Monday, May 5, 2014

Mother's Day!!!!

Hey family!!!
Happy Mother's Day Mommy and Mikey!!!! It's so weird to think that it's already been a year since I skyped home to see you all! But, it has. Time passes by so quickly here. But, I hope it is an amazing day for each of you! Especially, mommy and mikey!! I can't wait to talk to you on Sunday!
This week has been crazy. New area...well old area, but here again. Everything is different. Literally everything. So, when I left this area last August, I didn't really think I would come back. But, here I am. Right after I left, the stake boundaries were changed and split, and this ward got about 10 new families. Then, with school starting up last September, another few families moved in. Little to say, I went to church yesterday and there were a lot of familiar faces, and a lot of not-so-familiar ones. haha I have a lot of work to do!
We are working hard to figure out what to do with our new call as Sister Trainer Leaders over the Spanish sisters. They are kinda using us as guinea pigs because they have never had this calling before. Probably because we cover the entire mission. But, it's going to be exciting! We have 5 companionships of sisters that we are in charge of, and they are in 3 different wards, and 3 different zones. haha So, we have been having a lot of fun this week trying to figure out which meetings we can get to.
Tuesday we had a zone DLC meeting with the zone leaders and district leaders and other sister trainer leaders. It was to talk about the zone mission and how we can work together to make our zone be unified and work hard. It's interesting how a lot of the things we need to help others fix is humility. It's when we aren't humble and don't have charity that we can't learn from our own mistakes or from others. So, hopefully I can continue working on that!
Wednesday we had district meetings to go to, and it was interesting to see just that. We can have the best training ever, but if the other missionaries decide that they don't want to use what they are learning, it will be meaningless. Luckily, I got to do role plays with a few missionaries that really want to progress, so it was awesome. I love getting new ideas from other people and seeing how I can improve my own teaching skills.
Thursday were more district meetings, and I wasn't feeling too great. So, I just observed others teaching, and it's interesting. When one person chooses to be strong and faithful, they have power. We truly are representatives of Jesus Christ. He loves us and is guiding us in everything we do, but only if we ask and seek for His help. I have been praying a lot for that help so that I can finish my mission strong. But, at times it's so discouraging. People slam the door, they try to convince you that when you study more you will leave the church. But, it doesn't matter what other people say. When we are truly converted, that is when we can work hard and be strengthened by our Savior.
Friday I went to my first MLC! It was so much fun. (Oh, mission leadership council) It was pretty awesome. We had trainings from the AP's and from President and Sister Toombs. They had trainings on how we can be more fully converted. President went to a Mission President's seminar last week, and he was teaching us the things that he had learned there. It was all on how to become more converted as missionaries to our Lord. It was really interesting though. I don't remember which apostle was speaking at the seminar, but he said that all the problems we have in missionary work and in the church would be fixed if people were truly converted to the gospel. Pretty strong request! But, it's so true. When we are seeking to be converted, we are seeking to be more like Christ.
This week, I went around working hard and meeting everyone they were teaching. It was so much fun! And, sad too. We had a lot of people drop us this week, but that just means that others are prepared. Felipe, a recent convert, blessed the sacrament on Sunday! And, he got up to bare his testimony too! It was so exciting! And, Mirari, another recent convert who I'm pretty sure I taught last year, said the closing prayer in Relief Society. It's great to see all the things that are happening and all the changes. I am excited to work hard and make a difference here! It helps that I already love everyone that I get to work with again. :)
Sorry this is soooo long. I started writing, then the computer kicked me off. So I started again, and it kicked me off again. So, this is the third attempt at finishing my email. haha Sorry, a bit scatter-brained. But, a week of lots of meetings and lots of working. It's been pretty great!
Well, I love you tons! Hope you have an amazing week. :) Hope everyone enjoys Mother's Day with your family this weekend!
Love you! 
Hermana Jessica Peterson

Monday, April 28, 2014

Back for good...

