Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Short & Sweet

Dear Family & Friends- 

      I am really limited on email time this week. Hopefully, next week I will get to catch y'all up on all the adventures of the week. We were in Vienna on P-Day to get some necessary things done so Sister E. can serve in Germany as well. 
     Congratulations MOM- you can be a missionary anywhere you are and with anyone you serve with or for. Just keep following the spirit and you will never say the wrong thing or be found offensive or pushy- that is definitely one thing I have learned here. When the spirit says "open your mouth", well then you'd better open your mouth. If Heavenly Father trusts you with a message, then it is definitely your duty to share it.
     But I agree, there are sometimes that I want to sing the humble song as a missionary. It really is such a rewarding work!  And the coolest thing about it is that it is the LORDS work, so that's why we feel so good and strong when we are doing it, is because we have the power of Heaven on our side!  It is a very cool feeling and I am so glad that you are having a chance to feel it too :)

Queen Assissis Castle

Brrr... Baby it's cold outside!

Schonbrunn Schloss

     So President Miles was here for interviews last Saturday, and at that point, I had made up my mind to come home early and get ready to head to school for Fall semester. I told President Miles what I was thinking about, I told him my options and my opinions, and then asked him what he thought. I was expecting him to tell me that he would support me no matter what, and that it really didn't matter, yada yada! But he straight up told me"'well sister Peterson, you can go early if you want, but to me it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to lose out on 6 amazing weeks of missionary service just to get one semester ahead in school." 
     I left the interview actually kind of upset, kind of confused that he would give me that advice after I had already made my decision. Then I thought a lot about WHY I was feeling so upset, and I realized that it was because I knew he was right. I know that for lots of people, going home early is better, or an okay decision. But I think I have felt in my heart that staying is right for me, but my brain has been trying to convince myself to go early, not because it is a bad decision, but because I had the wrong reasons. I can't imagine anything else than serving a whole 18 months. 
     I have about 7 months left now, and if I chose to go early, I would only have about 5 and a half, and I am not sure if that is something I would be willing to lose!  But I do still want to pray about it and consider my options. I will make my final decision, and then move forward with faith.  If it is right, I will feel peace. If I should go early, then I have asked the Lord to let me know, and I will change my decision.  But for now, I have decided to stay :)
     Sorry again that my emails aren't really too exciting this week, we are having to scramble to find time to do them at all!  
     Aah, crazy week! love you!
Sister Peterson

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In Vienna Today, no email...

This is all we got from Sister Peterson yesterday.
I was hoping for more today, but it might be next week! Remember last time she was a few days late, I was getting ready to book my travel tickets to Austria :)

Hey mom!  Sorry, I just wanted to shoot you a quick email so you didn't freak out.  So we are in Vienna today, we are not sure exactly how long we will need to stay or when we get to do emails.  I probably wont have time for a big blog email today, but I hope we can get on emails either later tonight or tomorrow.  Vienna is GORGEOUS!  But i would never want to be a missionary here, all I would want to do is play play play!!

I love you!!
Sister Peterson

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Whose Idea was it to put ME in Charge?

Dear Everyone-

     Despite the fact that I am 'celebrating' my 10 month mark as a missionary today, I still find it hard to accept the idea that I am no longer one of the cute little newbies, and that I am considered to be one of the 'old, experienced, responsible' missionaries. I do have to say, it is a lot less intimidating to make mistakes when you are paired with a Golden missionary because, in their eyes, you are the glimmering example of perfection in a missionary :P 
     I will admit, the very first time President Miles called and told me I would be training a new missionary, I was thinking 'Okay, I really hope he knows what he's doing, but I guess if he trusts me I can do it!'  
     The second time he called, I was thinking 'Okay, funny joke President, but I still trust you and your judgement.' 
     The third time he called and told me I was training Sister Erdenetsogt, I have to admit, all that I could think was "what the 'WHAT?  President, are you serious? Why haven't you FIRED me yet??"   

Lunch time
     This week Sister Erdenetsogt and I were traveling on the Straßenbahn, and Sister Erdenetsogt asks me"'Sister Peterson, what do we ever do when we get separated? Do you think we should make an emergency plan?"  
     I thought about it for a bit and then said 'Nah, that never happens, and it shouldn't be too hard to find each other again, right?'  
     I'm not even joking, the very next day, we were traveling on the Straßenbahn, and we split up as usual to do some contacting. Our stop came up and I got off...looked around...and realized I was alone. I frantically looked back inside the Straßenbahn for my companion, but couldn't find her anywhere.  
     The Bahn drove away and I sat down and was trying to think of all the places she could be, where she could have gotten off, and whether I should look for her or wait for her to come to me. After a few moments, I realized, 'duh, Sister Peterson, just pray for help!' I quickly and quietly said a prayer, and got a really strong impression 'Head home. Go home.'  
     I shoved the thought away, sure that Sister Erdenetsogt wouldn't go home, but would be waiting for me somewhere, so I started walking the opposite direction. I kept getting the thought 'Go home, go home!' but kept persisting forward with going the opposite direction- mortified that I had lost my companion, who doesn't know her way around Linz, who doesn't know our phone number.  
     After about 15 or 20 minutes, I got a call from Sister Erdenetsogt off of a strangers phone. She was waiting for me at Bahnhof the entire time. I could not help feel extremely humbled, and mildly embarrassed. Even though Sister Erdenetsogt hadn't gone home, if I had only headed in the direction of going home, I would have seen her while passing through Bahnhof.  
     Perfect example of NOT listening to the Spirit, boys and girl! So the lesson, not only for me, but for all of us, is that any emotion we give in to- fear, anger, anxiety, concern- we let go of listening to the still, small voice. My head was filled with all sorts of questions that my mortal eyes were focused on that my spiritual eyes and ears couldn't break through. Whenever you feel anxious or concerned, make sure that you have stepped back and quieted your mind enough to hear what the spirit is sure to be telling you.
     Whew, do I definitely think I will be getting fired from this training job or what???

