Friday, March 25, 2011

One Step Closer

This week has been soooo busy!
Monday, for various reasons, was not a good day.  No one was really focused and we didn't get a whole lot accomplished as a district and I think everyone was a bit burned out.  At the end of the night, I think Irmao Johanson gave up on us and told us that we needed to teach the first lesson to another companionship in the district.  We do a lot of role playing here, so just about every missionary has a specific person in mind that they use when they're being taught by other missionaries.  Needless to say, this experience did not go over well, and I think everyone was extrememly humbled by the end of the night.
But that means that the week could only get better!  Tuesdays we really worked as a companionship on making sure we were teaching equal amounts of time and did a little comp. inventory which helped a whole lot.  We then taught each other the first lesson, which works really well since there's three of us, so one of us will be the investagator and the other two will teach.  I was the investagator first, and they were going on, teaching the lesson, and I was doing my best to act like this person I was thinking of would act and to have their concerns in mind.  My wonderful companions hit exactly on everything that "I" needed to hear.  It was so amazing.  And then Sister Cornwall became the investagator and Sis Forester and I didn't have a lot of time, so we'd bearly started the lesson when we had to be wrapping it up.  I was trying to think what needed to happen in the situation I was in and I thought came to me (a very un-Erin thought) and I told our investagator "I think you really need to pray.  Right now.  Would you be willing to do that?"  And it was perfect.  It really was.  And if I can do something perfect, well, God does work miracles =]
Later that night we had our district fireside and that completely changed my perspective on the people I'm here with.  I love them all a whole lot, they're great, but especially Monday I sat and thought "How in the world does the Lord use us to be able to do his work?" And I got my answer.  In our fireside everyone got the chance to talk about what they've learned and bore their testimonies and the transformation was amazing.  To have the Spirit there and testify so strongly from these Elders and Sister was magnificent.
Another thing we've been doing is testing out some different programs the MTC is getting ready to put into practice.  We got to go to a workshop about helping members become a part of the lessons and then another one about stress management.  We go through the workshops and then people who have been working on the programs ask us questions about how effective they were and why we liked/didn't like them.  It's neat to think that while I'm here I'm helping to prepare the next generation of missionaries as well.  Pretty neat.
Our district is pretty anxious to be receiving their visas, so I think it was Tuesday that about 4 of them fasted for them.  Well, Tuesday, Sis. Cornwall and I got called to the travel office to fill out our online visas!  One more step done to actually getting to Brazil!!!  And the next day, Sister Forester got called to the office and she GOT her visa, and the next day, two more Elders got their visas, and today, three more of our missionaries got their visas!  It's really exciting, but at the same time it's a little sad.  Even thought I've only been here 10 days, we've gotten really close as a district and I'm going to miss every who's leaving.  On Tuesday it will just be Me, Sisters Cornwall and Ogletree and Elders Fullmer, Torres and Malloy.  Two companionships of 3.  It's going to be a lot different.  But considering that we know people who've been here almost their full 9 weeks and haven't even filled out their online visas yet, we feel very blessed.
Oh! I also got a letter from my mission president!  He sent one in English and one in portugues and it turns out they say different things, so i'll have to figure that out.  He also sent a list of about 70 scriptures that we need to memorize.  Where they are and the main topic, but still, that's a lot of scriptures!!
One of the most exciting things this week was getting to teach in the TRC.  Volunteers come and pretend to be investagators and we go and contact a few of them and then we teach the last person we contact. I was a bit nervous since our contacting had to be all in portugues, so it's a good thing I have wonderful companions who've helped me so much with the language.  And I think our lesson went pretty well, too. 
Being here has really made me realize how much time I usually waste in a day.  Since I now get up around 5:40 and get to bed at 10:30 and my day is completely full of things I'm doing or studying or practicing, it's made me realize how important being organized is.
Well I'm running out of time, but I love you all!
Have a great week!!
Sister Petersen

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tired but Loving it

Bon dai!
 Mom -
I don't remember a whole lot about the newsletter, anything will be great =]
Yes, got the money and spending time with him was wonderful

This week has been so busy, as I'm sure you've guessed!  First and most importantly, I must be especially special, because I have not one, but TWO companions, and not one, but BOTH are fluent in Spanish and Both are in the same mission as I am!!!!  Sisters Cornwall and Forester have been such a blessing to me these last few days, they keep everything so happy all the time.  It does get a little difficult sometimes having two companions, especially since we're not used to having to be around each other all the time yet.  One time, one companion went one way down the hall into a room just as the other sister was headed in the other direction into another room.... so I stood in the middle of the hall so I at least knew where both of them were and when they came out again I could get them right away.  I was a little confused as to what I was supposed to do =]  There are two others sisters (Sabin and Ogletree) and 8 Elders in my district (Fullmer, Torres, Paxman, Voges, Maylor, Broadhead, Emerson, and O'Conner)  and they are all amazing.  Such hard workers and so much fun to be around.  It's great. Elder Broadhead got his visa the first day here, so he leaves reallly soon!  It's so exciting to hear.