Hey everyone!
Dad! Hope you had an amazing Birthday!!! And Matt, that's so exciting!! You graduated!! Woohoo!
So, I got transferred....not too excited about it. But, I know it's what the Lord wants for me. I got the call to be a sister trainer leader in the Spanish areas. It's a new leadership calling that we are opening up. We will work with all the Spanish sisters in the whole mission, go on exchanges with them and help to unify our areas. There are only 3 Spanish areas, with only 12 the whole mission. So, there aren't very many of us. If we haven't been companions with one of them, we have at least served with them before. So, we will see how it goes! Hopefully it's a good change and doesn't take us away from being part of our zones here.
It's been crazy though, these last few months up in Monte Vista have gone by way too fast. I didn't want to leave, but I guess that's not up to me. I'll just have to go back and visit for sure. :)
This week was crazy. So many things happening, so much work to do, and not enough time for anything! haha But, so great. We picked up a few new investigators this week, Lupe and Ruby, and they are great! Their family is awesome, but there are so many of them! There are 13 kids, 7 still live there, with lots of nietos and other people always running around. Kinda reminds me of home! haha But, they are awesome, and hopefully will start coming to church soon! the daughter really wants to learn more, so it's more just getting the parents to recognize the need for it. Slowly but surely!
Elder Mahina drew on my soccer and rugby balls!! They look legit!
Last week we had our zone pday which is always a blast...this one was definitely one to remember. We ended up meeting at a park with the zone for games and a BBQ...well the elders were in charge of the grill and everyone was going to bring something. Well, turns out that they kinda failed with the whole grill thing, and the park was too windy to just use charcoal. So, they brought the food over to the church building, then with all the smoke ended up setting off the fire alarm. We got some calls from the Stake President about 15 minutes later. We had fun playing some soccer and vball though, until this lady decided that we were using too much of the space to play (it was a huge park) but oh well! We still had fun! One of the elders brought a water balloon launcher, so we had to event a way to fill up the balloons. We decided to use my soccer pump and just fill it with water...that was an adventure and took forever! Then we just used a plastic water bottle and squeezed hard-that worked way better! We had fun launching them across the field. I'll send a few pictures :)
We have been working a lot with the Maldonados recently, and it's so exciting! The parents both have callings now, the son finished all the lessons to be baptized, and the dad already had his interview to receive the Melchizedek priesthood! And, his dad is planning on coming up from Mexico this weekend to ordain him!!! Woohoo! We are sad to not be there though! It's been great. If everything goes as planned this weekend, he will get baptized on May 10th! So exciting :) Definitely going to make it back for that one! We went up to see them last night to say goodbye and it was soo hard! Everyone was crying, and we didn't want to leave, but it's going to be good. They are in good hands for sure!
Thursday turned into our service day. We were planning on getting around a bit and teaching in different areas, but that didn't really happen. We took an investigator over to Obispo's house to get some clothes and things for her family. She literally took the entire basement...soooo our entire car was full with baby things and clothes...literally full! It was crazy! We went to crochet with a member for a little bit. She just had a baby and wanted to learn how to make little headbands. So fun!
We went and saw what we thought was going to be or new house with the Sanders. We were planning on helping them finish it up and then moving in at the end of the transfer...I guess those plans kinda changed! But it was fun to go around the house and get to know them a little bit. They are kinda crazy! She has a fairy garden...yup it's just a garden for her little fairies...and he has a bonsai tree, well had. She forgot to water it and it died. Sad day.
We were working with Leonor again this week! She is awesome! She got baptized back in November and is super excited to be in a new ward. We were explaining a lot of things about family history and the temple, and she is working to get a temple recommend to go do baptisms! She was a little confused and didn't think she could go at all yet, good thing we got that fixed up! The Lord definitely guides us to know what to teach and when :)
Sorry, I'm super scattered...I don't think I have really accepted the whole idea of being back in Denver. But, I know it's going to be great. I'm excited for the chance to go on exchanges with all the great Spanish sisters as well and get to know them a little better.
Something I was thinking about yesterday...sacrament's topic was prayer, and as I was thinking about it, prayer is one of the most important things we could ever have. It's such an amazing blessing. We have the opportunity to talk with our Heavenly Father and to seek out His guidance and help. He allows me to walk by faith, but always guides as well. As I was getting up to bare my testimony yesterday, I was just thinking about all the blessings and miracles I have witnessed here on my mission. It's all because of Jesus Christ. Because of His suffering and resurrection, we have a purpose here on earth. We have goals and an eternal vision. We just need to all accept the atonement and the fact that Christ can help everyone. No one has fallen too far-Christ paid it ALL. Not just the last part, but ALL.
I love you and miss you all so much! I hope you have an amazing week and can continue being the amazing people and missionaries that you are. :)
Love you!
Hermana Jessica Peterson

We decided that our zone leaders needed a good laugh, so we got some help and decided they were a newly-wed couple. We had the pop cans and all! And, the entire inside of the cab is full of balloons, good thing the other elders driving with them were our under-cover spies and left the back window cracked. :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter-It's all because of Him

This is us with Daphney on Easter! Oh yeah, she is getting baptized Saturday!!! We met her at the open house last month, and the other sisters have been teaching her! And, now she is getting baptized. Woohoo! 
Hey Family!! 

So, this week has been amazing on the spiritual side of things. I say that because I spent most of the week in bed. haha Everyone is getting sick it seems. But, I had the chance to really think a lot about what this time of year means for me. It means that I have a chance to become like God and Jesus again. That I have an eternal potential to return to my Father and to live as an eternal family. 

This week we focused on sharing the Easter video on, so hopefully everyone had the chance to see it! It's amazing :) But, it really does make me think about all the things I have been given as a daughter of Heavenly Father because He loves me and sent His Son to die for me. I really do have everything I could ever ask for in this life and more because of Him. Because He lived and died and rose again, I can live forever with all of you. I know that my Savior lives and loves me, He loves you. He wants us to find joy in the little things in life. He wants us to always be happy. 

Wednesday was temple day again! I absolutely loved the opportunity I had to go and be reminded of the great covenants I have made with God, but more importantly, the blessings that God has promised to me. He wants me to be the happiest that I can be as I am here, and for all eternity. I brought my patriarchal blessing along with me to the celestial room, I think that's okay? haha But, I was reading it and pondering it over there as I was thinking about the time I have spent on my mission, and the little time I have left. It seems like yesterday that I left and decided to change my course of life again, and I would never regret it. Maybe my life has been different than I could have ever imagined, but God knew it would be this way. He knew that I needed this opportunity to learn and grow and to meet all of these amazing people. He wanted me to change just a little more, get out of my comfort zone and really see my own potential. He wanted to see myself and others as they truly are, beautiful, talented, children of an eternal Being. And, this opportunity has given me this chance. 

We visited again with Leslie and it is interesting to see how the gospel is so profound, but simple enough that someone with little education can understand it just as perfectly. She is coming to understand for herself that the gospel is true. But, of course, Satan is right there, placing every obstacle in the way. We just need to have faith now that God will help her realize and gain the testimony that she needs to take these steps towards conversion. 

And, us sisters being crazy in the car :) Their car was in the shop all week, so we did a lot of chauffeuring around. haha Good thing I like to drive.
I am so grateful for the words of a living prophet and apostles. We are so blessed to live in this time of great prosperity spiritually. We have the true gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. We have all the keys of the restored gospel here again. We have the ordinances necessary to become eternal families. I know that my family will live forever. I know that one day, I too will be married in the temple and receive those same blessings. I am so grateful that right now, I too am helping others receive those same saving ordinances. I got to email a girl back in my first area, Daniela. She was my first investigator that was baptized last year, and it is so exciting to see that their marriage will soon be eternal as they continue to make the steps necessary to enter the temple and be sealed together. I know that this is God's plan. That families can be eternal. That death is not the end. That there is happiness that extends beyond the veil. 

