aquino answered the door and he was super friendly and awesome! he actually served his mission in Brasil so we had a good conversation about my visa and the language. he served in Recife. They were having a Valentine's Day party so we didn't get to share a message but we made a good connection with him so that was exciting! from there we attempted to visit a few people with no luck and then we went and visited the Velez family. i love them more and more each time we visit them. sister velez, the mom, kept feeding us and feeding us...i thought i was going to explode! but we talked to them about the work and they each agreed to start praying about someone for us to teach. Thursday we woke up to lots and lots of snow! it actually started snowing wednesday night and didn't stop til Thursday. we woke up to a text informing us we couldn't drive and that our zone conference was cancelled! a little later, the Mclaughlins, who we were going to do service for the day before, called and asked us to come help! so we did our studies and i finished the Book of Mormon for the 4th time on my mission! i have grown to love that book more and more as I've read it each time. i never used to think much of it, but now I really can't imagine my life without it! Something i ate the night before made me very sick....i don't know if the Lord was trying to prepare me for Brasil.... anywho, the members picked us up after studies and we got to work! their house had flooded so they got new carpet and drywall so we had to clean up all the mess the workers made. it was quite the project! the mclaughlins are awesome though so they made it lots of fun! they took us home and we ate and then brother rosenberg picked us up for our lesson with teya that we had at his house. it was an awesome lesson! we talked about church attendance since that's something teya has been really struggling with. we talked about where the sabbath day came from and why it's important to God that we keep it holy and the blessings that come from church attendance and lastly the things that prevent us from going to church. i was so grateful that Maddie (the rosenbergs daughter who is teyas age who we bring to lesssons with teya) was there. she talked about how she's never had a really life changing experience of having to choose between the soccer championship and church or anything like that, but that she made the choice when she was younger that she'd always attend and she feels like that's really blessed and guided her life. i think a lot of times we get scared of sharing things or feel pressured to have these miraculous stories in order to share an experience. what maddie shared was just as powerful as sharing the first vision! it doesn't really matter what we are sharing. it matters why we are sharing and the feelings that we have about what we share. if we open our mouths, the Spirit will do all the talking! right now i'm just focusing on her knowing without a doubt that we love her and care about her! we'll see what happens. Friday morning we woke up to more snow!!! unfortunately that conflicted with the dr. appt sister phelps had set up. thankfully the womacks rescued us and gave us a ride. while in the waiting room, i got a call from the mission office about my visa and background check. sister riggs told me she'd call me back when she found out more. we found out that the sinus infection sister phelps had hasn't quite worn off so she got some medicine and it'll all be better! sister reeder picked us up and took us to lunch with she and her son. sister reeder gave me the message that i do need the background check. to be honest I was very frustrated and discouraged at first. i thought about how every other visa waiter i talked to had gotten theirs all figured out and I just felt mad and forgotten. but i just prayed and i thought about all the visa waiters there are right now and how hard those people in salt lake work for me and i just let it go. yeah, sometimes it really stinks to think about how i've been here for 7 months and it's not where i was called to. but when i think of all the incredible people i've met, and how drastically my life has changed, and all the miracles i've witnessed, i can't even think about complaining! i really am having the time of my life out here. deep down I know I have been sent here for a reason. so i don't feel forgotten. i know that the Lord is in every detail of my life and my visa will come when He knows it's time!!! so sister reeder took us to lunch with she and her son. then she took us to pick up our packages! i got moms that day and it was so cute!! after that we went and did a little weekly planning, did our progress report, and then went to dinner with the Jensen's. the parents have been called as ward missionaries. they are amazing. they have a ton of kids but only 2 are at home now. one is 14 and the other is an RM. we had a great visit with them! while we were at the dr we got a text from 10 yr old elizabeth telling us she was moving the next day! we told her we'd come see her that night so we went over there after dinner. her grandma is staying here and elizabeth might stay to finish school but most likely she'll go with her family. she gave us these krispy kreme coupon valentines, it was so