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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Hey hey!!!

Happy Valentine's Day on Friday!!! Hope everyone enjoys it and has a great day :) 
Mom and Dad, you better have plans to go out! The kids can definitely stay home. haha 
Love you all! 
I thought this card was pretty funny...and kinda describes our family together! Just crazy, laughing, and always having fun. :) 

This week was crazy, but so exciting too! We are serving up in the north side of the mission now, and it's great. The ward is huge, and I am getting to know people little by little. It's going to take forever I think...haha but hopefully with God's help I can get to know them all. It's always a fun opportunity to meet new people and find ways to help them too! 

Tuesday night we got to spend some time with the bishop here. It happened to work out perfectly. He is fantastic and is going to be a great help in the missionary work here in the ward. 

One of the less actives that we teach called us Tuesday night worried because her husband was in a really bad car crash. He had shattered his leg and was in critical condition. We couldn't get down there Tuesday night, but we kept in contact. He ended up being put in a hospital in Aurora, and the sisters down there went to see him. We met the wife at home Wednesday night with a couple in the ward. The brother was going to give her a blessing. It was a miracle! We had an amazing lesson about the power of the spirit in our lives and the blessings that this gospel brings to us. Then, the brother gave her a blessing of comfort. She told us that earlier that afternoon, her husband had come out of surgery. The first thing that he said was that he wanted to have her for eternity. He was so scared that he would have lost his own life, and that he hadn't done the things here that he needed to in order to have his family for eternity. They want to work now to prepare to enter the temple. God sometimes really does need to hurt us sometimes in order to help us. (Watch the video at the bottom- The Will of God) We need to work together to find our true potential here. And God knows best how to help. 

Friday night, we went to visit a less active. He taught me a lot about the power of the atonement in my own life. He is struggling right now to begin his repentance process so that he can become clean of his past life. He is struggling to begin. He knows why. He understands how it will help, but he doesn't have the courage to begin. It's amazing to think how the spirit really does speak to us as we are trying to help His child. Whenever I think about someone not repenting, the thought always comes to mind, why? We are the sons and daughters of God, and He wants to help us. We always deserve the atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives. 

As I was sitting in church yesterday, I was thinking a lot about the power of the atonement. It is incredible. It allows us to change and to become new people. As I was thinking about the people that have changed on my mission, I sometimes forget about myself. I am the one changing and becoming better. 

Yesterday was my companion's birthday. I attacked her with balloons and a sign I had made for her the night before. It was super funny! So, being a birthday, I got up and made her french toast and cut up a bunch of fruit with some yogurt and mango water. She loved it! haha I guess others like our family traditions too. :) She ate in bed and I came and sat on the other side. haha Good times! I miss all the family breakfast-in-beds! It's an excuse to make a fun breakfast and then eat in bed...what else could anyone ask for?? haha Our bishop brought a chocolate cake to church and the district enjoyed it after the meetings were over. Sister Abeyta put in an apple for me so I could enjoy the party too :) 

Things are going by so quickly!! The days seem to take forever, but the weeks go by in a blur. I can't even remember what has happened once I sit down to write. I guess life is going by much quicker. Just shows how important it is to enjoy every moment of it! 

Just wanted to say how much I love all of you. You really do mean so much to me and have changed my life so much. Hope you have an absolutely amazing week and are strengthened by the atonement in your life!  :) 
Love you all!!!!

Hermana Jessica Peterson

Just some thoughts on the atonement: 

Take life a day at a time. We need to live each moment at the time we are living. 
When we sin it does something to us. We become farther away from God. When we repent, it changes us. We become different people because of the atonement that has affected us. 

Elder D Todd Christofferson-The will of God
We must be willing to accept and even seek corrections. 
The little current bush was cut back, and he was sad. "How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth, and now you have cut me down. I thought you were the gardener here."
"Look, I am the gardener here."
"How could you do this to me?" 
"I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do. I want you to be a current bush." 
After blooming and producing fruit, the current bush again said, "Thank you gardener for cutting me down so that I could grow. Thank you for loving me enough to hurt me."

