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 :)