Tuesday, May 28, 2013


White people are so scary. We try to talk to them and they never want to listen!  Obviously this is an exaggeration, some white people talk to us, but those numbers are few.  So I'm getting a white people complex, but then I remember that I'm white and I'm the same way- someone comes up to me and I don't know them, it's likely I won't talk to them.  It's rough.  Because then I go to Church on Sunday and I am so spoiled.  Sisters from the ward make us lunch every Sunday and we eat it and it is so delicious.  They tell us that since we are away from our mothers they need to make sure we have lots of mothers in the ward.  (So don't worry mama, I'm still getting plenty of mother-love.) :)  And then take yesterday, for example.  We were walking down the street, looking for an address, when we pass by a family having a Memorial Day barbeque.  And oh my, was it a barbeque. She had hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, chicken, you name it.  Hna Williams said, "Hello, how are you? Wow, it smells good!" and the next thing you know we're sitting down being served a full Mexican meal.  You just don't get that with white people very often.  So yeah, I love the people here.  There is so much love.
That doesn't mean everyone we talk to wants to hear what we have to say, but people are truly kind.  We didn't get fake numbers or addresses that we know of this week, so that is always comforting.  Actually, this past week almost every appointment fell through.  But we improved a lot of things and we are so ready to go this week!  We are practicing testisfying with power.  It's a vulnerable thing to do.  It hurts more when someone rejects your message after you've just born your soul than it does if you give a true but rehearsed statement.  We're working on it and the results are great.  We are able to have more powerful lessons, where the Spirit is felt and hearts change.
Also, members are they key.  We went out with a member last night and we hardly had to do a thing- people are so much more willing to talk to us if we have a member with us.  So all you members out there, help the missionaries.  You bring miracles to God's work, literally.  Having a member in a lesson is powerful.
Oh family. So much to write and so little time.  By the way, my next Preparation Day is June 7 because we are going to a baseball game! Fun. Guess what else is happening on June 7? A baptism!  She is eight, and her mom hasn't been coming to church for a very long time. Her mom is from Argentina!  I love listening to her talk, even though I can't understand the accent super well.  But her mom died recently and she wants to live with her forever so she decided to come back to church and help her daughter get baptized.  So we've been teaching her the lessons and she'll be baptized on the 7th.  We're excited.  They have a very close and special mother-daughter relationship and I like it.  Hopefully you can sort out all those "she"s and "her"s I just used.
We met a man who has been put through the wringer yesterday.  We were meeting people in the park since it was a holiday and he walked past us with music blaring through his headphones.  Hna Willaims stopped him (I'm still pretty terrible at the initial contact so it's usually Hna Williams. I'm so grateful for her. Don't know what I'd do if she wasn't so good at talking to people.).  We talked for a few minutes and he seemed interested in what we were sharing, so we sat down on a bench and had a full lesson with him.  Impromptu lessons are usually awesome.  So it was with this one.  He might not even be twenty and yet he has lived just about every horrible thing you can think of.  He doesn't feel things anymore, he told us.  He has searched and searched, going to many churches and he's read "seven bibles" as he put it, including parts of the Koran.  So we gave him another book, and he's excited to read it.  I know that for him to have a new life that is lasting it will require miracle after miracle for quite some time.  He has so much going against him.  But as we were talking to him and teaching him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I could clearly see him as he can become.  And I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is powerful enough to have that be a possibility for him. His name is Tommy.  He needs all the power and blessings from God he can get.  We will likely have to refer him to the English Elders because he prefers English over Spanish, but we'll meet with him on Thursday and see what he says. 
Our District Leader gave us the challenge of talking to 100 people this week about the Gospel.  So far we are doing well.  I am always worrying about being a nuisance and annoying people by talking to them, but I'm slowly learning that more often than not, God is putting specific, prepared people in our path, and by not opening my mouth and talking to everyone I can, I am missing those that are ready to listen.  We are repeatedly surprised by the people that do call us back, that do want to hear more, that do come to an appointment we made in the park, that do make changes to their lives.  We are always amazed and in awe of how much Heavenly Father's hand is directing our day.  Trust in Him.
I love you. Thanks for all the letters this week, from everyone!  Thanks for the prayers.
Oh! The address. All mail just goes to the Mission Address:
Hermana Jamie Peterson
Illinois Chicago Mission
1319 Butterfield Rd Suite 522
Downers Grove, IL 60515-5621
hna Peterson

Monday, May 20, 2013


She wants everyone to know that you are allowed to email her directly now at jamie.peterson@myldsmail.net
She didn't remember to give us her address in Chicago yet but hopefully next week.

