July 5, 2011

Last Letter From HOME!!!! (away from home) July 4, 2011

Hello my beautiful family~

I can't express to you how grateful I am for my family. I have never felt so loved so supported. I love you with all my heart and yet I feel like I'm leaving a piece of it in Florida. It's like what it says in the other side of Heaven. "I'm coming home, funny though, it almost feels like I'm leaving home." My heart is here.

This week has been the hardest week of my mission, bar none. Honestly Satan was really getting to me. Putting thoughts of failure into my head, making me feel as if I was nothing and that I gave nothing and became nothing. It was almost as if I were Moses himself as he was tempted by Satan. I felt like I was the daughter of man. I found myself in this pit of sadness that I could not get out of. I prayed and fasted and centered myself on good things and positive thoughts and yet it continued. (Satan can be a real bully sometimes.) It wasn't until I got a blessing that I started to see the light, and when the light did come, it was as bright as the sun and it did chase all the darkness. It wasn't until today when I read Shanna's letter that I truly understood my purpose here among a lot of other things. In one moment the darkness was gone and again the Spirit taught me the truth. You are a daughter of God of the most high. How great is the gospel to know just the simple basics that can and will change your life. I know my Savior lives and that He loves me. I know that He sent me here to the Florida Jacksonville mission. This was His call. I know that it is from Him.

I now have two paths to follow. I can go back or I can continue forward. I however know I can never turn back. It would be like giving my mission back and I refuse! I am a disciple of Jesus Christ now and forever.

I love you family so much! I'm excited to see you and to apply the things I have leaned and move forward in this great work of the Lord!

Your forever sister Missionary~
~see you at 7:11~

June 27, 2011

I'm Trunky.....For My MISSION!!! June 27, 2011







Ok Ok I finally admit it, I'm trunky...... but for my mission. If you ever go to the Atlanta airport and there is fingernail marks at terminal 8, you will know who they are from. Oh my goodness I was a mess this morning. I think it is slowly hitting me that I'm going home. Sure I'm excited to see the family and to start in this new journey of life but really I think Christopher has it better. A year left and so many amazing experiences to go. Life is life, but mission life is not like anything you can ever prep for or try to understand until you are here. And every mission is different. People keep asking me how I feel and I really don't know how to respond. How do you explain the best decision you have made in your life and all the blessings that have gone with it, not to mention all the people you have met and lives you've been able to help change and be a part of? How do you explain what has happened on your sacred mission, where sometimes it was just you and the Lord? How do you leave it? Well I don't know how. I can tell you that there will be nothing like it ever, for the rest of my life. I want to soak it in and drink every last drop and yet there still would be a pool left to drink from.

I explained it to someone this way. A mission is like going to Disney World for your first time but you only have 18 hours to experience the whole thing. You could watch movies and see pictures and you can try to prep for it but you know once you get there it's a whole different story. Where do you begin? Now before I know it I'm at the last minutes of my trip and I'm on this magical ride, only it's as real as anything I have ever dreamed of and far better than any vacation spot you could go to. I've been here only 18 months which has gone by as fast as 18 hours. I am grateful for the experience. I've seen a lot and done a lot but if only you had one more day, one more hour, yet at the same time you know you must go back to work and start your life. It's the feeling you know you need to go back home but you want to stay and keep drinking in the magic of this work. I hope that makes sense. It makes sense in my head; but who knows I might have been in the sun too long.

Anyway I can't believe Natasha got married, I didn't know that. I knew about Heidi though. That's exciting. And weird. Makes me feel old. Oh and I can't give you a zip drive because you have both of mine. My red and black one. So I'll have to send it to you through e-mail. Sorry~

So God answers prayers; Even if they are small. I don't know if I told you this. One day I thought to myself, "Heavenly Father it sure would be nice to be in a thunder storm before I leave, I really like the rain as you know and it doesn't rain anywhere else like it rains here. One thing I'm going to miss for sure, So if you could make it rain, that would be great. Thank you." and guess what! It happened two days in a row. Oh I was a happy Sister Missionary. My companion thought I was crazy but I didn't care. God be thanked for thunderstorms to calm the troubled heart of a Sister Missionary going home. God answers prayers, even the small ones we say when we may think no one is listening.

So I don't know if I told you this but Elder Holland is coming to speak here the beginning of August. This is part of the water I wish to drink from before I go home but I guess God has other plans. That would have been amazing to be at. How cool huh?

So this week was awesome! Colby got baptized and confirmed on Sunday, and then Kylie got baptized! It was really cool. They both were small baptisms for just their families but it is amazing to see the change that Colby has made in preparing for his baptism in a matter of a week. He went from being so closed down to completely changed, smiling and excited to change and be baptized. He kept praying about an answer but did not get one. He kept praying and still nothing. Every time we would come over he would have an attitude and not take anything seriously. Then as he was praying he got the impression that he needed to start taking things seriously and that he needed to really change. It was that prompting that lead to his answer and then to his baptism. Sometimes our answers are not what we expect. His answer was shape up and then you'll just know. Kylies answer came as her Father set the example of change, coming back to church after years of inactivity. He was able to baptize her on Sunday. It was a very special moment for them both. I love the Gospel and the Joy that it brings into people's lives! It was a really great weekend. Will and Aliyah moved back to Jacksonville so we are not working with them anymore but I have faith that as we work hard this week and as I push myself to the very end. Blessings will come. I know it. I'm so grateful for my mission. It has been one of the best gifts I have been given by my Father in Heaven.

I love you all and will see you soon!

xoxoxoxoxox~~~ I'm joyfully enduring to the End and will come home with honor with God's name and the name of my family!

Your forever Sister Missionary

June 20, 2011

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ... June 20, 2011

Hello my beautiful wonderful family!

Happy birthday Shanna and Happy Fathers day daddy! I hope you both got my cards.

I'm sorry that these e-mails are getting shorter and shorter as I'm preparing to not freak out when I come home. I think it's because it's more and more real every time I write the family.

I saw the apartments and I am excited to move there. It will be fun. It looks just like colonial but I'm sure the ward is amazing! I'm excited. I trust the Lord knows what He is doing. And I know he works through you mommy cause I just can't focus enough to get it done out here. I truly believe that all good things start in the home and all eternity starts their too and never ends. Everything I do here on my mission is because I have first learned them in the home. I was thinking, why am I so positive. I wasn't always like this at home, in fact the opposite. (Sorry mom and dad) But it’s because I was taught too look at the bright side and never give up and try with all my heart and leave it up to the Lord. If I have had any success on my mission it is first because Of the Lord and then because of my parents, I just applied the things I have learned. I love my family!!! Sooooooo excited to hug and kiss you! But I am focused in making sure I go out with a bang! I refuse to let up. Five baptisms will happen before I go home. Please pray for me and them. (Kylie, Will, Alia, Colby, Roxanne and Eddie if his parents will let him)

I can't believe Danielle is getting married to someone that old! But I guess dad is right, what is age in eternity. But Italy! Really!!! Talk about perfection! Weird!

Oh So I'm hoping that the guy I have to talk to from BYU is because of school... Right Mom??? I know I can do school. It will be hard but If God wants this to be my major he will help me out. I know it! The week I come home is crazy! Good!! keep me busy so I don’t break down. Busy with family, not dates.. Ok mom and Shanna??? Don’t laugh, it's true and don’t even act like you don’t have anyone in mind either. Just family for a bit. I love you!!!!

