Monday, November 13, 2017

Can you hear my voice this time?

We're gathered here today to remember our dear loved one Sister Evensen, who is graduating from this period of her mortal life. She was a fighter. Her name will always be engraved on the hearts of many in Bama including for starters my own. This soldier has changed my life and impacted the history of the world. Tallahassee 6 is gaining the best of the best of the best SIR. I truly had the time of my life fighting dragons with her. Only Jesus Christ and probably Mama Suz truly understand how much I adore and love Liz Evensen from Alpine Utah. I thank my Heavenly Father every day that she is a soul I have in this life to call my friend.

On another note, this week changed my mission. We have some really incredible people we're working with. One of our bff members Sister Schuerman (Nikos aka Dumbledore's mom) referred us to her neighbor and Katrina is SO COOL. She loved the Restoration and when we taught her about Joseph Smith she was like "whoa, I have chills." It was cool. But there were a lot of distractions so even though she got a lot out of it we didn't really feel the spirit, it was weird haha. 

Thursday the RS threw a baby shower for Marina Ramos at Olive Garden! Oh it was such a blast! I love this woman with all my heart she is so great! Her mom was visiting from Moldova and only speaks Russian. Well when we were leaving her mom grabbed my bag of leftovers and would not give it back because she thought it was hers.. I was anxious. I wanted my leftovers woman. I EAT CANNED SOUP, GIVE ME MY RAVIOLI! Long story short through an awkward broken conversation I got my food.... I'll spare you the details...

Friday we had a mission wide no car day and it was supposed to be really faith promoting and seeing a bunch of miracles but we just got stranded and had to walk and waste a bunch of time...... I guess it built our character or something. HAHAH

Saturday my testimony got wrecked. We visited a family who hasn't come to church in a while and apparently they converted to Catholicism. He was so nicely and cunningly vicious. Like he would compliment us and then just stab doctrine and testimony and he liked completely ripped apart the character of Joseph Smith. We left on a good note but all that night my spirit was hurting so bad. The next day at church was not a fix. In Sunday School our class very quickly got into deep doctrine and the elders were scrambling like turkeys because their investigator was there for the first time and she was SO FREAKED OUT! So basically it was like a million stress levels and a half. 
By the end of the block I was drained. The elders had a baptism for these two kids right after church and that's when God lifted all my burdens off my back. President Jurgens over our stake, pulled me and Sister Evensen out to ask us about something and we ended up debriefing our work with him. He gave us so much good advice about being a missionary for Jesus Christ and truly understanding what we are offering people. He told us that the "darkest night is just before the dawn." It changed my mission. I felt so powerful walking out of that divinely appointed meeting. The rest of the day went seamlessly. And the most piercing miracle of my full-time service occurred. 

Two days previous we met a kid named Damelle who was home early from school. Because of time this was the only house we knocked on in this huge cul-de-sac. When we came back to see him Sunday night I felt a special presence of something about to take place that I would forever be a witness to. His mother then answered the door. Damelle was attending a night session at their church but we told her who we were and Danyka invited us in. We sat five feet away from her small, humble, living room and we answered questions she had about God. We explained to her how important our message of the Restoration of Jesus Christ's gospel is and the spirit shielded the entire room. Every word that we spoke was not from us but it pierced her heart with truth. Danyka heard, for the first time in her life, two ordained ministers of Jesus Christ. She is getting baptized December 9th and I plead with each person reading this to pray for her family. Pray that they will not forget that night.

Sometimes being a missionary is rough. But Jesus Christ never had it easy, so why should we? He will shape our backs to carry our load. He is working through us at every turn. Brothers and Sisters, I testify to you that this truly is the fullness of times. God has a prophet on this earth. Now is the time to arise and bring our families back with us. 

"It doesn't matter how hard you hit, it matters how hard you get hit and get up and keep going."
-SISTER  p e t e r s e n ☀

Monday, November 6, 2017

Because He Lives

My baby brother turned 18 years old. Whenever I think about God not being real and life just taking me here and there, I reflect on what has happened to me in the past two years since I turned 18. Since I turned 18 I have graduated high school, survived jumping out of a plane, gone through breakups, lost friends, gained friends, seen loved ones pass away, received blessings in the temple, watched my family hurt, felt alone, got my associates degree, left my family, cried myself to sleep, had a witness from the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and served as a full-time missionary for 10 months in the Southern United States. All of that since I was 18.

