Thursday, June 27, 2013

24 June 2013

Family & Friends,

     Oh goodness I don't even know what to say about this week.  By the time that Monday comes I can never remember what has happened!  Thank goodness for journals!

     Last P-day, a lady in our ward drove Sister Jenson and I up to Himmelreich and Schauinsland to go hiking in the Black Forest.  Schwarzwald is so pretty, and Freiburg is right in the center of it. Anyways, there is a super tall tower in Schauinsland that when you climb to the top, you can see France, Switzerland, and the Alps.  It was so amazing!  I tried to capture it on camera for y'all, but a camera just doesn't do it justice.  I guess you'll just have to come pick me up at the end of my mission so I can show you around ( 

     But anyways, Sister W (the lady who went hiking with us) bought us some lunch while we were hiking. I have told myself that I have to try everything that people give me here with a good attitude, and it has been pretty tasty so far.  But she gave me this long, black, hot dog looking thing and was really excited about me trying it.  I didn't really understand everything that she said about it, but I decided to try it anyways.  It was kind of a weird texture and flavor, and I didn't think much of it.  Later, Sister Jenson commended my bravery on being willing to eat 'blood sausage.'  Apparently, what I thought was Bratwurst was just a bunch of blood somehow turned into an edible substance.  There is my first weird food story of my mission.  

     My next food story is also a very awful language mix up.  We went out to eat at an Asian place with "P" on Friday, and I decided to be adventurous and order duck meat with my rice.  I thought the worker asked if I would like 'Schaf' with my meal (which means sheep).  I thought he was asking if I would like lamb with my duck or something, so I curiously accepted.  Well, something you should know is that Germans don't place as much emphasis on 'R' as we Americans do, they actually hardly say the R at all in some words.  So what the worker really said was 'Scharf', which means spicy.  And I am a wimp when it comes to spicy.  I was pretty much dying by the end of my meal.  

     We also got invited to a wedding this week!  This lady sat down next to us on a Straßenbahn, and she comes from America and is here for a wedding for her nephew.  She asked the bride-to-be to come sit and talk with us. They are all from Redlands, California, but the bride-to-be is studying at Cal-Arts in Valencia. We just talked for a bit about California and missionary work and temples and yada yada, and before they left they invited us to the wedding on Friday.  We can't decide if we are actually going to go or not, but it would be super fun!

     Back to missionary work.  The work here in Freiburg is good, our investigators are doing great and making a lot of progress.  I have come to really love this ward!  I could never understand how missionaries knew the wards so well, considering they got transferred so much and have a relatively short amount of time in each area.  But I have come to love this ward so much, the people are so great. Because it's so hard and requires a lot of dedication to be a member in Europe, the members that actually do come to church are FEST members and really great.  Man, I am blessed.
     I counted my probability of training next transfer.  There will be 28 Sisters available to train and 13 new Sisters coming in.  So the likelihood that I will be training is a little less than 50%, which is good because I am super scared that I will have to!  My German is doing better, but definitely not good enough for a whole companionship!  I am super lucky to have Sister Jenson.  But we will see!
Love you all and thanks for your support! Bis nächste Woche!
-Sister Peterson



Sister Jenson and I: it's super windy and bright

Sister W- our German Mother :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

17 June 2013 Exciting Times

Hey there family & friends,

     I just want to start off by saying, never let anyone tell you what is impossible!  My three requirements for coming on a mission when I was younger was:
1) That I wanted to -go when I was 19, not 21 (check) 
2) Learn German (check) -and 
3) Go to a mission that covered muliple countries in Europe (check!)  