Letter to President Barry~

I loved what you said about being obedient. I need to become! I know that I have not been stretching myself as much as I could. I do see a difference in myself and how I work but I know I can be better. Someone said something that I think will probably stick with me for life. a young man who is really struggling in our ward with his family problems and military issues said this, "It would be so easy just to stop and give up, but it is us who chooses to go through the temple and after that, we as latter-day saints don’t have the luxury of giving up, no matter how hard it gets, because we know." It is so true. I do not have the luxury to be disobedient and live below my potential and not give all that I have to give. I know to who I am committed and I cannot give up and I will not give up until my time is called at the very end of not just this mission life but life itself. "I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and when he comes to claim his own, he'll have no problem recognizing me." I love this gospel with all my heart. I have learned that to give my love and my heart I must give it to God first. Then it is he who expands it to fit all.

This week we are working on being positive, I'm working on being on time and together we will help the Lord in bringing his children to baptism. All five of them!

Till next week, Lots of love~

~Sister Pedersen~

I love you all~
Love your forever Sister Pedersen~

June 13, 2011

This mission is on Fire!!! June 13, 2011

Hello my beautiful family~


The work this week has been amazing! We have been working hard and praying harder. I have really tried to focus on praying as if everything depends on God and then working as if everything depends on me, because it does. We have a lot of people that we are working with and I'm so grateful for that. I have truly seen Gods hand in this work this week. I have seen a huge difference in this work when I have centered the work on the Savior and follow every prompting that I get. We went to having one baptism date and no investigators, to four baptism dates (Colby, Kylie, & Will and Ailauna) and seven new investigators. Isn't that amazing! We are seeing miracles everywhere, here in our area, in our district and in our zone. The mission is on fire and I know that we can and will achieve our goal of 900 baptisms with 80% retention. It is so awesome! Most of our dates have come from Part member families and recent converts. I know that it is and will be through the members that we will reach our goal.

It was so amazing on Sunday to have that many people attend church. It was full. I think that is more people that I have had in one Sunday than I have had my whole mission. I know, sad. But the mission has come and grown so far and I feel as if I have done the same right along with it. We had the chance to teach Relief Society on Sunday about missionary work. It was so amazing. I really hoped it pumped up the sisters to help us out on trade offs and getting their own family missionary plan started. We showed a video about how the little things change lives and it showed testimonies of recent converts testimonies and how they got introduced to the church. Then after the video we has our recent convert of two weeks, sister Davis, bare her testimony on the simple invitation to have missionaries answer her questions that concluded with her whole family getting baptized. Then it turned to a testimony of converts to the church. We have so many converts in this ward and I know if they just open there mouth the work here will double and triple. I just feel it. This ward has so much fire and passion with no direction. This ward is going through a lot of changes in order to find that direction and a lot of people are meeting with us, but I know we can do better. I love this ward. It's amazing to be a part of the growth. The bishop here is just amazing. He is very young with a young family but willing and ready to serve. He's amazing and so is his wife. They help us so much and we do what we can to return the favor by working hard and serving them.

So I looked at my schedule for school and I think it will be good. Thank you so much for doing it. I got on line probably fifteen min. late and you were done and off. You’re quick. It seemed like a long day but I remember that dance classes were always late. Are they all the classes I need to take? I have worked with most of the teachers before so I think that it will be good. Good job mom. Thank you again.  Honestly when it comes to living quarters, it would be nice to be close, unless I had a car ;) but since I know that's not happening, anything but colonial. I'm not too fond of them and I've lived there for three years. Time for a change. But my request would be somewhere close, nice in room and closet size and somewhere with air conditioning and heat. Other than that. We are good. Just do your best. I know it's slim pickins. But God will provide.
I'm sad I’m missing youth conference and girls camp. I would have loved to help out. I'll be praying that everything goes well and that the weather is nice and that people are healthy. I'm sorry the weather is so crazy. It is definitely summer here and all the glory of the humidity with it. I guess it's not that bad. August and September is worse. I'm glad I'm not here for two summers. I don’t know if I could do it. But I'm actually starting to love a little humidity. It reminds me of camping a bit.

So Skyler left? He is already doing so well. He is going to be an amazing missionary! I'm so excited for him! I bet Heidi is thrilled to know he is doing so well.

I don’t know how you two are going without sugar but I'm going to try to do it with you when I get home. I hope to get back to normal, size and eating habits. It's going to be good.

I love you all so much. Go out and share the gospel. Keep praying for opportunities to share the gospel and keep praying for people on your list that the missionaries made with you before. Those names are inspired. I love you!

Your forever sister Missionary!~

June 10, 2011

FISHERS OF MEN....

Letter from her mission Pres.,                          June 9, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                       Sister Pedersen has been a delightful missionary. She has served in Kingsland, Whitehouse, Jacksonville, Orange Park, Gainesville, Hilliard and St. Mary's. She has won the hearts of many members and investigators who have been changed for the better because of her service. She returns to you with the wonderful skills of teaching the gospel. She will be a blessing to you and all of her family. She has become a disciple of Jesus Christ now and plans to remain that way forever.
Sister Barry and I deeply appreciate the loving sacrifice you have extended to prepare this choice young missionary for her exemplary service here.

Faithfully,

James W. Barry
Mission President























June 7, 2011

Love of God.... June 6, 2011

It seems that your weeks have been jammed packed with so much spiritual knowledge. How amazing to have an apostle of the Lord there with all of you. It is just so amazing! I love the quotes that you gave me. I have been focusing a lot on love lately. It seems that Christopher has too. It really is the key to all that we do. Without it, we are nothing, and we will do nothing, because we love God we will keep his commandments and we will obey and love others. I have been centered on loving everyone around me and helping them to come to Christ because without judging, I see them and love them as God loves them. It's really does change the outcome. I find myself being a little more patient and understanding than before. And you know me, those are not some my best qualities, but I'm working on them.

I and my comp. were both sick this week so not a whole lot happened but we still have seen the progress of the ward go forward. I don't like being home but we did what we could. Our ward is seeing a lot of changes. New bishopric and all new auxiliaries, totally changed, No one is the same calling. God is prepping the ward for great things. It's amazing to see in how in 16 months what God can do to a ward. I feel that things will start to go up from here on out. I'm excited to be a part of it.

Good luck~ I'm kind of freaking out cause I want to make sure that everything is set before the deadlines and when I come home. Please let me know If you are working on that. I love you so much. Thank you!

I love you!!!! 
Your Sister Pedersen

May 30, 2011

Eternal Bliss... May 30, 2011



Family!!! This week was been so crazy!! So In my last district we had four areas. Fernandina, Hilliard, then St. Mary’s and Kingsland which are together but one is sisters and the other one is elders. So I was in Hilliard for six months and I have six weeks left and I got transferred to St. Mary’s. My last area is 20-30 mins away from here and I'm still in the same district and zone. And if you remember I served in this ward for my first area of my mission. I also have served around my new comp. sister Fitu for the last three months, so I know her very well. It was super strange to get transferred here. It was like nothing changed. I feel like I’m on a never ending trade off. It's weird. But my companion is awesome! She is Samoan and really ghetto. She is all tom boy and is in love with basketball. She’s from California but moved to Utah in the last couple of years, but doesn’t claim it, she is a gansta. lol her language is funny. Very unique. But it’s strange to be back in this area. I still get to see Sister Surtees all the time and that is nice. We have so much fun!

I'm so happy that McKenna's baptism went so well. Her dress is so cute!! And I'm glad that she chose Kenny. That is a super cute picture dad sent me of them two. I hope you have a lot more to send me. I didn’t know that Josh got baptized too. That is so awesome that he decided to be re-baptized. I bet it was nice to have the rest of the family there too.