Love you all! Hope you have an amazing week. :) 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Having strength on the Lord's errand

Woohoo! To an amazing week :) 

I'm pretty sure that every week is amazing on a mission though, it's our choice whether or not we want to smile and enjoy every moment of it. :) 

We were out doing a lot of contacting and finding this week, and we found Leslie! She is awesome!  :) Pretty much golden already. After the first lesson with her, she was asking if we could come back everyday to teach her. She wants a ride to church because her husband works. A member came with us the next day and they planned out scripture studies in the mornings while they are both home alone with kids at school. She asks us about everything. She asked if we always had missionaries in this area and why no one had ever knocked on her door before. She wanted to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Too bad Satan is getting in the way of things and wouldn't let her come to church yesterday, but she will for sure this weekend! Super exciting :) Miracles happening everywhere. We just need to see them! 

Had our last interviews with President Toombs on Tuesday...sad! I'm going to miss him for sure! I think that God needed to send me here so that I could have the chance to experience so much change. I will have interviews with 3 different presidents before I go home. I feel like all the changes that normal people go through in a life-time, I'm doing all in 18 months. But, it has definitely taught me a lot. I need to love everyone and find ways to help them along the way.

This week has been a lot of pondering about all the things I have been studying recently. We had our zone meeting on Wednesday and we talked a lot about the enabling power of the atonement, a subject I have been studying continuously for years now. President Boyd K Packer said, "For some reason we think that the Atonement of Christ applies only at the end of mortal life to redemption from the Fall, from spiritual death. It is much more than that. It is an ever-present power to call upon in everyday life. When we are racked or harrowed up or tormented by guilt or burdened with grief, He can heal us" ( in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 28). It's so true! We can be given the power and strength we need to do the Lord's will. Not our own, but His. I think I am finally beginning to understand how that works in my life. I can't and won't have the strength to do everything, but He will give me the strength to do what He needs me to do!

Like President Monson always says, "Along your pathway in life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and worlds to save." So, go out and find those people that the Lord wants you to serve and help along this difficult pathway we call life. 

This week is Easter, and it has a different meaning here on the mission than it ever has before. It's incredible. We are counting down the days to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior and Redeemer. He is our everything. He helps us to find strength in our everyday challenges and obstacles. And, this year we have a new message, a message of HOPE, INSPIRATION, LOVE, ENDURANCE. He came so that we could be. He came so that we can have the strength to continue on and to be better each and everyday. 

Check it out! Read about Him. Strengthen your testimony in the Savior and in everything that He did for you. Because of Him, you are who you are today. You are His brother or sister, you are His best friend. He died for you. How can you show that love back to Him? Be converted. 

Love you all! And I hope you have an amazing week :) Enjoy Easter! 
Hermana Peterson

Monday, April 7, 2014

You'll never regret being too kind :)

The jumping picture!
To the BESTEST family in the entire world. 

So, as I was listening to conference this weekend, I was reminded just how amazing our family is. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to grow up in a family that is centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so glad that we had the habit of reading and praying together daily, of always having fhe together, and being able to see now the blessings that came from that! 

Most of our appointments fell through this week, but it all ended up well. We went tracting one night and this dad let us in. It was pretty cold and we were grateful to be let in. We talked for a minute, but his wife was in the shower, so we set up a time to come back. Saturday, we knocked on their door again and Leslie opened up. We introduced ourselves and she said she didn't have time then, but that she wanted us to come back. She asked about the church, how often we could come teach her, how she can get to church, and if it costs anything to keep the pamphlet we gave her. Legit!! Super excited to go back tonight and teach her with a member that lives around the corner :) Miracles! 
My comp and I with our bigotes :)   And...Martinez in the background. Hna Browning looks like a killer...creepy! 
Our pizzas we made as a district between sessions on Sunday...soooo good! 
We are still teaching the Maldonado's and working with them to prepare for Jayden's baptism in a few weeks, for Hermano to receive the Melchizedek priesthood, and to enter the temple in the next few months. Super exciting! We saw them practically every other day this week between fhe, dinner, and teaching their son for baptism. :) They are such an amazing family! 

And pizza time...take one! We had to try it out first to make sure it tasted good of course! :)

This weekend was super fun! We ended up going over to church for all the sessions of conference. Saturday sessions were intense! I felt like we were all being told to spiritually prepare right now for the second coming. But, it was so cool! I am starting to realize more and more what it really means to give our heart to God. We must really be devoted to Him and find ways to give Him our all. It's difficult, but it's so worth it! 

Oh yeah...almost forgot. But I got a hair cut on Monday! If you saw the pictures you prolly already saw that though! It's super short and weird! haha but I love it! 

Sorry kinda random today...
But Sunday was incredible. We stayed at church all day to listen, and between sessions we made home-made pizzas as a district. They were soooo good! We had a lot of fun making them and spending time together talking about conference and laughing. It's nice sometimes to just relax and enjoy some times of spiritual uplifting. 

We headed up to a baby shower Sunday night for a less-active in the ward. She was the one that had her baby last week, so kinda backwards...but that's what happens when your water breaks a month early! We just stopped by for a few minutes, but it was good because she didn't really know many people there either! Yikes! So it was good we stopped by to support :) 

Oh, and there has been a random family living with us the last week...and we finally met the mom this morning! haha They are friends of the family we actually live with, but they went to Utah for conference this weekend, and we haven't really been home to meet the family that is actually there right now. But, their two kids are so cute! Mystery solved :) Kinda awkward this morning to go put in some laundry and walk past the dad passed out on the couch...not really the introduction that I was expecting. haha 

But, my mind is kinda all over the place right now...and I can't even think what else happened this week! But, it's been great :) Conference was amazing, and definitely the highlight of my week for sure! Loved it! 