sweet! we gave her a book of mormon we both signed. i'm hoping she stays but we'll do whatever we can to keep her in contact with the missionaries. saturday was so wonderful! i learned a lot of valuable lessons. i got a package from aunt b that day which was awesome!! definitely made my day! we had to finish our weekly planning that afternoon. sister phelps and i both came out with a strong resolve to keep working hard. these last few weeks we have been tracting more and earnestly trying but we haven't seen success. i think i let that get me down, especially when i saw how many people the elders in our ward were teaching. i realized that i really shouldn't compare myself to them and i just need to have more faith and determination to find. it's amazing how much better i felt after i just talked to my companion. before my mission if something was bugging me i'd just bottle it up and wallow in my misery until i broke down. i am learning to really rely on others for that support and i'm learning how precious and valuable my relationships are and how open communication keeps them good! after weekly planning we got to work. we tracted in the freezing cold! i saw this one street with a yellow house with tons of cars in front of it. i felt like we really needed to knock on that door. we tracted our way over there and no one was very receptive. one lady opened the door and asked us if we were lost haha. we finally made it to the yellow house and a man named Jose answered. he didn't speak great english, but he spoke enough for us to share the first lesson with him. he's heard of the book of mormon before and we invited him to take the lessons from the hermanas.even though we passed him to other missionaries, i'm still grateful that Heavenly Father led us to him! after that we headed to our dinner. we ate with a young family in the ward. when we shared our message after dinner, the spirit was especially strong. both of the parents are RMs and we got on the subject of how missions can be hard and the husband just looked at us and said. "Sisters, your missions will get harder. but you have to remember that you will only have these experiences once. you will never be able to touch people the way you do as a missionary ever again." he went on and it was really cool for me to hear that because there are times I really envy the members and think they have the ability to touch lives in a stronger way. the truth is that we both change lives in very different ways. but these 18 months are so short and I only have these opportunities now! after that we went and saw sister ketch. we taught her the first part of lesson 1 and she told us how she would pray on the bathroom floor in front of the toilet because she likes to pray out loud and that was her space where she could pray without being heard! she did that almost her entire marriage! she's so awesome! sundays are always so amazing! exhausting, but awesome! during ward council our bishop asked us if we've received a referral from a member this month. we said no and he told all the ward council to find someone for us to teach this week. it was really powerful! teya showed up to church which was great! sacrament meeting was so awesome. it was all about missionary work and so brother rosenberg the ward mission leader and sister jensen spoke. bishop told brother rosenberg "not to mince words" over the pulpit. he did a great job though and so did sister jensen! the thing that stuck out to me the most was actually in the youth speakers talk. she shared an experience that Dallin H. Oaks had when he was younger. he got called to home teach a much older less active man. he was really anxious to get 100% home teaching and so he'd go and visit the guy very half-heartedly. one day, towards the end of the month, he called up the man to see if he could come home teach him the next day. the man told him he was tired and that he didn't really care if he got a visit because he knew his only purpose was to get 100% home teaching. Elder Oaks was shocked that this man knew his true intentions and it completely changed his life! hearing that experience was such a great testimony builder for me because i've been really praying lately to try and develop more charity and to do all i'm doing out of love, not obligation or to meet certain expectations. i felt like hearing that was Heavenly Father's way of saying, "you are focusing on the right thing!" after church we came home, ate, and studied. then we had dinner with Sister May. she's an awesome lady! she's very bold in her opinions, but in a loving way. we had some really great conversations with her. since we're teaching the lessons to members we created these little cards with all the subtitles of the lessons on them so we can teach shorter lessons to our members. we taught her about priesthood and auxiliaries. it was awesome! from there we checked on a referral, got some addresses for our ward mission leader and then went to ward correlation. i'll write about yesterday in next weeks email since i'm short on time, but some exciting news we got last night is that we will be a trio starting tonight! we're getting a new sister in the mission, so the sister who is training her companion is going to be companions with sister phelps and i! pretty exciting! i've never been in a trio so we'll see how it works! i'm going to the office tomorrow to start my paperwork so we'll see what happens with the visa. thanks for all the prayers and love this week! this work is seriously THE best. I am so happy out here and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! I love you all and wish you the best with all you do this week! Love you! Sister Pehrson