When I think that God is not around, I am reminded of all the things God has helped me conquer. I know that without a doubt He is in the details of my life. But how is this possible? Because "God so loved the world, He gave His Only Begotten Son." Jesus Christ has carried me through grace by grace, day by day to where I am now. I might not recognize that He's in every morning, giving me the strength to kneel down next to my bed at 6:30 am, just following a long hot day of tracting. I might not realize that He sends His comforter to my heart after every vile encounter we have. I might not realize in the moment that all things work together for my good. But when we look back at what He has carried us through, there is no doubt in my mind that God is real. And Jesus Christ is my Redeemer.

I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives.

-the field is white already to harvest..
The blessing it is to carry this testimony day to day and minute by minute to the hearts of my brothers and sisters here in Alabama is indescribable. Jesus Christ is real. He lives and He knows you by name. "If I were and angel" I would stand on the rooftops of Fairhope and pierce every heart within the sound of my voice. Friends, I can only do so much as a missionary. I can only knock on so many doors a day. I can only stay awake during so many study prayers. I can only laugh at the same gospel jokes so many times. But I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I love each one of you so very much, but I am so grateful I get to spend this time away from you to serve my Father in Heaven. Live everyday to serve others and you will feel the power of Jesus Christ change you.

- SISTER  p e t e r s e n☀

-live in Fairhope Library (:
oh, ps, because this was a serious email..... we're getting smartphones in January WOOOT WOOOOOOOO. And I ate crab legs this week. And I got more ant bites. And I slept on the floor. And I made Sister Evensen laugh so hard she spit out her water everywhere. And we spent a whole dinner hour walking around the Disneyland of all grocery stores. And I had a nerf war with kid Boxx. And we made homemade pizzas on Halloween and the only thing that makes me happier than little kids who really believe they are Elsa and Ninjas is pizza.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Quality vs. Quantity


The Lord directs our plans! That's a fact of life. Thursday we went into downtown Fairhope to contact at this Farmer's Market. As we were driving into town, there were witches everywhere!!! On bikes and roaming the streets all decked out black pointy hats strolling around. We jumped out of the car and found out that there was a huge charity witch bike ride! I LOVE FAIRHOPE! We contacted a bunch and watched the parade, it was a blast! Oh and we were casually on tv because the news reporter was filming right next to us... (: 

MEAGAN! Send prayers for our dear friend! We met her at Subway a few months ago and we saw her again and she is so stoked to learn more and meet! MIRACLE. I'm telling you what she was a straight answer to tons of prayers! 

-Dogwood girls at the 5k- High class stuff here. Frankly Scarlett.
Saturday the Elders ran in a 5k (Turkey Trot) and they took 1st and 2nd! HOLLA! We were at the finish line cheering them on! It was so, so, so freezing cold, but with all those race vendors and such, it was #worthit.

Yesterday, I had to speak in Sacrament Meeting with President Smith. That's right, President Smith as in the President Clint W. Smith of the Florida Tallahassee Mission. :]  I wasn't stressed at all. Anywho, I spoke on overcoming the world and I took a spin on overcoming the natural man through Faith, Hope, and Charity. For charity I talked about how my mom has grown to love and forgive our family cat after clawing up her favorite couch. It was a crowd pleasa. I love being around President Smith, he just brightens my soul. But dang it they pulled a prank on us! 

So Bishop Boxx has a specific spot in our church parking lot that he likes to park in. Over the past several weeks we think it's so funny to race him and try and take his parking spot before ward council and such. Well, yesterday Bishop Boxx legit pretended to be really mad in front of President Smith that we've been stealing his parking spot, and then this morning for interviews President very seriously rebuked me and Sister Evensen, telling us we need to respect Bishop Boxx. We felt pretty bad and we were also annoyed with Bishop because he knows we're just trying to be funny. Well, I get into my interview with President and he just starts laughing! Apparently, after our fireside last night, Bishop and President devised this twisted plan over dinner to make us feel really bad. President knew the whole time that it's all lighthearted fun! He apologized if he was too harsh but I was just so joyfully surprised that President Smith is a real life jokster!!! I LOVE MY PRIESTHOOD LEADERS (:

We have been having kind of a dry spell the past several weeks in our area but this past week we have seen a billion miracles! I got to pondering about the work we've been doing. In Elder Ballard's book Our Search for Happiness he says, 

"'The quality of our lives.' It's an interesting phrase. I suspect most people think of this concept in terms of the comforts and conveniences they enjoy. But I prefer to think that the quality of our lives has more to do with substance than style. A quality life is one that positively influences others and makes the world around it a better place in which to live. A quality life is one that is constantly growing, expanding its horizons and enlarging its borders. A quality life is one that is filled with love and loyalty, patience and perseverance, kindness and compassion. A quality life is one that is based on eternal potential and not confined to this life only. A quality life is a life well-lived."

I know I am surrounded by quality people. I have given a quality effort. We might not have a huge teaching pool, but we have quality individuals we have the opportunity to be around. I have had a quality mission, and that's all that I think really matters to me, and the Lord. 

Bring more quality blessings into the world around you! I love you! I genuinely love each of you very much! 

-SISTER  p e t e r s e n ☀

-Witch ride
- My best pal Nikos put on his Dumbledore costume when we went for dinner.
 Legit he is the coolest human I know.

 Nikos found his twin. I have the best humans in my life here. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

I look around me and I see it isn't so

The world is BEAUTIFUL! I don't care if it rains or pours or storms the world and the people in it are BEAUTIFUL!

From getting donuts with our Soul Sister, Sister Dykes, to Tallahassee, to Church Tour adventures with Bishop Boxx! This week was SO MUCH FUN!

Thursday we drove to Tallahassee for an exchange. We were on FSU campus! It was so fun! Tons of people to talk to!!! We got to teach some awesome people! And basically we walked allllllll day hahaha. It was great! We had to sprint across campus to meet someone and I felt like I was in a movie! It was so fun and Sister Jenkins is legit the coolest person I know. 

Sunday was awesome! We had a crazy storm blow in and got stranded at the church. Meanwhile, Bishop took us on a tour of the rafters. And then later that night, everyone came to the church for ADDY'S BAPTISM!!! AHHH. Here are my thoughts. Heavenly Father knows us. He knows each and everyone of us by name. I had a couple of very personal experiences this week and I cannot deny that God knows me. He knows it and I know it. And I know what we're doing matters. When Addy's dad confirmed her a member of the church he gave her a blessing from her Father in Heaven and it was powerful. I felt the power of the Holy Ghost touch every person in that room. We did a small talk about rainbows and the promises we make at baptism. We are all colorful lights making an impact on the world! And the amazing part is that everyone has the light of Christ! Every single person is a child of God! 
I have cared too much about what everyone in this town thinks about me wearing a nametag and I have cared too much about walking up to their fancy houses. I have cared too much about people loving their own church. I DON'T CARE ANYMORE. Because the joy and love I felt in Addy's confirmation blessing, I KNOW they do not have that in their lives!


Go out and love them to death (: (: (: (: I promise you that's what we're doing. We are ALL enlisted. We might not be perfect 
missionaries. We might get a little distracted by their cute dog or the weather, but I can tell you one thing...


I love you all!

-SISTER  p e t e r s e n ☀

Monday, October 16, 2017

Touchdowns for Jesus

🏈Yesterday I went to a rock concert church and it was...... pretty awesome, actually if we didn't have the priesthood, and temples, and the Book of Mormon, and the fullness of the gospel, and stuff, I might consider converting. Just imagine how much me and Sister Evensen worshipped yesterday, it was awesome. They had fog machines and laser lights and a yelling pastor and the whole nine yards. It was great! Very apostate, but great!

🏈TRACY CAME TO CHURCH. I REPEAT TRACY CAME TO CHURCH! No texts, no calls, nothing for weeks! And then, the gospel principles door opened and she walked in and sat down next to me like it was no big deal. IT WAS A HUGE DEAL. Wow. We couldn't even sit still we were so happy. I'm still smiling just writing this.

🏈We finished Addy's lessons yesterday (: She's getting baptized next Sunday! Super super super excited! 

