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

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