Monday, October 28, 2013

Where am I from?

* Note from Mom,
Sister Peterson sent last weeks pictures today too, so her blog is updated if you're interested in seeing more click here

Dear Friends and Family

I love it here!!

The Donau River- Welcome to Linz
For my entire mission I have been telling people that I am from Texas.  
As I counted up how long I have been on my mission, I realized that I will have almost lived in Europe for longer than I have lived in Texas.  
Another view of Linz
When I got to Linz, I was debating where to tell people I was from, whether I should continue to say that I am from Dallas or to say California 
(or Utah, Arizona, or Minnesota.  whew, have I got a lot of choices!)  
For some reason I stuck with Texas, and the people here could not be more excited :P  
Look... It's a Castle
The Austrians (or at least all of the ones I have talked to) LOVE the TV show 'Dallas', and ask me if my life is just like the TV show, if I ride horses, and if I own a million different pairs of cowgirl boots.  
My new companion, Sister Wunderli
I didn't really realize how much of American life is portrayed on TV until I got here.  
I have people ask if high school is just like in the movies-with football games, prom, rallies, cheerleaders, etc...
"Yes, it is, but everything looks more glamorous on screen! (except Austria and Germany, cameras cant capture how amazing it is here!)
Elder Svoboda

I did have a little pang of ''Freiburg Heimweh'' on Thursday.  
President and Sister Miles were in Linz to do interviews, and when Sister Miles came in she saw me and said ''Whoa, it's weird to see you out here in Linz, you have been in Freiburg for so long!'' 
Yup, I was there 6 months, that is crazy to me. That's longer than I was at BYU! lol 
Well, I defined myself there in Freiburg, and now I get to define myself again.
I found mahltaschen in Austria
Training is probably one of the most humbling experiences that I have ever personally experienced. I am constantly finding myself being humbled with Sister Wunderli.  
Sister Wunderli eating out on the patio
For example, I would always get so irritated when Sister Wunderli would ask what I was doing. Whether I was just standing up to get a drink of water or writing down a name of someone I wanted to call later that day, the question always came up 'Sister Peterson, what are you doing?  
What are you doing now?'' and for some reason it was really bothering me.
I had finally written it down so that I could tell her about it during companionship inventory, and of course, the question came 'Sister Peterson, what are you doing?'
Right when I was about to tell her, she finished and said 'I want to know what you are doing so I can follow you.  I want to be like you.' 

I cannot express the humility and guilt of how I felt in that moment. Yeah, at first it feels good to realize that in your companions eyes, you are perfect.  But then you just start praying for the day that they realize that you are NOT perfect and hope that they will still like you. It is a humbling thing to know that your companion is watching your every move, and that every word you say is touching their heart, whether it is building them up or tearing them down.  
I have no idea why President is having me train twice already, maybe he just knows that I need a lot of humbling!
Sister Jeynes left a note on my new desk
Well, guess who finally got to go to a wedding??  This girl!!  Well, it wasn't really a wedding, I guess it was just the wedding reception.  
But it was still way fun. "M", one of our investigators, was there with us and we had a great time. The only hard part about watching cute things like weddings and primary programs is that it makes me really excited to be a mom or get married!  Naja, that will come in 18 months time (at least lol)

The Linz ward Young Women- we taught on Sunday
I did realize something kinda cool. In Freiburg, one of my favorite desserts to buy was a little cake/pastry type of a thing called 'Linzetorte'.  Well, obviously enough, I found out at the wedding that Linzetorte is a special Austrian cake that comes from where? Linz! (Thus Linzetorte being separated means Linz Torte, or Linz cake.)  Was I destined to come here?  I think so!

We had an ''Area Book Finding Day'' on Saturday, and basically what happened is our district assembled in Wels and we all brought our Area Books We just made a bunch of calls for 3 hours. We called all of our potentials, former investigators, and any other people that we normally don't call.  At first I was kind of skeptical as to how everything would work out, but we actually set up a lot of appointments with potentials!  
Which is good, we need more investigators!  The Linz area has only been open to Sisters since May, so we are still a pretty new area and still setting up out foundations and such. In Freiburg, we never really had to do a lot of contacting because of how busy we were, but what's a mission without contacting, gel?
Well that's my life for this week!  I hope everyone back home is doing well.
-Sister Peterson

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Austria!