🏈Sister Evensen is twenty. aka super old. Either I have dirty glasses or she has wrinkles...

🏈Friday we ate at a member's home and she fed us pizza, God is real. 

🏈Marina!!! Wow. WOW. Wednesday night I taught the Ramos family with Sister Pipe. We taught very simply and powerfully why Jesus Christ is our Savior through the atonement. It was very spiritual. The best part of the lesson to me was when we asked her if she feels God's love and she told us yes. Because she would never be able to sacrifice her child for anyone. I know my words are weak, but this evening was very pivotal for her. I am so grateful for all the unseen angels in their living room that night. Thank you all for her prayers. Please, keep praying. She is so, so very close. I love this family very much.

🏈Finally, our triumphant baking experiment. Me and Sister Evensen threw some stuff in a mixer and called them pumpkin cookies. I was very skeptical of how they would turn out. When the beeper on the oven went off, I asked Sister Evensen how they turned out. She turned and with the most loving look she exclaimed, "They're BEAUTIFUL."

Love you all! The weather dropped to the 70's today, really starting to feel like fall! Oh yeah, this is the true church and that's a fact. So at the great and spacious building church, the pastor gave a pretty bumpin speech. He said that thousands of fans don't buy season tickets to watch 11 grown men bend over in a huddle on the football field. They want to see how that huddle effects the game. That's how our church, scriptures, and prayer is. What are we taking onto the field after we have our personal huddle with God? 

Get your game face on. Go wear your jersey with confidence in the true and living God.

- SISTER  p e t e r s e n ☀

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hurricane Nate: Forecast for disappointment.

I'll cut to chase, I'm still alive. Nate hit over in Mississippi. It's always a sad day when they tell you you're gonna get a hurricane and then it never happens..(Irma, Jose, Nate) Quit playin with my heart Al Roker.

Tuesday- Embarked on a man hunt for people to teach. We biked. We walked. We danced. We sang. We knocked. We worked our little butts off. And as it turns out, the Lord is very mindful of His servants. We were led straight to Missy and Sophie's front porch! Missy was raised all hell fire damnation, and demonic crap, which has caused her to become somewhat agnostic. We testified of the Plan of Happiness and just seeing the light and love that filled their home. Wow. Sophie is 10 and she is the cutest girl in my life. Pretty much a miracle if I ever did see one.

Wednesday- 9 MONTH MARK BABY! We had to spend the day at Transfer Spot in Pensacola.. it was hot, hot, hot. BUT, I got to see our Elders from the MTC so that was super fun! Oh man at Chick-fil-A I couldn't decide what to order so I let ONE person go in front of me and he turned out to be the 100th customer of the day so he got free food and cookies!!! UGH I WAS SO SO SO ANGRY AGHHHHH. Still mad just thinking about it. Lesson learned.

SHOUT OUT~ Tiff birthed my new baby niece!!!!! <3 
family is forever, that's what's up.

Thursday- In the car for 6 hours to be at Mission Leadership Council, but don't worry I told the whole story of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat to Sister Evensen with music included. MLC was hilarious but turns out I'm the only person in the mission who understands quality humor, so yes I was the only one laughing basically the whole time. HAHAH!

Friday- Zone Conference in our building. It was craziness. Basically, Thursday night we drove straight to the church, set up tables, drove home, slept, came back to the church. So my little tush was sitting for almost two days! It was a good conference but the energy level was low. We did everything we could to pump it up, BUT THEN we got word of the hurricane coming in!!! Dang that was super exciting! 
Ok best part of the whole day, Sister Evensen was a champ and got her flu shot!! We supported her the whole way, she never would have got there without us. (; but fo reals she was a flippin baller getting the needle plunged into her arm!

Saturday- We wake up to texts and phone calls from the Zone Leaders that they are evacuating us! HAHAHAH We were SO EXCITED. Throughout the day we got assigned and reassigned to other missionaries/members homes. We finally ended up staying at our Stake President's home with his family. Then a miracle happened inside my soul...

