Monday, August 29, 2011

....o sol e a chuva cairá mas eu batizarei....

Olá  meus amors -

Sorry if I havent been writing a whole lot; I have been doing a lot, but it hasnt really resulted in anything.  Just to give you an idea, we taught more than 50 lessons this week and at the end of the week we only have 6 people that we are going to keep teaching.  Its a little bit frustrating at times, but its worse when I look back on the week and realize how much time we wasted.  Sister Taylor is very good with reminding me that as long as we are working we are not wasting time.  Everything has a purpose, and I have seen that.... but I am a little bit impatient and a little hard on myself sometimes.  
One of the people we met this past week when we were wandering around trying to find a house (because I still do not remember where peope live and how to get there) is Rosenburg.  He has an interesting story... He hasnt lived the best way a person should, and so he has been shot three times (one of them was very recent) and he has a scar about 8 inches long going down the middle of his stomache.  He also showed us the bullet that the doctors removed from the last time he was shot.  He seems interested in the gospel and our message, but its a little hard to tell since he is still kinda doped up on the pain killers the doctors have been giving him.
But the highlight of my last two weeks has been Amanda.  She is 12, and she absolutely loves everything we are teaching her.  Its amazing how she likes everything we talk about, and we gave her a Book of Mormon a week ago and she is already in 2 Nephi!  She reads every night before she goes to bed.  Her mother is also wonderful, and she has a little sister who is the same age as Megan which is nice for me.  We went to visit them yesterday and Amanda asked us what time her baptism is going to be this week.  Missionaries love questions like that =]
I love you!  Hope your week was great!

Até mais -

Sister Petersen
almoço with Irma Norma and Bruna
Elders De Campos and Fernandes.  Yes, they are my ZLs =]
O torta de limão that the Elders made for us (because we wrote their mothers)
Neia´s birthday party (she is Amanda´s mom)

Monday, August 22, 2011

A luta dura na Bahia mas batisarei...

As I sit here and start to write, I cant think of anything really to write about because I feel like we didnt do a whole lot this past week.  But!  As you can see from the pictures, we did have a baptism!  Hooray for the elect who, when they are told they are ready by a man of God, believe and are baptized without any difficulty!  We have been working with Bruno for about the past month, and I love him.  He is so wonderful, so smart.  When he actually started to read the Book of Mormon, he didnt quit.  He already finished 1 Nephi, and his favorite story is of Lehis vision of the Tree of Life.  He talked about it so much after he read it and all the things he learned from it, the different analogies... its amazing to see people make these connections and really learn about the things we are teaching them.  After that, its just faith that they need to continue on.  The first time that he actually prayed (not just saying the words, but really praying) I wanted to cry.  Sister Freitas and I would always run into him on the street, and Sister Taylor and I did a few times, too, and I know that was the Lord putting him in our path again and again and again, because he was really difficult to work with at the beginning. But by the end, we would walk into the room to teach him and I could always feel the Spirit so strongly.  I know he is going to do so many great things.  I know it.  I am so excited for the life he has ahead of him now, and I am really hoping I will still be here when he receives the priesthood.
Other than that... Just going to keep working, keep finding, keep baptizing, keep teaching, keep smiling, keep fighting, keep breathing, keep testifying.
I love this work.
Até mais -

Sister Petersen
A picture that Bruno drew and gave to me
Sister Taylors birthday was the 11and so the Elders made her a cheesecake.  It was really delicious.

Monday, August 15, 2011 find our brethren who have gone astray and back to Him we´ll bring!

