December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!! I love Skype! Dec. 27, 2010

It was so fun to be able to see and talk to the family. I could not stop smiling and giggling. I love my family so much. I know that I was sent into this family for a reason. There are so many things about my family that I have come to love and adore even more now that I’ve been on a mission, but number one is how much our home is centered on the gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ. We were not perfect, but I do see our family striving to be the best, starting with the change of our nightly team chant when I was young, It went from don’t let the bed bugs bite to the Pedersen’s choose the right and I think in that moment we really set the tone on how our home was to be like. I'm grateful for countless Family home evenings, lessons, Sundays, family councils and father interviews, talks with Mom and Dad one on one. Date nights with Mom and Dad and the time spent with family on numerous family vacations away from the world and wrapped up in our own family. When I mean wrapped up, I think of the countless memories where we are crammed into a moterhome on our way to the next adventure with nothing to fill the time but conversations of life, relationships and God. I have so many memories to choose from and this Christmas was just one of them.
I truly missed the family this Christmas and felt a lot like Christopher, in feeling I was going to cry the whole time, but when It came down to it, I knew this is where I wanted to be. This is where my love has been. A missionary truly is a person who leaves there family for a time so that others can be together with there's for eternity. I love that plaque you sent me. We are creating bonds like the ones I have with the family. I truly have felt that as we have spent time with families in the ward. They are not all members here and mostly we have part member homes or less-active spouses so it is a lot of work on our hands, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have found such a great love for the families here. I just can't believe the love and compassion they have shown toward us.
I feel unworthy and weak sometimes in the things that I know and the things that I receive because I want to be so much more than I am and to give so much more than I have but I know I can accomplish it through Jesus Christ because as I look to him for my example I learn so much more and it pushes me to become more and give more. I know this Gospel teaches truth and there is nothing better than that. God is real and he knows me by name. He knows my life story and my life lessons and every once in awhile he reminds me of what I have learned by testing that knowledge because he loves me. I love him with all of my heart. When I talk with my Heavenly Father I feel he is listening. I talk with him and he listens with love because that is what I feel on the other end. It's something I cannot explain but I know everyone can feel if they just kneel and listen for the feeling.
Oh man I know I don’t have a whole lot of time left and sometimes I catch myself worrying about coming home and what I will do and then I think, who got me here? God, what has kept me here? God, who has provided my way? God. When I look at it, I know what life will hold for me; happiness, because I know I will never turn away from this gospel, and that brings lasting happiness and everything else I can worry about later. God knows and that is enough for me. A promise was made to us by our mission president, President Barry who I have come to love and admire more than I ever thought I would. He and his wife sister Barry are truly inspired of God and they have become like my parents. They have such a love about them that can't be explained but felt every moment of every day. He promised to us that the missionaries that serve obediently and give there all to God will never leave the church and that our converts will become strong members of the church. I live for that promise, not for me but for my future family and for the families of my converts. I love them all so much. I was praying for them individually the other night, because I worry about them and I want to know what is happening, but I felt a great love for them. It is the best feeling you will ever feel.
I love my mission! Not for the name tag, or the area, or the experiences I’ve gained which have changed my view and belief more than words can say, but it is the people that have changed my life. The people make all the difference. I LOVE the people here. Oh man. How great is my life right now? I just can't believe sometimes the blessing that lay before me every day. I have come to realize that I have always wanted to serve a mission, I just never knew it. What a blessing it has been.

Oh my goodness! Thank you for the pictures! Who's babies are all these? Just kidding I know who's they are, it's just crazy! They are all so old. Brandon is huge! The gifts that you made were awesome and what fun new ideas. The girls look amazing! So stinkin cute. Man, I just love Christmas! Tell everyone that I love them so much! I love you family!

Love you!
~your Sister Pedersen~

December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!!! Five days...Dec.19, 2010

Oh my goodness! I could pee my pants with excitement! Actually I think I just might cry the whole time I'm on the phone, so be prepared! Holy packages! I felt so spoiled! I opened the package but not the gifts. I'm enjoying my little goodies. I was looking forward to the meat and the holiday roll, My two favorite things about Christmas, along with egg nog. Oh my goodness I'm so jealous that Christopher got to watch it's a wonderful life! I have been craving to watch that movie. We did a service project and wrapped over 100 gifts for the primary and we sat in silence. I wanted to blare Christmas music and put on a Christmas movie. It reminded me of home. There Christmas party was sweet. They don't decorate but wow do they eat... I'm telling you, at the rate I'm going you won't recognize me when I get back. lol I'm trying to control portions but they don't stop feeding you, and everything is covered in butter and oil and if not pure sugar. They had this lemon something or other that is made of butter, sugar and vanilla and it was to die for but I only had a bit and thank heavens I did. I'm loving the sticks, it's hard to find people but since when has missionary work been easy..., but I love the people!

The Christmas devotional/mission conference was sweet. We were taught and inspired to go and teach. Then we had the talent show. I was so sick but I put on a happy face and sang with sister hafslund and we did great. Then Santa came out right after, so it was perfect. I was so nervous. I hate singing when I'm nervous but I got it on tape and it doesn't sound super good because my camera is slowly dying but oh well. I'm sending the family a package with the pictures. It should be going out today or else it won't get there in time, so we'll see.

Oh I'm so excited! This is going to be so fun. I'm writing my questions as they come. I hope you're doing the same. I'm working hard and focusing on the work even though I'm excited to talk to you all. I'll call maybe at 1. We'll see about the members. I'll probably call from the cell first then call back on member phone. Pray for the Dyess family. The parent's Sissy and Todd need to get married or need to move away from each other and then they all can be baptized. They have been taught all the lessons but things keep coming up that take them away from coming to church and being baptized. Pray that they will find strength to endure and know what is right and that they will be baptized this coming Sunday, if it be God's will. They need this gospel so bad. I know it will change their life and I know it has already made an impact. Pray for them please.

I love you all!!!!

Talk to you in five days~ Your forever favorite sister Missionary

December 13, 2010

Transferred to Hilliard December 13, 2010

Ok first Of all! Holy cow! I Feel like I haven't talk to you in weeks! My e-mail was flooded with e-mails. it was sweet! 14 e-mails! lol. Maybe less. lol

Anyways, If you haven't noticed, I have been transferred to Hilliard Florida. It is way north. We also cover parts of Georgia. It is so southern and the people are so sweet but very country. They all have thick southern accents and yesterday we got into a discussion of black and whites. Man you would have thought that would have gone away by now. It was weird. But the spirit fixed it and we shared our testimonies and it was dissolved. I felt kind of offended because black people are my favorite, lol but I just said what I feel and we moved on. This town is so small that it only has one stop light in the whole county. lol. Everyone gives directions from that light. lol it's totally like that Carrie Underwood song. I can't remember how it goes but she talks about her small town with one light. It's like that here. We have to drive about 30 to 45 min. to get to a grocery store. lol I'm talking real small home town. What is funny is that although it's small there are over a hundred church bases here and everyone is very religious and hard headed, so most of our baptisms will come from members. We have a small branch of about 30 or more that come, but it could be a ward if the 120 less actives came to church. We do a lot of less-active work here. The branch is amazing and I love them already! They are loud and family centered and everyone is related to everyone. lol They are just perfect. As soon as I knew I was being transferred I wanted to go to this county. As soon as I saw that sister Christensen was leaving home and her area was opening up and I met her trainee, I knew I was going there. So my new Companion is Sister Haflund and she is so cute! She is a red head from Utah~ YA I know I get another one, her and sister Mitchell are actually a lot alike in some ways. So I'm follow-up training her. This will be her second transfer. She is an only child and sings so well! It is amazing and she is an actress and has done theater all her life so we get along well, singing at the top of our lungs. We are actually going to sing together at the Christmas party. She wasn't invited to sing and I was and so I just called and asked if she could sings with me and they said yes. We really don't have time to put together that song you sent me mom and plus we would need background music so we just pick "Santa clause is coming to town." It is going to be super cute, and it totally fits because Santa will come out right after we sing. It's going to be a blast and we can have fun with it, without any stress of memorizing words and we are going to jazz it up and someone already had background music to it, so it was perfect. We might dress up as elves. lol we'll see. Let's see, there isn't really anything else to say. I'm still getting to know the area but this place is really spread out so we have to drive from house to house instead of walking, which I don't mind because it's freezing here! 20 degrees! What! I know we have been breaking records all over the place; SO I don't mind being in a warm car.