I love it!!!
I'm in your turf, Gabriella.  Right in Chicago! I'm sorry I don't think I could ever get permission to set anything up with you, but my goodness, what a city.  I am so excited to be here and the people are wonderful.  I'm sure all the other areas in the mission are wonderful as well, but I'm pretty sure this is the best place to be. :)  They call us "the Loop Hermanas."  Also known as the Wilmette Warriors. Take your pick.
Heidi, so proud of you.  I love all the pictures.  Jonah, you too!  I have such impressive siblings. :)  I'm so excited to hear all your successes and you both look smashing.  And mama,  you did it, you're official, and I'm so happy for all the people you will get to help.
I don't know how to tell you everything I want to tell you!  So I arrived in Chicago and met President and Sister Fenn.  They are so solid.  President Fenn speaks with power.  We spent the day at their home, me and 33 other missionaries- the biggest group yet.  I actually went and spent the night at the Sister Training Leaders' apartment because they couldn't house all of us at their house.  The other missionaries are such excellent examples and everyone loves each other a lot.  Then the next day we had some Orientation things and then I met my trainer! Her name is Hermana Williams and she is so wonderful.  She hails from California and she is a lot of fun.  She talks to EVERYONE.  That is the area in which I need to work quite a bit.  I'm so awkward and timid about approaching strangers.  Working on it.  So she is a great example and I feel like I've already known her much longer than a few days.  We work hard and miracles are approaching.  She's only been in this area for a few weeks because of an emergency transfer so we're both learning the city and we get lost frequently, but now we are getting the hang of things. 
Being in the city is awesome for so many reasons.  We get to walk everywhere, or take the bus or train, which means we have a lot of time to meet new people.  It's incredible how quickly some people trust us and give us all their contact information.  Others, however, and much more sneaky and they act completely interested and then give us false addresses and numbers (not surprising- "Hi, I'm so-and-so and we have a message about Jesus Christ..... So, what's your name, last name, number, address?" Jaja. Don't worry, we try not to be so creepy.)  But that makes for some funny stories.  We get so excited to go and teach someone we met on the street only to ride a bus for twenty minutes to find that it is not a real address at all.  The burdens of not having internet access...  Last week someone gave Hna Willaims the number to Pizza Hut.  I was impressed that they had it memorized. But it usually leads us to someone else who actually does want to meet with us and then all is well.
The people here are incredible.  Our ward just split a few months ago and we a bit sparse in numbers but the ward members are so loving and it's inspiring.  One miracle we had this week was a referral from mormon.org.  Her name is Elena and she asked us to visit her.  It turns out her sister-in-law was just baptized yesterday, and she had heard a little about the Church and wanted to learn more.  We walked into her house and she and her two daughters were simply beaming.  They told us to wait because her mother-in-law also wanted to hear and was on her way.  There was a powerful spirit with them. Then Hna Williams found out these were the family members of a family she taught in her last area- the woman who got baptized yesterday.  She was ecstatic   So at this point there was quite a lot of smiling going on in that room.  We didn't have much time to teach so we left a brief message about prayer and gave them a Book of Mormon to read and asked them to come to Church on Sunday.  And guess what?  They actually came!  And they loved it!  They are golden.  And they were made so very welcome by the whole ward.  We didn't have to do a single thing.  The bishopric, Young Women President, Primary President, and ward members just jumped right in from the moment they walked in the door and it was beautiful.  We are excited to meet with them this week.
Okay, so Jose.  I love Jose.  He was also a referral and his heart is so good.  He didn't come to Church yesterday and when we called him after he said he got called into work and we said, Oh, it's okay, and he said, "No, it's not okay. I lied. I said I would come and then I didn't!"  He is eager to learn and we have another lesson with him tonight.  We need to help him meet people in the ward so he will feel more comfortable there as well.
Members are crucial in this work.  We are working hard to get all the members involved in sharing the gospel because that is when lives are truly changed.  Most people aren't going to understand what the Gospel of Jesus Christ can do for them by talking to a stranger for a minute on the street, but it is far more likely if they have a first-hand example in the life of a friend.  So all you reading this, SHARE IT. :)  Your joy will be great, promise.
I love teaching.  I feel happiest when I'm in a lesson with an investigator.  It's also the only time I actually feel able to express everything I want to.  God blesses me to be able to speak in those moments when I'm fully focused on helping another learn about Jesus Christ.  Heavenly Father loves each of us so much and believing in that can give us the strength to choose Him above every other thing in our lives.  I'm learning, I'm growing, I'm falling short, and then Christ makes up for all my mistakes.  Mostly, I just feel grateful.  He's making me who these people need me to be, even if it's not the easiest route.  I love these people.  I love that THIS is the work and the glory of God, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  What a God.  Spread the love.
I love you all so much and I want to to know that I know this where Heavenly Father wants me to be.  Thank you for all of your prayers and love!  Thanks for the emails and pictures (I can't watch the videos, sadly.).  Have a grand week and I'll talk to you...next time!! 
Loves and hugs all around.
Hermana Peterson

