Tuesday, June 28, 2011

As missionari​os do Senhor com fé e oracão....(The Missionaries of the Lord with faith and prayer ....)

Sorry, its the Festa Junina, or the Festa de São João, and he and I had to have a little chat on Thursday night because I was not very happy with the festivities in the streets here. But Friday he redeemed himself - the ward here had a party, and of course as with all things, when people follow the rules things are so much more fun. They had a dance, and it was a little bit difficult for me, because they really dance here, fast and slow, with other people. But I was saved by my new friend, Amon. He is 4, I think, and really full of energy all the time. I think he and Megan would be really good friends.

This may sound weird, but I am getting tired of people telling my I am beautiful. Scratch that, I dont mind it when women tell me that, but I am really annoyed with any man who tells me that. Due to the festivities, their have been a lot of drunk people, and so I have heard more than usual this week.

I near about cried when I read about you helping the missionaries. Members are so important. We have been working with a lot of less actives this week, and a lot of the time people leave because they dont feel like they have any support. It is difficult at times working with people. Not that the people themselves are difficult, but people have so many problems, and I have no idea at times how to help with their marriages, with their drinking problems, with children dying. Ok, that is not true. I know that this gospel can help with all problems, and to a degree I understand how through the Atonement. But at the same time, I guess I realized how blessed I have been in my life and how much I have taken for granted. The member that we have here are so wonderful. I have just recently learned that most of the members have only been members for 10 years or less. The fact that I am a child born in the covenant is a miracle. I want so much to give this miracle to others. But conveying the message of this gospel and how it is different and how it can help with everything is difficult at times. But I guess that is our goal in life, to learn how to use the Atonement melhor.

That being said, I know there are some things I need to work on. I need to be a pro-active missionary. Pray for me that I can do that.

Really quick, a couple of things before I forget. I showed our family picture to the other Elders in the area and Elder Fernandas thinks Dad looks like Jack Bauer. That made my day =]

Also, transfers are this Wednesday, and if you could do me a favor that would be great. One of my ZLs is being transfered (Elder Andrezzo) and Im kind of sad about this, because he has helped me a lot. We had a talk about Harry Potter a couple of times (he loves it and is having a hard time with not being able to see the 7th film) and he said I should be in Hufflepuff, but I will forgive him for this. However, he really wants a Gryffindor tie. Just the striped gold and maroon, I think, nothing really special, but they dont have them here in Brazil (and he is from Brazil). And I told him I would figure out a way to get one to him. So if you could search - internet mostlikely - and buy, and send to the missionhome a Gryffindor tie for Elder Andrezzo, I would be most greatful. And I am sure he will cry when he opens it. =]

Also, if you could send me recipes for banana bread, and our chocolate sauce that would be wonderful.

I also have a question for Evan - where did you serve, and how did you end up pronouncing Petersen? No one can figure out my name.

And one more thing - I realize that I am going to miss a lot of country and world events because I am in the bubble of the mission. I don't want to know them now, but if you could make a list of things that happen while I am on my mission and the dates that they happen I can look at it at the end of the mission and figure out how to integrate back into the changing world better =]

I love you all! Keep being wonderful!

Até mais -

Sister Petersen

One month in Itabuna

A note specifically for my dear mother: I am doing fine. The medicine they gave me is a muscle relaxent... not exactly sure how that is helping, but it is. Probably because they think my lack of sleep is due to stress, and if they can relax my body sleep will follow. Its working pretty well. Unfortunately, I have a cold right now, so I am still not 100% I am a little tired of constantly having something in my throat, but I think I am hitting the tail end of it now. I got another newsletter, and three other letters from Nicholas, Emma, and Sister Jensen. I think I got two this past Friday, and I dont remember about the others. I sent off letters today - one for dad for fathers day and one to you guys through missionties.com, so you can see when things arrive. Do me a favor (and him as well) and keep Acenildo in your prayers; he didnt come to conference this week, which means his baptism date needs to be changed, and his wife is not supportive... to put it mildly. But he is ready for this, and we are hoping to get his kids (twin boys, 17) to come to the church activities here.
I love you! Try to relax and enjoy things a little bit, you sound a little frazzeled =] Be thankful for warm showers and that you can hold Megan (seriously, the kids here are so cute, and at times its difficult not to hold them). Tell me the first time you eat something from the garden!