Dear Family,

First off, if there is ANYONE that I didn't get a thank you card out to,
please know how much I loved and am grateful for your birthday wishes.
I had a wonderful day and many wonderful memories and reminders from those I love.
Thanks so much,

Sometimes I feel like I am living in a fairy tale :)
Me and "J"
I guess that's what happens when you are a daughter of God and you get called to the most beautiful place on Earth, you get to live a fairy tale for 18 months!  
(and then you return and meet your Prince Charming and live happily ever after to finish it all off- but I have plenty of time to think about that!) 

Wow, so much has happened in the last week.  
Its weird to think that at this time last week I was still in Freiburg, Germany. 
Saying goodbye was way hard.
Twin Missionaries- my last morning in Freiburg
It was my first time getting transferred away from an area
and I had been in Freiburg for so long!
Farewell Party
If I wasn't so dang excited to come to Austria, I don't think I would have left! 

Transfer day was crazy though.
All packed up and ready to GO...
I was traveling from one corner of the mission to nearly the opposite corner, 
so I think I probably spent about 8 hours in trains.  
I got to ride a German, a French, and then an Austrian train :)  I think I liked the french one the best though, even though I couldn't understand ANYTHING!  

So funny story, Sister Henry and I were supposed to travel with the Elders to Stuttgart,
and then Elder Stricklin and I were supposed to catch a train to Munich with a bunch of other missionaries.
But our train in Karlsruhe was late, so we missed our first train to Stuttgart. 
This meant that  Elder Stricklin and I had to catch a separate train to Munich...
just the two of us.
Elder Stricklin and I on the train
So for 2 and half hours, I was temporary companions with an Elder :p  It was way funny.
Linz is absolutely amazing, though.

On the train to Linz
The ward here is HUGE (for a European ward at least) and we are busy people here.  One of Sister Henry and my goals at the end of last transfer was to learn how to work better with the ward, how to more effectively use our time, and how to take better care of our investigators and actually help them to progress.  
Well, Linz is the answer to my prayers!  I know that I have a lot to learn here, but Sister Jaynes and Sister Wunderli set a great foundation for me to come in on.  
We have a lot of really great investigators, but I still need to meet all of them.  
Probably the biggest blessing for me is "M", a 24 year old investigator.  
She is a perfect example of a person who was ready to accept the gospel but had no idea what to look for.  She has overcome so much, faced so much adversity from her friends and peers, and has really had to work at changing her life, but she has made a complete 180.  The faith, strength, and courage that she has is admirable, and she is not even a member yet!  She is even  helping to host a YSA retreat here in Linz :P She's a great person, I think I"ll keep her!  

Teehee...Austrian I love it!  Imagine someone speaking German with a rough Minnesotan/Canadian accent...and you have an Austrian!  The only thing I don't like is their greetings here.  I loved saying 'Hallo, Guten Tag!'  but it sends shivers down my spine to hear 'Servus!' or 'Gruess Gott!' ugh.  Well, sometimes you have to take a little bad to get the really amazing!
Maybe I will warm up to hearing "servus", but Sister Henry made me promise not to pick up on it! (we both think that it is a hideous word.  Hallo is just so much more friendly...)

I have forgotten how much I love living in big cities!  Before my mission, it was always my dream to move to somewhere like Chicago or Seattle or New York City because I love the feel of a big city. While I was in Freiburg, I couldn't imagine living anywhere than in a small cabin in the mountains.  But now that I am here in Linz, I love big cities again!  And we still have Strassenbahns here, yayyy!  

Today "M" and "I" (a really cool member around my age) took us and the Elders on a drive outside of Linz to see an old castle, but I forgot what it was called, sorry!  It was really fun! 
We looked around the castle and then took a bunch of pictures on the countryside, and just hung out for a while.  It kind of felt like I was in high school all over again, driving with a bunch of friends and rocking out to (EFY) music, taking pictures, and just enjoying how beautiful of an area we live in.  I am glad that out of all the things that I did have to sacrifice by going on a mission, I didn't have to give up having fun and being around people that I love... And I love the people I work with :)  

I am trying to think of other notwendige things to add in this email...

Well, our apartment is HUGE!  
Linz has only been open to Sisters since May, so it is still a new area.  
Which also means a new and clean apartment!  It is definitely weird coming from an area like Freiburg, which had an endless list of potentials, former investigators, and years of work for us to build off of!  And then to come here, where we are still establishing our roots, finding new investigators, and where there is NOT an endless list of people for us to go by on.  But I will definitely not be the first one to complain about all of the organization and cleanliness of our apartment :P  

I should probably get going right now so that I can actually do missionary work tonight!  
Have a great week!
-Sister peterson

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Address in Linz Austria

Hi Family,

I wanted to update you on my new address in Linz! I still can't believe I am on my way to the second area of my mission- and it is EXACTLY where I would have asked to go if I had been given a choice. I love Freiburg and LOVED serving with Sister Henry- but I am so excited for this new adventure.
Don't be shy,
write, write, WRITE :)

Sister Peterson

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Kori Peterson
Werndlstrasse 47
A4020 Linz 5
Österreich (or Austria)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Onward to.... you'll have to read to find out...