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 10, 2014

Familia!!! Man I love Mondays!! I'm glad to hear you guys had an awesome week! I did as well!!! It was full of many surprises and adventures!! Monday night was super awesome!! Lately we've been really struggling with people not being home or just not answering their doors. I just prayed that we'd be productive and that people would be home. Well that night, everyone with the exception of one person answered their door!! The first was a woman whose name we got from a ward member. She was super sweet but was busy so asked us to come back later in the week. After that we decided to try the people who saw us at their door last week and then drove off. They answered and although they were on their way out they seemed genuinely happy to see us and agreed to let us come back later in the week! We were also able to visit a former investigator who invited us back for this week! After that we headed to correlation. it was so awesome! We have a really awesome involved ward mission leader and he's making a big difference in the work here. Tuesday was a blast! We got asked to do a practice teach for our District meeting on following up. since I did the practice teach last time, my companion did it this time. after that meeting we had a visit with a sister in the ward! She's had a crazy week this week! on Sunday her husband was cleaning the bathroom and he mixed some chemicals and he inhaled so much that he had to go to the E.R. and he's still having issues! then she told us the craziest thing! So first of all she cleans with gasoline. GASOLINE!!!! she said it kills all the germs...I'm pretty sure that's super unhealthy! anyways, they had a water bottle full of gas sitting on the table and she accidentally DRANK IT!!! so crazy! ha ha we had a great lesson with her though. one of the members gave them a simplified version of the book of Mormon so we read the story of Alma the younger with her. it was cool because her son is the only family member who hasn't joined the church yet so we talked about how her prayers can make that happen. from there we came home and ate and did some language study. then we got on FB. we then went to the pajuelo's for dinner. we sat there and talked to the wife for a good 30 minutes and she was talking all about her bad health and things. then she asked us if we were coming back at 7. we were really confused and she goes "you said dinner was at 7." we didn't, but luckily her husband got off work early and was bringing food then. it's really humbling eating with that family because they struggle with financial problems and yet they still feed each companionship of missionaries once a month. I had Inca cola for the first time. it's really popular in Peru i guess. it was tasty! we had an awesome message with them as well. from there we attempted to check on a few people and they weren't home. we then saw the price's. sister price had a really rough day health wise. she recently found a tumor. we could tell it was really weighing on the family. we had a really great visit with them though. there are certain times on my mission where i really struggle with finding things to talk to people about. it was cool how when i felt that way that night my mouth was immediately filled!! I'd say that's a version of the gift of tongues! Wednesday was great! we got a call from the office Tuesday telling me i needed a copy of my drivers license made at the office. so we started the day with our studies and then we checked on a referral and then got on FB. we drove to the office and i asked if i needed background check so they called the visa office in Utah and they said i didn't need it. we came back to our area, checked on another referral and then 2 other people. we had about 15 minutes til dinner . i really didn't want to go in early so i just prayed that we'd find some people to talk to. we ended up meeting Elmer, Jod, and Joseph. they are 3 of the service guys for our apartment complex. we had a good talk with hem and left them all with a book of Mormon. after dinner we went and saw 10 yr old Elizabeth and had a pretty awesome lesson with her. we told her about activity days and that's something she is definitely interested in. we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and it went awesome. she was super involved which is not the usual for her!! she also gave us valentine's which were so adorable!! Thursday was SUCH an amazing day!! unexpectedly amazing! we got a text at 8 that said that everyone needed to come to transfer meeting and that we'd be watching a movie. i expected to watch some sort of training but boy was I wrong! I'm getting ahead of myself though. so we got to the meeting and it was so much fun to see everyone again. i love that i actually have friends in the mission now! so president Riggs