Monday, July 28, 2014

Last One, Fast One

*** Note from Mom: The reality that Sister Peterson's next transfer call will bring her home has definitely set in. She is so blessed to have been given Sister Natalie Motto as her final companion. I know Sister Motto is not only perfect for Sister Peterson, but this is an answer to my prayers as I did not want Kori's mission to end without an opportunity to serve with this amazing young woman. She is from Utah County and will return to BYU January 2015 when Kori returns. There is no better person prepared to help Sister Peterson end her mission strong and focused. If you would like to cyber meet Sister Motto, her blog can be followed here
I would so appreciate if Sister Peterson's final six weeks could be flooded with words or encouragement, strength, and your own testimony. Her address is: 
Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Kori Lee Peterson
Alfred-Schmidstrasse 35
81379 Munchen

Thanks so much- now on to why you're really on this page!

Hello Friends & Family, 
All my swimmer friends and family should definitely recognize the title of this email. It is going to be my motto for the next several weeks! I might be headed in for the last swim, and I know it's going to be a fast one- but I'm going to give it all I've got! 

This week has been much needed for Sister E and I. As much as I love being in Munich and serving here, we have always kind of struggled finding new investigators here and finding people who actually have serious interest and will progress! We have seen a few miracle families and people, but its been kind of rough to get in contact with a lot of them lately.However, the past two weeks have been filled with miracles and we've seen many areas of our work finally starting to pick up! 

I was especially grateful for the blessing of serving in a companionship this week. Sister Erdenetsogt and I decided to go to a city that takes a while to get to on the S-bahn in an effort to visit a less active sister in our ward- unfortunately she wasn't home. We really had nothing else to do, so we headed back to the S-bahn station to go back into Munich.  
I was praying in my heart, explaining to Heavenly Father that we had planned to visit this lady but she wasn't home. As I shared my feelings about how much time in travel  it takes for us to get here and back, I asked Heavenly Father to please let us find SOMEONE so that our trip wasn't in vain. 
Well, we sat down to wait for the Bahn, and two people, a sweet lady and a very drunk man sit next to us. The man sees our name tags and immediately starts ridiculing us for believing in God and serving in Germany; he was not being very friendly and he just would not stop.  
The lady was sitting on the other side of the man, sending us sympathetic smiles whenever she can and when the S-bahn finally got there, we tried to sit down next to the lady to talk to her; but the man would have none of it and he followed us to sit next to her as well.  
I tried desperately to get a conversation going with her, but every time I did, the man would interrupt and start asking weird questions again. Finally, I just to give him my full attention and talk to him for a bit. The whole time I prayed (and prayed, prayed, PRAYED) that Sister Erdenetsogt would talk with the lady.  
We got off the S-bahn, and sister E not only talked to her, but got her number and address and set up an appointment! We visited her family a few days later, and they are so amazing! They are so ready and so open to the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I still cannot believe that none of this would have happened if we weren't working with a companions, if we weren't unified in our purpose, and if we hadn't gone to that city to contact the less active woman! There are many things I hope to keep alive in post-missionary life and this is one of them. Being unified in such a way that the Lord's work can be fulfilled; if not by my hands, than by the hands of someone I am trying to support. 
One a boat with Mathias
The Senior sisters in the office, Sister Sonomura and Holmgren, are going home this week, so we decided to invite them over for dinner after our apartment inspection. It was so much fun, but it felt so backwards! Normally we are the ones who are invited over, but this time we got to prepare for the missionaries. They even gave us a spiritual thought at the end of dinner which was so nice that I about died with excitement haha

King Ludwick's memorial on Starnberg Sea
One of our investigator families, the Göbs, have started to become some of our best friends.  We have visited them every week for about 2 months now, and we have really enjoyed going over. They heard Sister Erdenetsogt and I talk once about how we want to go to the Zoo so badly because we live right next to it, but that we don't want to pay ourselves so we haven't gone. A few weeks later, they arrived at church so excited and presented us with Zoo tickets! We have been trying to go week after week, but with other commitments, limited time, and bad weather it just never worked out.  
Well, it is extremely obvious at this point, be we knew we were getting limited on p-days before it was possible that we would be separated again when transfer calls came up, so we decided that we would go on Monday, rain or shine, no matter how much time we had, we were going!  