Hello Friends & Family,

This week was probably one of the longest and funnest weeks of my mission.  

J and I, parting shots of Freiburg
With transfer calls on Friday and my birthday on Saturday, 
My wonderful Bee Socks
I just couldn't wait for the weekend to come!!  
But it was a great week, and I just have to say that I LOVE the members here in Freiburg!

We were at the H-U house again this week, 
but we had to move our appointment up an hour earlier than we normally have it because Bruder H had work later that day.  Well, little did we know that the train that we normally take to their house doesn't run that early in the day, so we had to scramble between S-Bahns and buses just to find our way there.  
We made it all the way to Breisach and waited for our S-Bahn, and we waited for maybe 10 minutes and it never came.  We checked the plan again and realized that the S-Bahn that we normally take also doesn't run that early, so we were supposed to be waiting for a bus.  
We made the phone call of shame and told them that we would be an hour late because we missed our bus, but they said that they would come pick us up.  
We were feeling so bad, especially because we always make blonde mistakes when going over to their house. (Remember when we hopped out of the bus too early in Oberbergen and decided to walk to the next stop and it took us a half hour?  Yep, that was on the way to the H-U!)  
I am just so grateful that they love us and have a sense of humor!  
They drove up to where we were waiting in Breisach, and they were both laughing their heads off at the two little blonde American missionaries :P  

We had a super good appointment, but Schwester H-U kept randomly saying how excited she was for dessert and how she had a really fun surprise for us.  
As we were eating lunch, she pulled out a bunch of big beer mugs, and I was worried that she was going to give us all alcohol free beer!  
(Which is actually pretty popular here in Germany.  The members here love to tease the missionaries by giving us our first ''beer''.)  

I was trying to think of a way to kindly say that I would just drink water, when she pulls out 8 cans of A&W root beer!  
Just to let you know, it is hard to find root beer anywhere in Europe, nobody likes the flavor and everyone thinks it is too sweet.  
But Schwester H-U LOVES root beer, and she found a place that sells A&W in Switzerland and bought a bunch for us.  So we had one can for lunch, then she made us root beer floats.  

Oh the deliciousness of Root Beer and Ice Cream
Us and Schwester H-U were on cloud 9 drinking our root beer floats, but Bruder H couldn't decide whether or not he liked it! haha he just kept asking 'is this supposed to be a dessert?'  'why are we drinking it in a mug, don't you put it in a bowl?'  and 'why are you putting ice cream in my soda?' 
haha small cultural differences :P

I actually really like having a birthday on the mission!  We had a service project on Saturday morning, where we cleaned up a really pretty cemetery.  

Somehow, I don't know how but I noticed it with Sister Henry,s birthday too, but EVERYONE knows when the missionaries are having birthdays!  (I guess having the same birthday as the bishops daughter kind of helps too lol.)  
I have to tip my hat to Sister Henry as well, somehow she managed to coordinate with the Elders and a few members a surprise birthday party for me.  Do you know how hard it is to plan a party for your companion when you are with them 24/7?  Kudos!

My surprise Birthday Party
Remember the story of us meeting the lady at the bus stop, and she randomly invited us over?  Well, we went by on them a few days later, and Z (the mom) wasn't home, but her daughter, son, and their cousin was over.  We talked to them for about an hour and just got to know them, but we didn't feel like it was right to try to share a message with them, especially because Z wasn't home.  And lemme tell you, it is HARD to not share a message as a missionary, but we just didn't feel like it was a good time.  
As we left, H (the daughter, I think she is maybe 15 or 16) invited us over for dinner sometime and to help her with her English, which we said we would, but we were kind of confused as to how we would tell this family that we are missionaries and that our purpose is to help them come unto Christ.  