     All of which people told me were either impossible and I had no control over, but they all happened!  
     AND I was praying like crazy that I would be able to serve in Switzerland, which everyone said would be impossible, and I was blessed to serve in Freiburg, which even if it was only a few times I was able to travel to Zürich, I was still able to go.  
     AND I was praying like crazy for the opportunity to be able to serve in the northern Italy area of the mission, which everyone was telling me was impossible because that area wasn't open to Sister missionaries. WELLLL..... THEY OPENED IT UP TO SISTERS!  Now everyone is saying Americans won't get to go because the church doesn't want to deal with Americans buying visas (whereas Europeans under the EU can work anywhere) but there is an American Sister there right now.  Take that, world!  Power of prayer:3   Skepticism: 0

     Exciting news number 2:  
     I actually have no idea what this news is, but I'm hoping that someone else will be able to tell me!  Apparently there is 'exciting mission changing news' that will be broadcasted next Sunday.  But, due to the time difference and lack of TV or internet in our apartment, we probably won't find out this news until afterwards.  So Mother dearest, thank you for all that you do for me, would you please let me know what this is?  
     Sister Jenson and I are placing our bets that they are extending the Sister's serving time for 2 years.  Which, mom remember you thought that might happen? I still haven't decided if I would extend to 2 years or stay for the normal 18 months.  I guess it would have to change first before I have to decide, but I've been thinking about it!

     It is summer and it is HOT!  I am getting the weirdest tan lines on my feet and neck, and my water bottle is my best friend.  I get increasingly more depressed that I am lactose intolerant, because the Eis Cafes here look so tempting in summer...And the people here still give us hot tea to drink when we come over, not iced.  I guess that they have this theory that drinking hot tea during summer is like breaking a fever, so we get super hot inside so when we go outside again it doesn't feel so hot.  Still not sure if I'm completely on board with that idea, but I'll go with it lol

     We met with "P" again this week, and it is so great to see how excited she is about her baptism!  We will have to push it back a few weeks, because she has to be able to come to church a few times before she can be baptized.  But she absorbs everything so fast, it's always so refreshing to come out of a lesson with her!  All of our other investigators are doing great as well.  Weekly planning always takes so long (sometimes the whole day) because we have so many investigators, which is a great thing and it keeps us BUSY!
     We got another new new missionary, fresh off the MTC boat this week.  His name is Elder Sumsion.  I don't think Elder Sumsion knows what jet lag is, he is just a big ball of excitement and full of "Greenie" fire.  Sometimes I feel bad for Sister Jenson for not being as Green and Golden as other newbies are. His German is pretty good, and his pronunciation is way more German sounding than mine!  I am having a really hard time with my accent.  Everyone keeps telling me that I have a really thick Texas accent when I speak German (which is super weird, because I don't sound Texan when I speak English) so I'm trying super hard to get rid of it! 

     I am yet to dream in German, but I do admit I occasionally think in German.  There are definitely still days where I get super depressed because I'm not learning as fast as I'd like to, or my grammar is still terrible, or irgendwas (something), but I have to keep reminding myself that I am learning SUPER FAST and it is truly a wonder what I am already able to do.  One of the hard parts of being busy is that lots of times we have to cut language study out of the schedule, which is also another frustrating thing for me.  But really, when I speak the language as much as I can, use the time that I DO have to study and practice, and have 100% faith in God that he will help me learn and master German, those are the days that I see the most success in my language.  I'm finally able to sit through a full 3 hours of church and understand what people are talking about.  Still not word for word, but I get the jist of it.  

     So obviously, Germany doesn't celebrate 4th of Juli or Thanksiving.  But they do celebrate New Years, Christmas, Mutters Tag, Halloween (although someone on the street told me they adopted that from America, but I'm not sure.)  and then A LOT of other random Christian holidays!  There was a lot of holidays in May, which is frustrating because then public transportation doesn't come so often so we normally have really slow days because we walk everywhere.  And I guess Germany has a little Marti Gras type of a thing that sounds really fun.  Oh, and I heard that our mission president gives us the a-ok to stay out until 1am on New Years.  He says that building a relationship with members is really important!  So that'll be fun for next year. 

    When I hear y'all talk about Kam coming home I honestly just get super excited for him!  and I think how fast time goes by!  Before my mission, the time couldn't have gone by any slower until Kam came home, now it seems like the days and weeks and months go by so fast!  Crazy!  My last jaunt into Switzerland was fun, ein bisschen sad, but I am just grateful I was able to go at all!

    And man oh man, I am actually more jealous that you get to go to the temple twice a week than I am jealous that Kam is coming home this week!  We have a Neubekehrt (sorry, recently converted?  Is that what they are called in English?) that is going through the temple for the first time in a few weeks, and we are going to beg President Miles to let us go with her!!  But it is highly unlikely...sigh...