Hermana Jessica Peterson

This is the hypothetical wedding of Hermana Olson...yup we are all there. She was my red-headed comp at the beginning of my mission last year. We are serving around each other again, and she decided to draw out the wedding party. haha I'm the one with the blonde hair and purple cardigan, if you couldn't tell already! haha Pretty awesome. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Birthdays and Conference

My district on plaid day :)
First off, 

Hope it's a great one for you :) You two are amazing. Amanda, keep up the good work down there in Brazil! And Emily, keep being the loving and incredible girl that you are back home. I love you and miss you tons! 

I'm pretty sure time is going by faster every day. 
This week Hna Giron came back to visit. She has been home for 2 weeks already and it seems like it was yesterday that we were companions, but it's already been about 5-6 months! It was super fun though to see her and to be able to spend some time together. Here is picture of Hna Jones, Michel, and I! It's so weird to see Giron without a tag on! But, it was a great day :) 

I have been thinking a lot about how things happen in our lives for a reason. We meet people for a reason. We have certain experiences and relationships for a reason. And God places us in the road we need to follow so that we can help others to succeed. 

This week we were helping a lot of people to get started on their family history, and it is super exciting! I'm glad to hear about all the work happening back home too! It's such a great opportunity that we have to help those on the other side of the veil. :) We were talking with a family that has recently started coming to church and they are super excited to find their relatives and to find ways to be stronger as a family as they prepare to enter the temple. 

The importance of goals has really get me thinking. Jayden is planning on getting baptized on the 19th, but his dad first needs to prepare for the Melchizedek priesthood. So, they planned a goal to work as a family for this to happen. It's going to take a lot of work and preparation, but we really want to help them towards this goal so that they will be able to progress spiritually and be sealed in the temple. It seems to become more real when we have goals. It's not just something that will happen in the future, it's a real goal that we can achieve soon. It can seem scary, but it's so worth it! 

We had a few very eventful baptisms this weekend too! Saturday, there was an 8-year old girl getting baptized. But, no one actually planned the baptism...until we all showed up at 1145 for it to start at 12. So, the font was filling, she wanted one of the elders to baptize her instead of her dad, so that was interesting. Then, the son ended up playing piano for the opening and closing. I played during the time while they changed clothes and Hna Olson sang. One of the elders gave a talk partially in english and partially in spanish. The mom tried giving a talk in english, but she doesn't really speak it. And, there were people there that only speak and understand spanish, and others that only speak and understand english. So, it was super exciting. haha But, it was great too. Never a dull moment :) 

Sunday's baptisms I think beat that one by far though! The whole thing was planned well, but there has to be something that goes wrong. We went down to Denver and arrived around 430 for the baptism to start. But, the font was full of freezing cold water. Apparently the boiler didn't start while they were filling the font. So, one of the sisters went swimming to pull the plug. That's when we got there. We got the font emptied part-way. Then we turned on the hot water. I started swirling the water around to make sure the bottom wasn't still ice-cold too. Finally we got it a little warmer, but it was still going to be a pretty chilly baptism. The service was beautiful, but as the people were being baptized, one kinda fell backwards. She looked a little nervous and her feet slipped. And, the guy went back so fast that he hit his head on the bottom of the font. Whoops! 
Then while we were in the chapel, they got permission to do the confirmations so that they don't have to wait for 2 weeks until after conference weekend.  During the first one though, someone smelled a gas leak, called 911, and the firemen came to evacuate the building. Yup..during the prayers. But, they stayed, finished the blessings and got everyone out of the building. haha At least those 3 will never forget that day! But, in the middle of all the confusion and crazy things happening, you could see how excited and happy each one of them looked and felt. It was amazing. God really does work in ways we would never imagine.  

This was a fun Family Home Evening we did this week with an hermana that just moved here from Washington and her sister and niece. We were teaching about eternal families and had them pop balloons with the pieces of the family proclamation inside. Super funny! :) 

I hope you can really take a step back and look at your life through God's eyes. The decision to be happy is yours, not anyone else's. We have the opportunity to know that we are His children. As I was listening to the Women's Conference on Saturday, I couldn't help but think about all of the people who don't know that they are children of a Divine Being. We have a special connection and union as members of the church. We serve and support each other. We bring others unto Christ. We work together to have eternal families. What more could we ever want? We have eternal goals that help us know the daily decisions we should make. We serve God and help others do the same. We aren't perfect, but we strive to be everyday. 

I love this gospel, and the opportunity I have to share it with everyone I see. It has changed my life-this gospel, my mission. And it will continue to change me throughout my entire life. 

Thanks for all the love and support and I hope you love Conference this weekend! I know that I am super excited for it! So, get prepared for some spiritual nourishment :) 

Love you all!

Hermana Jessica Peterson

We didn't have any miles this week, so Hna Browning is posing with her "Mommy Bag" that has everything we need for the day. haha 

Hermana Jessica Peterson

Monday, March 24, 2014

Every storm ends with a rainbow!

Hey everyone!!!

So, we had a bit of a crazy week. Transfers came and went, and we are staying together which is awesome. We are super excited about everything in our area-the work, the people, the opportunities. I guess we are just excited about everything here. We are working hard to find more people to teach, and as we do that, more members are coming into our area. With a few more families, we are close to starting a small spanish group in the north side of our area, and growing that hopefully to a branch and eventually a ward. Lots of work to do! 

