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~

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