     Thanks again everyone for all of your emails and letters (I got a lot this week! Danke sehr!) and for your prayers and support.  I hope all is well and viel Glück!
-Sister Peterson

Schaffhausen Sisters- Gonna miss them!
My district together in Switzerland!

Last time seeing my Zurich zone leader :(

Zurich Bahnhof for the last time :(

Swiss Farmers Market- mom would love this!

Balloons in Bahnhof

Swiss Cookie and the Book of Mormon... these are a few of my favorite things

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

10 June 2013- Transfers, but not Me & pictures!

Hi Family & Friends,

       Transfers calls came Friday!  Transfers are a pretty exciting thing on a mission, even when you know that you and your companion are staying in Freiburg for another 6 weeks (which I am actually super grateful for, 6 weeks is such a short period of time and there is so much more to be DONE here!) But anyways, not much changed in our district, only one person is leaving and we are getting another Golden.       
       BUT sad news :(  They moved the Zone boundaries to form a new zone-the Freiburg Zone!  All of the German and Austrian districts that are in Swiss zones, like mine, are all now going to be in the Freiburg zone.  Which means that Americans have absolutely no hope of ever even peeking into Switzerland while on their mission.  So no more Zürich for me :( Tomorrow will be my last time getting to go to Switzerland while on my mission, so we are all taking our cameras and our Francs and going crazy! (well, as crazy as missionaries can get.  We'll probably just go to a lot of bakeries tomorrow and internally cry.)         Oh, and me and Sister Jenson will be the only Sisters in our zone.  Cmon Sisters, I know there's more of you!  
        So Sister Jenson and I were trying to figure out how we could solve the problem of gaining 5lbs every time we went to "C"s house (the lady who makes us a ridiculous amount of food.) when we realized that the solution to every food related problem is THE ELDERS!  So we invited the Elders last week to come with us to "C"'s house; omigoodness it was priceless.  She kept blasting music and asking them to dance with her, and she would rub their arms and put lotion on their face (things me and Sister Jenson are totally used to by now) but the Elders were a little freaked out! But it was a lot less food we had to eat individually!  I was kind of surprised when they asked if they could come every time we go to Catarina's, but super grateful! We couldn't stop laughing the whole night. She is a handful (lol) but she is so much fun. 
      I forgot to tell you the story of the old woman in Güppingen.  So Sister Stewart and I were visiting an older less active lady, and she told us the story of how she was really involved in ballet growing up.  She told us that she still dances as much as she can, and all of a sudden she stood up and said 'My butt is still so firm!  Feel it, it's so firm!'  My goodness, she wouldn't let us leave until we had both poked her butt and confirmed how firm it was (which for a 92 year old Frau, I have to say I was thoroughly impressed.) Don't worry, we still got a spiritual thought in there too.  Oh man, crazy people are the only things that keep me sane sometimes!
     On the spiritual side, WE HAVE A BAPTISMAL DATE!  We met a girl named "P" about a month ago, she's about 19 and she came from Kenya to study here.  We only get to meet with her once a week, so her progress has been a bit slow.  But just last Friday, we were watching the Restoration DVD with her, and afterwards Sister Jenson and I bore our testimony that we know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, when all of a sudden she interrupted and said 'yeah I know that too.  I felt really good during the video.  I've known that the Book of Mormon was true since you gave it to me.'        It was such an amazing feeling to extend the baptismal invitation with a date and have her accept it with just as much excitement as we had.  So we are praying everything goes smoothly so that she can be baptized on July 12th :)
     Thanks everyone for their letters, I get a lot of strength from your encouragement and excitement. Thanks to everyone who prays for the missionaries, it is an amazing feeling to know that you are being prayed for.  I am praying for everyone back home as well and hope that all is well!  
-Sister Peterson

On to some pictures from the month:

Just a regular day shopping for Chocolate

Sister Jenson kept telling me I needed to see the "body under the bridge"

Frankfurt Mission! So Schwarz!!

"P"- ready to commit to baptism

Sister Jenson, Elder Hanson, "C" and I

"C" and I

Elder Young & Elder Stricklin in Laderhosen (the dignity of the church just died a bit)