Just a little sad that it is raining

"I spy with my little eye..."
Well it definitely turned out being more rain than shine, but WE WENT! 

It was pouring rain the entire day, but being the determined little missionaries we are, we bundled ourselves up, grabbed our rain gear and left headed straight to the ZOO! 

It was still fun, there was no heat nor long lines; we got the whole zoo to ourselves! 

I just really want to touch him!
As we left, we saw some nicely dressed people in the distance. As we got closer we saw the name tags and realized they were missionaries too! 
One of these things isn't like the other...

"In the USA, there is a law against tying a giraffe to a light post"
The Kohler's and the AP's had decided to go to the Zoo as well. Ha, even though Munich is huge and there is a ton to do, I guess going to the Zoo on a rainy day is THE THING to do. 

As for transfers, we will be making a companionship swap with the Tübingen Sisters. Sister Erdenetsogt is going to work with Sister Pentz in Tübingen and Sister Motto is coming here with me!  Though I will miss Sister E and we both dreaded the thought that one of us was leaving, we were blessed to get to work together again! 
Aside from saying good-bye to Sister E, I am so excited to get to work with Sister Motto!!! 
It was definitely weird in church yesterday to see Sister E say her goodbye's to the members; it doesn't feel real yet. I already saw her say goodbye in Linz, now I have to do it all over again?  But we will still see each other at MLC, so this isn't my last goodbye :)

Making cinnamon rolls
Well, I think this is all for me today. I have one final request from everyone- that is simply that you all will please pray for me!  
Pray that I will be able to keep my wits about me and that I do not get distracted; that I will stay focused this last transfer! I want to give it my all!  
Sleepover with the Munchen III sisters
There are so many miracles in Munich waiting to happen, so much potential waiting to be discovered! I can feel it!! 
I know I only have 6 weeks left, but like we would always say on swim team, Last One, Fast One!
Love to you all,
Sister Peterson

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Little Bit of Deja Vu

Hello All, 

     At the beginning of my mission, my life was all about experiencing new things and "firsts".  Becoming a missionary, arriving in a new country, my first companion, the first transfer calls, going to a new area, new companions, learning new things, new meetings, new language, the list goes on and on!  Now, I have pretty much accepted that my 'new' experiences are pretty much coming to an end and most of my 'firsts' are becoming my 'lasts'.  
This may be my last 'first'- it is my first time seeing a spiderman missionary :)

     I am in (what is likely) my last area, I'm probably getting my last companion soon (unless Sister Erdenetsogt and I stay together one more transfer, we find out Friday!) I was shopping last week and realized that I was probably buying my last bottle of shampoo and conditioner before I go home! It sounds like they are just Kleinigkeiten, little things, but they are the little reminders each day, every moment counts right now! 
Summer Festival

The Elders living it up at the Summer Festival

Having fun at the festival
      It also seems that I am living a life of deja vu right now. Time is going so fast that it seems like conversations that I just had six or twelve weeks ago are being repeated over and over. I remember going over the Sneddon's house 6 weeks ago and telling them that transfer calls were right around the corner, and asking them to pray that Sister E. and I would get to stay together. Well, they came up to us again on Saturday and asked when the next transfer calls were, and we realized that they are again, just right around the corner- and our prayer is the same, 'please let us stay together for a little longer'!
Can the wheel of life just stop turning for a tiny second please???? Or at least slow down enough for me to catch my breath before I dive into another monstrous wave!