I have a hard time believing that I have already been here one month! And to celebrate, I had my first interview with Presidente Vecchi! That man is wonderful. Our interviews were only supposed to be 8-10 minutes long, but we got to talking (about missionary things, dont worry) and discussing ideas about how to do things and certain problems that we have encountered with the way we are currently doing things... and my interview may or may not have gone on 50 minutes more than it should have. Oops =] It was really nice, though. I learned that I am not crazy, and that I need to try things out more often. Seriously, if you havent read Preach My Gospel, go find a copy and open it up. Any page. It basically will help you learn how to teach anything, not just the gospel.

Everyone here is getting ready for the Festa de Junho; I am not exactly sure what that all entails (Sister Freitas explained, but I didnt catch everything) but I know that there will be a dance at the church, which I think we are going to, and everyone wears plaide(? i have no idea how to spell that word) and a lot of the streets here have banners hanging up now. I will try to take a picture of the streets because it looks pretty neat. But you all should look it up and see what you can find.

One of the things that we are supposed to do each week is meet with less active or new members here, but its been a little difficult because Sister Freitas only know the ones that she has baptised or that she met with her other companions. We finaly took the inicitive to ask for a list of all the members in the ward... we have 41 pages that each have 25 people on them. I am pretty sure we have about 200-250 active members here. We have a lot of work to do. We are also trying to work with the members a little more here, get them involved in the teaching processes. Its been a little difficult to work out our different schedules and have people come with us. But we need to ask more as well. Also, please do me a favor (and this goes for everyone that reads this): the next time someone offers to help you - LET THEM! They want to help - dont deny them that blessing! No one here will let us help them =[ I talked to Presidente Vecchi about this a little, and he said to quit asking - just start helping, because most likely, no one is going to say yes when we ask if we can help. This week was also Stake Conference, and so we were all at the Stake Center and after the meeting I started putting chairs away and the Elders told me to quit because they would do it. I had to convince them that I wanted to help somehow, and this was one of the only things I have been able to do to help.

Another note sobre Conference - the Stake President (escerco o nome dele agora) spoke about missionary work and had one of the young men in the stake open his mission call and read the letter to us. Afterward, he had all of the youth that are preparing their papers or who have received their calls and are getting read to leave come up to the front. There were 12, and the stake already has 17 missionaries out. It was amazing. One interesting thing about the brazilian missionaries - woman still have to be 21, but the young men only have to be 18. They lowered the age here in Brazil (maybe other places, too) because of all the visa problems they have been having and because they need more missionaries. The world needs more missionaries. I wish we had more missionaries here, at times. Its best to meet with investigators every day, but thats impossible here. There are too many and they live too far apart. We have a bairro in our area and it takes almost an hour to walk there, and so we only go once a week. Its really frustrating, because I know that the family we are teaching out there needs us to come by more often - or at least needs somebody to come by more often, but we are just not able to do it. But the Lord prepares a way for everything.

Love you all!
Até mais -

Sister Petersen

Monday, June 13, 2011

já mais (already more)

This week... a lot happened this week, but it wasn't all the things that I wished would have happened.  First off, we had 5 baptisms planned for this week and all of them fell through and I think we are going to have to drop a couple of them as investigators because they're just not progressing.  Its really sad, and I don't like doing it.  But I still have hope for the other ones.  I have also been able to see the hand of the Lord in the fact that those baptisms fell through, because Saturday (we always have baptisms on Saturdays) I got sick and we were in our apartment all afternoon.  Its nothing to worry about - I haven't been sleeping too great (but I talked to Sister Vecchi about this and now I have medicine for it and its helping a lot) and I think I also had a slight cold, and my head would not quit hurting to the point where I felt dizzy. I felt really bad about staying in the apartment all afternoon (I hated it, to put it mildly) but I also know that my health is important.  But, the part where I see the Lord working in my life is that the missionaries always go to pick investigators up for the baptisms, and we don't have phone numbers for most of our investigators.  So it would have been really bad if we had had baptisms and not shown up to get the people.  Its a blessing.  Not the kind of blessing I wanted, but a blessing nonetheless.

