Monday, August 26, 2013

26 August 2013: A Roller Coaster of a Week!

Greetings Friends-

This week was probably one of the craziest weeks in my mission so far!  We have been so busy, we have had miraculously good days, and days where we just wanted to curl up in our pajamas and eat chocolate to console ourselves.  I am so glad that God sent me to a place with amazing Swiss dark chocolate, at least I know I will never go to bed upset!

Anyways, we had another Austausch this week!  
Sister Henry stayed behind here in Freiburg with Sister Holman and she took over the area for her first time!  Woohoo! 
She did a great job, I wasn't worried about leaving her in Freiburg at all.  
I got to go to Pforzheim for a few days and work in the Stuttgart Zone.  I was there for their district meeting, so I got to meet a lot of missionaries that I haven't met before.  I can't wait until the day where I finally recognize most of the names of the missionaries in the mission!  
Anyways, I worked with Sister Ackermann, who has been out 11 months I think?  She is a super sweet girl, I think the biggest thing that I learned from her was how to be more open!  She talked a lot, and she was unafraid to share personal experiences, which I thought was super cool.  
At first I thought that sharing personal stories with people that we are unfamiliar with would be super weird and uncomfortable, but I realized that it actually created such a feeling of trust and unity between us, even if we were only companions for 3 days.  
It was good to get out of Freiburg for a little bit and see how other missionaries run their areas.  
Sister Henry and I really came together after the Austausch and really focused on what exactly Freiburg needs to make progress!  

Anyways, so whenever we tausch (exchange) with our Sister Training Leaders, we normally meet at the Karlsruhe Bahnhof, which is actually in the Frankfurt mission.  Sister Henry and I arrived at the Bahnhof (train station) on Tuesday to meet up with the Pforzheim Sisters, but they called and said they would be 2 hours behind us!  
We decided to go outside Bahnhof and contact while we were there, but it was SUPER WEIRD!  I have worked in other areas of the mission before on finding days and Austausches, but I that was the first time I went contacting outside our mission boundaries.  It felt so weird!  I didn't like it at we just returned to Bahnhof and just kind of waited for the Sisters to get there. 
On Thursday, we all met in Karlsruhe again to tausch back.  We were walking to our trains and we saw a group of young men and women in church clothes with black nametags...We finally saw the Frankfurt Missionaries!!!  
They were super confused as to what we were doing in Karlsruhe (understandable, it is kind of against the rules to go outside your mission boundaries...we got permission from President, I swear!) but we talked for a little bit while we were waiting for our trains.  I actually saw a friend of mine from BYU, so that was cool!! Sister Henry and I couldn't stay long because we had to catch a train :(  But it was still super fun to see them! 

Yesterday was actually a really discouraging day.  I remember praying so hard before I picked up Sister Henry, that whoever my Golden was, that they would never have to experience a really hard day in Freiburg while I was their trainer.  I was so worried that I wouldn't know how to take care of them and help encourage them when things got hard.  
But yesterday we got dropped by one of my favorite investigators, who has made so much progress and said that she knows that the church is true, and she was willing to be baptized!  
But she said that she talked to her kids about it, and it has caused a lot of contention between them over the past few weeks, and she would rather keep the relationship with her kids and her grandkids than meeting with us.  
Although I understand, it was just heartbreaking to make that phone call!  With that and a few other things that have been happening the past few days, it just seemed like the world was falling apart yesterday.  
But Sister Henry is such a trooper, and we were able to build each other up and keep each other from sinking into the depths of despair.  
After much praying, planning, and calling our district leader for some advice (and a lot of Frey chocolate!) we were able to go to bed with peace in our minds, love in our hearts, and faith that something AMAZING is around the corner!

And today was actually a really fun day!  There is going to be a new set of missionaries in Lahr (so the Offenburg area) this next transfer, and the senior couple asked us if we wanted to go to Ikea and go shopping for things for the new apartment! 
Elder & Sister Bignall: the cutest Ehe Paar ever!