This weekend was crazy. When I got here they already had three baptisms lined up. And I was so happy to meet them. The first was a daughter, Destiny and mother, Monica, who had taken the lessons with also a son, Cody, but Cody did not want to be baptized yet because he felt he was not ready and didn't know if he could believe in the miracles and answers to prayers. Cody is not much of a talker but when I got here and started asking him questions we realized that although quite and non-responsive, he was listening. He was so ready and prepared but we did not push and we continued to teach him mom and his sister with him listening to the lessons. Then we had another baptism set up for Kaymen and he is the sweetest black boy ever! He is amazing! He is almost finished with the Book of Mormon. He is awesome. He is 16 and is almost the last one to be baptized in his family. They have one more to go and his name is Colby. We just set a date with him. The spirit was so strong. I really feel like I’m in this area to baptize him. I cried my eyes out as I told him that God loved him and that his family is just waiting for him on the other side and that he was meant for great work. I know he will be baptized soon.
We went to church and the spirit was strong. We were all excited and couldn't wait for the baptism to begin. When it was finally time for destiny and Monica’s baptism there was not a dry eye in the room. The spirit was so strong and Monica was so excited she could hardly stand it. Her son Cody on the other hand was in tears and I wished so badly that he could join his family. When we took Monica and Destiny to the bathroom and font Cody came on the other side of the font in white. Elder graham had interviewed him just after all the talks and he was ready. He followed the spirit and was baptized along with his family. We were all balling are eyes out. It was an amazing baptism. Then two hours later, Kaman was baptized. He will be an amazing missionary. I just know he will.

They were all so bright and smiling, and just glowing. I have been here a week and have seen a change in all of them. In just one weeks time of preparing to be baptized I could see it. It is amazing to see what the Gospel of Christ does for those willing to act. I love this gospel with all my heart and am thrilled for their families. What a blessing to know that this is true. What a difference it has made in my life and in the life of my family and friends. There is nothing better than this. There is a phrase in the Book of Mormon that explains how I feel. It's called "Eternal Bliss." I love it. It's the pure joy and love of God. I may not know these families very well but I love them as if I've known them my whole life. I feel so blessed to be a part of this experience.
I love you all so very much! Oh and President Barry said that because I'm going to school so soon when I get home and my not have enough money, he is going to give me a small scholarship a semester. Isn't that awesome?! He said it will be about $200 a semester; enough to pay for books. But I need to apply for way more than that, as well as pell grants. How are the school classes going? Tell me if I need to help with anything. I got permission to go through all the school stuff with you on line, so let me know.

Sorry this is so short. We are at a member’s home because the library is closed for the holiday and they are as big as our family and are going through all the Saturday cleaning stuff, but the next one will be longer.

I love you and I'll talk to you soon~
Your forever sister Missionary~

May 24, 2011

Never to live below my privilages.... May 23, 2011

Hello My Beautiful Family!!!!

This week had a lot of ups and downs. I'll start with the downs. Skyler didn't get baptized. It was a huge bummer. His dad said that 10 year old Skyler could not get baptized until he knew the doctrine of the church and could explain it to him. It was a poor excuse but hopefully by example he will change his dad's mind.

Another down this week was that my companion and I were both sick. I didn't start getting sick till this weekend but she was sick all week with stomach stuff. Not fun but funny. (I hope she doesn't kill me for posting this)..We decided to go out and work anyway, so one night we were at a door and this Russian woman came to the door, I had talked to her before, and we were commenting on how good her English is despite her thick accent that she seemed ashamed of. I don't know why but I loved it! But my stomach started to hurt really badly, so I was rocking back and forth to get rid of the pain and all of the sudden, "TOOT." Yep that's right. It was so embarrassing. I didn't dare look at Sister Surtees but I could not help but recognize that she must have heard it too. Thankfully I coughed afterwards to cover it up and it worked for the Russian lady, she had no idea why all of the sudden my companion burst into laughter. I tried to keep my composure as she talked to us about the war and all the Jews being killed and herself being in a camp but that sound rang in my ears and I lost it. I could not stop laughing. The kind of laughing that seems to happen when you're in the middle of a prayer and it's totally inappropriate, which makes it funnier. I should have faked crying and said we had to go but laughter? I felt so stupid by the time I left, that poor lady probably thought we were laughing at her, but nope just the result of a week of bubble guts. Not fun but super funny~

I'm also being transferred. After six months and only six weeks to go, God is moving me out. It is so weird. It's a mixed emotion. I'm sad to leave my home and yet I feel I have accomplished everything that I needed to do here and to stay would be a waste of the Lords time. I really do feel like I'm needed somewhere else. You will know by the next e-mail where and with whom. My next area will be my seventh area and my tenth companion. Can you believe it? That is crazy. But God knows best and I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm excited for what God has in store.

The up this week is that Rose got baptized!!! It was so emotional and perfect. Her brother baptized her. It really was a miracle how we met her. She lives with a Less Active and we have always gone over there to see her and she would sit in the other room and listen. then her brother would talk to her from time to time but she wanted nothing to do with the Gospel until a couple weeks ago, when her preacher started teaching false things that made her look in the bible and ask questions that lead her to the church for the answers. After almost eight years of prep, she was ready for the gospel. We just happen to be there in the right time and moment. We took her hand to show her the way and she started running. I loved it! It was just perfect!

McKenna's baptism is going to be so cute! When I have given a talk on the Holy Ghost I talk about the rinsing of the dishes as baptism and the soap as the Holy Ghost. Your dishes aren't clean unless you use soap. But I guess I would use that analogy because I've done dishes since I was tall enough to reach over the counter but even then I think you gave me a stool to stand on. Whatever you say I'm sure will be perfect. Just give them something to remember there baptism. Like Kellin's key with the date of his baptism date on it. Because I have no idea when I was baptized. Sad huh? I hope you can make McKenna's dress. That would be perfect. It's tradition. It's a must. Just don't stress yourself out over it. Cause that's no fun. McKenna is already a little missionary. That story of having her friend come to church was so cute! She should invite her to the baptism. That would be awesome. I think her friend would come. She is so stinkin cute!!!!

Thank you mom for the quote on living below our privileges. It is so true. I think I'm going to use that. I always love the quotes and thoughts you and dad always give me and Christopher. It really inspires me to do better because I know what you expect of me and what Heavenly Father expects of me and it makes me push myself and become more and always be sure I'm not living below my privilege. So thank you!!!

I'm so glad that you had a blast in Portland. Those trips away are well needed. There are so many couples out here that don't take time to step outside of things and enjoy and get to know each other. I have a great testimony of doing that every single week. It really does strengthen a marriage. A marriage is about sharing your lives together. If you're not going on date nights then your just living two separate lifestyles under the same roof. It's important to share your life. I love my parents!

I can't believe Daniel went to his first dance. Yesterday I was trying to figure out how old he was and I thought, no way! He is not old enough to go to dances. Well you just answered my question. SO WEIRD. Daniel you stay away from those girls. There just trouble. ;)

When it comes to school. Umm I really don't know what is best. You know what I need. I'm going to pray that you know what I need and that you will follow the spirit and make good choices for me. Plus I can change them when I get there if it doesn't seem to work. My only request is that you don't make them too late in the night and not too early in the day. Like 8am and on is ok. No classes after four if you can help it. I just know I'm going to need lots of study time and sleep time because I'm going to be thrown off schedule. You know what is best for me and I trust you. Just let me know the final product. I also would like one day off or get out early so that I can go to the temple. They are always way too full on Saturdays and No one can get in on the sessions. Wow, this is weird but I feel really good about it. Please pray before you start to sign me up and look at the teacher's names. It's going to be very hard for me to get back into school so make sure they have good reviews. Wow I need to stop, I know you'll do all that, my parents have fought for me all my education, you know me.