We got to go to the temple on Wednesday and it was incredible. I always love the feeling that I have as I sit and listen to the things taught and explained there. There is no way to compare the feelings I receive. Then, being able to just sit and think about everything going on in my life, thinking about my mission, about my life, school, family. I can't help but see how blessed I really am! I have the best family I could ever ask for. I have opportunities to serve the Lord and others every day. And, I have the greatest blessing of all in my life- the gospel of Jesus Christ. I wouldn't give it up for anything. My family is eternal, and I know without a doubt that I will be with them forever. It's what keeps me going each day. Through the ups and downs, I know that something better will always come. Now is the time of polishing and perfecting :) 

We started working with a less-active on family history this week, and he is soooo excited about it. He is working right now with the bishop to come back to church fully, receive the priesthood, and be able to enter the temple. It's super exciting! And, when we stated talking to him about family history, he is taking it as a game and a huge challenge that he wants to do and show his family all about it! So, we will see what he has started this week! He met us at the family history center here Saturday morning and we got him set up with some instructions on how to get started with one of the specialists. It was super exciting! The work is so true and vital on both sides of the veil. :)

Sunday we didn't have miles to really drive, because everything is so far away from where we live. So, we got a ride from the family we live with to church. We had about 5 minutes from the time we asked them for a ride to the time they were planning on leaving for church...I guess next time we will ask the night before. He is the branch president, so they had some extra meetings super early. Luckily everything was pretty much ready, but when we got to church, we realized that we forgot the baptismal program for Ariana! She was getting baptized, and we had left it in the car so we wouldn't forget it. haha Perfect. Luckily, the wife was still home and her ride was a little late picking her up, so she grabbed it and brought it to church for us! Miracles from God! 

We had the baptism after church on Sunday and it was great. We made sure the font was ready before sacrament started, and everyone went over. They had people bring cake and nachos for after, invited their family to be there, and all we had to worry about was playing piano :) It was perfect. 

I loved our addiction class last night too! It was focused on forgiving yourself for the wrongs you have done in the past. I really do think the name of the group should change to be "how to apply the atonement in your life" but, that's alright. I'm just glad I have the chance to go every week! But, it got me thinking a lot about how important it is to learn from the past, remember the experience for how we changed, and then forget about the feelings and thoughts that went with it. My mission prep teacher at BYU used to always tell us, that when we had thoughts or images pop into our head, we should say out loud, " Thanks Satan for reminding me how powerful and real the atonement is in my life." Then we think about how we have changed and those images don't have any control over us anymore. 

Sorry this is really scatter-brained today. I'm kinda freaking out because I'm trying to sign up for classes and have no idea what to do! haha So, I would love some ideas. I might change majors...but I'm not even sure the school will let me at this point. Oh well, life goes on! And, who knows what I would change to...yup. Great. haha

Well, keep your head up, and get prepared for General Conference! It's coming up just around the corner!!! Woohoo! :) Loving it! 

Hermana Jessica Peterson

Monday, March 17, 2014

Life is great!

Elder Linares is leaving! Sad! It's been awesome getting to see him every Sunday. But, we got to see each other one last time before he heads to the other side of the mission! 
Hey family!!!! 

So, this week has been amazing. Crazy, but amazing. 
First off, transfers were today, which is why we are emailing sooo late! But, my companion and I are staying together! We are super excited :) We helped out the other sisters to get their stuff packed because Hermana Baldwin is going down to Denver 4th ward, my home!! She is a bit scared for her first transfer, but things will be great. We got to spend the day at the stake center seeing all the missionaries coming and going, playing dodge ball, soccer, basketball, playing piano, and it was great! It's always hard to see missionaries leave, but change is always good. 

Hermana Giron left yesterday and it was super sad! She came up with the other sisters after sacrament to spend a few hours before going to the mission home. But, apparently she is coming back in a few weeks for a baptism anyway, so it's all good :) It's just crazy to see the time passing by sooo quickly. 

Last Monday, we showed up to a lesson, and she wasn't there, but the rest of the family was. We were asking if they needed any help with anything, and the husband asked if either one of us knew calculus. Found out pretty quick that I am going to need a BIG refresher in math when I get back! haha It's been forever! I couldn't remember all the tricks for derivatives, and each problem used a different rule...but we were able to work together and figure it out! Good thing I love math! 

We spent all Tuesday practically helping out a family in the ward to clean and move out of their trailer...I can't even describe it. I wish we had pictures, but I don't think I even want to see what it looked like before-hand! haha Good thing missionaries come in forces and we work hard! The dog hair, sticky floors, dirty diapers, and old food was out in a few hours and the place looked much better. Our clothes were a different story! I guess that's why we have a washer and dryer. :) 

We finally got to start teaching Jayden this week!! He is the son of the less-active family where the dad was in a really bad car crash. They are doing awesome now, and they were sooo excited when we said that we were staying. We went over to their family's house for dinner Saturday night and it was huge family BBQ! Totally reminded me of home! It's great to see the difference in their family now. The two brothers and their families are all coming back to church! Jose's dad finally came for the first time yesterday!! We were soooo excited to see them :) Next step, temple! Woohoo for celestial families :) 

Zone meeting this week was great. We had different trainings on the love God has for us, and the love that we have for ourselves. I have already known this for forever, but I think at times we need to be reminded-that God really does love us, but that we can't feel His love for us or the love others have for us if we don't love ourselves. That's the thing. We have to love ourselves first. Not in a prideful way, but in a humble way that we see the best in ourselves over our difficulties and faults. I still need to work on that :) 

We saw Roberto and Mariela this week and they are doing great! They love the gospel and everything about it. It's amazing. Bishop is thinking about giving them callings super soon too, and asking Mariela to do some of the translating during church too. Their family is opening up to us a little bit too! I'm not sure if it's because we are there all the time, or because they see that Roberto and Mariela are so much happier all the time? Hopefully a little bit of both! 