spoke to us and told us that he saw this movie "The Saratov Approach" last week. it's about these 2 missionaries who were kidnapped while serving in Russia. well both the director of the movie and one of the elders who was kidnapped were both at the movie premiere and the next day they came to the mission office and talked to president and they gave him a copy of the movie. he then received permission for us all to watch it! seriously that movie was AMAZING! I loved it so, so much! it taught me a whole lot about this work. I mainly was impressed with the fact htat both Elders stayed on their missions after the kidnappers released them. i was seriously blown away! it really inspired me to vie my all in the field despite any circumstances! after the conference we drove back to Alexandria and had dinner with the ward mission leader. he gave us some awesome ideas on how to improve the work in this area. we also got to talk to his daughter and prep her for coming to the lesson with Teya and La'vonne that night. since we didn't get to have FHE with them on Monday, we decided to do that that night. la'vonne had made a request for us to talk about women in the scriptures. Sister Phelps and i came up with a few examples, but Maddie (the ward mission leaders daughter) had some amazing ideas! i don't know where the youth today came from because they are SO spiritual and amazing!!! having Maddie at that lesson was so incredible! it completely changed how Teya acted and how she received what we shared. Maddie is young enough to relate to teya, but old enough to be an example for her. we talked about Rebekah, Esther, Sariah, Emma smith, and Martha. it was really an awesome and fun lesson! Friday was a really busy but awesome day. after our studies we had a lesson with sister c. we had checked on her Monday night and she told us to come back. she has had it pretty rough. she and her husband were married and divorced not once, but TWICE! she also has MS which prevents her from regular church attendance. she is such a sweet lady though and we're going to try to visit her once a week from now on. after that we had lunch with a member at the sliver diner. that place is sooo good. when we come back and visit, we're eating there! we then had an awesome lesson with our investigator Bethany! she is 18 and had her baby her senior year of hs. i don't remember if i told you that. but she talked about her past and how she's changed so much because of her daughter and how if her daughter was never born she would be on a much different path and how grateful she is for her baby! it amazes me all that she's been through and she is just super prepared for the gospel! she talked about how all her friends drink and smoke and do all this stuff and now she sees how pointless it all is! her dad is an inactive member and he's coming back to church now because of her. he came in in the middle of the lesson and was like "alright, 5 more lessons and then we're dunkin you right?" ha ha. but it was funny because she asked us a ton of questions about our missions and what we do every day. she was really shocked and asked how we don't get bored! it made me laugh because i never really stop and think about the crazy rules i follow or anything. but when i thought about it i told her how amazing it is to be 100% focused on others. my life is all about people! it's so much fun and every single day is a new adventure with new challenges and amazing new blessings! it was a good reminder for me!! after that we had a couple minutes to do weekly planning and then FB. we then had a dinner appt with the relief society president. they invited another family over so there was like 7 kids running around! it was fun! from there we checked on a few people that we didn't know on the ward list and then we saw sister ketch. she just amazes me more and more as i get to know her better. our goal right now is to get her to come to relief society again. we had a really great visit with her and when she said the closing prayer she said "thank you so much for these sisters. we need more missionaries like them." it was so sweet and made me so happy! Saturday was wonderful! we got to attend a relief society conference with all the women in our stake. the theme was "a perfect brightness of hope" it really was a wonderful experience! one of my favorite things that was said was "hope connects the present pain with the promised future and doesn't deny either one." after the conference we got to send la'vonne off for her first trip to do baptisms for the dead. she told us she'd felt really uneasy that morning so she texted this guy and cancelled plans with him that night but she was still feeling uneasy. we told her it was probably just because it's a new experience! we then sent her on her way! some members then took us to lunch and then we finished weekly planning! during weekly planning we felt prompted to text La'vonne and see if we could go over that night. she gladly agreed! after that we went and checked on a referral who wasn't home. we then met Chris, the kindest atheist I've ever met! seriously...he explained why he believes what he believes and we had a super pleasant conversation and then we both went on our way. after dinner we checked on 2 people from