I love you, thank you~
Love your forever Sister Missionary~

P.S. I have sent three packages to you so far. Two priorities and one flat rate. They should have already gotten there by now. Please tell me if you got them so I can stop freaking out about them. I also have sent two more priority today so they should get there in a couple of days. Please do not open them!!!! I will show you it all later. My packing skills have really improved. You won't believe what I fit in there. Lol I love you!

May 22, 2011

Time is Flying!! May 16, 2011

Hello family!

Thank you dad for the videos. I couldn't watch them yet but I'll try to next week if I can. It was nice to see my box full of mail, even if it was full of talk videos. It was so fun to see Skyler on Skype before he takes off. He is probably so excited! I remember that day like it was 17 months ago haha. Really it does feel like yesterday. I can't believe how quickly it fly's. This year has flown by. School here gets out this weekend and I can't believe it has come and gone. Weird!

Thank you mom so very much for doing research on school for me. 
I think I told you all of this but guess what!? One of my old companions is going to go back for school in the fall too, so we are going to be roommates! Well I hope it all works out that way. She is still deciding. Thank you so much for your quote from Elder Ballard. Totally made me cry! It is so true, I love my mission more than life itself and truly I have given up my life for it but when it is done, I need to step off the stage and move on. I know I'm not alone in this move and I 'm being prepared for something even greater, I just can't think of anything greater than a mission. Jk a family is definitely what I wanted most before I left my mission and I will seek for that when I get home at a later time.... Much later.... :) I'm excited for the experiences that will come my way and how I will incorporate my mission life into them. That, I think, Will be the most fun part! I need to "enjoy the future."

Mom I'm not dying and I promise I will share with you things that I have learned and studied. Remember, I'm always a missionary; the spiritual name tag never comes off.

I love you all so very much and am excited to see your faces. But in the mean time, I'll be seeding up a storm here in Hicksville, working my buns off and enjoying every second of it!
All my love~

Your forever Sister Missionary~

President Barry~
This week has been good. It has been a little bit slower due to the fact that my companion is getting sick but with a little extra sleep she is receiving more energy.

This week we had two dates in church. Rose and Skyler. Rose committed to being baptized on the 22nd of May along with her niece. It is so exciting to see her change and make the steps towards baptism. She has researched and studied on her own. It is a piece of cake teaching her because really she is teaching us. She says that if she wants to know something she will research and study it and then ask us if she studied is correct or if she can't find it then she will ask us. She is so cute! She lives with a Less-active, so she has had many people come over to the house from the church and her brother converted to the church over 8 years ago so she has also heard it from him. She said everything changed when she went to church and knew what they were teaching was wrong and then would hear us teach her roommate and remember what her brother has taught her and it all made sense to her. She said that was the moment she knew the church was true and that he needed to be baptized. We are still continuing to teach her and answer any questions that she has and make sure that she is not just reading but studying the scriptures.

Skyler is 10 years old and is part of a part member family. The mom is a member but dad is not. It has been a struggle in the family and has caused mom to go inactive but recently she has come back to church at the insistent begging of her son Skyler. Skyler is a very smart boy. I guess you could say he is a 30 year old in a 10 year old body which gets him in trouble sometimes at school. But since we have had the lessons with him his attitude has improved and is behavior and actions at school have changed. This is a huge blessing because dad is seeing the difference in his son and is recognizing that it's coming or changing because of the values and teachings of the Gospel. So we are praying that dad will let Skyler get baptized this weekend. Mom came to church on Sunday and felt inspired in what to say to him and how to bring it up so that he will let him. It would be so good for that family to have the priesthood in the home.

This week we have been centered on finding our investigators question of the soul and assigning them reading assignments to help them answer that question. I have loved doing this challenge. It has changed the way that I look at the Book of Mormon. I love it!

Till next week, Lots of love~
~Sister Pedersen

May 9, 2011

Mother's Day was AMAZING!! May 9, 2011

Hello my wonderful parents. I have cut myself short on time today so I am writing you both together. Sorry, I DO love you independent and individually of each other, but I also adore you collectively ;)
This mother's day was so amazing! I loved seeing everyone and Adam was so funny. He was playing with the hoop and the dog and bouncing around. I don't think you noticed that but it made me feel even more how much Adam is truly just a part of the family. They are so cute together. Shanna looked good. So did everyone else. Kenny was more involved this time. It was so nice to see him. I hardly got to see Daniel and Kellin but there at that age I guess. I love him so much and I'm so excited to see everyone in person. And to see all of your faces in detail. I liked talking and seeing Christopher!!!!!! It was the highlight! Don't get me wrong I loved seeing everyone else too but I hadn't seen or heard from Christopher in almost a year and a half. I was crying or else I would have screamed just as much. Lol It was so nice to see him. You have no idea the relief that you feel when you know one of your siblings is out with you on a mission. It makes it that much more perfect, If that even makes sense. Oh I loved it. It was like for 30 min. I had all of my family back together. It was perfect. My companion was sitting next to me on the bed and she was looking at Skype and she said. "That is all your family right there, you could hold them in your hands." I thought about how crazy that is! That family is in Oregon, I'm in Hicksville Florida and Christopher is speaking Spanish with people that don't know English in Chile! How amazing is technology! Mom you are so smart to have done the group Skype. Just perfect. Oh my gosh I love my family! 
That talk on Sunday seemed amazing! I've never thought about that before. I could have totally used that in my talked. I also talked about the unseen mothers of the world. The second mom's of the world. I have had many of those in my mission and how grateful I am for those for they have given me comfort and hugs when I needed my mommy. There is no way to take her place but it filled the void as much as it could. I have many second mothers in this branch, well more like second grandmothers. They are almost all over 60. But I love them so much! 
So I have been praying and praying to know whether to go to school or not. I have been praying about it for about 2-3 weeks and I have really felt good about it. I felt like I've needed to go and that God would provide the way. After talking with you yesterday it made me question it again. I thought how I could go. I will have no money, no car, and no money for my next two semesters if I go for the fall and my classes are not even in that semester. I would not be home with Kenny to help him and who knows what I'm suppose to do there, this is going to take a miracle for this to even work. It seemed like everything is against me to go. But yet I felt like it was right. Recently we have centered on using the Book of Mormon to answer questions of the soul. So I decided to pick up a book of Mormon and start reading in the first place I come to. I opened up to Mormon 9: 17-21 it reads...

17Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his aword the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was bcreated of the cdust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
18And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty amiracles? And there were many bmighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
19And if there were amiracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he bchangeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
20And the reason why he ceaseth to do amiracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should btrust.
21Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, awhatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this bpromise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

I felt like I have been really doubting the answer that God had given me. I know it's seems impossible and I have no idea why I need to go, I'm going to go to school. If you could maybe tell me what I need to do to get back into school and when I need to sign up for classes and all the info. I need. That would be sweet. Ok and also I think I might have an Idea in paying for school without hopefully taking out a loan. When do they offer up pale grants? Do you have to be 23 or 25? If it's 23 then I could have that money before school. If not there has to be some sort of scholarship for return missionaries. If you could maybe research that out and get back to me, which would be awesome. Sorry to make you do this all, but I can't and I'm really going to need your help if I'm going. Thank you!!!! Let me know.