  So, the schedule (which will change a bit in the next weeks) goes like this: Up at 5:45 to go to gym and and sisters and I are usually there till about 7ish.  Then we get ready, breakfast, and into class from 9:45 till 1.  Then lunch.  Then personal and companionship study, back to class from 3-6, dinner, and so far the things we do in the evening have varied quite a bit, but we usually get home about 9:30 and we have to be in bed at 10:30.  It's crazy.  Always always busy.  Our teachers - Irmao Johansen and Irma Holtzclaw - are pretty amazing.  It's a bit difficult since they do their best to speak Portuguese all the time, except when they have to translate for us.  The second day in class I had to pray in Portugese and yesterday we learned how to bear our testimonies.  Today, Irama Holtzclaw told us all to stand and face the wall and testify for 10 mins in Portuguese.  That was kinda difficult.  It did teach me what words I want to learn, though!  Apparently I'm catching on quickly (that's according to my companions) but it's hard to tell since I've never learned a language before and my sisters are able to figure things out so quickly.

I feel like I've had a bit of information overload - I'll be asked questions I know the answer to and my mind will got blank.  It was a little frustrating, and i was wondering why it was happening and then it came it me, "Sister Petersen, you prayed to have humility when you came here, this is an answer to your prayer."  I know that the information I need will be givent o me as long as I work hard, which I"m striving to do!

It is amazing here. I have truly learned that the Lord helps and supports His servants.  I didn't notice till the end of the second day, but I've been tired.  But it's such a blessing to be surrounded by people who love what they're doing and have such strong faith.  They are truly a mercy from the Lord, along with many other things I have been blessed with.  I wish I could think better right now as to what to tell you... so much has happened and I've learned so much that I find it hard to believe that I've only been here for 3 full days.

I love you all!  Let me know what you're doing!

Mucho amor,

Sister Petersen

PS My Pday is Friday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.....

March 15  D-Day, for deadlines and departure.  Packing was finalized and we were off.  My family and I loaded up the van and made the hour long drive to Green Bay to play some, eat some and then for me to be set apart.
Bekah, Dad, Megan, Sis. Petersen, Mom, Emma & Luke
Dad met us at the restaurant I requested - Texas Roadhouse and we chowed down, celebrating not only my departure but also Bekah's birthday.  The food was mahvelous, Megan enjoyed the decor (mounted fish and a mural of Green Bay Packer fans), the music and the dancing.  She became a bit obsessed with the fish and I could never quite get the fish face right.  She can be very particular.  Bekah finally complied to Dad's "request" that she get on the saddle provided by the establishment and get recognized for her birthday.  She definitely earned her free ice cream.
Then it was on to the Stake Center to be set apart as a missionary.  The stake president, Pres. Krehbiel was waiting when we arrived and we got right down to business.  A little while later I was officially a missionary.
Saying goodbye to Megan
We set off for the Travelodge near the airport since my flight was scheduled to leave at 6:15am the next morning.  Everyone was tired, except for Megan, of course.  She managed to stay up long after everyone else was in bed, moving from bed to bed to bathroom, before she settled in with Mom and Dad with her feet in Mom's face.  But at least she was asleep. 
Four forty-five came way to early for all of us but we pulled it together and got out the door almost on schedule.  The airport was not busy so I was checked in and ready to go before too long.  Then it was time for goodbyes.  That was a bit hard, I can only imagine how much Luke and Megan will grow over the next 18 months and Emma will be a senior when I return!   With that done, it was time for the last step - security.  I definitely learned an important lesson at this point.  I will never wear anything with metal on it (see the big silver buckle on the front of my skirt) when I fly again.  Yup, I set off the alarm and had to be pat down.  Not the worst experience of my life but one I would rather avoid if I can.  After that with one last wave to my family I was off on the first leg of my journey to the Provo Missionary Training Center. 
I made it through

Yeah, I was tired but after a bit I woke up and remembered that my boarding pass said I needed to speak to someone at the gate.  I walked up and asked when I should take care of this and I was told now was good.  They gave me my seat and as I went to sit back down a big group of passengers walked up to the desk and and it was announced that the plane was overbooked and was anyone willing to give up their seat.  I was the last one to get a seat!  I boarded the plane and my seat was taken.  I walked to the back of the plane and spoke with a flight attendant.  When the aisle was clear she talked to the  man in my seat who said that it was his seat and  showed her his boarding pass, the boarding pass gave the seat that he was sitting in but the boarding pass was not his, it had my name on it!  They had printed mine out twice.  I got my seat and the man who had been in it was given the correct seat.  I am grateful that the Lord was looking out for me and I was able to make my flight without any delays. 

 Nicholas met me at the airport in Salt Lake and we were off for Provo.  I had one last meal at the Pizza Pie Cafe with Nicholas and Emily, my good friend and then they took me to the MTC.  When they dropped me off it still hadn't hit me that this was it, that I was really going on my mission now.  After 5 months of waiting since I received my call it has actually begun.  I am excited to serve the Lord and the people in my area of Bahia.  I hope that my visa will come through soon so that I can leave for Brazil as soon as possible but I know that it will all happen in the Lord's timetable.  At least for now I have begun! 
Brotherly love, Nicholas & Sis. Petersen
Sister Petersen at the Provo MTC with Brazilian Flag


(The post was scribbled by me, the mother of this beautiful missionary.  I figured it should be written in the first person since all the other posts will be her letters and in her voice.  I know it does not have any of the cleverness that it would have had if Sister Petersen had written it herself but it will just have to do :)