Monday, July 31, 2017

secret to missionarying: make 'em laugh

What a wonderful, spirit filled week..!

Let me just tell you a thing or two about the Marianna ward. 
1. They are more jolly than anyone I've ever met
2. They know how to cook!

So I got two stories for y'all. Saturday night we had a ward pioneer celebration. There was tons and tons of BBQ'd meat. OH MY YUM!!! Holy canoli kids it was divine! So here's the hitch, it started at 5:00 but our Ward Mission Leader insisted on doing the pioneer/restoration program beforehand, to make sure we had everyone's attention before it got crazy with the food. Debatable. Anywho! This program lasted and hour and twenty five minutes. I am not kidding right now. Meanwhile the whole gym smelled like brisket and baked beans. My dad would've had a cardiac arrest. Halfway through this program I was about to lose it, seriously I was mad. And then, I looked back, and half the crowd was filled with non members who were engaged in the video that was being played. It was a call to repentance for me! The whole night ended very well! SO many people came and the food.... oh the food... I don't think I can ever live anywhere besides the south and that's a fact. But a plus to the program was that our primary marched into the gym singing "The Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked and Walked and Walked..." It was super cute to see all five of them singing their hearts out.

Alright alright alright. Sunday morning during ward council they were asking us about the situation when we got a gun pulled on us. I thought they asked, "What did you do? (Meaning how did you react to the gun)" but what they meant was "What did you do? (Meaning WHY did they pull a gun)" So I answered saying, "We just said Howard Wimberly" THE ROOM EXPLODED WITH LAUGHTER! Everyone thought that's why we got the gun, Brother Wimberly is our ward mission leader ps, it was so funny! Bro. W knew what I meant but everyone was laughing so hard I couldn't correct myself. The stake president was attending and he leaned over and said "I think Sister Petersen has been in this ward too long, y'all are rubbing off on her!" Everyone thought it was so funny, they even patted my back and commented on it the rest of the day. They all think I'm very witty. 

Moral of this story: I felt extremely bad because I hate jokes at the expense of another person, but the ward has officially accepted me as their own. #worthit  Bishop Sims pulled an audible for 5th Sunday and gave us a missionary pump up speech. Coincidence that I get them on my good side and then they help us....? Perhaps. There is no secret ingredient..... but the ward thinks I'm funny so that's a win.

This week has been very humbling and inspiring. Our investigators are all struggling right now with various issues. It really hurts my heart and some nights I just don't know what more to do for them. In Fort Walton a member told me "the difference between grieving and discouragement is the lack of hope." I learned in zone conference that we have to have faith, but not just faith, Faith in the savior Jesus Christ. I have faith that He succors his people. I have faith this is his work, his children, his timing. 

-sister  P E T E R S E N ☀

ps. I know I sound like my father in this entire email, don't remind me :):):):):)

my favorite humans send me my favorite things :) :) :) 

Frankly Scarlett this is my dream house!

(PICTURES ARE NOT LOADING!! I'll try again later, mom)

Monday, July 24, 2017

8 cows for you, 8 cows for you, EVERYONE gets 8 cows

T'was a good week in the neighborhood~~~ 

Our investigator Shon is getting baptized August 26th (: (: (: Southern and Caitlyn are getting baptized August 19th (: (: (: both really special days to me and now I'm so excited I get to share it with them! 

Shon is the chillest woman I've ever met! She is so awesome! She is pregnant right now and she has 3 kiddos and she's going to school and UGH I JUST LOVE HER! Every time she says the closing prayer and she always says "Thank you for sending my sisters" :'D I love her to pieces. Oh and she has like the SICKEST dreads! Anywho, we had the funnest lesson with her the other day. I was on an exchange with Sister Smario and we re-taught the Restoration using little plastic cups. Shon was very quiet and truly taking in everything we explained.. but her cousin Leeah! HAHAHA OH WHAT A HOOT! Leeah had so many questions and she was so much fun she just kept laughing and asking us REALLY off the wall topic questions like if her daughter's name was actually from the Bible or if she made it up. HAHA It was so much fun teaching them together!

Southern and Caitlyn! Wow I love these girls more than life itself I swear it to ya. They are so near and dear to my heart. Their mom is a convert from many, many years ago and because of moving and life, she has become a little distant from activity in the church, but she has such a firm foundation of the Savior and the truthfulness of this gospel. The other day we stopped by Tonya's (the mom) shop, and she got really emotional as we talked about how much progress her girls have been making. They're 12 & 17 (: I just love this family so much. 