We saw their new apartment on Saturday, and it is HUGE!  Whoever will be living there will be lucky ducks.  
I call dibbs on doing Tausches with the Lahr Sisters! (if it is Sisters...the power of prayer!)  
We actually really hope that it is Sisters.  That will mean that there will finally be 3 sets of Sisters in the Freiburg Zone, so hopefully we will have our own Sister Training Leaders instead of always having to travel to Stuttgart!  
But we will see...we will find out on Friday!  
Anyway, we got to go to Ikea today, which is always SUPER DANGEROUS to bring two young women in and say ''we have €3000 budget, now go!'' 
Enjoying the balcony at Ikea, wish it was ours :)

Comfy, comfy beds and pretty bedding
Luckily, Sister Henry is super smart with shopping, which totally balances out my impulsive shopping!  
It felt kind of weird being in IKEA, it kind of felt like I was back in America.  
But then I would listen to the people around me and realize that I couldn't understand a word they were saying, and I would quickly remember that I am in Germany.

It was fun to see something that is common at home but to see it here in Germany.
I don't remember this warning in the American Ikea's

One of my favorite parts of the day is personal study.  As much as I love being outside and talking to people and teaching lessons, there is just something spiritually uplifting about taking an hour to study the scriptures.  I have also really come to love companionship study, especially the time we are able to take to share with each other what we have learned during personal study.  
Between Sister Henry and I, I think that we talk about things that we have learned for 40 minutes!  
That is 20 minutes of straight up talking about the scriptures and the wonderful things that we have learned.  And yet I still get super nervous whenever I am asked to give a 15 minute talk in sacrament meeting or Relief Society or district meeting...silly Sister Peterson!  

Because I am enjoying my personal scripture study time, I would like to share 2 scriptures that I thought were super cool this morning.  
I cannot take the credit for finding either of these scriptures, Brother Woodruff (one of my MTC teachers) and Elder Davies gave me these scriptures for whenever I need a little bit of encouragement.  Isaiah 41:10-14, 2 Corinthians 4:15-18, and Doctrine and Covenants 6:34&36 (ok, the D&C one is one of my personal favorites!) but they are all really great feel-good, warm-fuzzy scriptures.  
I would love to take the time to dig apart each of those scriptures word for word, but I will let y'all personally read them and figure out what it means to you personally.  
All I can do is bear testimony that the scriptures are true, our Savior lives and loves us, and that we are being taken care of by a loving Heavenly Father!

I love you all so much, and thank you for your support!   Have a great week!  Good luck with school!  (I think school is starting this week...?)

-Sister Peterson

... And more pictures for your viewing delight
NummNumm, I miss American Peanut Butter

The Peanut Butter goes too fast!

The Offenburg Elders made us homemade bread: rolls, peanut-coconut bread & rolls

Sister Henry contacting outside the mission

The view of Pforzheim, from the Elders' balcony

It was sooo cold, we needed our sweatpants & sweatshirts in the apartment

Eating lunch at Ikea

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

19 August 2013: We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet, and our Mission President and Germany and Chocolate...

Dear Family & Friends,

Man, I am just feeling extremely grateful after this week!  I end every day super excited and happy and loving life.  Mensch, missions are great.

We went on an Austausch with the Singen Sisters this week (Sister Henry and I are just so excited to finally have more Sisters in our Zone to Tausch with!  
No more lone Freiburg Sisters!)  and Sister Henry went to Singen to work with Sister Allman, and Sister Freimann came here to Freiburg to work with me.  
At first I was super intimidated to work with Sister Freimann for the day, because she is a native German speaker, and I was worried it would be hard to communicate with each other.  Psh, komm schon Sister Peterson, you've been living in Germany for 4 months now, you can communicate with a native.  
Silly me lol it was actually super fun to work with her for a day, I always love doing Austausches and learning from other missionaries. 