Daddy thank you so much for your letter that you sent me and Christopher. It really helped me. I cried and then laughed so hard when you talked about people dropping their shovels for fast food. lol I don't know If I could use that analogy here, lol but it works. In fact it was perfect for me. I guess I was a little sad but I do feel the blessings from heaven and I'm so excited for this new area. The members are so sweet so I know we can use them to progress the work even further. We will fill the chapel, instead of just the front row. lol I'm way excited!~ Thank you mom for always writing to me too. I love hearing from you and you always remind me of who I am. My parents and family are my strength and I love hearing from them.

We are always in short supply on numbers so that we can more easily rely on the lord and see his hand in everything he does for us; that I know to be true. I have felt it all my life and I also have felt his strength all my life. I would not be who I am today if God wouldn't have melted and molded me into what I need to be. I guess all of those things give way to other elements, where I think it would be appropriate for me to say God broke me to mold me because I would not give because of my stubbornness, until I was broken and then turned to him. Now I offer him my heart and there is no more breaking but now molding. I think that is what has been the difference in my mission. I hope that makes sense.

I can't believe all the changes the house is going through? I will have a room when I get home! I was just telling someone, I wouldn't have a room so I guess I'll have to go straight to school when I get home. lol Well I guess I can linger a bit now. lol How fun! So what will you do with dad music equipment now? Downstairs? Oh my goodness I laughed so hard when you said Griswold Christmas. That is so dad! I love it. Dad is always so optimistic and has so many great things inside his head to do, and then when it doesn't fit, he get's a little mad well not mad so much anymore, but then he fixes it and moves on to more improvements. lol so funny. I think the music with the light is a great Idea. How fun. Dad is really creative!

Happy Birthday Kellin my love!!! I'm sending a family Christmas gift and then one for Kellin. SO kids do not get jealous, it's for his birthday. Speaking of presents, I haven't got your second one yet, but I'm sure if it got to my old area, sister cutler will bring it to conference.

I'm so excited for Christmas! Where I'll be for Christmas doesn't get service so I have to call on their phone. So I guess if Christopher is calling at 9 so will I. We are on the same time zone. I can't give you our number but tell me what number you want me to call and I will. Just let me know how it will work. I wonder if I call one phone and Christopher another and put on speaker, we can still hear each other. I can only talk for 30-45 min. 1hour at the most. So write down questions so there is no wasted time. I'm so excited!!!!!! So what does it mean when Christopher said he is in charge of a sector? Like a district leader and is his companion new? Is he training? I'm missing info here. lol

Kenny is doing so awesome!!!!! I'm so proud of him and I can't wait to talk to him and everyone! lol I listen to the last tape you sent me and I loved it. It was so stinkin cute! So awesome with songs and Daniel being funny and dad is so funny, I forgot how funny. lol and mom singing. Oh I can listen to any music that is uplifting and that bring my thoughts to Christ, so I have been listening to mom sing and it makes me miss her. It's so fun to be able to listen to normal church music but it made me appreciate mo tab.

Well I love you all so much and I'll talk to you soon! Let me know on money anything you want me to answer or anything else. It will be the last letter before we talk!!!! ahhhhh!!! So happy!~ I love the family~

Your forever daughter
Your sister missionary~ Sister Pedersen~

December 6, 2010

No Letters? December 6, 2010

So sad, no letters today.... That's ok I guess. (She did end up getting them, we were just a couple minutes behind her) I know everyone is busy with Christmas and everything going on. I feel like that this week too. I think it's because of Transfers. We get calls tonight to see if I stay or if I go. This week has been a little harder. We have either dropped our investigators because they are not progressing or they have dropped us because they are no longer interested. It has been a little sad but I have full faith and trust in my Heavenly Father that everything will work out as long as I'm giving it my all and going forth in faith. God will provide.

This experience here has been so amazing. It's funny how we are called to teach others to come unto Christ and by doing so we are changed through teaching them. I have learned so much about myself and about the Gospel and how I can teach in simplicity to help my investigators see what they are missing. Many people search for the Gospel all their lives and never know what they are searching for, they just know that there is a void and they know not how to fill it because they know not where to find the filling. We are the filling. Lol makes me think of doughnuts, but it's true. A in my opinion a doughnut is not complete without raspberry filling. I love this work with all my heart. As I come up to my year mark it forces me to take a look back into my mission and see where I have changed but also see where there is much room for improvement. I'm constantly in the fire of change and truly I love it. It is hard but I wouldn't want it any other way. It' wouldn't be worth it if it wasn't hard. Plus nothing is impossible with God. I have come to know that very strongly these last three months. He is my strength in everything I do. Without him I can only accomplish so little, if not anything. I love my savior so much. I have only changed because he has made it possible for me to do so by his precious gift of the atonement. I know this church is true, with my whole heart! It fills me and my cup continues to run over with blessings that I feel I do not deserve but am truly grateful everyday for; our Family being one of the biggest ones on a very long list.

I love our family so much. Shanna sent me pictures of the family when you went to visit her in Idaho. The boys are huge and McKenna is getting so big. The family is so beautiful and Adam fit's in there as if he was always meant to be there. Shanna and Adam look so happy and man has Shanna and you lost weight. Holy thin cow! Well I know this letter is short but I'll get to talk to you all soon on the phone so prepare some questions. You said you forgot to write them all down last time so you all should do that .

Oh I got your package and it is so stinkin cute! I opened the Pringles today. I Love the little note that came with them. I stopped reading them because it gave the present away. lol I love the little tree; So cute. I also tried on the shoes and wore them for a half hour before they tore up the back of my heels and they were blistered and bleeding. Not pretty, so I know how much you love them so I think I'm going to send them back to you so you can have them. My feet have rejected them. lol. I'll have to find some shoes here with a low back on them. Thank you for sending them though.
I love you all so much and am excited to talk to you soon!
Love you~ your Sister Missionary

November 29, 2010

Happy Holidays 11-27-2010

Happy Holidays!!! I'm so excited for this Christmas season! This will give us another chance and opportunity to teach and testify of our Savoir in the most beautiful way, by using the miracle of his birth.

This week has been a little slow with all the students gone for thanksgiving but we have managed to keep ourselves busy and get in a few lessons with our investigators before they all left. We have had to drop a few of our investigators because they have not been willing to keep there commitments but I was happy to plant a seed into there life about what God's plan of happiness is for them. I hope that they will see and feel the difference and the impact of having that spirit there when we taught, and I hope that they will want to learn more. I love all my investigators so much and it is hard to drop them because you know how much it will change there life but it is there decision to act. We can do everything else but we cannot make them act. I hope they see and feel the difference enough to so something about it.