I love you soo much!
Till next week~ Love your forever sister Missionary~

President Barry~
This week’s numbers seem pathetic but through all the meetings this week we have learned how we can improve. It was so nice to have a companion that took notes through her meeting so that we could go over them together and then set goals and make plans. I’m so excited for the challenge to more frequently testify, teach from and read the Book of Mormon. My testimony has grown as I’ve searched the scriptures with my question of the soul and have done so for my investigators. It is so true; The Book of Mormon can answer any questions that we have. I love reading from it. We have strived to use the Book of Mormon in every single lesson and make it the central focus of that lesson and then if they have a concern use the Book of Mormon to answers it right then for them and then assign then to read that chapter again. It has been awesome to see their view of the Book of Mormon change. I love it!  
Another thing that we really have strived to keep in line is our obedience to the white hand book and mission rules. We are making sure that we are doing everything by the book and by the spirit. I also was reading in Alma 36 this week and it really hit me how disobedience even if not thought of that way at first really can lead us and others to destruction. My Mother would always say to me “be the best you.” It was so nice being able to talk to my family. They are such a strength to me in everything I do. They support and uplift me. They are always asking me what I want them to do to improve and ask me what I have learned. I bore my testimony to them about what the power of Christ like love has done for me since I’ve been on my mission.  I never really understood what Christ like love meant but since I’ve been out here I think I understand a bit more about how God feels about all his children and the love Christ had to sacrifice for each and every one of us. It’s because of love that we have this great plan of happiness, why we have our families, and all the “real” precious things that God gives us, like the gospel. I was so grateful to my Heavenly Father for that great love that he has for me and for my family and that he has taught me that love as I have served and taught here on my mission. My heart may have gone through stretching and tearing and braking at times, but because of that my heart has a greater capacity to love. It’s almost like the Grinch stole Christmas when the Grinch’s heart grew two sizes. There is just so much love for this great gospel and everything that is made possible through it.
I’m excited for this week and the things that will come from our new outlook on teaching.
Till next week,
~lots of love, Sister Pedersen~

May 2, 2011

Lots of Love coming your way!!! May 2, 2011

Oh my gosh!!!! I'm freaking out!!! Ok really I'm so excited to talk to you all. Even though I will talk to you all soon, it will be fun to see all of your faces and get the support to give the next two months all my devoted attention. Heavenly Father's timing is perfect. God knew that I would need to see my family just before I came home in order to forget them and give it my all. Oh goodness I'm excited.

Ok so lately school has been on my mind ever since you mentioned it and I really don't know what to do now. I'm really nervous to go to school so soon and if I go so early I won't have money to pay for any of it. So I've been praying about it and I've gone back and forth. I feel good about it and yet don't know but need to make up my mind if I'm going to sign up for classes. I mean I could take a few dance classes to get up to par for the team and work at the same time but then I would need a car. Wow. I didn't have to deal with any of this on my mission. Crazy! But please help me decide what to do. If I do go back to school. I'll be going back in September right? We'll talk about it on Skype. AhhhAhhh! lol so excited! 

I love the family so much and pray for all of you every day. I know that Satan tries to find ways to overpower us but really he has no power at all! I was reading Elder Bednar's talk on "Things as they are." It was so good. It put a new viewpoint in my mind about what it means to use our bodies as they were intended, for the good of Gods work. They talked about technology and that we use it more than our minds, and we use texting more than our voices, and we use images of cyberspace instead of building and creating relationships. I realized how much time I've wasted with the things of the world instead of being involved with people. You can't build a relationship with a computer. Elder Bednar said something I love. When it comes to the end of our life and we are en-wrapped in the arms of our Saviors love, it will be a real experience not something you can duplicate through cyberspace." Ok so it wasn't word for word but something like that. I love it because we truly need to see things how they are and not how the world sees them. 

Becky had her baby! Dad sent me pictures and they are so cute! Thank you dad! I can't wait to meet her. Is Becky ok? I hope so. 

I'm so glad you liked wicked. I will definitely have to see it when I get home sometime. 

Oh and the storm was ok here. They are calling members of the church to go out and help with the disaster but we just got rain here. I really enjoyed the thunder and lightning, but you know me. I really wanted to be in a big storm but that's ok, God knows best. But that is super sad that it hit that hard. Our bishop was saying that it was on the ground for six hours! That is insane! God is preparing the people and giving others a chance to serve and do God's work. 

Ok so this is going to be super short because I'm going to talk to you on Sunday!!!!! So think of questions and write them down like last time so that we have something to talk about. What am I saying, I'm a Pedersen, and we always have something to talk about. I love you so very much and I'll talk to you soon! 

Lots of prayer, kisses, hugs and love coming your way!
Love your forever Sister Missionary~

April 25, 2011

Happy Easter April 25, 2011

Wow, I have a lot to say and not a lot of time to say it. I wrote a huge letter to dad so I guess I can add that on here as well. You’re seeing wicked!!!! What! I'm so jealous! But I know my day will come. Hopefully they will still be playing it by then. Oh well.

So I still love my companion and she is so amazing and no I’m not training. I can't believe I'm coming home soon. SO weird! I also get to talk to you all and I feel like I just did that. Time flies. I saw pictures from home and really they almost made me sick. I can't believe it but I was talking to my mission president about going home and he said just as the day you go out is inspired so is the day you come home. I know that I need to be home in July. I have prayed over and over and Home is where I need to be, well at least for a month or two. We'll see. Can't stay home for long and be lazy. Must get to work and work I must. lol
I can't believe Cooper is engaged and that Ryan is married. What the heck! That is so weird! I'm glad there was a lot of dancing and fun for their reception. Hope you took notes. That is how a reception should always be. Fun.
I'm so happy for Kenny! He is such a stud muffin! I'm so proud of him. He finally get's it! I think God knew How hard the teenage years would be so that's why He made sure at least one person would be on a mission while that happens, in order for blessings to flow and examples to shine. I'll always be praying for the family. It's true. We cannot put down the armor of God for a second. We must keep all of it on at all times.

So Dad wrote me about proving to God that we can follow him without a strong spiritual pull. I forgot to address it in the letter so I’ll address it now. Ok so my motto for the past couple of transfers has been, "prove me." There is a song that I love that I listen to all the time that is entitled "prove me." Well my search all started when I was reading Moroni's promise and it says "to ask if these things are not true." I always hated that. It never made sense to me why it would say that and yet I know it was important or else it would not have been said like that. I would never ask if it is not true, I would ask if it is. But through a roll play one day a sister explained it. It means to prove me. Test me and try it. I love that. Ever since I've been in Gainesville I have done that and I have learned so much. I once heard Glen beck say it this way. "To question with boldness!" I have realized more and more how God wants us to step forward in faith and try his word. Because when we do that, there is where we receive the witness and testimony of our faith. So I love that so much. Prove me~

So let me tell you a funny story to go along with these videos that I will be sending you. So one day we get a random call from Jacksonville from a doctor that says he has a patient that could use the gospel in her life right now but that she will not be back home for a few days. So he asks if we can do her a favor by feeding her cats with her permission in order to soften her heart to accept the gospel. So we think about it and feel good about doing it. We get the directions and we find out where the cat food is and we go. When we get there we find a surprise. There are two cats, and five goats all over the yard. So I think, it's no big deal, goats our nice. Nope. Not these ones. They also have not been fed in a couple days and they are mean. So I try to get into the house but so does the goats. I won’t let them in and I block them with my back but the goat decides to push me inside with her head and when that doesn't work she bit my butt. So naturally I jump inside and slam the door leaving my comp. outside with the mean goats. While my comp. is screaming we are trying to find a way to get her in and not the goats. Well the goats start running after something my comp. throws and she books it inside a second before they do. Man they run fast. So now we are stuck inside while the goats are ramming into the door to get inside. Meanwhile I'm laughing so hard I almost pee my pants. So my comp. has the idea to climb through the window and get the food dishes for the cats and fill them up. Finally are deed is done. We then distract the goats and run to our car  fast and furious and we are out of there. Well we come back the next day to find no goats, yes! But we turn the corner and where we thought we had blocked them from the house they have found a way in. They now know how to unlock the gates and are on top of the hot tub eating the cat food and drinking there water. It was crazy. Then a goat rams into a fence when she sees us and breaks it down. We were screaming like crazy. My comp decided to jump on top of the car while I use the door for protection. The goat then starts to ram into the car while my comp. is screaming. So I take a stick and hit it in the butt to go away. Well that wasn’t good. We ended up locking ourselves in there stalls to get away from them. By now I'm sure God is even laughing. Well an hour later we get them all in their stalls and feed them and give them water. It was done! I felt so accomplished but I smelt like a goat and my shoes were covered in poop with hay all over them. I was so sweaty, hot and disgusting. But we did it and I got it all on tape. It was weird! But we have the neighbor doing it now. So no need to worry. We now spend our time chasing people, not goats. But sometimes they are one in the same. I love my mission!