My sweet Clint and Lana (: wow. You have never met a family that is closer to receiving the gospel. Our Bishop is very mindful of them and he advised us to go slow and test the waters a bit. Today we got to meet with them and teach the Restoration. It was really, really good. They had some concerns and questions and even though we can't answer all of those, we did help them understand God's love for His children. (: They are perfect and I am so excited. KEEP THEM IN YOUR PRAYERS!

Trolls under a bridge (:
So yes, tis true I have gained a pound here or there while serving in the FTM. But listen up. God looketh upon the heart! WE LOOK AT PEOPLE'S HEARTS!!! I love every single person the moment I look into their eyes, yes some don't want our message but I love them so much! I love that I get to represent the Savior in their homes and on their streets. They are not ugly to me. They do not have ugly hearts, they have ignorant hearts. Searching hearts. Broken hearts. I truly believe that the way we talk about others and the attention we give them shows them how much we care. This subject weighs heavily on my mind when I hear someone had a bad experience with someone in the church, or with missionaries, or had a "difficult" companion. Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve said, "To effectively serve others we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. We cannot completely fulfill our covenant obligation to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless we see them through God’s eyes. This expanded perspective will open our hearts to the disappointments, fears, and heartaches of others."
Second Coming Skies (: 

So even if they seem ugly on the outside... or on the inside... treat them like an 8 cow soul! BECAUSE GOSH DANG IT, I AM AN 8 COW WOMAN, YA HEAR?

Moroni 7:48  “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.”

share the love. share the cows.
-sister  P E T E R S E N ☀   pics for the win:
Polaroids (:
Southern and Caitlyn (:

Monday, July 17, 2017


durelo.. it's too hard to sleep. I got a cockroach on my pillow, yes I screamed. Sister Viola had a rude awakening the day before we had to leave early for transfers. SIS P DOESN'T SHARE HER PILLOW WITH ROACHES! Bed bugs.. you're killin me Marianna.

SISTER ANDERSON! My new comp. What a cutie. Love her. Love the dress. Love her. She's super awesome! She's from Texas and she's been out for quite some time, yeah she's just way awesome! We were in the same zone in Fort Walton so luckily we didn't have that awkward "I-have-no-idea-who-my-companion-is-I'll-just-try-to-read-their-nametag-really-fast-when-they-get-off-the-van" situation. 

We are having just some awesome times here in Jackson County. I'll share a couple quickies that stood out this week.

HELL. Just had to grab your attention there. Our Sunday School teacher Bro. Wimberly walks into the room, and he gets really quiet and serious. So we all quiet down and turn towards him and he goes, "I'm sure y'all noticed this obscene word on the board." And on the board behind him the word HELL is written pretty big, and then he erases it and says "I wrote it up there to get your attention, now that I have it......" And then he began teaching. HAHAAHAHAHAAH IT WAS SO FUNNY. I had real tears coming down my face because it was so stinking random!! Gotta love it.

TRISH THE WISH COME TRUE- A few weeks ago we stopped by this potential's home and she talks..... A LOT. She shared her whole life story with us and honestly would not let us leave. So I was a little hesitant to go back but she kept coming to mind as we often pass her home in this town. We stopped by her home and, it was one of the most powerful restoration lessons I have experienced on my mission. When we started talking about prophets she stopped us and asked if we believed there were prophets on the earth today. We testified throughout the lesson. She had genuine questions. Trish is searching for the truth. There was a huge power that enveloped her living room. I know she felt the spirit. At the beginning we invited her to pray and she declined and at the end of the lesson she offered a heartfelt plea to our Father in Heaven. It was so powerful. One of those moments when everything is so clear why Heavenly Father calls us weak, and simple kids, on missions. I love her!

Stay classy my dears. Don't miss out on the moments.

-sister  P E T E R S E N☀
pic of the district, so long. 
and... me feeding a gator.. it got intense.. but it was on a dock.. not in a tent.. just to clarify.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pulling Weeds

Honestly here's my food SQUIRREL for thought for ya. We have tons of investigators and that's why I hardly ever write about them because I can't even keep up with all their stories. So we've been working really hard on trying to SQUIRREL discern the progressing people. And ​ for whatever reason, we SQUIRREL aren't even trying to find, and Heavenly Father keeps putting people in our path and dang it I just can't keep up with all these sheep sometimes! Like having investigators is not the problem but helping them see the fruits SQUIRREL of the gospel is!