     But it was a good week!! We had Zone Training again on Tuesday, and I have to say, its pretty nice to be right in Munich and only have to travel 15 minutes to get to the church, rather than a full 3-4 hours to go to a meeting that only lasts 3 hours only to have to turn around and travel the entire way back again! We can actually have appointments after Zone Training, and all of our studies before?  It was the first Zone Training that we have had as STL's, and it was kind of stressful to coordinate and plan with the Zone Leaders- sometimes I worry that the Elders think we have cooties or something! When we all get together to plan something like this, I am reminded that we are all still very, very young adults trying to coordinate and do the best we can with what limited experience we really have. In the end, it all worked out very well, just as it always does when you are on the Lord's errand.  

     We also got all of our Tausches done- big sigh of relief!! So Sister Erdenetsogt and I finally have a full week this week where we get to spend the entire time in our own area with each other! Success!
I was able to go to Passau on Tausch this week, which I was so excited about for 2 reasons.  1-Passau is where Sister Regnier (my MTC companion) started her mission, and I have always heard from her about how gorgeous it is! I have been dying to see it for EVER! and 
2-I was able to work with Sister Woods, which I was also super stoked about. Sister Henry absolutely adored her, and I've been excited to work with her even since I came to this zone! It was a pretty good tausch, I always love going to other areas and seeing how other missionaries take care of their people. 
Sister Woods and I

Passau- not the best picture, but it is beautiful here!
      In my opinion, there are two kinds of tausches: skill tausches or love tausches. On the skill tausches, I learn a lot about how to be a Preach My Gospel missionary. Things like teaching skills, finding, studying, and how to be effective and diligent. On the love tausches, I learn how to be a personal missionary, like how to care for people, how to serve, how to be humble, how to be Christlike.  
The International Ward Elders went looking for my lost phone & added some personal touches of their own!

Our neighbors baked us muffins to apologize for being loud- YUM!
      It was also very cool, because Sister Erdenetsogt was able to work with Sister Wunderli in Munich. Ah, memories of the dritt in Linz! I haven't really talked much or seen much of Sister Wunderli since she came to the Munich Zone, but after Sister Erdenetsogt and I came back together, the first thing she said was 'Sister Peterson, she has changed SO MUCH. You have to work with her next transfer!' 
     That's probably one of the coolest parts about training, and I have said this a million times before-  I love meeting my companions months later, and seeing how they have grown and changed, not just as a missionary but as a person. And how lucky I have been to even get to be companions with one of my golden's again! Missions are tough and trying, but they are also so rewarding. One of the rewards that I see is just how much the missionaries learn from each other. We really grow so much, something I never understood before my mission! But truly, Heavenly Father takes these young, immature and sometimes selfish youth and young adults and in 18-24 months of serving His children, He turns these kids into amazing and selfless people- honestly my biggest concern about coming home is that I will lose who I have become in the 'real world'. 

But I assure you, we haven't outgrown silly antics,

... or silly faces,

... or silly photo bombs :)
    One of the ways that I see this change manifest is in the personal touch game that we play with each other! It is just a simple service game that we use to keep our spirits high and to stay unified within our zone's. It might be simple, but the impact it can have on your life when you really need a 'personal touch' from someone is HUGE! Can I just stay here forever?!?!? 

     A few weeks ago, I was talking with Elder Thurman and his wife about how I was going home soon and I wish that I could ask for an extension, but that its really hard for missionaries (at least in this mission) to extend their mission, even just one transfer. On Tuesday, he came up to me and said ''Sister Peterson, I know that you want an extension. I did what I could, and this is the best I could do!''  

My mission "extension"!
... and gave me an extension cord Bwaaaahaha! Mensch, I am keeping that cord and taking it home with me! 

