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~



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