Well in the absence of all the students here at UF and the empty homes that we have knocked, we decided to take and run with it. We have left it everywhere on campus. We have plastered it on there cork boards and tables and walkways. (All legal) Then we went to all the apartment complexes and left them on doors. We made sure that when people did come home it would be promoted everywhere they looked so that there curiosity might be peeked to go look it up. We have also gotten everyone in the branch to start on there profiles and share it will all there friends. We handed out cards so students could pass them along as well, Plus with us talking to people about it, it’s going to be fantastic! This semester is coming to a close in a week and a half and wont start back up for almost a month, so this is the big stretch to use all the resources we can to get it out there. The media is not promoting it in Gainesville so we are all they got. We have faith that it will stick. We haven't seen it yet but seeds are planted and we are patiently and actively waiting for the harvest.

This has been a wonderful experience to be here on campus in Gainesville and I hope I have done everything the Lord would have me do. I hope I get to stay one more transfer, but I know God is in control so I have faith and trust in him that his call will always be right where he needs me to be.

With lots of love,
Your sister missionary

P.S. I have been asked to sing for our mission wide christmas devotional on the 17th. Not only am I nervous but I dont have any songs. I can sing whatever song I want, It just can't have romantice lyrics to it. Let me know what you think I should sing and then if you can, send me the music or let me know where I can find it on line so I can print it off. I would like the song to be fun. I dont want to put people to sleep.

November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!! November 27, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!!!

First of all, I love my family!
It is true, this Thanksgiving was not the same without the family but I knew it would be different. But it still was fun. I woke up with the feeling of Christmas and was instantly excited for the day! We went out to breakfast at the nearest place that was open, which happened to be a stake-n-shake. We went with everyone in our area and district. Since we are all on bikes except for one it needed to be close. The bike rack was so full that we started chaining them to the stair railing. The food was ok, but the Christmas music playing in the background while I held my Hot Chocolate with whip cream was the best part! We had fun. Then we went home and got everything ready. The other sisters had their dinner appt. at 12 and ours wasn't until 3. So we went and hit up some apartment complexes and put Mormon. org on all the doors. It was really creepy walking through the streets. There is no one here. Everything is closed and there are no cars on the streets. We could lie down in the street and watch the lights change color and we would never be hit. (Don't worry mom, I didn't actually do it, but I thought about It. lol) It was actually nice to have peace and quiet. We woke up to bird's chirping and realized that the construction workers took a brake too. Our next door lot is building a strip mall. It can get kind of noisy. I was thankful for the quiet this weekend. It made me realize how blessed I am just to have ears to hear the birds and feet to walk the streets and eyes to see the leaves change, (which the trees are not as beautiful as Medford but they do just fine) and a voice to share the gospel and sing as many Christmas songs as I can remember. I love it.

At 3 we went to Brother Jason's home and spent Thanksgiving with his wife and 6 kids and there next door neighbors as well as a brother and sister from the branch. The food was so good. It was just like home. I was kind of sad not to see anything weird and southern but I was glad that all of it was eatable. lol There family is so cute! He is the institute director by the way and totally hysterical. He is my every day source of entertainment and his teachings of the modern day prophets class is always amazing. Just a fantastic man and his wife is beautiful and kids even more so. There family was so fun and they all sing like crazy. I really felt like I was home. We played all kinds of games and I taught them how to play signs. It was a blast. They do this tradition in their family where they have to think of what they are grateful for and then find a scripture to go with it. I picked 3 Nephi 18:21 "Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." I told them about our tradition of what we do after family prayer, "good night sleep tight, the Pedersen's choose the right." I told them that I was so grateful that our family had made a habit of family prayer and how much it has brought our family close through the years. Even when we were so mad at each other we got over it through sticking our hand in and cheering our family on. It has become one of my favorite family traditions. I love my family!!! It was a great thanksgiving. Mom I bet your food was still amazing. I do have to say although there food was good; it's still not the food from home. I missed it.

I can't believe that it snowed there! I'm so jealous! Although it is getting very cold here, 71 degrees. lol. I think we might just get snow, even if I have to shave the ice myself and throw it up in the air for the effect; although by the time it gets to me, it might just be rain. I really love the weather. Not too hot and not too cold. The float looks so good! I would love to sing in it next year with you! Do we get the cute outfits too? I hope so. I know it would be a hassle but how fun!

No one is town so we decided to attack the campus with cards, that way when people come back to school, it is everywhere! I'm so excited to see if it works. Pray that people will open there eyes.
I love you all so much! Thank you for all your prayers!

Love your sister missionary!
~huge Hugs and kisses~

P.S. Breanne and Elicia look so cute! I miss them. Any other pictures from thanksgiving? Did Christopher send any?

November 20, 2010

All I can do is Cry... November 20, 2010

First of all, my love goes out to the Whitney's. I cried my eyes out as I read the e-mail you sent me. I'm at a complete loss for words; all I can do is cry. I'm so sorry that they have to go through this. I wish I could be there to console and support them but that is one of the reasons why I'm so thankful for the Gospel. We have the ward family to help support and help where ever needed. I think the reason why it hurts so bad is the fact that we are a family and I love them like my own. Please give them huge hugs and kisses for me. It really makes it more real. It makes what I teach everyday that much more important to share. I don't want to think about what it would be like to face that without the knowledge of God's plan for us. I know God loves each and every one of his children and will be there every step of the way if we but turn to him and give all we have then he will help us make it through. The atonement is real. I can say that more now than I ever could before. Jesus Christ is there waiting with open arms, waiting for us to run to him and take the comfort that he offers. I love the Whitney family so much and I pray that they find that comfort at this time.
Wow that letter kind of took it out of me. I'm really at a loss for words...
This week has been really fantastic. We have had a lot of success this week. We have received two referrals, our investigators are progressing and everything is going great. We even got permission to go to the Florida Gator game today!!!! It was crazy, the people here are crazy, but it was way fun and we sat with lots of the members that explained the crazy things they do and why, they also helped us learn how to sing the songs. lol It really has been a good week. I'm sorry this letter is going to be short but the library is closing. I'll send the president's letter to you tomorrow so that you can see the exciting week I had.  I love you a lot and the whole family. I got BreAnne and Elicia's letters. I wrote Elicia a letter because I'm not allowed to write back anyone on e-mail but I want to send her a letter, but I forgot their address. lol I know silly me. So let me know what it is so I can write her. As well as the Whitney's. Thank you so much!!!

I love the family like crazy!!
Love your forever Sister Missionary 

November 13, 2010

To a Better Week!! November 13, 2010

Oh man. I don’t know why but this e-mail made me a little home sick. I think it's the holidays coming up that make me feel that way. I know what Shanna and Adam are feeling. I’m sad that they don’t get to make it for Thanksgiving but they get to start their own traditions and start their family things. It was awesome that you surprised them. Everyone says that coming home is just like you never left. I don’t think it will be like that for me. Everything is changing including my School. lol. Kenny driving? What? He is not allowed to grow up and no one else either. Wow life is crazy. Time really does fly. I only have 8 months left. That is if I don’t stay for the late transfer. I need to start praying about it because they buy the tickets 15 weeks in advance and I need to apply for it first. I don’t know what to do, but at the same time, what is 6 more weeks at home when you can have 6 more weeks on my mission? This will never happen again. I don’t know. We will see what the Lord has in store for me. A lot of things will change when I get home, maybe even my major or I’ll just go back for another one. We’ll see.