The Jurgens made their kids get our stuff from the car, now that's quality service.
This whole week I was having somewhat of a pity party being a little pooper. I was really missing home. I was sick and tired of my leadership role. I felt like we didn't get to work much. My head and body have been throbbing (because of the drastic changes in air pressure), I was basically done. Friday night I prayed to God and I told Him I just can't do it. I cannot be the missionary He expects of me. I received a spiritual confirmation "hold on til tomorrow". Saturday we spent literally from about 3:30 until 10:30 playing games and eating and laughing and telling stories with the Jurgens family through the storm. They had a bedroom set up for us. We mentioned caramel popcorn and they made it. I had homemade waffles with Mrs. Buttersworth Syrup! CHECKMATE ATHEISTS!!! They treated us like royalty! We had permission to watch Aladdin. For the first time in my mission I felt like a normal person. This was probably one of the funnest nights I've had this year. 

Sister Evensen's first time watching Aladdin, obviously converted her.

As I was writing in my journal that night I realized that my true favorite part of the whole day was teaching Ben the Word of Wisdom. I found so much joy teaching him about the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And that's when I understood true happiness. Don't misunderstand me, Saturday was beyond fun on so many levels, but nothing will ever compare to the pure joy I feel when I find, teach, and baptize God's children. Nothing compares to the pain this burden is. Nothing compares to the happiness that enters my soul to look into someone's eyes and proclaim to them a God who created them and loves them. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father sent Hurricane Nate, which ps never even touched our area just some intense thunderstorms, to let my see first hand the contrast of my normal life and what I'm doing now. Commandments, mission rules, standards, promises, covenants, they are not restrictive, I promise they create the perfect and only path for true undying joy. I know that God wants me here. I know that we are making a difference in His kingdom.

I know that God answers prayers.

-SISTER  p e t e r s e n ☀
Permanently moving to Alabama just for the sunsets.

Monday, October 2, 2017

If we don't find Tommy or Gina this week I'll be highly disappointed.

Halfway baby. How did that happen? Couldn't tell ya. State the obvious, this week was not a perfect fantasy. I'll be honest with you, we're hardcore on the struggle bus to find new investigators right now. Fairhope is a really fun, artsy city, kind of like Park City, therefore people don't recognize anything missing from their lives. BUT that's ok! We're still searching. 

​Sis Asberry made me caramel popcorn for General Conference <3
General Conference was fab. Like totes ma goats the realist. I could get very deep with you and share all my personal insights, but it would take me years to write that. I loved hearing from God. Read the Book of Mormon daily. It is true. There are no coincidences. Show your love for others by putting your phone down long enough to serve them. Yes, that applies to you who are reading this thinking that doesn't apply to you.

Just a note on my favorite humans in Fairhope (:

Marina and Byron Ramos~ Marina is taking the lessons right now and we're taking things very slow with her. She is from Moldova and her foundation of Jesus Christ is really shaky, unlike every soul in the south, she really isn't Christian. The sisters have been teaching her for a long time, helping her know about Jesus Christ enough to come to know Him. Also she's pregnant and she is the cutest lady in my life! Brother Ramos is a convert himself and he absolutely loves the gospel. Yesterday they had us over for dinner and she made me BORCHT (Spence, I don't know if that's how you spell it). It was the kindest thing in my life. She made it because I mentioned how I wanted to try it one day! The spiritual highlight of the night was when we asked about their experiences watching conference. Brother Ramos told us his only goal in life is to have his priesthood restored so he can be worthy to give his children father's blessings. I almost fell out of my chair the spirit was so raw and powerful.

I've never thought about how blessed I have been in my life until I served a mission. 

Sister Evensen is stuck with me another six weeks and we have our work cut out. It is our reaction to the hard situation that we're in that will distinguish us from the world. Also, I love her more than peanut butter so it's gonna stay bumpin.

Sis Evensen sent this...She
s determined to teach Sister Petersen the Splits!
Mid-Mission Crisis: A milestone that one reaches halfway through serving a Full-Time LDS mission (typically 9-12 month mark), when said missionary reaches the capacity to handle emotional, physical, spiritual stress and starts to question or doubt the effectiveness of the past several months. Usually resulting in a state of panic causing much stress and self criticism, while recognizing desired improvements and goals that may or may not be reached by the time they are released.

Antidote: "Take my hand, we'll make it I swear, we're livin' on a prayer."

SISTER  p e t e r s e n ☀