Saturday, February 22, 2014

Una Familia Eterna

It is the theme of the week.  We really have an eternal family!!

So I got a call from the assistants on Friday telling me I had to be in the offices for an interview with President at three.  We had just had an interview on Tuesday so I was very confused.  When he called me into his office and Hermana Carter entered as well I realized it wasnt for something mission-related.  He sat down and said he had bad news.  That my grandmother Peterson had passed away.  My second grandma to pass away on my mission. I began to cry and the Hermana Carter cried with me.  President said the email he received from you, Dad, was the nicest email he had received of that kind, that you were so thoughtful and humble.  I told him you are a good man and he said he could tell. He said I could call if I wanted and after pondering a bit I decided not to.  He left me with the Hermana for a bit and we talked.  I asked her how often this happens and she said two or three times a month.  We hugged and she told me she loves me and that the grieving process comes in waves and that I dont need to feel like a bad missionary for that.  I had the whole colectivo-ride home to think and ponder and pray.  I felt overwhelmed with emotion and peace.

I testified with more power that families are eternal and that it only made possible through the complete and restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is something that most people here believe in but they dont know for sure.  We were in a lesson with a beautiful family, two little 4-year-old boys, identical twins, and the parents that are both policia.  We started sharing about eternal families and we pulled out one picture each of our families. I only have pictures of parts of our family, not all together (could you send me one, please?:) and when I showed them the beautiful picture I have you Mami and Papi she began to cry.  What you two have can be felt even in a picture.  She said, "Es lindo."  She said she couldnt believe you two let me come all the way to Argentina and that you must miss me.  She thanks you.  As do I.  In church this Sunday we learned that we have eternal families to help us reach exaltation.  It is just so true.  With all the heartache, trials, problems, stresses, our families help us to be pure and to prepare to meet God.  They bring us the most joy, laughter, love, and peace.  

When I was there talking with the Hermana I wanted to ask if she knew if elyssa had had her baby and how you were all going to work that out, unable to be in two places at once.  But I knew you were all being taken care of.  The baby is so beautiful!!!!!!!!  I want to hug and kiss her!!  And Jethro, such a good big brother!!  We are seeing the plan that God has for every family in the height of action.  Birth and death, joy and sorrow.  With a Savior aware of every little detail.  

This life is a small moment.  If we are diligent, constantly diligent, in obeying the commandments of God we will have the biggest family hug in the history of mankind, with so much light and joy and health and understanding.  I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and all that He does for us to hep us make it all the way.  We wont be perfect in this life, but we will be obedient.  He always knows best. :)

I am truly full of joy and peace this morning and I am anxious to help others find what I feel!!  I love each of you so much! Mom, Dad, elyssa, Nick, Jethro, BABY, Paul, Heidi, Jonah. Tías, tíos, primos, abuelos.  You are wonderful.  Find comfort in the scriptures.

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Peterson

Dulce de Leche

We are reading the Book of Mormon as a mission. Did I already tell you that?  Anyways, it is a great experience.  Right now we are reading about the prophesies of Isaiah where he saw the Book of Mormon and how it would spread throughout the world bringing truth the the children of God.  I love reading the Book of Mormon, especially in spanish.  It is such good food for the soul.  It is so true.

Lidia is so sweet.  We meet with Lidia and the family twice a week and they always send us off with sweets.  Yesterday it was two alfajores each and a conito, which is a little cookie with a giant dolop of dulce de leche on top in the shape of a cone all bathed in chocolate.  They go to church each week and it makes me so happy.  They are reading the scriptures every day and praying sincerely.  These two sisters are 84 and 86 years old and they are so actively looking for knowledge and light.  It is incredible.

Hermana Passos began to take the lead in all the lessons and planning this week.  She was stressed and angry and frustrated but then happy and hopeful and diligent.  It seems to work that way for all of us. :)  What a lovely companion I have.  Our classes of Portuguese and English are going well.  We found new people to teach the Gospel this week and the Lord is teaching us how to do this work in His way.  Faith precedes the miracles.

I love you all so very much and when that baby is born you all better give it extra extra love for me!!!!  I am so excited to see him/her.  What was that word Nick made up? It would be useful right about now.  Thanks for all the prayers and examples and words of love.  My heart is happy.

Hermana Peterson

Monday, February 3, 2014

Menos Activos

Today I want to talk about those that sometimes have a hard time getting to church.  We had some great experiences this week.  We went to eat in the house of a family that hasn't been to church in a few months.  Two little kids, one that will turn eight this year.  We began to talk about how the mom was introduced to the church and learned about her story, her family (this is one of the best parts of being a missionary:).  she was baptized when she was eight, her parents found the church when she was seven.  She was married in the temple, always a faithful member of the church.  Then the ward boundaries changed.  She was separated from the rest and put in our ward.  She began to go but she didn't feel at home.  The building is different, the people are different, there wasn't anyone to be in the nursery.  I asked when the last time she had been to church was and she said, with watery eyes, that already a few months had passed.  Her husband arrived home from work and joined in the conversation.  He shared that he felt guilty.  Their daughter wants to be baptised this year and they aren't going to church.  He has covenants that he is not fulfilling.

So what keeps you from going?

The mom tiredly said that each Saturday they prepare the clothes to go to church, they get everything ready.  Then Sunday morning rolls around....and they just don't go.  She said she doesn't know what it is that happens, but they just don't make it out the door.  There was suffering in her eyes the whole time.  She never expected to be in this situation.  She never expected to have this struggle, and it pained her to see the effects.  They told us they just needed a push.  So we pushed!  They committed to go the next day, and all committed to pray.

Church starts at 9:30 and as the hour got closer and closer and they still hadnt arrived we began to pray harder.  9:40.....9:50....and they entered the chapel!!!  We were so happy.  They were so happy.  The Hermano later shared that they woke up at 9:05.  His wife said, no, we´re already too late.  He said they were going to church.  They all got ready in a flash in their Sunday best and ran to the chapel.

Perhaps it is difficult sometimes to see the importance of this simple act of going to church each Sunday, but the truth is that it brings miracles into our lives.  We find peace, we find strength, we find faith.  And the Lord blesses us with what He knows we need.

I love this ward so much.  The members are valiant and true disciples of Jesus Christ.  

We are teaching classes of English and Portuguese, did I already tell you that? I think so.  But it is so fun!  Our students love it too!

I love you all to the moon and back and Im so proud to be here in the service of the Lord.

With lots of love,

Hermana Peterson