Anyways, being here has been a great experience. People are not so excited about listening to us. They know our faces now and don’t want to listen to anything we have to say, especially since the talk on gay rights and they are very liberal here. I just keep praying that we will find grandpa Henrion’s. The people we teach like Christopher said are sweet and they feel the spirit, but they are just not willing to do anything about it.

We taught Armando and Brunardo about the word of wisdom and the law of chastity and then a couple days before our next lesson they went to a rave and got smashed and then stayed up all the next night too so they could get there school projects done so they had to cancel our appointment so they could sleep. We talked to them about how if they would have kept their commitment that they wouldn't be feeling sick, there projects would have been done and done better than when they are high and they wouldn't have needed to cancel. They said they understand but really don’t see it, even when the consequences are before their eyes. I can't tell you how much it hurts to see people take what you have taught them and feel the spirit and then just completely disregard what they have felt and what you have taught them. You start to wonder if they are even listening but you know they are by their faces and the questions they ask. Satan is so tricky. He knows them just as much as God does and they can't see who they are choosing instead. It is so sad to see. But we hope to make progress on Sunday for church and if not then we might have to drop them. Our teaching pool is small but we have one, which I’m so grateful for. God has blessed us. I just hope they can see what is before them. I want them so much to have it. I know this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we have a loving Heavenly Father who sent his Son to save us so that we can return to him and that we can know if it is really possible by the spirit.

Mom I really have never been hit so many times with people telling me what I believe, or that because of what I believe I'm going to hell, or that the Christ I believe in is different and he can't save me nor does God love me for what I believe. Honestly, I sit and I listen to them and there is no love coming from their lips nor is there love in their eyes for the people that they are talking to. I have prayed and asked God if what I have believed my whole life has been a lie and I have never felt so alone and empty. This Gospel is true! The Book of Mormon is true and there is nothing and no one that can tell me different. Thomas s. Monson is the prophet and I have been called by God to preach the Gospel here at this time on this campus. I don’t know why or who I need to find but I have given up everything to find them. I love this missionary work and they call it work for a reason and man I know why. It is hard but if it weren't, I don’t know if it would ever be worth it. It is meant to be hard. We are meant to get stuck in the mud sometimes so that God can teach us how he is able to pull us out. I love you all so much!! Happy Holidays!!!

With so much love~

Your sister Missionary~

November 11, 2010

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas!!! 11-08-10

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas......
I woke up this morning to a freezing cold apt. I like sleeping cold but this was ridiculous. So we checked to see how cold it was outside. 35 Degrees! Holy cow. I forgot that it gets this cold and it's supposed to get colder. So maybe I might get the feeling of thanksgiving and Christmas after all. We got a Christmas catalog the other day and it reminded me of home. It is during the Holidays the most that reminds me of home. We don't have a cd player so we have been singing Christmas songs like crazy. Sister Johnson thinks that I have been deprived as a child because I have never seen or listened to "forgotten Carols." The only song I have heard of is "homeless." But it's been fun. We also pulled out our sweats, long sleeves, jackets and hot chocolate just to make it really feel like winter. 
This week has been really slow. My Companion has been sick all week. Her poor body just can't take it. We have been to the doctor before and went again this week and need to go back in a month for some more tests. So I have been doing a lot of reading and cleaning and helping her get better. 
Friday was the best day. Although she was sore and still a little sick, after the doctors visit she felt much better. We got to go out and work. You really don't know how much you love it and miss it until you are stuck inside doing nothing. As a missionary you really just can't sit still. The mission makes you become A.D.D. It is a good thing because you become more productive than getting sucked into stupid things, but I do have to say I'm still not perfect at it. This Friday we also had a chance to get started and follow up on some member lessons and that is really picking up speed. We got new cards that members can fill out when we meet with them that kind of give them an idea of what they can be doing to help their friends receive the restored gospel. The end goal is to have a lesson in their home or their friends home but I can see that it is going to start off very small but once people feel the blessings and happiness and power they feel from sharing the gospel they won't be able to keep from sharing it. The single ward is a real blessing because they have many activities that they can invite their friends to as a starter to help them come to church. In Family wards there are not a whole lot of things that they can come to, to meet people except for church. So I'm grateful to be able to use that here in getting people involved with other members to show non-members that we are normal, fun people, and that there is something different that makes members shine. This singles branch is amazing. We are working with a member, Diana, who is preparing for her mission. She is amazing. She asked the bishop if she can speak in church so that she has an excuse to invite her friends to church. It really works too. The last time she did it 12 of her friends came to support her in her talk. Of course that was a year ago but we encouraged her to do it again or other things like it. She is in charge of some of the activities so it will be easy for her to invite like crazy, So we will see.
We also had another lesson with Armando and Brunardo. It wasn't what we hoped it to be because Brunardo wants to learn but Armando seems like he would accept it just because his friends do. It's difficult. We taught the law of chastity and word of wisdom and this lesson is always the make it or break it lesson. They said that they didn't know if they could follow that and it ended up being a long discussion but we left them with reading about faith and a strong testimony and blessings that will come from it if they will obey. They said they will pray about it before committing to it. We told them it's always good to pray about everything because God will give them an answer but they have to be willing to act on whatever the answer may be. They had a hard time with that but we will continue to follow up. I have really high hopes for them. I really pray that they will see the difference that it will make and really find a testimony of the things we are teaching. It's hard to give your heart to something and have it dashed but I am happy to do it knowing the way that it will change their lives.

I love being a missionary because of the look that people give you when they feel the spirit for the first time. You can see it in their eyes and there whole body language changes. That is one of the reasons why teaching the plan of salvation is my favorite, because if they didn't feel the spirit before (which they usually do, that's why you are teaching them), they really feel it then. That lesson brings so much peace and understanding and so much happiness in people's lives. Now if they only understand really what it takes to keep it. We can teach it and teach it but if they don't feel it for themselves, they will never make the proper changes to make it a part of their lives and become so that they can make those covenants of baptism. I want people to see it so bad but some just don't want to. It's the ones that are seeking that we are looking for. I strive everyday to find them. I love my Heavenly Father for sending me here and prompting me to serve. I truly will be forever changed because of it and I'm forever grateful!
I love you all so much and thank you for all your prayers and support!
Sorry this letter is short~ Hug Shanna and Adam for me!
With so much love!
Your Sister Missionary

November 1, 2010

Crazy, Crazy Week!! Nov. 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

Holy Cow! Maybe you should skip e-mailing me more often; I had 7 e-mails in my box this time. It has been an hour and I am now just getting to write back.
This week has gone well. We had a sweet experience with a less active who is struggling with her testimony, her name is Tina. She is dating a member but they both were baptized around the same time as the other and now are both not coming to church anymore, but they both have become very hard to get a hold of, but we found the best time for them is during lunch. So we set up an appt. to go to lunch and "get to know them". One of the reasons why Tina fell away was because she felt she was pressured into baptism and that the church still pressures her, which makes her feel uncomfortable. So we are taking it easy. When the apt came around we found out that we accidentally scheduled there lunch apt over a meeting with one of our referrals. With  Tina’s permission, we invited the referral, Janie to come eat with us. Janie brought a friend and Tina ended up coming alone because her boyfriend was out of town, so it ended up being a girl’s lunch. Janie asked all the right questions and by the end Tina had a few of her own. Come to find out Tina didn't really understand all of the lessons before she was baptized which is why she has been so apprehensive about coming back to church because she feels her testimony is not as strong as everyone else. It was a very sweet experience and if it were not for having the challenge to have a member at every lesson we would have rescheduled the apt with Janie or not invited her to lunch but we felt that Tina is a member and what better member to be there than someone who is struggling and needs the lessons again just as much as a new investigator. God truly guided us that day. It was amazing!

