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