Saturday morning we had a Relief Society Conference for the Anniversary and it was super cool! We went early and helped to translate for our ward members that came. It was super fun! I'm getting a lot better at it for sure! It's nice when there were 3 of us helping out, so we took turns, helped find scriptures, reminded each other how to say words when we couldn't remember. haha The first 5 minutes is super scary and the stress level goes through the roof! But, then it slowly drops until you just think you are talking by yourself in a room with a random headset on  your head. haha Good thing I have been practicing in our addiction class every Sunday

Sunday was a bit of a crazy day. I really don't even remember what happened...which isn't good because it was just yesterday! haha But, we had our ward conference and it was really good. The stake presidencies came and since we are with the youth, most of church was actually in English...weird! It was a lot nicer though because we didn't have to translate and have everything said twice. The sisters came up to say goodbye and to bring Hna Giron to the mission office, so I got to spend some time with Hna Jones!!! It was great :) 

Sorry this is kinda long...but things have been great. I love this area, the ward, the work, my companion, and everything about it. I love being on a mission. I have never learned so much about the atonement before in my life, and I love it. The atonement is for us, each one of us. We can choose to accept it, but until we decide to move our feet and take a step forward in faith, we won't be able to see the many blessings and miracles that God has to give us. 
Hermana Jessica Peterson


Elder Fleming! He is heading out to a new area too, but we had a blast this transfer messing around on the piano and singing at the nursing homes. And of course, deep doctrine talks all the time! :) Definitely gonna miss this kid!
Fun pictures from this week! 
This is a super crazy and weird statue, but pretty cool too. It's to pay tribute to this Indian tribe who would shoot arrows in the air before war to show their courage when it landed again next to them and to give encourage their brethren to be ready. 

And, the super pretty sunset every single night! But pictures definitely don't do justice!

Hermana Jessica Peterson

Hna Olson, Hna Baldwin and I at transfer doctrine!! Soo sad Hna Baldwin is leaving! But, it's going to be great for her too :) 
We were trying to visit this inactive on Saturday, and she was outside and right when she saw us, she ran in and shut the door. Yup...awesome. So we went up and knocked anyway, but no one answered. Instead, we walked down the street to take some fun pictures. It's so pretty! 

Part of our crazy zone. They are awesome! We had zone awards during transfer doctrine and mine was the "All American Sports" award. haha Go figure :) I'm pretty rusty, but I love when I have the chance to play for a bit! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

God is powerful beyond our knowledge

At the temple with Hermana Jones! Our favorite spot for pictures, around back in front of the stained glass window. 
Hey fam!

Crazy week...literally. Satan has a way of working with the weather to make everyone miserable, but good things God is more powerful than that! 

So, last Saturday we went out to pass out flyers to people all around the city with 28 missionaries and a few members. Tons of people bailed because it was freezing cold, and snowing. Then the next week was super nice out, in the 60's, and gorgeous. Friday rolls around, the big day of the open house....and yup, it snows all day long. And, Saturday and Sunday are gorgeous again in the 60's. But, we still had the activity as planned F
riday night! It turned out really great. There weren't a lot of people there, but everyone loved it. We started out in the chapel with everyone and watched "Finding Faith in Christ." After a few technological issues, we finally got it playing. I love watching the miracles that were performed as a part of Christ's life. It is amazing. We toured the church and had little introductions of the church from the auxiliary leaders. At the end, the bishop spoke, a few missionaries bore their testimonies, and it was over. But, the spirit there was incredible. :) It's amazing to see how the Lord works in mysterious ways. A friend came with one of the youth, and by the end of the night, needed to walk out because she was crying so hard. She has an apt with the missionaries today. Our recent converts ran over to the church that night and brought her little brother along and seemed to love it. And, a few really less active families came to support and had the chance to learn all about the gospel too. It was great! 

We finally saw Mary Ann this week. All of our apts fell through one night and we decided to stop by. She wasn't feeling well so hadn't gone to work with the family, so she was actually home! We shared a message, read with her, and found out that she wants to go on a mission! She is just worried about reading in front of people. Good thing we can help with that. Now we just need to get her back to church again with her family. They are awesome, but it's always hard to help people when they don't have any time at all- the whole family works two full-time jobs, all together. But, hopefully we can help them to come back. 

As we seek for God's help, He always guides us. This week, I have been realizing again that I want to use the scriptures more to teach. Sometime we only have a few minutes to stop by somewhere, but we want to find the right words to say. I was studying this morning, and realized that my spanish scriptures are full of random pictures and cards holding the spots of tons of scriptures...none of which I have marked or even use. I'll hear something, stick in a bookmark, and forget. I started marking them again, and found some things that really could help our investigators and members right now. We have all the tools we need to succeed, but we don't always use them. I guess I need to be better at using them now :) 

Ariana is getting baptized next week! She is so cute, and so excited :) She came with her grandma to church yesterday and we asked if we could come see them afterwards. They didn't have time because she was going back to her mom's, so they asked if we could teach her right then. It's definitely different when you plan to teach a full lesson, and you're given the 15 minutes before church starts to teach a lesson and plan out an entire baptism. Good thing God has a magic way of stopping time too! 

In our addiction class yesterday, we were talking about having a change of heart. "When we are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, our desire to do anything contrary dies" Marion G Romney. It's so true. We will still have the temptations and the images from the past, but we will be free from the desire to do those things against the will of God. He is amazing and can help us through anything. 

I am so grateful for everything that you do for me! I can't even imagine being here and not having the knowledge that my family is for forever. You are amazing! 