This family just baffled us, and nothing ever really made any sense, but we just trusted that the Lord had a purpose that we just couldn't understand!  We went by on them again on Saturday evening, really praying that we would finally be able to get in contact with Z.  H was home and invited us in, so we talked with her for a little bit before Z came back.  Z talked with us for a while, but we could kind of tell that Z wasn't really interested in talking with about the Gospel as much as she just wanted someone to talk to.  
So again, the little confusing stop sign came out, saying 'Don't share a message yet, don't try to push anything on them yet.'  I have to admit, I was getting a bit frustrated, we had been trying for weeks to get in contact with Z, and here we were, our second time at their house, and they still didn't know our purpose!  It came time for us to go, but before we left we asked Z if she wanted to come to church with us on Sunday (they live just around the corner) but she didn't seem too interested.  But H, who had been sitting in the corner for the whole hour, quickly piped up and said that she would love to come, and we said that we would pick her up right before sacrament meeting.  At church, we asked the Young Women leaders if it would be okay for the young women to walk over with us before sacrament meeting and pick up H together, and everyone was super excited about picking up a Young Women aged investigator.  
We all walked over together, and H was super surprised, but I could tell she loved having a bunch of instant friends!  We had a whole row to ourselves; Sister Henry and I, H, and all of the Young Women. Sister Henry and I asked a few girls to explain what the sacrament was, to stay with H, one girl helped her find the hymns, one girl wrote her testimony in a Book of Mormon and gave it to H, and a few of the girls stuck around after sacrament meeting to get to know her and invite her to the YW activity on Friday.  
I couldn't have been more proud of the Young Women, they did a stellar job in being member missionaries and just a good friend to H.  It was so amazing to finally see the purpose of meeting with this family, and how Sister Henry and I kept focusing on getting in contact with Z and convincing Z to hear our message, when really it was her daughter who was being prepared to meet us.  I have no doubt that H's excitement and progress will definitely be a good example for her mom and her brother, and I am so excited for them!  I am kind of sad that I won't be in Freiburg to see it, but I am making Sister Henry promise to fill me in on EVERYTHING that goes on with them!

Soooooo, drum roll please...
Transfer calls came on Friday and will take place on Thursday 10/17!
Sister Henry is staying here in Freiburg and will be working with Sister Woods. Sister Woods has been on her mission one transfer longer than me, and she sounds super fun (from what I have heard of her.) 

A small little pathway in Freiburg
And I will be going to....

Well, before I say where I am going, lemme just say how much the Lord loves me!  

So, first off, I had been praying and praying for years before I even knew that I was going to go on a mission that if I ever did go, I would -go to multiple countries in Europe (check!) -speak German (check!) and -go when I was 19 (check!)  Prayer number one answered.  When I found out that Americans aren't allowed in Switzerland to work as missionaries, I prayed super hard that I would still be able to see Switzerland on my mission!  
I then got called to Freiburg, which is in a Swiss Stake, so I was able to go to Switzerland multiple times before they organized the Freiburg zone, officially closing up the possibility of an American missionary going to Switzerland.  Prayer number 2 answered.  Then, everyone was asking me where I would want my next area to be.  I kept telling people that I really wanted to spend Christmas in Austria, but for some reason I never had a desire to go to Vienna, but that I really wanted to serve in Salzburg.  


Yep, my next area will be Linz, Austria, which is in the Salzburg Stake! 

A picture of the Danube Valley in Linz Austria
I don't know too much about Linz, but I heard that it is super flat (so no more Black Forest hills and mountains) and I probably wont be able to see the Alps from my area.  Linz has a ward, not a branch, so that will be nice to go from a big ward to another ward!  There are also a set of Elders and a senior missionary couple also serving in the area, so I won't be completely alone :P  

Oh, my companion!  That's the other exciting news!  So my companions name is Sister Wunderli, I'm not quite sure how to spell it.  She is actually Hungarian, so I will get to serve with a European companion!  Wow, I am super curious and nervous for that one!  She has only been on her mission for one transfer, so I will be finishing up her training.  
I get to be a trainer again!!!
Yikes, that's only a little bit of responsibility D:  All in all, I am super stoked for this upcoming transfer, I have been super blessed my whole mission with amazing areas in places I have been praying to go :P  I hope that means that I am actually supposed to be serving in these places, and that the Lord isn't just answering my prayers because he's afraid I will throw a fit if I don't serve in these areas...Sister Henry says that I am just super in tune with the Spirit because the desires of my heart is exactly what the Lord has in store for me lol all  I know is that I am super grateful.  I think it is kind of funny that I was in the hottest city in Germany for summer and will be going to Austria for winter (and Austria gets COLD!!!!  BRRR!)  Naja, that's the news with me!  Transfers are on Thursday, so next Pday I will fill you in on my new companion and the new area :)  

I hope everything is going well for you at home!  Have a great week, and I love you!
-Sister Peterson