Also this week we had Zone Conference!  I think there were 4 different zones there, which is wonderful because that meant I got to see Sister Forester and Elder Malloy!  They were in my MTC district and it was so wonderful to see them again.  We also learned a lot of things at ZC, and it was something I really needed this week.

People... right now I have a lot of hope for a man we are teaching, Acenildo. He has always read and prayed when we come to visit him and he came to church this past Sunday as well.  He has a bit of difficulty understanding the Book of Mormon, though, and we spend a lot of time trying to help him understand what it is he is reading. But he asks when our next visit is going to be, he has a baptismal date and we found out he knows someone in the ward, so hopefully that will help him as well.  I am excited about his progress as well because he is someone that I took the initiative to contact (I don't really like contacting, but I dont have time to explain why right now).

Another is Tamires.  She is almost 17, and we initially contacted her with her boyfriend, Lucas.  He wasn't able to be there for the last lesson, but we taught her the Plan of Salvation and I used the puzzle Emily gave me to help explain (by the way, thanks so much for that, Em!  its helped so much!) and after we taught she had some questions, which she answered, and then she asked to see the puzzle.  She just kept looking at it and reading it, and she seemed so much more.... I don't know the word for it.  But it made sense to her.  Which makes sense.  But to be able to see that in a person, that sense of realization... its wonderful.  However, we have a bit of difficulty because she lives with her aunt who is not a fan of the church at all.  So we will keep trying to figure that out.

I haven't gotten any emails from Sister Feist, which makes me a little bit sad.

I got the first letters from MT last Tuesday, the 2nd newsletter the next day, and I think I got letters from Luke and Bekah Saturday.  I couldnt quit laughing when I read Luke's letter =]

For the most part yes, Sister Freitas.  There are a couple of things that I still dont understand why we do them the way we do, but when I try to ask about them she doesnt really have a very good answer for why, and other times its because thats the only way she knows how to do things.  I have to remind myself that shes only been out for 2 transfers before I came, so shes practically new as well.  But she is really understanding and has a good outlook on things.  I think shes been a member for 4 years, too, so its pretty neat to me that shes serving a mission.  She does help with the language a bit, but Elder Fernandas and Elder Ponches help a bit more, I think.  Elder Fernandas is one of my ZLs and we have almoço at the same place many days.  When I talk to him, he will repeat what I say but with proper grammar, which is something I need.  Elder Ponches is in my Zone, so I don't see him often, but he likes to correct my pronunciation, which I like as well, because Portugues has some sounds that dont really exist in English. 

Oh! I forgot to tell you last week - I had my first churrosso!  Our zone got together and we all provided something, and let me tell you, I like bbq, but this was SOOOO much better!  Grilled pineapple is so good, and grilled garlic bread as well, and then all the different kinds of meat!  It was amazing.  I also played some futball with my zone, which is primarily Braziliaros.  There are 12 people and only 3 of us are from the US.  But everyone is so wonderful.

Love you all muito!

Até mais -

Sister Petersen

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MTC Pictures


 Original MTC District
Back Elders Torres, Fullmer, Voges, Malloy, Broadhead, O'Conner, Paxman, Emerson
Front Sisters Sabin, Ogletree, Petersen, Forester, Cornwall

Salvador South missionaries: Elder Malloy, Sisters Forester, Cornwall and Petersen

Elder Bahr and Sister Petersen.  Adam was still in the MTC when Erin got there, he left a couple of weeks before she did still waiting on his visa to Chile.

 THE Map and the companions, Sisters Cornwall, Forester and Petersen

              Erin's caption:  The only man we can hug

 Sister Petersen and Sister Forester

               Sister Petersen not hugging Elder Voges.