Have an amazing week :) Remember, when we have trials to overcome, Pray On (3 Nephi 19:26).
Christ taught to pray and we can make our will in line with Gods. It's powerful, and I never feel like I quite use it to it's full potential. I guess I still have a long way to grow! 

The classic bench shot. haha Hna Jones was taking one, so I guess I had to get my own too!
Hermana Jessica Peterson

Monday, March 3, 2014

Things work out!

District on Scarf Day!
Hey fam!!!

So, this week has been crazy as usual. We had the miles to be able to go up and visit a family in the middle of no where. haha It's the Ocampo family, and they are great. They were baptized a few years ago, but are now less active. So, we taught them friday night and their daughter is now 9 and wants to be baptized. So, we are trying to get them to church so she can :) And, so their family can get sealed in the temple! 

The Maldonados, he is the one who got in the really bad car crash a few weeks ago. Well, they started coming to church again, and their son wants to get baptized, and their family wants to go to the temple. It's amazing! It's so fun to work with families who are working towards goals like that. I can see how much of a blessing and miracle it is for me to know that my family will be together forever. It's not just on this earth, but forever. We were talking about the blessings of the temple with them, and one of the members in the ward came with us. He was talking about the day when his family could go through the temple to be sealed together. He was sad because his parents couldn't go, but he said that the pure joy of being there and of watching his kids enter the room, in all white, was something incredible and unexplainable. This gospel is truly a blessing to all! 

I gave a training this week during our district meeting on the Plan of Salvation. But, instead of focusing on how to teach it better, I focused on what it means to each one of us. It was really cool. I shared part of the talk by President Holland called "Missionary work and the atonement" and then a poem called "He's been there before." It's amazing that as we prepare to teach, we learn so much more than we ever could by being in the class. I really enjoyed going around and roleplaying and seeing the difference when we focused on teaching by using our own experiences. When we really take to heart what it is we are teaching, then we can teach with power and the spirit can testify. I love it!

We had our zone blitz on Saturday to invite everyone to the open house. It was freezing and started snowing that morning, not really the perfect weather to go out, but we did anyways! We had about 30 people that went out as companions to different areas around the city to pass out flyers and invite people to the open house next friday. Hopefully we get a good turn out! Good thing we bundled up good before we left, it was cold out there! haha 

We went out Wednesday night with the elders quorum president, and it's always interesting when two members start talking. You begin with a lesson, and then the people start talking and talking and by the time you realize what time it is, you are well past curfew. yup...awesome. :) As long as we are helping others come to Christ! I guess I can give up a little bit of my sleeping time. When someone finally looked at their watch and decided it was really was almost 11! Yikes! So we said a closing prayer and headed home :) 

Miracles this week with Lupita! She has been talking a lot recently with Daniela, a girl in the ward that got baptized about a year ago. And, she is finally starting to use the things we are teaching her. She wants to read the Book of Mormon for real this time. She actually has a desire to pray each night and morning. And, she is working with a counselor and at the addiction class to stop drinking. It truly does all start with a desire to change and to be better. I have realized more and more that if we have a desire to do something, and really have a desire, we will achieve it with the help of the Lord. It's amazing! We can really see and work miracles in our own lives and in the lives of others by helping and supporting them :) 

It's definitely been a challenge, being on a mission. But, the miracles I see each and every day make it so much more worth it. Maybe I'm not best friends with my companion, but God knows why I need to be with her. And, it's great! When we decide to change and to allow God to help, anything is possible! 

I can't believe I hit my year mark this week. Things have gone by way too quickly...but I want to make the very most of every moment I have here on my mission! 
Thanks for all the love and support! You're the best! 
Love you all!!
Hermana Jessica Peterson

Monday, February 24, 2014

Planning...God's way to tell us what He wants us to do!

Our district representing the sunny weather here with our sunglasses! They are awesome :) 

So, this week has been fantastic, and crazy, and I feel like I just emailed yesterday. But, so much happened this week! 

First off, I am definitely not in the best of shape since it look about 3 days to not be super sore from zone pday! haha It was a blast though. I wish we got to get out and play sports more often, but I guess sisters like painting their nails over soccer...ugh. haha But, it's still a blast! 

So, sorry ahead of time. Things are going to be very out of order, but this is how my brain works sometimes. haha It was a great and crazy week for sure! 

We go and do service at our Bishop's house every week to help out in their basement. They have a thrift store so to say that is just all donated and free for anyone that needs it. It's awesome! So, we come and organize clothes and help out with things. And, we have our personal interviews and planning sessions with the bishop, so it's pretty great! We always come in with our clothes to change, and then we go back out to work after we finish for the day. Well, our clothes were sitting in a bag by the front door, and Bishop thought they were another bag of donations! So, we were about to change and get ready to leave when we couldn't find our clothes. We asked bishop if he had seen a blue skirt, or a black shirt, or a black coat, or tights, and one by one, he let us know that they were in the washing machine getting cleaned! My comp's skirt was on the floor in another pile. Our shoes were tied up in a bag at the very bottom with a bunch of others. So, we were without clothes! haha So, good thing we were at a thrift store...we went downstairs and found some new clothes and got new outfits! It was pretty great. So, our Bishop was kind enough to finish washing our clothes and return them to us on Sunday. :) 

Church was amazing! We taught Sunday school for the youth and it was great! They all loved it :) We sang a song that they are practicing to sing in church and then we talked about teaching others and helping them have the desire to search for more knowledge. So, we broke up the kids into groups of 'companionships' and had them study a section of the plan of Salvation. They had their scriptures, Preach My Gospel, and the Plan of Salvation pamphlet to study from, and this sheet that has hundreds of scriptures about the Plan too. It was great. We were going to leave time to let them role play, but class was over. The kids were super excited though to start talking to their friends and inviting them to learn more :) 

Also, Lupita and Luis came to church today, and she came up to sing with us when the Relief Society sand during Sacrament. Roberto and Mariela came too with their daughter, and brought his sister-in-law who wants to continue coming to church and learning more! Woohoo! We have an apt set up to see them this weekend :) And, Aide and Jose came to church with their family. He is finally out of the hospital and looks great! In a wheel chair with his leg all bandaged up, but for all that happened, he is alive and doing well. We get to go see them this week too! God really does bless us when we are striving to do all that He asks of us! And, addiction class was great too! People speak so fast sometimes though! haha So, I struggled a little bit to translate for Lupita quickly enough as people were still talking. But, it's getting better each week! And, she loves it! 