I had a sweet Sunday too. I wish I could have been there to hear dad sing. But I'll be there soon enough. Here is my letter to dad.

Thank you Daddy for your letter. It always inspires me to do better and to be better. You and mom have done a fantastic job of always sharing some gospel insight and I love it. I hope that doesn't stop when I get home.
It sounds like you have had a crazy week. What a fun trip though. Plus you got to see the temple. Was it just you or did you get to take someone with you? Easter looked so fun with the family. Thank you for all the pictures and of the video of all of you memorizing it together. I was saying it along with you. I still don’t have it down pat like I want but I'm going to keep doing it until I do have it down pat. I can't tell you how many times I’ve used it in my teaching and have been able to quote scripture from it. There are very key scriptures in there that have really helped me in lessons and help others understand that a restoration needed to come forth. It was amazing! Definitely inspired. I actually read a talk in the ensign about doing this memorization and I think it's the same one Mom read but it helped me to keep going and understand its importance. I have also found it easier to focus on the Savior from day to day because I have taken time to memorize it.

This Easter has been so great. We worked so hard this week and although we haven't seen the fruits of our labor yet I know I have done my best and I know the Lord with make up the difference in where I do lack. I'm so grateful for the atonement. Everything I give to the Lord he has already given me. I owe everything to him. I'm constantly in debt to my Heavenly Father and Without Jesus Christ I would have never been able to make up the difference.

I was able to read the story of the resurrection in the bible and then hear it again from my mission President and his wife who spoke at our small branch and then read it again from “Jesus the Christ”. It would have been so amazing to be there at that time. To see and be a part of that great miracle. How amazing is that! My companion and I were talking about Mary coming to see the tomb where Jesus lay and she was too sad to see that he was gone, that no angel could console her. She had seen two angels that told her almost the same thing and yet all she could hear is that he was gone, but would not hear that he is risen! Until she saw him for herself and heard his voice. She was the first to see the risen lord. But she was not the only woman to see him. Other women saw him as well and were permitted to touch his feet; Where Mary was not yet aloud to touch him. We talked about that for a while and through reading in “Jesus the Christ” We talked about how Mary was always there with him and saw him as her lord, her Savior, and her best friend. But when Jesus came to her he told her, "Touch me not," But in Joseph smith translation, it says "Hold me not." I thought, what would make the difference? Why did the other women get to touch his feet and not her? But I realized that she loved him with a closeness that could not be the same. That although he is back to testify of the physical and spiritual bands of death that he broke, it could not be the same because he is now and forever changed into something much more than he was. I was talking with my companion about that and we talked about how that is with all of us. Jesus Christ went through something none of us could have gone through and because he went through it, it saved and changed the world. It no longer could go back or be the same. So it is with us when we go through spiritual experiences, although nothing will compare to Jesus Christ, We come out changed and the things that we have learned cannot be taken from us, and we can never go back to who we were. In fact it is through the atonement that that happens. The atonement permits a circle of never ending change. It is much like my mission. The things I have learned here have changed me, inside and out. It was only through the atonement that it happened and I cannot go back. I can choose to be apostate and not become my true potential but It cannot be taken from me the things that I have learned, therefore I am forever changed and for me there is nothing to do but continue in the path that my Savior has made for me and gain my ultimate potential through my savior Jesus Christ. Honestly I'm afraid of the change that will happen when I get home but yet every move that I make and decision, I change. I cannot be afraid of change for that is what the atonement has offered me. The ability to change. Home will just be a new adventure to use the changed me and the things I have learned into a better ever changing me. There is so much strength in the atonement.

Wow I hope that makes sense. Anyways I have had a fantastic Easter and have learned so much! I love my mission. It just doesn’t feel like this anywhere else, except maybe the Temple and even that is different. Dad thank you for writing me and Opening your mouth to share the Gospel. God really tests us to become, and now he knows you’re ready.


President Barry~

We have done a lot better in accomplishing our goals this week. We made sure that we were focused and that we were reminding ourselves everyday of the goals that we set and then by doing so, we have gone out with the fire to find.

This week we have been inspired with some really good ideas to help us to find more people.

We live in a small town and all of our surrounding areas that we cover are small too. So we have decided to play off of that small town feel and get to know everyone. When we meet them we will ask for their stories and their names so that when we see them, we say hello and go and talk to them using their names and by doing so we will build trust. We want to become a part of the town in the process and get into their doors and show them who Latter-day saints really are.

We also had the inspiration to putting up flyers on the bulletin boards of all the small local businesses and put on them a catch phrase like, "Mormons love Shelly’s pizza too." with a picture of us holding a mormon.org sign, or something like that. We haven't worked it all out yet, but I’m excited to see where it will go.

Then when it comes to members getting involved we want to use preach my gospel as a main tool in their home. We will start by asking all members to purchase a Preach my Gospel for their home if not for every member. Our members here love missionary work and they love giving us referrals and having us come to teach them lessons or come out with us on tradeoffs but they won’t do it on their own. The small towns in which we live in and the ones surrounding seem to have a lot of hard feelings agents the church and members have a hard time telling their friends about it. The different churches around here take one Sunday a month to preach against the church and members find it hard to compete with that, but we are showing them that we are not competing but that we are showing and teaching by example and word. But first it's up to us to invite. When we go into member’s home and do a short Member lesson, we want to make sure that we are teaching from the lessons in Preach my gospel and that every member has a PMG to follow along. Then we will give out reading assignments from PMG in order to fit with whatever the member needs. We hope that this will bring the fire that they need to teach and help them to know how to use PMG, because PMG is for all of the members, not just missionaries.

We are really excited about these ideas. It's amazing what the Lord can do with an open mind for change in finding. I know the Lord answers my prayers and that he wants to help, but that I need to show him that I am working and asking for them in a specific way. I'm really excited about this transfer and all the miracles that I know will come from it as Sister Surtees and I continue to qualify ourselves for these amazing blessings.

Till next week.
Lots of love~

~Sister Pedersen

Hope that is enough reading for you! I love you all so much!
Love Sister Pedersen~

April 18, 2011

Time is going by WAY to FAST!! April 18, 2011

Ok holy snot time is going by way too fast and I hate it! I can't believe its coming. Maybe if I sink into a dark hole when my two transfers are up they will forget I was here and then I can continue to be a missionary. I can't believe it. I felt like I just talked to you guys at Christmas and it seems as if two weeks have gone by and now we will talk again. Weird! I will only have two months left when I talk to you on the phone. Ok Ok this is enough freaking out for now. I'm excited to talk to the family though. McKenna is so stinkin cute! Because I'll still be in this area, I can still Skype you again. Would you want to do that?
I'm so excited for Christopher. It's hard to go from really poor neighborhoods to rich ones but I think it will be so good. He seems like he likes his comp. a lot and they will do well together. I can't believe Christopher said he is a talker. He has completely come out of his shell. I know he wasn't super quiet around the family but he would not be the first person to ask a stranger where the bathroom is either. I hope he sees how much he has changed. He is so amazing! I brag about him all the time to my comp. But he is a stud! Oh my gosh, I'm so excited that he gets to serve with sisters!!! He will love it. lol Sisters aren't always the best but most of the time they are. lol. jk sometimes we can be drama but I've talked to a lot of Elders and they said they like to have the mix of sisters and Elders together. It is so much fun! Plus sisters have a different way of looking at things than elders do and visa versa (ok I didn't spell that right but you know that I mean) Oh my gosh I LOVE my mission!