the ward list that we didn't know. the first answered the door and literally looked like the poster child for Miami ink....he just smiled and said "not interested." then we went and checked on the other guy. he was so sweet! he said he is "very inactive" but loves visits and doesn't have anything against the church so that was awesome! he was telling us all about his famous pioneer ancestry ha ha. from there we got to go see La'vonne! we hadn't had a one on one lesson with her in quite a while so that was much needed. she Loved the temple!!! and when i say she loved it i mean she LOVED IT!!! she loved seeing everyone in White and she said it was just as amazing as her own baptism. she was just glowing! i love seeing how she is progressing! i love how enthusiastic she is about everything because it reminds me of how truly blessed i am and to never take any of this for granted! we had a really amazing talk with her and I'm so grateful that i have been able to be here to see her experience more growth in the gospel! Sunday was great! i felt really sick in the morning, but as i put my focus on others, i didn't feel sick at all! it was awesome! none of our investigators were at church. 2 were sick and one was out of town! that was a bummer! we went to help in the youth class for Sunday school to help them teach the lessons we'd helped them plan. no one they invited showed up so we got members to volunteer and be "investigators." this one girls companion didn't show up so sister Phelps and i were her companions and we taught sister graney! it was so much fun! the girls name is Clara and she is such a great missionary! she goes to a high school where she is the only female member in her grade and there are only about 10 other members in her school. you can tell how that has really impacted her testimony! i love working with the youth! after church we had lunch, studies, and then ate dinner at the reeders! sister reeder sent us off with several coupons, as she always does :) after dinner we checked on a former investigator. on our way my comp and i were talking and she started to cry and told me how grateful she is to be companions with me.When we became companions she was able to be herself. I'm thankful for that experience. so we went to check on the lady and she was busy but told us to come back another time! from there we went and had ward correlation. our ward is on fire right now! we got 2 new ward missionaries who really get it. they are in charge of our meal calendar and they're tyring to get us in members homes for lunch and dinner! not sure if my waist line can handle it... ;) but they want us getting in more members homes so they feel like that's the way to do it! I'm excited for this transfer though. I'm staying with sister Phelps and there's a ton of good stuff going on right now! Being a missionary during this time is really the best. it's so cool to be a part of something that is so tremendous. I've never felt like my life has so much purpose and I've never been able to see so many miracles every day!!! I love you guys so much! I'm grateful for your prayers, for your love, for your letters, and for the people that you are. You have all made such a difference in my life!!! I hope you have an amazing Valentine's day! I know I will because that's the day i go back on the sugar!!!woot woot! Well.... have a fantabulous week! this sister loves you!!! love, Sister Pehrson

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 3, 2014

Familia!!!! Man it's been an awesome week! it was so good hearing from all of you and I'm glad all is well back home! I'm glad to hear that Seattle won and most of the members here were glad too! :) On Monday evening before we went to La'vonne's we went and checked on some people. The first house we went to we were standing at the door and had just knocked when we saw a van start to turn into the driveway but then quickly speed off when they saw us!! it hurt a little but it was also pretty funny! So for FHE we did that object lesson. it was scary because we only had one chance to get it right so the pressure was really on!! Everyone except La'vonne knew what was going on!! it was really fun! it was really awesome because i think la'vonne sometimes feels like we forget about her since she's become a member now and so since we really focused on her in that lesson we were able to show her how much we really love and care about her still! that night reminded me of how much fun this work really is!! Tuesday was awesome!! we had district/zone meeting in the morning and our zone leaders talked about how we will be "crowned with righteousness" for our obedience so then they had us make crowns with construction paper and markers it was so funny. district meeting was really awesome! it was all about helping our investigators keep commitments and understand the "why" behind them. one thing i especially liked was the idea of telling our investigators that Satan doesn't want them to do what we're asking them to do and so they need to be aware that he'll really be working hard on them! i thought that was a good idea and I'm super excited to try it out. we had a really great day that day on FB because someone that we've been trying forever to get in contact with messaged me