BUT funny story!  We have this super great investigator named Greta, and last time we met with her she asked us what our favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon are so that she could go home and read them.  
I gave her 2 Nephi 4 to read, you know, Nephi's Psalm and relying on the Lord and overcoming feelings of inadequacy, all of that beautiful, amazing stuff.  Well, she thought I said 1 Nephi 4, which is the story of Nephi going to get the plates of brass and cutting off King Laban's head.  
Remember what I said earlier about the Germans HATING violence?  Poor now Sister Henry and I have the fun opportunity to explain that chapter.  Clean up duty calls!

We also had Zone Conference on Friday in Singen, which is always so fun because President and Sister Miles come for Zone Conferences!  
We talked a lot about different ways that they want us to approach contacting (starting out the conversation with 'Wie geht's Ihnen?' instead of 'Entschuldigung, wir sind Missionarinen...') which was an interesting change, but I am excited to try!  
They also talked a lot more about how important members are and really utilizing the ward in our work (and y'all at home catching that?) The AP's also made a slideshow with a bunch of pictures that missionaries have taken in this mission, and I am daily amazed at how beautiful and glorious this area is!  *Sigh* best mission in the world!

I also just want to say how great the Elders in this mission are.  There is just something about going on a mission that changes these young men into responsible and wonderful caretakers.  
Sister Henry and I stayed behind in Singen after Zone Conference on Friday to help the Sisters out with a lesson, so we had to catch a later train to Offenburg, and then catch another train to Freiburg.  
We got into Offenburg at 8:50ish, but then quickly realized that the 9 o clock train back to Freiburg didn't run on Fridays, so we would have to wait until 10 to catch the train back, putting us back in Freiburg at 11, and home anywhere between 11:30 and midnight.  
We were kind of nervous about going home alone that late, especially with it being a weekend, and ESPECIALLY with there being a soccer game in Freiburg the next day, so we knew there would be a lot of drunk people on the streets and public transportation.  
So the Elders in Offenburg waited with us at the train station for over an hour until our train came in, and then the Freiburg Elders were waiting for us at the Bahnhof in Freiburg for us to get off the train and walk us home.  
Those poor Elders stayed up super late and went out of their way to make sure that we were safe getting home.  Germany is already a super safe place to be, but I feel so much safer knowing that the Elders are only a phone call away.  To all of you mothers who have sons on a mission right now, just know how wonderful your sons are!  They are becoming amazing young men.  

The Lord does pay us back for our sacrifice, hard work, and faith, and we definitely saw the blessings on Sunday.  We were waiting at the bus stop Sunday morning to go to church, and a lady approaches us, beaming from ear to ear.  
The lady turned out to be one of our investigators, who hasn't been making any progress for 3 years!  We have been inviting her week after week to come to church, and all it took was a phone call from a member to let her know that she is wanted.  
If seeing her didn't make our day happy enough, we got on the bus and met a less active mom and her son on their way to church!  The teenage son has been struggling for a while with the motivation and desire to come to church, and he just recently came back from EFY, and I've never seen such an immediate change in the countenance of a person!  
He passed the sacrament, which I have never seen him do before, and as he walked back to his seat he was absolutely radiating!  It is such a blessing to be able to see the change that the Spirit brings to people's lives, and I am so grateful to be able to take a part in this work!