I can't believe Shanna and Adam are home! For some reason I feel like I should be home with them. Probably because they weren't going to get home till after me but because Adam is a stud they got it all done early. So where are they staying? That is so funny that Adam got a black eye. All he needs is some tattoos and he'd look like a scrapper. Perfect for the job. loll. I'm so excited to see them! BreAnne was telling me that they would be home for the break. I bet They loved it. Bronson is a little quiet but he is so funny once you get to know him and he is more of a water sport guy which is still perfect for BreAnne because she loves them too. I Think he can play sports, I just don’t think he thinks he's too good at them. But he played sports with us at school. I'm glad I know him. It would be weird if I didn't. I'm so excited to be there for her wedding! It's still weird’s me out. But I’m so excited for her! Wait so when is the family reunion? Is that in August too? oh my gosh I’m going to be 23! I'm so old. One of the elders here just turned 21 and I was making fun of him about his old age, and then he asked how old I will be this year and I about freaked. I realized I will be a part of the old crowd when I go to school. That is so weird. Most of my dance partners will be preemies.

Ok so mom when you were explaining the R.S. luncheon I almost about died laughing. You said that it was a pioneer theme. That is totally what we eat here for every meal and definitely for special occasions. lol so speaking of special food. We are going to have what we call a low country boil. You can look it up on line but let me tell you it's amazing! I have been waiting for one my whole mission and never got one. I would always be taken out of an area before they would have one. So I decided that I would just plan one so that I would have one for sure. We are inviting the whole ward and all who wants to come. It is going to be missionary based. We are going to give a 15-30 min. lesson and then we will eat and play games. It's going to be so fun. This branch hasn't had an activity in forever so we are doing one because it really brings a branch together plus it's more likely that Less actives will come to a party instead of church, which is sad but it's a start to fellowshipping in the right direction. Oh ok so the food it shrimp, crab, meats, and corn and potatoes all put in a pot with a special seasoning and they are put on a "low boil" all day until they are perfect. I'm so excited! I may be too hyper for this and it could be really bad but it's the south... how bad could it be.

Alright, I’m all over the place but I guess I’m just super excited for this transfer. My new companion is amazing! I love her so much already. She is a strong teacher and a talker like me. She is always smiling and when she's excited she screams. It is so stinkin cute. She is also very loud but in a fun way, not obnoxious. She is just so awesome! We get along every well and have the same idea about things. We agree that having open communication and zero drama by letting the little things go, are the way to a happy, fun, transfer. Oh her name is Sister Amy Surtees. She is from Indiana. Now that one I’ve never heard before. She said that this town is exactly like home and that it really freaks her out. She just came from serving in Gainesville and then came to Hicksville. Which is exactly what I did. It's a very hard adjustment but she is doing so well. I'm learning a lot from her and our studies together are great. I hope that I get to keep her for my last transfer. She would really help me not to get trunky I think. Not like I'm trunky to go home but it helps to have a really hard worker alongside you to do the work. This transfer is going to be sweet!

Thank you for the package ahead of time. I'll probably get it on Thursday. This work is so great! I have been praying a lot to know what I should be doing with this knowledge that the lord has given me, after my mission. and really just because the name tag comes off, doesn’t mean that the spiritual one comes off too. I may not be a messenger but I’m still a disciple that represents him because I still hold his name on my chest, close to my heart that will never leave. I love this work and it will always continue on.

Love you all so much! xoxoxoxox
Love your Sister Missionary~

April 12, 2011

Choose what you love; Love what you choose. April 11, 2011





OK family, firsts things first, I didn't get transferred but my companion did! I am going to miss Sister Hafslund so much!!!!! She was so much fun! and a spiritual Giant! I'm so sad to see her leave and so are the members of this branch. She has been here six months and this was her first area so she has never moved. She is freaking out a bit and is way nervous but she will be perfectly fine. She is a good teacher and loves everyone she talks to. She has such a light about her and she really shows the joy of the gospel. I'm going to miss her loud singing, and laughing for no reason. Or when I ask her something and she forgets the moment that she remembers. We have so many good memories. She has become like my sister. We have had a blast and worked hard together and improved together. I really will miss her but she needs a new area and a change so she can grow even more. I would be lying to say I'm not nervous for a new companion. There really is no reason to be but the ward is so attached to sister Hafslund that they don't want anyone else. We have a LA family that said if they don't like the new girl than we can't come over as much. I would say that I was kidding about that but he was serious. I trust in the Lord. He knows what the people here need and I love all the sisters here so I'm not worried about me, Poor thing; I hope she knows when she comes that the people will give her a hard time for a bit just to test her and then they'll quit. I'm already praying for her, who ever she is.

Oh and Dad the talk on Marriage could still apply to me, I may not be married to my comps but I still have to live with them and still do a great work. We may not be bringing up children, but we certainly are bringing in children. Sister Hafslund was asking me about my areas and companions and which was my favorite or worst and I really couldn't pick. I have loved them all and if it was hard or if there were things I didn't like in a comp they were things I loved and missed about them when I was no longer with them or in the area. It so true, I do choose the things that I love and when it gets hard I need to continue to love what I have chosen. I chose to come on a mission because I loved God enough to give my will and obey him. Now that I'm here I need to love what I have chosen. If I don't I'm not really showing that I love my Father in Heaven. I know that's a funny way to think of it, but still true.

I applied everything to myself at conference. I'm sorry that this upcoming week will be so crazy but it looks like you have already had one. I'm sorry you all got so sick. That is so funny that you all had to take turns being sick in the bathroom. It reminds me of a story from my mission ;) (Yep, starting already) I probably already told you this story but oh well.

It was on my birthday and one of my comps. was sick and she did not want to tell me because she told me later that she thought it would have ruined my birthday, so instead she pretended everything was normal and ate out with us, and went tracting and did everything, when she should have been home sleeping. Well we ended up at a LA's home who had not been to church for 10 years and this was our first time meeting him. When we arrived my comp asked if she could use his bathroom. I was in a three sum at the time so we stepped outside with him and talked while she used the bathroom. In our lesson with him he began to be emotional and started to cry telling us he knew the church was true, at that same moment she walked out of the house white as a ghost and said we had to leave, so we left him sitting there explaining that we'd come back tomorrow. The moment we got in the car she said that she was sick and needed to go home. She said that she went to find his bathroom and was too sick to figure out where it was and opened every door of his house at an attempt to find it. Well she had held out too long and before she knew it the toilet was occupied and she was throwing up in his bathtub. She said she cleaned up as much as she could but didn't think about shutting the doors when she left. We laughed forever about that. So this poor man who we never had met before walks back inside (after being emotionally drained and realizing he needed to make changed in his life), To find every door open in his house, probably thinking he got robbed by these sisters, and come to find a half cleaned bathtub and a full trash can. Lol We felt so bad. We went back the next day and told him the story and fixed it. He did end up coming back to church, so I guess it was what needed to happen. So that is what I think of when I think of your weekend in Idaho.