on facebook so that was super cool!! after that we went and did language study and then went to check on an investigator who wasn't home. then the member who brought us dinner that night called and said she was at our apartment so we headed home. we ate and then saw sister B! that was a really awesome lesson for me! we talked to her about how much our Heavenly Father loves us and asked her what it means to her that she has a Heavenly Father. as we were teaching I had this realization that I was teaching a lesson and not a person. i knew that needed to change so I immediately started to pray. after that i felt the spirit so strongly and i felt so much love for sister B! it's amazing how easy it is to just get stuck in the rut of just teaching a lesson and not feeling enough! from there we went and saw a family in the ward who were baptized about 9 years ago. we got to know them a lot better and they really appreciated our visit so it was really cool! Wednesday was super fun! we were supposed to have a lesson with sister Abbas at 11 30 that morning but we got there and she wasn't home. it made us sad! we came home ate and then got on FB. I talked to Erik for awhile and we set up another skype lesson! after that we saw Sister Ketch. she told us she has "halfsheimers." not full alsheimers, but just half. she is still a very sharp lady though! from there we went to dinner at a young families home. from there we checked on two investigators who were TOTALLY home but didn't answer! but that's okay because we were supposed to be out tracting!! we chose a street where we felt we'd have success. the first girl we taught was pretty young. she said she was comfortable in her faith and so we asked if she'd prayed to know if her church was true. she said no so we shared some of the restoration and invited her to pray about her church and about what we shared. she started arguing a little and then said she was busy so we prayed with her and left. a few other people were "not interested" and then we ran into Robert!! we first talked to his friends who were leaving his house and they told us they had to leave but they threw their friend under tot bus and told us to go see him! we knocked twice and out walks the VERY inebriated Robert.... he was definitely on something...maybe a few things! he told us we were crazy for being out in the cold and so we told him we were out there because we have THE MOST AMAZING message to share with him!! we had a great lesson with him and he said he was baptist and just "wasn't into the whole Mormon thing" we tried to leave him with a Book of Mormon and he's like "I don't wanna hurt your feelings or anything, I'm just not interested." he started to try to go inside so we asked if we could pray with him. he said no and we kept asking so i just started "dear heavenly father." he then walked into his house and I go "amen!!" just as he closes the door! it was really funny. he was SO out of it. we'd ask a question and he'd go, "wait...I'm really confused." i told sister Phelps after that I'd just been praying he wouldn't go crazy and kill us. she said she was praying he wouldn't throw up on us!! i love tracting... after that we were supposed to go meet a friend of one of the members but she just ended up cancelling so we tried to visit tons of people who weren't home! even though pretty much everyone rejected us, we were still happy because we knew we were doing the Lord's work! Thursday was one of those days where i realized both how far I've come and how much i still have to learn! after studies and FB we went and checked on Sister Franchialfaro. she ALWAYS talks about dogs. she hasn't been to church in a long time and she is such a spit fire! she's great. that days conversation however revolved around her experiences with dogs....she's a unique individual. we talked for about an hour and SHE WOULDN'T LET US IN!!! my toes were so numb and frozen that when we got in the car i had to take my boots off and stick my feet on the heater to thaw them! after that we visited the Reeders. it was just sister Reeder and her son so we had a great visit! we then ate and tried to check on lots of people and none were home. by then it was time for our lesson with Teya!! we had a really awesome and fun visit with her. in that moment i realized that it really didn't matter to me when Teya gets baptized. it matters to me that she knows i love her! i tried to tell her that but who knows if she believed it! i definitely hope so! it's hard teaching a 13 yr old girl who hasn't had much opposition in life. she said she still wants us to come over and teach her, she just wanted us to know how she really feels about baptism. it was a much needed conversation!! Friday was a really awesome day! we had weekly planning and we had a great companionship inventory as usual. communication is so important! I'm grateful I've become a better communicator on my mission. we spent all afternoon frantically trying to find a place to skype Erik that night when Casi, a recent convert, finally texted us telling us we could go there! we went after dinner and helped her set everything up and then had a great lesson on the Book of Mormon with Erik until Casi's computer restarted right in the middle of our lesson! sadly we