     Okay, for some tender mercies!  
     We are teaching a young man named 'J', he is a professional musician here at the New Music Theater in Linz. He had a really busy schedule, and asked if we could just meet him at the Theater during his break. So we went to meet him, and he gave us an entire tour of the Theater! We watched a play rehearsal, went backstage, and toured some of the little practice and concert rooms. At the end, he told us that if we ever wanted to come to any of the shows (music concerts, plays, ballets, opera, etc) all we have to do is let him know and he will get us free tickets! Can I hear a big WO-HOO!!!!  There are some pretty cool perks to being a missionary :)  
     But the biggest perk of all will be when help him accept the gospel...

     We were also going to meet with Schwester 'S', the cute little elderly lady I keep talking about in our ward. She asked if we could meet her in the middle of the city and then we would all go back to her house for a lesson.  
     We met her in the city, and she ended up taking us on an entire tour of the old part of Linz! I had never known that Linz was so gorgeous, but we saw buildings that were built in 794 and the oldest stores.  

A beautiful, life size nativity in down town Linz

Beautiful Linz
Lots of homeopathic and all natural stores as well, we will definitely be going back to those :P

     I can't believe that I ever used to think that working with foreign missionaries would be so hard. I was so worried about the language gap, trying to manage between two different native tongues and trying to learn a new language. Add to that the changing dialects and language variations, and I had myself in a frenzy. Honestly, now I can say I love being with a foreign missionary, if for no other reason than the entertainment value of it all!  
     I will hear Sister Erdenetsogt repeat things I say and I realize how silly I sound sometimes. Things like "'hopping' in the shower " or talking about future 'hubbies', and so on. We were walking somewhere the other day and I accidentally stepped on her shoes, and quickly apologized. She shrugged her shoulders and said "Your fine! Did I use that right Sister Peterson? You say that ALL the time!"  She makes fun of me all the time for that, bouncing around saying 'Your fine, Your fine!!'  

    Our sweet, little Mongolian family came to church yesterday! They are the sweetest little family ever. Their daughter, 'O', is 13 years old and wants us to help her learn English as well. She wanted to add me on Facebook and was looking through some pictures and saw a picture of cupcakes and got all excited, 'Do you know how to make REAL cupcakes?' I told her "yes, I actually LOVE making cupcakes, I just never have time on my mission", and she said 'I have a birthday on Thursday, you have to come over and we will make cupcakes together!'  
     Cupcakes as a missionary tool, who knew?  
     Maybe I should make that a finding theme as well, stop people on the street and ask if they have ever tasted real American cupcakes before :P  

     We had an opportunity to go to a Relief Society meeting with 'M'. She was teaching the sisters fancy ways to do hair, and so we got to be models for the other ladies to practice on.

     I hope everyone has a good week!  I love you, thanks again for all of your support and prayers :)

Sister Peterson

Quote of the week:
Sister Erdenetsogt:  Sister Peterson, look at us, what do we look like?
Me:  Missionaries?
Sister E: No, look again!
Me:  Women?
Sister E:  No!!  Look at me!  I am like black and white TV, and you are the color TV!
hahahaha I love my companion 

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Mission Family & Miracles

Hallo Friends & Family,

     I have to say, the first week of this new transfer has been a pretty amazing one. Sister Erdenetsogt and I have seen so many miracles, had so much fun, and grown so much closer as a companionship now that we are back to just two of us.  
     We were looking forward to having a nice, relaxing week in Linz, dropping Sister Wunderli off at the Linz Bahnhof on transfer day, and continuing on with lovely missionary work. But one thing I have learned on my mission is just when you think things are going as planned, a tricky little gremlin likes to slip the rug out from underneath your feet. I guess that is a lot like life- one minute you think you have a plan for the week and one phone call or text changes the whole game. Well that is how this week ended up. 
     By far, this week has probably been one of the craziest weeks of my entire mission:

Monday was p-day, so we had a lot of running around getting last minute needs and preparation for the upcoming transfer. 