Earlier this week we stopped by a former investigator's house, Penny, and offered her any service (super slacking on our service hours...). Well she invited
SQUIRREL us back the next day to weed her "garden". Sounds good right? We get there the following day and she shows us her JUNGLE of weeds and plants and SQUIRREL overgrown moss and vines and sprouts and trees and I just wanted to say "this mess is too messy!" Needless to say we doused SQUIRREL ourselves with deet, rolled up our sleeves and got to work in the 98* 75% humidity. We sweat, we pulled, we swatted, we yanked, we gathered, we burned, but we did not plant a single plant. Well by the end her "garden" looked SQUIRREL so beautiful. It was clean and fresh. Even though we were absolutely disgusting, we didn't care. She invited us in and she had ordered us pizza (TENDER MERCY JUST FOR SIS P's UNDYING LOVE OF THE GREAT ITALIAN DELICACY).


ok bye. oh and try guessing what I was fed this week, I'll give you a hint.... SQUIRREL.

-sister  P E T E R S E N 🌿 4:20

PS - Elder Bradley Gunnell is sadly departing from our Marianna district and going back into the world of the great and spacious building aka Denver. Long live the MaryHadALittleLambDistrict. 

*whistles Hunger Games theme. 

He fought a good fight. 
He stayed the course. 
He kept the faith


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Made in America: Stateside Missionary

January 4, 2017, I entered the Provo MTC as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Six months into my full-time service, I have truly embraced and understood my assignment to labor in the Florida, Tallahassee Mission.

Last September I received my mission call with news that I would be serving in Florida, Tallahassee, a "stateside" mission. Upon initial response I was so excited and honored to even have a call in my hands and a place known that Heavenly Father wanted to send me to. As the weeks passed I became somewhat apprehensive and even a little bit embarrassed that I wasn't going to a foreign mission. This increased the disappointment for my mission assignment, but did not waver my decision to serve my Savior. 
From the moment I entered the MTC I believed that I needed to be in this mission because of the companions I've had the honor to serve with, this was only the tip of the iceberg. In my first assigned area, Fort Walton Beach 2nd Ward, the Eglin Military Air Force Base was just outside the city limits. Many of the individuals we worked with had strong ties to the military and most of them were veterans themselves. I grew up with two grandfathers who were vets, and serving with the military so close deepened my appreciation for the men and women who defend our freedoms. A month ago I was transferred to my second area, the Marianna Ward in Jackson county. The miracle it has been to serve in Marianna has completely changed who I am and my vision of serving the Lord as a missionary in the United States of America.

The United States gained it's independence and was preserved as a nation by the grace of our Almighty King. In small town America, I have understood what this country means to God....

Last Wednesday night I sat on the front porch and of a black woman's home. She works a full-time job, while raising her two kids, and being a football coach- Brandi believes in God. I sat across from her as mosquitoes buzzed around us, and sweat gathered on the back of our necks. This quiet neighborhood seemed completely still as we testified to her of Joseph Smith's first vision. The spirit that engulfed the three of us that evening was unlike anything I've ever experienced. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that this is Christ's church back on the Earth. The spirit pounded in my heart and tears streamed down our faces as we shared with our sister her divine destiny. Reflecting on this moment in my mission seemed to make everything about my mission call clear. I finally understood through the testifying power of the spirit that this is God's chosen country. He provided this land to lay the foundation for the restoration of the gospel. This is a choice land above all other lands. Stateside missionaries are here fortifying the homeland to ensure that we can continue to be a standard for all nations. High on the mountain top our banner is unfurled, nations now look up, it waves to all the world. I am a soldier in God's army, an American Soldier, beside my brothers and my sisters, and I am proud to be an American. 

Last June I went to Disneyland with my family. (: As the 10 of us adults and baby Daniel rode through the "It's a Small World" boat ride, I saw a preview of God's plan for His children. Throughout the ride all different cultures that Disney has represented through it's films are shown but when you come to the final room of the ride, all the characters are wearing white and the whole room is lit up. America is the standard for the nations, we are the light of the world, but this light will shine brighter and brighter until the perfect day, when all nations, kindreds, and tongues, will unite and declare with one voice, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last." Because of the Savior of the world who is Jesus Christ, we will finally be free from all bondage. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior. I know that He is the light and the life of this world. I know that this country is a special and holy land. His love does not discriminate between the sinner and the saint. He is perfect, and he's calling our names to join with him and rejoice in the freedom that did not come free. As brothers and sisters, we are one nation under God.

"As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free. His truth is marching on."

-sister  P E T E R S E N [?]