 The District with a few changes

 A typical Sister Petersen look for Elder O'Connor

You can see where she considers home, the kids were a bit put out with that.

A true Christ-like service, Sister Cornwall shining her companions shoes.

The Mega-Click, this is all that was left of our ward so and we mostly kept to ourselves, so, the name.

 This picture perfectly captures who we are as a district.  If we were a TV series, this would be the cover for "The District" Season 1.


This would be the cover for "The District" Season 2.

                                              We finally became "Charlies Angels" after all the Elders left
                                              and we were the only ones left in the ward.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Prontos! Sempre prontos! (Ready! Always ready!)

Since coming here, Ive realized what a miracle cars are.  It takes us 30 mins to walk somewhere when it would only take 5 minutes to drive.  Its kind of crazy. Be thankful for our vehicle.
This week the ward had a casa aberta (open house) for the church Friday and Saturday from 8am-6pm both days.  We stood out on the street to invite people in and a few of the other companionships from neighboring areas came to help us as well.  It was a bit hard, but we were able to receive a lot of referances and I had some really good experiences with people that I showed the church to.  It did make the work a little more difficult on Sunday, though, because we hadnt been able to contact many of our investigators the past two days.  It is a little bit discouraging to invite so many people to church and even go to pick them up, and have them not come.  But on the bright side, one of the people in our area who came to the casa aberta came to church and we are going to go visit him this week, which is exciting.  That really was a miracle. 

The casa aberta also cut into a lot of our study time, and at least for me, that made things a little more difficult.  That study in the morning is really important.  But I did study a bit about courage, that Heavenly Father does not give the spirit of fear, and another scripture I dont remember at the moment in the D&C, but Joseph Smith says, Couragem, irmãos, avante, avante para a vitória!  Or something like that.  Its been my theme for this week, and has helped me to talk to more people.

But I have seen miracles this week, too.  We happened to run into a few of our investigators that we havent been able to get a hold of for about a week and were able to set up an appointment with them.  We also had a few less active members show up for church that we had met with during the week, which was so wonderful to see.

Im excited for the week ahead - we have a few people who are ready for baptism and we are going to work with them this week to help them make that step in their lives. 

Love you all!  Até mais!

Sister Petersen

Here are some answers to questions I sent to Erin this week:
Where do you go to write your emails?  Im at an internet cafe.

If mail is sent to the mission home, how do you get it?  Do they send it on to you or wait to give it to you at a meeting of some kind?   I have to wait until the ZLs go there and bring the mail back - they go once a month.  You also send packages to the mission home

What is the best thing you have eaten?  I have eaten so many good things, but I think my favorite is something they call mouse, but its a little bit different.  Bascially, you take 1 part cream, 2 parts sweeten condenced milk and 1 part real fruit juice, blend it all together and freeze it.  Its soooo good.  We always make it with a fruit called maracujá, which is another one of my favorite things here.  Its really tart, so you really only eat it when you make things with it.

How is the language coming?   Good question... Im thinking Im going to take a video of myself talking in portugues every week, that way Ill be able to see my progress, or lack there of. Sister Freitas says its a lot better than when I came here, but its difficult for me to tell, especially because there is still so much I dont understand and so much that I still struggle to say

Can you print out the pictures we send with your emails?  Not really.  There's a way to do it, but I dont know enough portugues to figure it out yet - its a little complicated =]

So, what is a typical day like?  Typical day.... Wake up at 6:30 and exercize for half hour.  Shower, eat, and start personal study at 8, companionship study at 9, and then language study at 11.  We usually leave a little before noon for almoço with a member - lunch is the main meal here, so that is when the members feed us - and so usually by 1, 1:30 we are out walking and talking with people. Usually we will get something to eat really quick around 6 or 7.  But we walk as we eat.  we walk all day long until 9, when we get back home, have planning session for the next day which is only supposed to take a half hour but usually takes longer, and then we get to bed at 10:30.