Tuesday-We got to go to Salzburg again for Zone Training. Of course everyone was excited, pretty much everything for us was going to be staying the same except Sister Wunderli was going away and Sister Henry was going to be our new Sister Training Leader.So we weren't really preparing ourselves for anything out of the ordinary.
Elder Stilger- our new Zone Leader
Wednesday- this was also supposed to be a normal day. We had a lot of appointments with members and investigators to say goodbye to Sister Wunderli before she left. 

     However all of these plans came to a screeching halt on Monday night when we got a text from the office saying the Sister Erdenetsogt and I were going to come into Munich on Wednesday night and come back into Linz Thursday night. 
     We couldn't move our appointments to Tuesday because we were in Salzburg. So we had to cancel a few, move all of them to early Wednesday morning, and then rush to get Sister Wunderli packed. But on Tuesday night, we got another text with our train times, and we ended up leaving Wednesday morning for Munich instead of in the afternoon. Whoops, Sister Wunderli was put in extra rush to get ready to go and she didn't get to say good bye to all the people she wanted to, so that was a little sad for her.

At the Banhof dropping Sister Wunderli off for her new adventure
      To make sure Sister Wunderli wasn't left alone, we dropped her off in Salzburg on Wednesday afternoon. Sister Erdenetsogt and I proceeded to Munich for the Trainer/Golden meeting. It was actually really fun. All of the new Golden's (new arriving missionaries) came in and had some training. The trainers talked for a little bit, shared some ideas and stories and then we had a fun dinner with President Miles and the Assistants to the Presidents. After that, the Golden's found out where they would be going and who would be training them. Sister Erdenetsogt came up to me during dinner and whispered 'Sister Peterson, this is really boring.' I looked at her shocked and asked why. She said 'because I already know where I am going and that you are training me!'
     There wasn't enough room for the Sisters to sleep in the mission home, so we ended up sleeping in a hotel for a night :)  It was exciting at first, but then it was just weird. It actually felt more like I was on vacation in Munich with a really good friend than on a mission serving the Lord.

Our night in the hotel
     Needless to say, by the time Sister Erdenetsogt and I finally got back into Linz Thursday night, we both wanted to kiss the street, sing a song about being home and get our feet sopping we with missionary work again!
     But the exciting thing for me this transfer is that Sister Jenson (my trainer and first companion in the mission field) was last minute transferred to Wels! So that means that she is in my district!
This means that my mission 'mom' is in my district, my first 'daughter' is my Sister Training leader, and my third daughter is still with me! Almost all of my previous companions are in my same Zone! We took a 'family picture' in Munich on transfer day.
A happy reunion with Sister Henry

Sister Wunderlii, Sister Erdenetsogt, Me, Sister Jenson, Sister Henry
My three beautiful daughters
   Sister Jenson about died with pride that I was training again. A few Elders that came in with me told me they placed 'bets' on how long I would stay in the training program. Honestly, I am wondering the same thing! I love being able to look back and see the growth in the sister's that I have trained, but I know that their growth and progress has more to do with them than it does with me. I love seeing them so happy and doing so well.
     I don't know if it is just timing or that Sister Erdenetsogt has a magic map, but we have found so many people with Mongolian heritage lately. These are people who have been very prepared to receive the gospel, to be taught and hopefully even to accept our message!!  Sister Erdenetsogt was making a few phone calls the other night to some of these potential investigators, when she was done on the phone she started talking to me really fast in Mongolian. I definitely think that my "deer in the headlights" look on my face startled her back to the moment as she realized I speak English and German- but definitely NOT Mongolian! She started laughing so hard and had to start all over telling me the happenings in English.  
     I definitely have learned how to say a few sentences in Mongolian! We taught a Mongolian family on Sunday and I was able to ask them what their religious background was and then bear my testimony that God loves them. As fun as it is to speak Mongolian, I think I will stick with English and German as my preferred means of communication> Any bets on how many languages I will come in contact with on my mission!
     I mentioned that this week has been full of miracles for the two of us! It all started with our weekly planning session this week when Sister Erdenetsogt and I took a lot of extra time in our planning and goal setting for this transfer. We prayed a lot, and decided that we could baptize 3 people this transfer, which is crazy, because I haven't even had one baptism yet this whole 10 months. We each wrote down the names of three investigators that we think could get baptized within this next 6 weeks, and made plans to help them progress.
Sometimes we learn as much from our investigators as they learn from us- my forever friend
      I can not even explain all of the miracles we have been seeing ever since we set that goal. 'O', one of our Muslim investigators who doesn't speak much German, has finally accepted that Jesus Christ is our Savior. 'R' wants to overcome her obstacles. 'M' has a lot more time to meet with us. 'L' asked us how baptism works and said he is willing to live all of our commandments to find out if he wants to be a member.  
     We have been running into potentials that we haven't been able to get in contact with for weeks, and we have been seeing them again on the street or on the bus and setting up appointments with them. We are so excited for this transfer!
Two missionaries at the Munich Banhoff

A church in Salzburg

I spy a castle on top of that hill
      I love you all so much and thanks again for your prayers, we receive so much help and strength from your support!  Have a good week :)

Sister Peterson