weren't able to reboot it fast enough. but we had an awesome talk with Casi while we waited. she talked about how glad she was that we came over because we showed her she can still be herself and be a church member. she has felt like there's this mold she needs to fit and there are parts of her personality she needed to get rid of to be a good member. she said we showed her we can still have fun and be goofy! kind of ironic that she said she learned that from us when that's something I've really struggled with on my mission! i love Casi so much! we got the computer all fixed and Erik was gone, but we messaged him and i really feel like it was meant to happen! Saturday was sooo great!!! we went on a field trip to the visitors center with sister Thompson. she has recently started coming to church again and so on our way there we had a great talk about the book of Mormon! the visitors center was really awesome though! there was a section on temples so that was good for her to see since she's preparing to go there eventually. we watched bunch of I'm a Mormon clips as well as 8 stories, which is stories of 8 missionaries before, during and after the mission. after that we walka ed around the temple and took pictures ! we didn't have to wear coats it was so nice out! it was like 40 degrees!! on our way home we cut through D.C. which was super awesome! i got to see the Brazilian embassy and the national cathedral. we then went straight to dinner. we ate with a cute young family in the ward. after that we went and saw the Days. we mainly talked to sister Day. she has such a great testimony! from there we saw sister Francisco. I looove Sundays!! we had ward council yesterday morning so we went to church at about 9 15 right after personal study. it is very interesting experience to be in the ward council meeting... my last Bishop was more relaxed, but my new bishop is a business guy and he just likes to get stuff done! i have learned a lot through my experiences with the ward council!! teya showed up to church on crutches. the youth went on a ski trip Friday and she hurt herself...testimony meeting was especially wonderful! la'vonne got up and bore her testimony! we got invited to help a youth class plan lessons they're teaching to their friends they invited to come to church next week. that was super fun! i love the youth! it's still so weird to me to have them ask me for advice and to trust what i say simply because of my calling! it is so humbling! we also got asked to come into the 4 yr old primary class and share how we made the choice to serve a mission. that was so fun! after church we went to a ward members for "Linner". there were several members there. one is from Ghana and she served her mission in St Louis so she had lots of crazy stories to tell! after that we came home and studied a bit and then went to lav'onnes to go to the new member fireside! our mission has a fireside once a transfer where new members bare their testimonies and we can bring investigators and members and other people to it! it was so awesome! it was my first time going! there were about 5 people who spoke at the fireside, and i know I'm biased but la'vonne was my favorite for sure!! it really hit me hard as i listened to the other people speak how truly prepared la'vonne was for the gospel! there is no better joy than doing this work and seeing the fruits of my labor!! on the way home, i was feeling sort of sad and lonely and I'm not sure why. i had just had such a peaceful spiritually uplifting experience, so I'm not sure why i felt this way! i had the ipod set to random and in my mind i thought "heavenly father...if you're there and you're really listening..put this song on." it was really silly and i thought "this won't happen. why am i even testing Him!" i was really preparing myself for it not to happen! lo and behold, the next song to play was "he knows me better." the exact song i had prayed to come on! it was so simple, but it means a lot to me that Heavenly Father is willing to show me signs!! even when my faith feels weak, He is there to help me strengthen it and I think that is pretty darn amazing!! I found out that night that sister Knowles, another visa waiter here, just got her visa. i wish i could say I was immediately super excited for her, but i wasn't. i was jealous.... i wanted to know why!! and yet, i didn't feel like i needed a reason since I've been given SO many since serving here. but still, it hurt. so i knelt and prayed and i just know that NO MATTER WHAT, I am here because God needs me here. i am on a mission because God knew that was best for me. And even if I never get to Brasil, I will forever be grateful for my mission and the knowledge I've received. I know i am not forgotten. I know he Loves me and that I'm here in Alexandria because that is where Heavenly Father has placed me! these are things I truly KNOW, and they carry me through any hard times I go through!! As you saw in the heading, it is transfer week. i don't think I'll be transferred but ya never know! I'll find out tomorrow! so hold off the mail for this week! I love you guys so much...I say this all the time but I honestly could not be out here if it weren't for you! keep being amazing! love you so so much! Sister Pehrson