Olá minha familia!  ...e amigos (=

First off, I think you want to hear about my companion.  Sister Taylor is from SD, and her grandparents are the Witney´s, the former Temple President and his wife.  She also knows Melanie Steeley.  Crazy small world, isnt it?  Shes been on her mission for a little more than a year now, and we have a lot of ideas for how to work in Itabuna, so it will be a good transfer.  Its a little weird, because I am kind of in charge in the area right now because I know the area and the people that we are working with.  At the same time, I really know the area very well.  Its huge, and I have never been very good at remembering directions. I have been praying a lot for guidence.  A lot.  And I am still not exactly sure how this will work, but I know the Lord has a plan for everything.  I know I have a lot to learn from Sister Taylor, and I know that we will both grow from our time together.  I am ready to work.  I am ready to do more than I have been doing, and I am ready to be an instrument in the Lord´s hands.
One of the first nights Sister Taylor was here I was feeling especially lost, and so I asked if we could stop and say a prayer.  We did, and I found myself talking to the Lord and begging for His help and asking him to dedicate the street where we were (I am not sure if I can technically dedicate things since I dont have the priesthood, but I figure the Lord understood what I was asking) and I asked Him to direct us to a person who will be baptized this month.  The very first house we knocked on after that we were able to find someone and we gave him a Book of Mormon and a baptismal date and we will baptize him!  His name is Julius Cesar.  Think about that for a moment - I will baptize Julius Cesar.  And we have another person with the name Bruno with a baptismal date who will probably be baptized the same day. ´E tu, Bruno?´ =D

We have been working with Bruno for a little over a month now (he is really busy and therefore it is difficult to find times to teach him) and this last week he finally gave the closing prayer.  Yesterday he said the prayer again, and it was so beautiful.  There is nothing to compare to the feeling.... he never wanted to pray before, but in his prayer last night he was thanking the Lord for the strength he received to go to church and asking for more strength to continue reading the Book of Mormon and to receive an answer.  He has read through 1 Nephi 12, and he absolutely loved Lehi´s dream.  Its so great to see people excited to learn about the gospel and share what they have learned.
And so we will continue to work in this (sort of) dedicated street and find the people the Lord has prepared for us there. This is the work of the Lord, and therefore it will not fall.  So if you could remember Rua São Paulo in your prayers I would greatly appreciate that, as will all the people that we will baptize.

Love you all!  Glad you are all safe and sound!

Até mais -

Sister Petersen

Sister Freitas and I getting the phoncall of transfers

Our Zone Leaders had a little package of peanut butter in their fridge that I happened to spy... and since they are both from Brazil it wasn't as if they were missing peanut butter.  So they were nice enough to give it to me.

this is a typical day (actually, a rather slow day) in the mission

Monday, August 8, 2011

...his message we will share. We´ll serve obey and sacrifice for Jesus Christ our King....

First off, your pictures of Germany are amazing!  If I werent here in Brazil saving people´s souls, I would be jealous.  Ok, maybe I am still a little bit jealous, but I am still very happy that I am here =]
Oh, and Bekah made a comment forever ago in one of her letter about how in the early days of the church they called people Brother Joseph and used the first name, and I have been wanting to tell her that we do the same thing here! Irmão, Irma, Bispo, all followed by the first name of the person.  I like it.  Dad would be President Erik, and I think thats pretty neat.
Language is going alright.  I still cant say everything I want to - I am not sure if that will ever happen at this moment.

This week I saw so many miracles, and I am trying to focus on that and not how many  things went wrong.  We met with Luane this past Wednesday; she is the cousin of a member who came with us to teach and Luane came, too.  So we taught two lessons with her and then we taught her a lesson and she said how she wanted to come teaching with us some more because she liked it so much.  As we were sitting there, I had the desire to ask her to be baptized this Saturday (as in two days ago) but I thought that was a little crazy and I was also afraid Sister Freitas would think I was crazy, so I didnt say anything.  Turns out I could have.  We came back to visit her on Friday and she said shed only read a little bit of the Book of Mormon.  By a little bit, she´d read all of Moroni 10 and the Intruduction until half way through the Testimony of Joseph Smith.  Yeah.  Only a little bit.  And she´d been asking her cousin questions about the different standards we had and said she wouldnt have a problem with a lot of them, the only thing she was worried about was changing the way she dressed - not because she didnt want to, but because she didnt have very many clothes that were modest.  And she kept talking about the different things she´d been thinking about and how she wanted to change and wanted to be baptized.... and Sister Freitas invited her to be baptized the next day and we gave her all of the baptism questions then and there.  Now it would really make the story wonderful to say that she was baptized this past week, but she wasnt.  But I have faith that she will be.  Thats a lie.  I dont have faith - I know she will be baptized.  She is a little worried about what her family adjusting to the change, but I know I know I know she will be baptized.  She is an elect, no doubt about it.
And you asked about transfers... Well, they´re Wednesday, but Sister Freitas is leaving me tonight to go to Salvador because she is going to train again and she has to go get her trainee.  And I´m not exactly sure when Sister Taylor will show up here.  Probably Wednesday afternoon.  So.... I am not sure where I am going/ what I am doing tomorrow and Wednesday.  I think a member is going to stay and work with me, which I am a little nearvous about.  But it will be great!
Com amor, até mais -