Well wow, I'll tell you why wow. This week has been CRAZY! I'm going to give you a play by play of how this last week has been.
Starting Saturday~ P-day, Stake Conference. It was all about being prepared. Last week on Sunday the Stake Presidency sent a letter to every ward and branch saying that that figuratively there has been a disaster and that they have to try to live off what they have right now. That means no shopping, or going out to eat (or for our branches case), no bumming off of parents. It was a challenge to see how prepared people really were. It really made people think about what they need to do and especially since there has been a big push to get a 72 hour kit and get all the food storage they can. I truly feel that this is so important. We never know what might happen. We need to be prepared so that we are not a burden to others but rather a help to those in need. 
Then transfer calls. None of us are being transferred, we are all staying. I didn't know how everyone felt about that but apparently we didn't figure something out or we did and the Lord is ready to work with us now that we are all getting along. Whatever way I'm happy to be staying. I can to learn a lot here and from my companion. I love this ward and it's really starting to take off.
Sunday~ Stake Conference President and Sister Barry spoke. It was amazing. Of course they talked about member missionary work but he said that we are getting on board with the new 'Our Faith' with It truly is inspired and we have seen a lot of success from it. We have three different referrals from it and they all brought there friends with them. It has been amazing!
Monday~ We find out that we even though we are not being transferred, that we are moving into a place closer to the institute and that has a washer and dryer!! Oh and on this day I realized how important dance is in my life. In past modern classes we have done what we call a tuck and roll several times, but I could never do them right. It was a summer salt onto your knees to stand. Well this particular morning I got onto my bike I realized my skirt was folded in the back where you could see my garments underneath so I stood up and pulled my skirt down and jerked my handle bars and before I knew it I slammed on my brakes and over my handle bars I went. Then a thought came to me, tuck and roll, before I knew it I was on my knees with my hands in the air yelling "I'm good". It was so awesome! I finally did it! Sister Cutler on the other hand who had crashed her bike and didn't have the same outcome as I did watched in horror. She looked more beat up than me. I told her I was fine which I was. I had a white jacket on and no dirt. I had one scratch and a bruised leg but I was perfect. I said, "I am really ok, let's go." She stopped me and through tears said you may be good but I'm going to need a minute. lol.  I love her so much. She was so scared for me. We finally got back on our bikes and headed to our appt. which we missed because of the wreck, but shortly rescheduled.
Tuesday~ transfers and p-day (Sister Backer and Mitchell and Elder VanGendren and Parker leave) I cried my eyes out. They have taught me things that I will never forget. I love them so much! They did a really cool thing; they gave us all our own "plates" with our names on it and all our notes from past meetings and everything a new missionary would need to know. It was so cute. Then they had all the departing missionaries bare their testimonies. It was so amazing and it filled the room with so much Spirit and drive to do the work more earnestly knowing that it is only for a short time that we are here.
Wednesday~ tabling for 6 hours. We were a little sun burnt, but it was good. There was a preacher screaming on the other side of us, so that was weird and kind of took away from the Spirit, but next time we will try singing. More cleaning and packing.
Thursday~ Zone conference we talked about the true doctrine of Christ and how much we need to apply it to our investigators and everything we do. We need to use the atonement when we feel like we need to rest and then keep going. I loved it. We have new Zone leaders. Elder Toney and Johnson. I have served around both. Tony, in Jax 2nd and Johnson was my district leader in Orange Park. It will be amazing! We also have a new district leader, Elder Fetty. He is nice, but I don't know him very well, but I'll get to. Then we did tabling. (Tour of the new place. So small that it will only fit church mice, we are not church mice, but large women, except sister cutler)
Friday~ Get new beds to fit the apt because the beds we had didn't fit. New bikes because the elders took my our last ones. Second tour of apt and they are finally done painting. Crazy day of teaching lessons.
Saturday~ Other sisters have a baptism. One of the most spiritual baptisms ever! her name is Zilan and the most amazing prepared loveable girl. I was asked to sing "I know that my redeemer lives". I balled through the whole thing and couldn't sing, and so the congregation sang until I gained composure. I sang the last verse. It was awesome! Then we moved into our new place. Three people showed up to help and nothing will fit. Very funny. We have been holding our breath since we finished. If we breathe the place might explode. lol  
Sunday~ sister cutler spoke and got so sick. Finished unpacking and moving furniture.
Monday~ Finally time to wash clothes, go shopping for food, and write e-mails.   
So as you can see I didn't have time this week to get on and tell you what happened. Yes my P-day is still on Saturday. This week is just crazy. I'm glad you got my tape and package. Did all the kids get there letter? Did Grandma Henrion? She wrote me back! I loved hearing from both my grandmas. I got a letter back from grandma Pedersen too. I love them. I also got a letter from Elicia. Tell her I sent her a letter but mailed it to Rexburg thinking she would get it before she left, but I guess not. Maybe she can call them and have them send it to her. I wrote it in July. I'm sad she didn't get it. 

This year's Halloween seems like you had so much fun. We didn't really get a Halloween but that's ok. We really couldn't have gone to the singles dance. lol that is just inappropriate. So we worked on Friday and Saturday and stayed in at night for Sunday. People are crazy here. It really does give people the excuse to wear nothing. So dumb. Halloween use to be such a fun, cute holiday. It still is as I can see from back home through the cute pictures you sent me but not here. Thank you for the package! It was perfect but you forgot a letter. I was thinking, lots of fun stuff but where is the love letter. lol Thank you family and mommy for sending it, after this weekend, I needed chocolate. Shanna looked so cute with Adam! I never thought of that. Sooooooo cute I love them so much! I miss them. You and dad were so cute too. I love the umbrella you added to it. So fun. Love it. Oh and yes the debit card would be nice to have. I didn't realize until I went to pay and I had nothing. lol oh well.

There are so many things that I want to say but I spent most of the time reading the e-mails. I love you all so much and I pray for you all individually every night. I love you. I hope you read my letters to all the family. Hug all the boys for me. I told each of the kids in their letters things they need to listen to or get that I think would be good for them, and that the whole family should listen to. Seriously find conversion of a Catholic and listen to it. Let me know if you can find it. It is amazing. I have said this many times, please try to find it and let me know when you do. It has changed my mission. Please don't put it off either. I pray for the Coffman's always and tell them I got their letters and that I will write them soon. I love you all. Shanna your letters is coming, I've been crazy I know. Love you forever! xoxoxoxoxoxxo
~Your Sister Missionary 