I can't believe you all ate out after all that. Crazy. Craigos reminds me of Kurt. The parrashooting dentist. Adam is so funny. Thank you dad for the pic. and the video. I'm so excited for Adam. I bet he was excited to be done with school and back home. So where are they going to stay? Did they find a house yet or an apt? Or are they staying in the spare room? I can't believe Skyler is leaving so soon! I'll be just coming home when he goes into the mission field. I'm so proud of Devin! He is a stud! He will never regret going on a mission. Ever. That is awesome to hear. I'm so glad the Coffmans are doing so well. I like them so much! They write me every so often and tell me of all their blessings. Holy cow; there amazing! Did you know Heathers car got totaled? I pray for them often as I pray for all my family!

I can't wait to see all the new things at BYU-I. That will be fun. I was upset that I would never see it finished before I graduated, but God knew what I didn't. I get to experience the new dance rooms! WooHoo! I would go on the fast track when I get home but my major is only on the winter/summer track. I'll have to pray about it, but Thank you for letting me know. Something to think on.

This week has been really good. Not much has changed but I really have tried to look at everything with a grateful heart and I have found when I do so, I'm not only happier but I see God's hand in my life. I know that when I live righteously and follow God's commandments and repent daily, God will fill me with his love and with that love I can do anything; with that love I see people with my rose colored glasses and can't help but want to share this Gospel with everyone I see.

I love you all so much and I'll talk to you next week!

With so much love coming your way!
Love your Sister Missionary~

April 4, 2011

I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! April 4, 2011

O.k. I LOVE my family and I am almost way too excited and hyper to even write. Lol Oh my gosh I feel so blessed! I don't really have words to describe it but this conference has made my week! And will make the rest of my mission and life from the things that I learned from it. I really feel like crying. God has truly been so good to me when I don't deserve it. My mission has prepared me for the rest of my life. I did not see that when I first came out. When I first came out I thought "this is just a moment in time God wants me to serve and when it is done, it will be done and I'll go back." I can't go back! This mission has forever changed who I am as a daughter of God, and of my parents here on earth, as a sister, as friend, and as a future wife and mother and grandmother. I will use my mission the rest of my life because it is so ingrained in me. It is not only what I do but it's who I am. I loved that talk at conference. About do and be and how you need to have both in coming to know God and be a true disciple of Christ.

I loved general Conference. They talked about marriage a lot.... Umm sad to say, I'm so scared to date and get married but this conference has helped me to see that it is of God and when I get home it needs to be my number 1 priority. I know God will help me along the way. Thank heavens I don’t need to deal with it now. I have had my heart locked for so long that they're going to need a pry bar to open it. Lol. It was so amazing and as always I love Elder Holland and President Monson's along with so many others. I'm just so sad that it is all over. We were explaining this conference to an investigator and he started to get excited to come too. I love it! I was so excited to listen to conference that on Friday night I couldn't sleep. It felt like when we were little and we would keep giggling because we were so excited for Christmas we couldn't sleep. That's what I was doing. My companion would have thought I was weird if it weren't for the fact that she was giggling with me. Lol I love her so much! I'm going to miss my comp so much if she leaves me. I've had her for so long that I don't know what to do with myself if she leaves. We get our transfer calls on Saturday and leave by Tuesday so I'll let you know if I get transferred or not.

Speaking of marriage I can't believe BreAnne is getting married! What the heck! She did write and tell me before everyone else told me but how exciting! This was totally an answer to my prayer. Two things I didn't know if I could handle while on my mission; if someone died or if someone got married. I'm so excited to be there for it! God truly does answer my prayers. I know God is mindful of me.

I can't believe you already got my papers!!! What!!! That means I'm going to get mine soon. Oh that is way too weird. I'm just going to ignore that you said that. Lol man I have so many mixed emotions about coming home. I don't want to come home and yet I miss my family. If I could only come home for a month and then go back I would be ok with that. I feel like elder Holland does about his mission although I think he would beg to differ, but I love my mission so much. It means everything to me. I am not the same. Satan has tried to play a nasty trick on me the last couple of months in trying to make me feel like I'm the same person I was before my mission, but I realize in my heart and as an answer through conference, I have changed. I don't want the same things. I use to want what I wanted but I don't want that anymore. I want what God wants.

I'm working very hard on memorizing Jesus the Christ and I love it. This will be so amazing to be able to say and I have used it in my teaching a lot because your memorize scriptures with it too. It truly was inspired, so thank you for sending it. The pictures have helped a lot!

One thought from what Christopher wrote about thinking that people don't need to come to church. That is so true here too. They think they have a relationship with God but they don't or else God would have told them to come to church. I have met so many people that may not be happy with their church but they continue to go because God commanded it. Those are the people I would like to find. But it's all in the desire of their hearts. I liked when they said in conference People think of God as a butler to answer all their demands or as a counselor to listen to all their whining and in return they feel that it is his job to make them feel good about their sorry sinful self.

It made me laugh because I found out a long time ago that if you're going to complain, God will give you something to complain about. He is there to council with and help us repent when needed. (Which is everyday?) I need to go to him more and ask him how I can improve. I know it's one of my weaknesses but it's how I will improve my life and make it a life he is proud of and be the person he wants on his team and can use.

I love my Heavenly Father so much! Oh my goodness I have so much to say about conference but you know. You were there and felt it. I miss you all like crazy but am sending my love to you.

Oh soon I'll be sending stuff home in packages, DO NOT OPEN THEM! They may be presents or things I want to show you later.

I love you all!!! xoxoxoxoxo
Love your forever Sister Missionary

Dear President Barry

This week has gone well. I absolutely loved conference. It was the one of the highlights of my week. I learned so much about what I personally need to do to become a more consecrated disciple of Jesus Christ and how I am to help others around me come unto Christ.

We have been struggling a lot with our recent convert who seems to forget why he was baptized. He has encountered a lot of challenges in the last couple of weeks but through constant prayer he has made an effort to come back. We saw this dedication when he attended all sessions of general conference. It was amazing! He felt the spirit and it reconfirmed to him why he became a member of the church. He struggles a lot with a multi personality disorder but is finding strength in the Lord and is overcoming a lot of different obstacles that come with that. I have seen a change in him that only the gospel can bring to those that want to change. It is truly amazing to see.

Alex continues to progress as we try to see him every day and teach him. I know that he can become a strong member and he is looking forward to being baptized. He was so excited when he found out that he had the possibility to be baptized before his probation. We had an amazing lesson the other day as we talked about the desires of our heart and what that meant. He came up with questions for conference and really thought about what he wants in his life. He became very emotional as he talked about his desire to have a family that is righteous and on the right path. He said he knows he did it all the wrong way and that his life was not in order with God but that he is really trying to change that. We sang "love is spoken here" at the end of the lesson and it was so powerful and the spirit was there. It was amazing to be able to testify of that spirit while it was present and help him to know that that is what it feels like for him. I pray for him every night that he will endure this waiting period and look at it as Gods time line of preparation and learning. He is amazing.

David is doing very well too. Although he will have to wait a year to be baptized, he lives with a member so it helps him to stay on track. He and his less-active wife and baby girl went to all sessions of general conference and David even went to the priesthood session. I was not sure what his true desire was until General Conference. I really see that he is trying to do what is right and follow the savior. He is also trying to quit smoking which seems to be a very hard thing for him. He has just come off from being a drug addict so the smoking is his substitute. But after a lesson on the word of wisdom he understood that they are all connected and that he needs to put a stop to all. It was a great lesson and spirit felt. Since then I have seen a great effort to try and quit even though his wife smokes and refuses to quit with him. I know that as he continues in faith that he will be blessed.

We don’t have as many investigators as I would like but I’m thankful for the ones that I get to work with now and hope that they let the spirit work with them and change them. Through conference I have received answers to my prayers and know that if I follow that spirit we will receive the direction we need to find many more of Gods children. I love this Gospel with all my heart and I'm thankful for this great opportunity to serve.

Till next week~
Sending lots of love,

Sister Pedersen~

 

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