As the soldier doesn't receive his promotion, he says to God, "I've done everything I could to measure up. How could you do this to me?"
And he remembers those words, "I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do."
As we understand the will of God, the bitterness leaves, and we ask for forgiveness. 
"Thank you mister gardener for cutting me down. For loving me enough to hurt me." 
We can all reach God's expectations. We can pray for his love-inspired correction. We can become the people he wants and expects us to become. We can be His children. 

As I was watching this short clip, the thought came to mind of how I act like this way too often. I expect some great reward for all my hard work, but instead I feel like it has all gone to waste. It hasn't. Our work allows us to become better and find our true potential. We may feel like God is punishing us at times, but really he is finding ways to make us even stronger and better. We really do need to be cut down at times in order to grow. We should be telling God, "Thank you God for loving me enough to hurt me.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monte Vista :)

Hey Family!!!!!

So, I'm in my new area!!

That's why I didn't get to write yesterday. But, things are already crazy. 

We found out Saturday night that I was moving. Sunday was spent packing up and getting everything done and ready, getting plans ready for next week for Hna Jones, and then making sure the area was ready for a new sister to come in. It was a lot of work, but super fun! The sink at the Garcia's wasn't working in the kitchen, so their dishes from all weekend piled up all over the counters in the kitchen. I didn't realize how many dishes they use in 2 days between the 4 of them! We decided to help and do some service. So, we went to the garage, found a cooler and loaded up all the dirty dishes. We hauled them upstairs to the bathroom and filled up the entire bath tub with hot soapy water. Then we spent about 2 hours talking and cleaning dishes. We realized we had to leave soon to get to the stake center for transfers. So, we pulled out the bottom rack of the dishwasher and loaded up all the plates and put it back in to dry. It's definitely going to be different not living there anymore! I'm going to miss the Garcia's for sure. But, changes are always good! 

Last week was interesting to say the least...Hna Jones got super sick and so I was trying to work as much as I could at home in the mornings to let her rest up. The weather here hasn't been too bad, but I think I'll agree with Alyssa when I say some people are whimps! haha We got voicemails friday and saturday saying we couldn't drive all morning due to bad weather conditions. Have the missionaries back home been able to leave in months then? I always thought that was a funny rule, but I guess when they don't know if drivers have ever driven in snow, it's a little scarier. 

We started reading with an amazing family last week and it's been amazing! They are both trying to gain a testimony in the gospel and are really struggling. But, after each chapter, they are both finding ways to apply it to their lives. I have never done that before my mission. Every time I read the Book of Mormon, I write something about that chapter and how I can apply a new skill to my life. I just need to figure out a way to have a better memory and actually try to develop it throughout the day! I'm lucky to remember what I said 5 minutes ago! But, Beba said something really cool the other night. We were reading in the first chapters of 1 Nephi and she was surprised at the great faith that Nephi had. She said how she needs to have the faith right now to study and try to gain a testimony of the gospel. It was nothing we said, the scriptures teach everything we ever would need to know. We just need to let them know that and help them to take the first steps to understanding. 

I was reading David's blog post about finding peace in the most difficult times. It's truly incredible to find that there really is peace in everything because of our knowledge of the Savior Jesus Christ. It reminds me of a mormon message, I don't remember the name, but it's about President Eyring I believe telling a story of when he was on a plane and the wing caught on fire. He was spiraling downwards and there was a lady screaming next to him. But, he felt complete peace. We feel peace not because we aren't scared, but because we know everything will be okay. Things will go on. We will overcome everything we need to do as we allow Christ to help us. We can't do it on our own. We need his help in everything we do. We can't do this on our own.

I was thinking a lot about my mission this morning. What I have learned. How I have been changed. The things that have happened. It seems like yesterday that I left, but so many things have happened. I have learned how to be stronger through the hardest of times, and plead with God for help. I have been crying with tears of joy as someone that I love decides to be strong in the gospel of Christ. 

I love this gospel with all my heart. I know that I am exactly where I need to be. I can't wait to continue to see the changes taking place in myself and in those around me. 

I love you all! 
Stay strong and be faithful always. "All things will work out!" 
Hermana Jessica Peterson