October 24, 2010

Amazing Week!! October 23, 2010

Although there are no letters this week from my dear family I decided to write you anyways. I'm sure you thought my p-day was on Tuesday so I don't get one this week, but I do. In fact I get one today, Tuesday and Saturday. That's just because Tuesday will be spent moving into the new place, if I'm still here. I don't know where I will go or if I go until tonight. I really want to stay. I had an overpowering feeling of how much I have learned here. I want to stay here to help these people.  I have come to understand how to teach people here more than anywhere else. I trust that the Lord will put me where people need me the most and where it is better for me to be. Oh by the way, my half way mark is on Wednesday. Crazy huh? I have been out for nine months. Wow times flies when you're having fun.
I hope that you got my package that I sent home. Dad I hope the shirt fits. I know you have gotten skinny but I didn't know how skinny. And Mom I got your letter. You know what is so crazy? The Book of Mormon that you gave her that I filled out, I have been trying to look for forever. I have only filled out one like that and I did it when I was a beehive. I was going to give it to Hannah burns but got too scared and didn't end up giving one to her until graduation night, but that one was not written in. It can be so nerve racking to share what you love with someone because they might reject what you treasure so much. I feel that a lot on my mission. But I have also met a lot of people who if nothing more thank me for sharing something that I'm so passionate and believe in so much. The seeds need to be planted somehow, even when it seems weird. Mom I'm so proud of you! If I was home and not have had the experiences that I have had I don't know if I could have done it. But I get my courage from my parents who taught me never to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon that I wrote so many years ago God hid from me so that at that moment when you needed strength the most it was there. We are never alone in this great work that we are a part of. God is ever mindful of what we need at the moment, even when we don't know what we need. I love you so much. Thank you for sharing that with me. It makes me really see how much going on a mission has blessed the family. I can truly say to anyone that is afraid to leave there family behind for a mission, that many blessings are in store for their family, more blessings than if they were to stay home. Oh man I love my mission! I have never felt more so now during this transfer.

This week has been amazing! We have been teaching this guy name Alex who is a very spiritual guy. We met him while tracting and had a very good first lesson with him but we still didn't know where he was at. He believes a lot of different things but is very in tune with the spirit most of the time. He came to church and really felt the spirit, which he said surprised him because he has never been to a church that feels like that. He doesn't believe in organized religion. But he feels he is one with the creator that gives him strength to do all things through love. He has studied in Bolivia and India and he has studied with the monks and the Dalai Lama. He is very smart but still a baby as to the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ because he believes there is no sin and that everyone is perfect the way God made them. So there is no need for a savior. We would have dropped him by now but there is something different about Alex that I just can't explain. Every once in awhile you will meet people who you just know need the gospel and you can see it in them. It forces you to try harder and be more patient and hold on longer. That is Alex, the one that seem like they will be eternal investigators but join sometime in their life. His case is different because he loves so much that nothing can go wrong because anything wrong (or a sin) is really an opportunity to change and become so much more so really nothing is ever bad. It really challenged us in teaching him.

We also had an appointment with this Christian fraternity that we thought was just a house. They seemed very interested so we went back. When we went back they were more interested in teaching us than in being taught. I finally gave up and took this opportunity to listen to what they had to say. It ended up being a scripture war in who is right and who is wrong. I hated it!!!! There was no spirit there. It was like they took my spirit and put it through a meat grinder. Among others things they believe that still don't make sense to me they said that we are not all children of God. That hurt me the worst. But I told them that I would pray and asked them to pray about it as well. I knelt down in my closet with tear filled eyes pleading to my Heavenly Father for understanding. I have been so conflicted as to what is truth and why it is. I hate one someone says "prove it". I can't show them how I feel but only can tell them and show them what we believe but that isn't enough. At the end of my Prayer I didn't get a distinct answer but I felt comforted that I could find out and understand as I continued to pray.
Through both of these people and many others that we have taught I wanted to understand what they believe. It is important to know where they are at so that we can better teach them. I finally took a white board and went crazy. I put down everything they know and I put down what atheist believe and what that might feel like and I drew out everything to try and understand. My companion was just sitting behind me, she had no idea what was going on but It had to come out on paper. Mom you know I'm visual, so after all of that, I realized how sad and empty I felt with all of that on the white board.
For a moment I felt how It would truly feel to be in there shoes. In my heart I had so many questions that just didn't seem answered. Then I filled in the gaps with what I know and added the plan of salvation. I cannot tell you how much that impacted me. I realized at that moment that we have it all. We really do. I may not understand everything about it. But we have the missing pieces. The spirit bore testimony to me at that moment of the truthfulness of the Gospel and taught me how I can teach from where they are and build to where I am.
 I felt so wonderful! I no longer felt sad, lonely and just empty. Sister Cutler said that she felt the emptiness too as we sat there looking at the board with all the missing pieces. I'm happy to have the Gospel in my life! It truly fills me! Prayers are answered. Not always right away, but they are answered. I love my heavenly father so much and I know that I am a child of God. No one can ever tell me other wise and I'm here so that people may know that and we have changed ever more because of it.

We are still teaching Alex and dropped the Baptist boys. We figured out that Alex just needs more explanation. But he believes most of it. There are two young men that we are teaching Bernardo and Armando. They are amazing and if not for the experience that I had during this past week, I would have not known the difference that there lesson could make for them. I don't have time to write it all but I'm sending what sister cutler wrote about it:

We got a referral from some Elder's who had received the referral, but when they realized that he was single and younger they turned him over to us cuz we're over the Single's ward here.  So we started teaching him, it's cool cuz he called in for a Book of Mormon cuz his friend that he's known for a long time went on a mission, so he got a little curious.  We called him and set up a time to go and he ended up having his friend there.  Our first lesson with them went alright, I thought.  But when we went back yesterday they both said that the last meeting went really well.  So they got something out of it that I didn't realize so that was good.  So when we were there yesterday they kept asking us so many question that were truly inspired one of the questions they asked us was what our favorite part of our mission was and so we both told them stories about how we saw the Book of Mormon change people's lives.  By the end of our stories one of the guys said wow I would read that book.  It was amazing!  Then every question after that was inspired that just led to the nest topic, we never needed to lead the lesson they did it all on their own.  There was only one time that I had to step in and interrupt and it was cuz we hadn't prayed yet.  But after that it just flowed so well.  We even brought a member with us and they found out that the friend of his went on his mission was in fact someone they both knew, it was crazy.  The thing is that we knew we needed to bring a member with us but we had an hour to find one so we started looking through the availability list of the ward members and I came across a few that I thought we could call but as soon as I got to Tatiana, I told Sis Pedersen to call her, totally forgetting that she didn't have a car.  But it all worked out the way it was supposed to.  By the end Bernardo, he's the one with a friend on a mission, asked if he could say the prayer.  It was so sweet and sincere; he even asked that Heavenly Father forgive him of his sins. 

It is so humbling to hear someone pray for their first time. 
It was the most amazing experience. These guys need the Gospel and are so ready to receive it. I love this work!!!!
I love you all so much and I'll tell you Tuesday where I'm going or if I'm staying. Love you all!
Your sister Missionary

October 19, 2010

My Promised Land.... October 16, 2010

So first of all, don't worry, we are on bikes and we are being safe. We almost always walk home together, all four of us. Our new apartment is even smaller than the one we have now and we still have 1 bathroom but we have a washer and dryer! and it is 5min. walking distance from the institute. It is cute from what I can see through the windows. lol it is a two story house but we live down stairs and someone else lives upstairs. It's a girl, don't worry. It should be a fun place to stay that is if I don't get transferred. It's funny cause it doesn't matter who is getting transferred we all have to pack and then pack the apt. to move. lol Our transfers are no longer on Thursdays but are now on Mondays (everyone else's p-day) so that everyone who wants to comes to transfers can. It will be weird to see how that happens being that our p-days are on Saturday. But I think I like it this way because that way everyone can get together and see the people who are new coming in and people that are going home and we all can be enlightened by hearing President and Sister Barry speak. Plus it takes less time away from the week and gives people time to unpack.

