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 


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