Monday, June 17, 2013

When this Ward holds a party it is no small affair.  We had a fiesta for el dia de los padres on Saturday and there was so much heavenly food!  I overeat every day here.  When we first came to the mission the Sister Training Leaders told us they don't know any Sisters that haven't gained about twenty pounds here.  Whoopee!  We can't ever turn down food, so our fridge is usually full and our bellies bulging.  I'm carrying on the reputation of a Peterson Pig with incredible skill.  I hope you're proud.

Mom, I was with those Sisters you ran into literally moments before you ran into them!!  We were so close!  How did the race go? Did you win?  I sure hope so. :)  It was crazy to think that we were both here and not seeing each other.  Super weird.  But I hope you had a great trip.  Isn't Chicago the best? Yep.

I don't have much to say since I just wrote a few days ago...  Giovanna got baptized!  She is eight.  Baptisms are so stressful!  They are obviously the greatest as well, but planning them and being in charge is stressful.  According to mi companera this baptism went incredibly smoothly, but I was sweating.  Her family, none of which are members of the Church except for her mom, all arrived twenty minutes early.  The bulk of the people from the Ward came a half hour late, and the Primary kids were singing the musical number, so we had to wait.  Now that I write it that doesn't seem stressful at all, but you know how I like to be prompt.  Jaja. I'm slowly numbing to that though because riding the bus and train we can not arrive on time to save our lives.  We go new places every day so we try to guess how long it will take to get somewhere and give ourselves plenty of time to stop and talk to people along the way.  We either arrive twenty minutes early or fifteen minutes late.  That what it seems like to me.  But we're slowly getting better.  So, after that tangent, the baptism went well and it was very happy. :)

One of our miracle people, Guadelupe, is never ceasing to amaze us.  She came to the baptism of Friday and afterwards helped set up for the ward party until almost midnight with the Relief Society President.  Our Relief Society is so wonderful.  I don't know if I've talked about her before, but she is a Regina.  She works, is finishing up her Masters, and raising four young kids.  I feel like I've already told you this.  Sorry if it's a repeat.  But she's very to the point and we are so grateful for her.  Powerhouse. So Guadelupe!  Sorry, it is kind of loud in here and it's making it difficult for me to focus!  Then the next day Guadelupe came to the party and helped clean up afterwards, then she came to all three hours of Church yesterday!!  Oh, we just love her so much.  She has the ability to act on what she wants and feels and knows.  That is not a common trait.  Most of us humans are quite stubborn and we don't like to be uncomfortable or have lots of change, even if it is good change, we have a lot of difficulty doing things even when we know without a doubt that it will be good for us.  Not Guadelupe.  Ah, I just love her.  I'm grateful the Lord is trusting us with her.  She is special.

So, mother, you asked me before I left to please be honest.  So here it is.  I am so stubborn!! I am one of those people I was just talking about.  I am having such a hard time opening my mouth.  Here I am surrounded by people who I can share this beautiful gospel with and I am not doing it.  I feel so good about myself if I've approached one person and shared my testimony with them before the day is done.  I am so stubborn.  My roommates are probably thinking, "Yes, of course you're stubborn, we all know this." :)  I've always known it too, but this is on a whole new level.  I get so pumped in the morning while I'm studying and I'm like, "Yes! This is the day I will open my mouth to everyone!  I'm finally humbled, ready to turn my will over to God, ready to be awkward and stop people on the street, ready to care more about their salvation than my own worries.  Let's do this!"   And then I see someone and I think, "Yes! I want to talk to them!" And we get closer and suddenly my thoughts have transitioned into a desperate prayer that Hermana Williams will stop them so that I can still bear my testimony to them and I walk right past.  Luckily, sometimes Hermana Williams does stop them, but not all the time.  And then I feel sad.  My will power is failing me day after day and I'm having to rely on Heavenly Father to lift me, but my heart is still so hard.  He is teaching me the same lesson I felt many days in the MTC:  that this is not about me. It is about Christ.  I cannot do it alone.  This is His work.  It's just taking me a whole lot longer to learn than I was expecting.  The more I love, the easier it is to speak.  The easier it is to speak, the more I learn.  The more I learn, the more focused I am on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and this work.  It's a beautiful process.

The great news is that I am called of God to be a missionary and that a true and living prophet approved my call to serve, both here in Chicago and in Buenos Aires.  The Lord knows my heart will soften and He is softening it, poco a poco.  I love Jesus Christ so much.  I feel the hand of God in my life every single day.  It is undeniable.  He is blessing us to the point where we don't have room to receive it.  He blesses us with joy, understanding, courage, love, the ability to speak Spanish, to teach by the Spirit, to learn, to change, to find.  He forgives.  He inspires.  He uplifts.  And we are so happy.  Hermana Williams and I get along so well.  She has five months left as a full-time missionary and we decided we'll both just stay here until then.  After that I'll go to Argentina. :)  

Did I tell you I tried mate for the first time?  A woman in the ward is from Argentina and they had us over for dinner last week.  That mate was hard to drink, but I hear it is an acquired taste, right Logan??  I'll drink it every time we go over there and hopefully I'll be a pro before we know it.  Don't worry, it's the missionary-approved kind. 

Heidi, I loved your letter.  You are beautiful.  Thank you for the love.  
Madi, please tell the Branch and your sisters thank you so much! That was so thoughtful of you.  It made me smile.  Tell Ellie I will answer her questions she asked, it might just take a bit. :)  I love you.

Family, you are strong and that gives me strength.  I love you with all I've got and I am so grateful to have you supporting me.  Thanks for all you do for this wonderful world in which we live.  Jesus Christ is the Savior of us all!  He is just what we need.

Loves and prayers,

Hermana Peterson

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