Sister Baker my last companion and Sister Mitchell my read headed companion and Elder Vangenderen my first district leader, are all going home!!!!! I'm so sad! This is the first set of missionaries that are going home that I have personally served with, Lame. But I'm excited to be able to see them before they leave. I have loved serving with them.

Everything is going so much better here. All four of us sat down and talked out our differences and really it all came down to pride. It is so stupid how much we let our pride get a hold of us. After watching a video on pride by Elder Uchtdorf, given to us by the AP's, It really was apparent how I stopped loving and caring like I should and how I let my pride and what I wanted get in the way. I was so blinded by what everyone else's problems were that I didn't take the time to see what was wrong with me. I fasted and prayed so hard for things to change and to see where I was wrong and then fix it. It is so amazing to see the drastic change in the feeling in our apt. and with the four of us. We have seen a lot of success this past week. It has been amazing. We are finding how to better work with members in this singles branch and we are starting to figure out who we can call on to help us.

It is so amazing to me how every time that I have had a problem and have gone to the Lord in prayer It seems that I still do not find direction right away, but then I humble myself and fast for it and really center my heart and focus, and that is when I began to find what I need. It may not always be the answer I was looking for, but my heart is filled with his love and tremendous gratitude for everything He has done for me and I can't help but be so happy, and that in and of itself makes a difference. It pulls me through and gives me strength to go on until that answer comes.

I don't know if I'll be transferred in two weeks or if I'll get to keep Sister Cutler, but I do know that God continues to have a plan for me and he gives me the strength and the mind set to accomplish everything that he has asked me to do. In Nephi he talks about going back to get the plates, and makes the statement, "For I know God giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them to accomplish it." So I didn't quote it perfectly but it's close.

It was so crazy, every time I read through the Book of Mormon, I am reminded of an experience that I had after my engagement was broke off and I read and finished The Book of Mormon on my own without assignment or without family for the first time in my life. I spent a lot of time in the scriptures going through that hard time and I came across a lot of scriptures that really helped me to see how much God loved me and How much he had provided for me. I was reading at the part in the Book of Mormon when Lehi and his family had reached the Promised Land and after Lehi had died and Nephi became the prophet and the people appointed him to be a ruler over them. We know of course that Laban and Lemuel became more wicked again and sought to take away Nephi's life. So they are forced to leave there promised land however God promises them that he will provide for them another promise land.

At that point in my life I felt that those scriptures directly spoke to me and I took comfort that I would be provided for and that I could find someone to love again. It wasn't until a couple days ago that I found out what kind of Promise land God had in store for me. I have been on my mission almost 9 months and never really understood why God wanted me to come out here but yet I have loved and have been blessed forever for following the spirit to come.

It was after having a huge argument with all of us girls trying to sit down on Monday and fix whatever was going on. It didn't quite do the trick. I was really coming to wonder why I was sent here, because I knew it wasn't for this. Elder Preze Our new AP whom I served with before he was an AP was talking about attitude in our district meeting on Tuesday. We talked about the attitudes of Laban, sariah, and Nephi and the attitude we must all have. When someone said, "But Elder Preze It's easy for you because your in Orange Park, the promise land, right?" He laughed and said, "no Elder, we are all in the Promised Land, we are on our missions, set apart to do his work, how promised can you get?" It shocked me to the core. I was in the Promised Land that God had made for me. I have wanted to be married since I can remember, and when that didn't happen it was like my promise land was stolen from me and I was being asked to leave. It hurt but through the scriptures I found that I could find another promise land and that God was providing (Him) for me. Little did I know God was not preparing me for my promise land but for His, which is far greater than I could have ever imagined. I was called to come and so I did follow with exact obedience not knowing why. I have struggled through this transfer wondering the same thing I had wondered three years ago. Why? When God said to me, "because I have prepared this promise land for you, I have promised you one, and so I sent you here."
Coming on a mission was not what I expected or ever thought I would do, but Elder Preze was right. This is God's promise land, his working field of missionaries, how much more promised can you get. I am supposed to be here. I have been called here not by chance but by appointment. I love this work with all of my heart. I truly am in the promise land because it is God's land and as long as I am following him, on my mission or when I return home I will continue to be in that promise land. So again whatever may happen next transfer, God will always provided a way.

I love this work!! We have some people we are working with but no one super solid yet. We are seeing a lot of referrals coming our way so it makes me feel like I'm doing something right, although I have a lot to change. I'll let you know by next week which ones become solid. I don't share a lot of names because the turnaround rate is very high here. People drop us like hot cakes. No one is too fond of giving up there party life, but there are some who are sick of it. We like to target those people who are the few and far between.

I love you all so much! Sorry about the bad address.
Love you all!

Till next week, I'll be praying for you~

~Love Your Sister Missionary~

October 12, 2010

Counting My Blessings!! October 9, 2010

Well our p-day is back to normal. This week went by really fast because we had p-day on Monday and now today is our p-day again so we had a day taken out of our week but I think Heavenly Father knew what he was doing. This week, no matter how short it was, was a stressful one. Living with another companionship can create a lot of drama that really is not necessary. This week was drama driven and I hated it! It makes me realize how much hold Satan can have on us when we get mad or frustrated and how much one companionship or person out of the four of us can affect the whole bunch. It really creates a void in the apartment and a bad spirit that can last for days, as it has done this week. It seems that I'm being tried and tested on every hand with every sister in the apartment, even sticking up for another causes contention. It just has been a very hard hectic week because you cannot teach without the spirit and nor would I ever try. It is the same thing in the home one person brakes the chain and ruins the day. Needless to say extra prayer on behalf of my roommates and companion would be amazing. I just want to do the work. It gets hard when all you hear is negativity all day long, no matter how positive I am or how much I try to change the subject or let it roll off, it starts to break down my spirit and I give into frustration. Even bringing up that I don't like it causes more drama because people just will not let go of their pride. Pride ruins everything and gets you know where!

I'm really starting to understand what it means to FIND joy in the journey. My prayers have becomes less of a plea for help and more of gratitude for the things that I do have and love. I have listened to the motabs version of "You'll fall asleep counting your blessings." I love that song for many reasons but it helps me to get through the hard times when things are tough to realize and know how truly blessed I am. Now I say it every transfer that this one I think I'm going to grow the most, but it is true and I do grow in many different ways and this transfer will be no different from the rest. I hope to get a lot of laughing in this transfer and a lot less tears, unless they are tears of great joy.

The missionary life here is a little different. It's like we have our own little world down here and we don't have the same schedule as everyone else. The branch is doing much better and a lot more helpful. We decided the best way to do some kind of service is to bake cookies and bring to them with the new pass along cards. The plan was to also teach them a lesson about teaching friends through using the new website, and have them put up a profile.

So we only have bikes and people live so far away, so we got going early and put dots on a map to find them and took off, all three of us. We biked almost 7 miles and no one was home. lol It was a very crazy day but we are going to finish our list since we didn't get it done, it takes a bit longer on a bike but it was way fun even though sister Johnson's bike is going crazy and sister cutlers chain keeps coming off. In fact on our way home sister Cutler was trying to go up this huge hill to our apartment and we usually try to go fast so that it's done before we know are legs are burning when all of the sudden sister Cutlers chain came off and flung her with her bike sliding on the pavement into a parked car. Luckily she didn't break anything. We were all freaking out asking what was hurt and she wasn't talking so I helped her up asking the same question and through tears and laughing she said "my pride." lol it was a scary but funny moment. Don't worry I'm very safe on my boy bike. It was a crazy day. Sister Cutler scraped her left arm really bad along with a huge bruise on the side of her upper leg and her ankle is swollen and cut up pretty bad. We had to ice it and wrap it up. It has slowed our work down a bit because she needed to rest and recover but we are still working hard. We still ride our bikes even though our buns are bruised from the bike ride. I was so sore. lol man it told me how out of shape I am and how I need to work harder. This place is up hill both ways. lol literally~ SO this week has been crazy and stressful but full of hope and faith for the next week and this upcoming Sunday.