Sister Petersen

This is cacau - yes, what they make chocolate out of.  It is also a fruit you can eat.
The little girls who call me ´tia´ =] I love them
Grasielly was baptized this past week and came to church all by herself the next morning so that she could be confirmed.

Monday, August 1, 2011

...we´ll give our strength to God above...

Oi minha familia e amigos!

Estou feliz.  Estou muito cansada, mas, isso é minha trabalha, e eu sei que O Senhor me abençou esta semana muito.
This week was excellent!  I am amazed more and more each week with the things the Lord blesses me with.  I have also learned to be really, really specific in my prayers, because the Lord answers them.  For example, this past week we prayed to find a family with 7 people who were of baptismal age, and we found a family of 8, but all of the kids dont live at home.  We also prayed for one of our investigators that she would quit drinking coffee so that she could be baptised.  And she quit.  But she didnt want to be baptised this week (we are still trying to figure out why...)  I know the Lord answers the prayers of His servants - I just need to learn to be a little more specific. We had so many lessons and made so many contacts and have so many new people that we are working with.  This week really was a miracle, and I continue to learn that when I work, the Lord blesses my efforts 10 fold.  Which means if I work harder.... =] I am excited for this week to come.

As you can tell from the pictures, we also had a baptism this week!  Efraim is so great, our future apostle from Brazil, and I know he will be such a good missionary once he learns to wake up on time and walk a little faster =]  We had a few problems finding him Sunday morning so that he could be confirmed (sound familiar?) but all is well for those who work extremely hard.

I am also excited because we should have the baptisms of 3 little girls this week, Grazielly, Fabiana and Caliane.  We are also teaching Cailane, but she is only 7.  They are soooo cute, and they call Sister Freitas and I ´tia´.  They also live in the same neighborhood as us, so every once in a while we will hear ´Oi, tia!´ and it will be them, calling for us.  I kind of feel a little bit like a mother hen during sacrament meeting, though.  Normally, I keep an eye on them and Sister Freitas talks to our other investagators, so they sit by me during sacrament and I try to entertain them a little bit with my puzzle of the Plan of Salvation and after sacrament I try not to lose them.  It is so much fun, and I love them so much.  They are doing such a good job with reading the Book of Mormon, too.

I just got the newsletter where you talked about all your mosquito problems, and let me tell you - I know how you feel!  The other day I counted and I had 8 mosquito bites on one hand.  Yes, just my hand, from the wrist down.  Its sad, really.  One of the Elders asked the other day if I had already had chicken pox, because it really does look like I have them sometimes. Its sad.

I also have a few requests, if you love me.  I would really really really really really really really like music.  Like, really really.  I would also like a couple of Green Bay Packers shirts so I can trade with some of the Brazilian Elders for different soccer shirts.  And I want peanutbutter and gummyworms.  Like I said, you only have to send things if you love me =]

I hope you are having fun in Germany!  Love you all!

Até mais -

Sister Petersen

In regular clothes!  We had a service project this last Saturday, Mãos que Ajudam
Clara and Jaiane, the sisters of Efraim
Efraim!  He will be an apostle someday
Everyone in white =]
Zone Itabuna - and I took it today =]
in front we have Elders Tarbet?, Brandão, Fernandes, De Campos, eu, Ricker, Freitas, De Oliveira.  In the back, Zollwig, Vitelli, Pontes, Andrade (with the ball in his face)