So, exciting news!!! We are trying to open up a new Spanish group up in our proselyting area, so we are organizing an open house for next week! It's a ton of work, but is going to be super exciting :) We are going this weekend to pass out flyers to everyone and to get people excited to come. Hopefully we get a lot of support from the wards in the stake and can get everyone on board and see a lot of success come from it. It's going to help the work progress for sure in this area! Woohoo! 

We have been working with one of our less-actives recently and making goals for him to start working with the bishop on his repentance process....and he went to talk to him yesterday!!!! Woohoo! Miracles! So, we are going back over tonight to hear all about it and to help him take the next steps to receiving the priesthood and being a stronger member in the church :) 
The spanish missionaries in front of the temple! What up! We are definitely like a family here. It's legit! 

We got to go to the temple this week and it was amazing! I saw then new video too! It was so much fun. I love just sitting there and thinking about everything in life. I started talking to an elder in the temple about symbolism and about awe-inspiring things that happen there. It's incredible. I think my mind was blown with how many things I learned! I absolutely loved it! 

Well, sorry this is really scattered, but it's been a great week. I have loved everything, and I can't believe that my mission is already a year over! Crazy! 

I love you so much!!! You are so amazing! Thanks for your love and support :) 

Hermana Jessica Peterson

Our zone at conference this past week! It was great and we were all celebrating for Valentine's Day on the mission :) 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A new description of God

Hey family!!!

First off, I hope you had an amazing week and saw miracles! Because I definitely did :) 

We had zone conference this week and talked about God and who He is to us. The first thing we teach as missionaries is who God is. But, sometimes we just skip over it after saying He is our Father with flesh and bones. If someone asked you to describe God to them, how could you? If it was someone who thought God was just a spirit, or an idea, or had no belief in Him whatsoever. It's interesting, and it helped me change my viewpoint on who God really is to me. God is my Father, and that makes me His daughter. He is a loving Father who wants the very best for us, His children. He does have a body, just like we do, and that's why He wants us to succeed here, so that we can become like Him. We are trying each and everyday to be better and be more like Him. He prepared this earth and everything we have so that we could be successful. He wants more than anything that we could return and live with Him again, but He isn't going to take away our greatest blessing, our agency. He wants us to choose. But He gives us all the tools we need. Sometimes we kneel down to pray and say the same words we said yesterday. Sometimes we open our scriptures and skim through the words just to say we read. We go to church and our mind wanders about what we are doing that week until the meetings are over. But what about sacrifice? What about our ability to change? We can't do things because it's simply what we do, we need to do them because it's how we are. We are children of God. We can return with Him again. This life is hard, but if we sacrifice like Christ did, we can receive all that God has to offer us. We aren't expected to do the same, but it's those times when we really need a break, we can think about Him. Christ didn't ask for a break in the middle of Gethsemane, He asked for strength. We can do the same. I'm beginning to understand who God really is. 

We stopped by to see Carlos Luna this week. He is a less-active who no one has seen in years. We texted him, he answered, so we went to meet him. He is a 19 year old boy who was baptized about 4 years ago by another member in the ward who is now inactive too. It's so sad to see these people go away from the church because they don't feel loved and supported. But, we talked to him about God and about the importance of doing things for Him, and not for anyone else. He decided it's his time to really come back to church and be strong. He is thinking about preparing for a mission too! Hopefully he can be the one to bring his friend back into the church too now :) 

So this past week we have seen tons of miracles with less-actives! They are finally moving in the right directions spiritually, now we just need some help getting them to church! We only had a few minutes to go and see hna villatoros, so we decided to leave a prayer with her and her kids. As we stood up from the prayer, she just turned to us and said, I want to go to church! She hasn't been in a long time, and keeps saying she needs to come, but hasn't actually decided if it's what she wants to do or not, but she accepted us to find a ride for her for next week! 

We fasted Sunday for our investigators, and we had miracles immediately. All of our investigators cancelled on us this week. We tried referrals, potentials, and everything else we could think of, and no one was home. It was hard, and definitely tried our faith and our patience. People would cancel 30 minutes before an apt, or just not be home when they always are. But, Sunday morning, we picked up a member to come with us to see Lupita. We sat there in awe as the member taught and testified to our investigator of the blessings of the gospel. She couldn't come to church because of prior commitments with the family, but wanted to go to the addiction class with us that night. We went to pick her up for the addiction class and she followed us there. The class was in English, so I translated. Part way through the class, they begin to share their own thoughts and feelings. The first two, I just let her listen to the spirit she felt. The third person translated for herself, and then I tried something I have never done before. Others started talking, and I just translated into her ear so she could understand everything and feel the spirit. It was a miracle for her and for me. It truly is amazing the blessings God gives to us to understand these people, to find ways to help them, and to recognize the miracles in our own lives. I love it! 

Well, I have to get going so we aren't late to our dinner apt. But, I just want to let you know how much I love you! You are amazing in every way. I hope you all know that :) 

Have an amazing week! Love you!!!
Hermana Jessica Peterson