Monday, May 13, 2013


She flew today to Chicago where she will be serving until her visa comes.  She traveled with quite a few missionaries going to Chicago.  We talked to her early this morning while she was in the airport.  She sounded great and is excited to to be in Chicago.  She doesn't yet know if she will be in a Spanish or English speaking area.

I can't get the Spanish keyboard on this computer, but just mentally put an accent over that "a" and all will be well.
Many many lagrimas were shed this week. Our District is gone and it was sad to say goodbye.  The bonds we've grown are deep because they are bonds of the Gospel, of feeling the Spirit and sharing spiritual experiences every hour of every day!  It is truly a special bond and some of the Hermanas have been having a hard time.  Hermana Kitchens will be the last to go and she leaves tomorrow. Then it will just be me, Hna Tibbitts, and Hna Sagers, as a trio.
Let me tell you a little about Hermana Sagers.  She is drop-dead gorgeous.  People come up to her daily and stop her to tell her how beautiful she is.  She is also gullible and has the goofiest laugh you have ever heard.  Then you find out she went to BYU and wants to go to Law school, and then that she was Valedictorian and you kind of go, woah.  Then you find out when she was little her parents would give her quarters for memorizing poems and that she still has most of them memorized. She is a champion memorizer and several times while we've been here we'll be having a discussion and she'll say, "Is it all right is I share a poem?"  And then she'll recite the most perfect, beautiful poem.  She is diligent.  She's also going to Argentina eventually, Mendoza Mission.  Basically, Hermana Sagers is one of those people who the more you get to know, the more and more impressed you become.  So I am excited to be in a trio with her for the next bit.
My companion has had a rough go.  She has not enjoyed the MTC.  She's had the hardest time out of all of us, mostly because she doesn't really want to be a missionary, even though she knows very well that this is where Heavenly Father needs her.  And we're all sure glad she has pushed through. She has an incredible capacity to love.  She is very sad to see everyone go.  But I feel strongly that we still have lessons to learn here together, and so does she, so we are moving forward and trying to work with more diligence and determination.  I am so grateful for her.  She is helping me be the kind of missionary I know I need to become.  I love that we get to call each other "Hermana" because that is honestly what we are, hermanas.  
We were practicing giving away copies of the Book of Mormon yesterday and I approached three sisters and asked if we could practice with them and one of the sisters said, "Hey! Look at my name tag!" Guess who it was?  Sister Hadley!  I hadn't even recognized her!  So that was fun.  She seems like she's already doing very well.  She was kind enough to suffer through my sad attempt at making approaching a stranger and explaining the Book of Mormon seem almost (not!) normal.  Yeah, contacting new people out of nowhere is super awkward for me. It's bad in Enlgish, but 3000 times worse in Spanish. Jaja. I'll get there eventually.
I love the MTC.  I'm not bothered by having more time here, even thought I'm eager to go at the same time.  I feel the love of God with force.  God's love is a moving force and I'm trying to utilize that as best I can.  Paul, have safe travels to Jordan today and don't forget to email me about your adventures.  Mom, be safe, too.  I hope you're having a blast.  Family, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! Thanks for all your love and prayers.  You're the best family on Earth, just don't let the word get out. :)  The Church is true.
Mucho amor,
Hermana Peterson