Our teaching pool has become a zero because they all dropped us this week but we have some referrals from pass along cards and salt lake as well as from the ward so next week should be full of excitement. Plus Yogi, who is from china, dropped us because we are girls and he didn't want to start over but we called him the other day and he said he tried to stop by the institute to see us and it was locked and he wants to meet us. So I took it as one more of Gods little blessings that I can count before I go to bed. I really do love this place and seek everyday for inspiration on how to talk to the students who are very smart by the way, but the spirit is smart still, so I don't worry, but most people don't believe in God nor do they care what we have to say. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say after we tell them our message, "I drink too much for that." I tell them that they shouldn't drink at all and they say "what is the fun in that." so I'm continuing to learn what to say as directed by the spirit.

I love you all so much! I'm so excited that Kenny is doing so well in school with his straight A's and don't worry, I wrote Kellin, Daniel and McKenna a letter. Hopefully it helps. I love everyone and give them a kiss and huge hug for me!

Till next week, ~ I'll be (writing) seeing you

~Love, Your Sister Missionary~

October 4, 2010

General Conference was Awesome!! Oct 4, 2010

It cracks me up every time I read Christopher's letters. He has already changed so much! lol I love him to death! Imagine Kenny going there next? That would be amazing.

Conference really made me think of the things I will limit or do with my children. There were so many talks I just loved! They seemed more bold this time than ever before. Maybe because I'm on a mission and being out here I have come to understand further the importance of God's plan.

On Saturday we were able to go to the Barry's home for both sessions of conference. Then in the break we had lunch and training about our experience and how we see the mission as sisters. We finally have our new dress code! I'm sending it to you in the package because you say you never know what to get for me. (Christmas is coming up ;) Really we have become sloppy as a mission as to what we wear as sisters. We have been wearing normal shirts and really anything we wanted that was modest because it wasn't really given what we were to wear. But that got cleaned up really fast on Saturday. I have gained a little weight so when he said not to wear tight clothes I kind of had a meltdown about my weight because everything is tight. Stupid boys don't ever gain a thing. But I have made a resolution to lose weight because I don't have money to buy more clothes. If so, I would need to go to D.I. because so many girls here give away things that are not stylish that we as missionaries wear. So shopping at D.I. here will be like shopping at murices. Anyways, it was an amazing time with just all sisters. We took pictures and had a blast~

Christopher seems to be able to write a book but I never seem to so I have my president's letter that I will send with this. This is some insight as to what I received while listening to Conference.

President Berry~

Thank you so much for letting us come to your home for General Conference. The food was great and it was nice to see the rest of the sisters all together. It was even better to be there and experience a home away from home. I really felt the spirit there and to top it off getting to hear from the Prophet, Apostles and other General Authorities speak and then receive more training from sister Berry. It was the spiritual over load of the best kind. It was a fantastic weekend all together. Thank you again.

I have really prayed and fasted about what is to be done in this area and how we can change it. For me I was looking for some kind of program to put forth or activity that might get it going, when I received my answer it came to be something of a shock to me. In response to all my worries with my companion and sisters I’m working with, to the branch and the branch president the answer was so simple and yet spoke volumes. Love them. Serve them. Thank them. Complement them. In this world of hustle and bustle especially here in Gatorville, how often do you see people really take the time to show that they care? I have yet to see it. Nor do I hear thank you’s, sincere complements, service, pure appreciation, love or respect for one another. I may be too hard on those around me but really I’m not speaking of them, but of myself. How often do I take time to show my appreciation for people in all that they do? Not very often.

With the exception of hearing from the Prophet I look forward to hearing from Elder Jeffery R. Holland every General Conference. He speaks with such conviction and passion. His testimony is so pure and strong I find it hard not to be touched by every word that he says. I was surprised to hear that most of his talk consisted of thanking everyone for their dedicated service in the church. It showed to be a great example for what I should have been doing. It struck a cord with me when he spoke of the old woman who said that she was only a helper. I cannot tell you how many "helpers" I have had help me on my mission that I will be eternally grateful for. I guess you could also call them the seed planters. But because of their little words that they found so insignificant, one of God's children was baptized and on the path to eternal life. I think about how many people are not thanked for their efforts, no matter how small or great they are. Do they know how much they are appreciated? It would break my heart to ever find someone that thought their role in this life was not important because of only the small things they've done to help. I hope that no helper would stop doing the small things, because with the small things, great things can come to pass. I know of many people who have stop doing those small things because no one seems to notice. How sad is that, that no one took the time to say one word of thanks.

When Elder Holland finished his talk a quote came to mind. "Complements strengthen the heart and put fire in the bones." That is so true. When people are being complemented or thanked for all there good efforts, you only want to go out and do more because it made you feel good. I believe if I incorporated this into everything that I'm doing, I would find that not only will I remain positive and keep that enthusiasm going but I feel that others will be drawn to the gopsel to be taught, or if a member, will continue in wanting to help. I want to live gratitude. When you live the life of gratitude, miracles follow. “Refuse to remain in a negative attitude but have the attitude of gratitude.” President Monson. (His talk was so amazing too! In fact I think I mixed the two talks together but they work hand in hand.)

There are so many other things that I’ve learned but I would take up way too much memory in your computer. I do want to thank you for everything that you do and for being completely genuine in your manner toward me and everyone around you. It makes it so much easier to come to you with any question and want to work harder in everything I do. So thank you again.

Until next week
~Sister Pedersen

I loved conference so much! It taught me so much more than just that, but I don't have a lot of time today. I hope all is well at home and that all the kids are doing good. How did you like conference? It answered all my prayers. I cannot tell you the peace that I found through listening to the many talks, it was interesting how they even mentioned text messaging and video games. Amen to that! Someone was blunt and said it. I think all parents around the world gave a hallelujah chorus. Through the years it's amazing to me how more and more blunt and specific they have to be for people to listen. I think they also talked a lot about listening to the prophet. Like it was said, a living prophet is more important than a dead one. People will keep the Ten Commandments but they just can't give up there coffee. No wonder with so many people deciding what is best for them and not listening that the prophet, Apostles and general authorities would testify so boldly about the true and living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. I had a hard time at first with the sustaining of a new prophet after President Hinckley But the more I listen to the words of President Monson and the more I pray about it, the more the spirit tells me and the stronger my testimony becomes that he is a prophet of God. I don't know what it was about this time at conference but I could see it in his eyes when he spoke. I gained such a great respect and love for him that filled my whole heart every time he spoke. It was hard for me to keep from crying. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I know it! The spirit testifies to me every time he speaks. I also know that prayers are answered if we but ask, listen and wait for the answer acting in faith until that sure knowledge comes through the Holy Ghost. The waiting and the acting is the hard part but I know that through that course in time, Heavenly Father is preparing us for the answer, whenever it may come.

I love you all so much! Give everyone a big hug and kiss for me, Love you all!

Your sister missionary~
Love you!

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