-Sister Peterson

P-Day in Schlobberg

Sister Henry at our Picnic in the Park

Sister Henry's favorite church

Stocking up on Swiss Dark Chocolate before Migros goes out of business

Monday, August 12, 2013

11 August 2013: The Bees Knees

Dear Family & Friends-

There are a lot of things that people don't expect about serving a mission.  
The funny thing about being a trainer is seeing your Golden trying to comprehend these stereotypical aspects of missionary life.  
One of these things that I don't think Americans will ever really appreciate is having to run for public transportation :P  I can count on one hand the mornings where I have NOT needed to run for the Stra├čenbahn. There is just a certain panic that comes from the idea that you are going to miss a train that won't come again for another hour.  
Poor Sister Henry!  
Good thing she can run fast. 
We were at a member's house this week with the Elders for an eating appointment, and we realized that we had all forgotten to check return train times.  
The member quickly looked up the train times and we realized that if we wanted to make it home in time, we had to catch a train that was scheduled to come 5 minutes later (and it is a 5 minute walk to Bahnhof.)  
We quickly got on our shoes, thanked her for the meal, gave a quick spiritual thought, and BOOKED IT! 
I have never run so hard and so desperately in my life!  
Just imagine 4 missionaries, running through the rolling hills of the Black Forest, seeing a train drive by and screaming 'THAT'S OUR TRAIN!  RUN! RUN! WE CAN STILL MAKE IT!!'  
Oh man, we definitely burned off all the calories from that eating appointment!  
But guess what?  We made the train ;)

I just found out from a member that Migros is going out of business in Freiburg and in a few other surrounding areas.  Migros is a Swiss grocery store, and pretty much my last 'in' to Switzerland foods. Guess who is stocking up on Frey chocolates this week?  

Now to missionary related things...
I think it is really interesting the different focus that various missionaries and companionship's have on missionary work, 
and how the focus changes from transfer to transfer.  
I told you last week that Sister Jenson and I were all about finding people.  
But Sister Henry and I have really focused on supporting the ward and visiting less actives.  
I have seen such a change in the attitude of the ward members as we have really taken the time to serve the members and get to know them.  
I think a lot of this new excitement that the ward has developed is due to Sister Henry, she just BLEEDS love and enthusiasm.  I also think it's funny that we have become known as the 'twin sisters', not only in the ward, but among our investigators as well!  
We really do act like it sometimes, but I guess that's what happens when you stick two green-y 19 year old missionaries together :P  

In all seriousness, the work is going great.  
Freiburg is absolutely amazing, I dread the day I have to leave!  
I wish I could take the time to tell you about every investigator and every story, 
but Leide, habe ich nicht so viel Zeit.  
But thank you to everyone who supports me in any way!  I love you all so much, and hope everything is going well!

I don't have a lot of pictures for the week- 
food pictures... do you think all we do is eat???
In my defense, we had worked really hard all week
and we treated ourselves to eating out!

My attempt at eating a Doner

Sister Henry eating a Turkish Pizza

I love these flowers in front of an apartment building

-Sister Peterson

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Girl and a Turbulent Plane Ride

Sister Peterson sent this story on and I wanted to share it with her friends and family.

It was part of a message from the Elders who work with the President of her mission. It is a sweet
description of how we should react during turbulent times in our own lives.


A friend, a man whose job required him to travel by plan almost weekly had been on a ling flight. The first warning of the approaching problems came when the sign on the airplane flashed on: "Fasten your seat belts." Then, after a while, a calm voice said, "We shall not be serving the beverages at this time as we are expecting a little turbulence. Please be sure your seat belt is fastened."

As he looked around the aircraft, it became obvious that many of the passengers were becoming apprehensive. Later, the voice of the announcer said, "We are so sorry that we are unable to serve the meal at this time. The turbulence is still ahead of us."

And then the storm broke. The ominous cracks of thunder could be heard even above the roar of the engines. Lightening lit u p the darkening skies, and within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air, the next, it was dropped as if it were about to crash.

My friend confessed that he shared the discomfort and fear of those around him. He said, "as I looked around the plane, I could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm."

Then, I suddenly saw a little girl. Apparently the storm meant nothing to her. She had her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat. She was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again, the she would straighten her legs , but worry and fear were not in her world.

When the plane was being buffeted by the terrible storm, when it was lurched this was and that, as it rose a fell with frightening severity, when all the adults were scared half to death, that marvelous child was completely composed and unafraid. My friend could hardly believe it.

It was not surprising there, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, my friend lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and the behavior of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid.

The Child replied - "Because my daddy is the pilot and he is taking me home!"