     I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers


Sister Peterson

Monday, July 14, 2014

Learning Gratitude the Hard Way

Hello Friends & Family- 

     Well, just in case you have been living under a rock the past few weeks (or are like my mom), you may not have heard that I am currently living in the same country that can officially claim they are the world's soccer champions!! I'm sure you can imagine, it's a pretty big thing here-

German pride is everywhere!
     One thing you have to know about me is that I am awful at quoting movies and songs! I am also the biggest fan of exaggerating and paraphrasing! Hopefully that explains my biggest epiphany this week: there is supposedly a quote in some sort of movie or spoken by some sort of a famous actor that goes something along the lines of 'When we ask God for patience, He doesn't just give us patience, He gives us the opportunity and experiences that will teach us how to be patient.' And so it is with everything-humility, faith, diligence- we might think we are asking for a Christlike attribute, but what we often get is a refiners fire that forces us to develop that attribute- I never understood why people always say "Never pray for patience..." Well, now I understand, and for me the lesson came this week as Heavenly Father taught me about gratitude!  
     Last Monday, I had a huge panic attack. Did I say huge?... well, I mean to say HUGE!!! 
Actually, it was pretty embarrassing. We went home after emails, and all of my worries and stress and fears just kind of exploded. Sister Erdenetsogt got to see a real 'American' girl break down; which included me laying on the floor, crying while shoving peanut butter and crackers into my mouth, whining about my problems for a good hour or two! Honestly, she didn't know whether she should be serious or laugh! Before Monday, I hadn't really given myself a lot of time to think about what scared me. I hadn't really thought about my fears, my worries, and my concerns. This little breakdown really forced me to think about what was most important to me and all the promises Heavenly Father has given me to help me keep my heart open to all that I will need to go through.

     Luckily it was P-day so we were able to stay home for a bit until I calmed down, but I had decided to ask some of the Elders in my district if they could give me a comfort blessing the next day after district meeting. I was 100% sure that the blessing would solve all of my problems, tell me everything that I wanted to hear, and that life would be fine and dandy. Well, I hadn't told the Elder giving me the blessing what was wrong; I just told  him that I wanted one. I was totally confident that I would hear what I needed to hear (or at least what I THOUGHT I needed to hear.)  
     But to my disappointment, the blessing was really general and did not address, in even the slightest way, what my worries were. The rest of the day, I was really upset; I was even tempted to call the Elder and tell him that I needed another blessing. I had gotten some pretty cool promises and been told some cool things, but I was so focused on the fact that I hadn't heard what I wanted to hear that I wasn't grateful for what I had heard. I wasn't listening! 
     The next day during personal study, I was reading talks from last general conference, and of course President Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude was next. It was a big slap in the face of how I needed to be grateful first for what I have, then I can be given more. I made a list of all the things that I was promised in the blessing, and how those things would help me in my work. Then I made a list of all the things I was still worried about, and decided to leave it to the Lord, put my worries in a mental box, and place it at His feet. From there I went about and continued on my day.

Me and my girls at Mission Leadership Conference

Birthday celebration with the Munich missionaries and the Kohler family
     Well, that day we had another Austausch with the Sisters in Augsburg. Sister Smith came here to Munich to work with me, which was really cool, since she started out in Munich II, and so I got to see the way that she loves and teaches the same exact people that I love and teach. It was also cool because there have been lots of people that Sister Erdenetsogt and I have been trying to get into contact with, but who have never answered us, but we were able to get back into contact with some of them and even meet others. But the biggest gift and mercy came for me at the end of the Tausch when we were on the way back. Normally I don't really open up about super personal thoughts with people who are not my companion, especially people who I haven't really known a long time. But for some reason, I told Sister Smith almost everything about what was on my mind; why I am nervous to go back to Texas, my fears, the sense of security that I feel as a missionary and not wanting to lose that; feeling like I don't have enough time to do all the things I still want to do here in Munich, etc.
     The blessing came when she opened up a bit to me on how she felt about my worries and she shared some thoughts that could help me. Well, surprise- surprise, they were exactly the things I needed to hear and had been praying to hear ever since I had decided to ask for my blessing. Heavenly Father could have just been told the exact same things on Tuesday in my blessing; But instead, the Lord taught me to be grateful first and to remember the promises He has given me (and the miracles He has shown me),to have faith, and to press forward! After He allowed me to put my heart in the right place, then I could receive the comfort that I needed. 
This is what our kitchen looks like on Sunday's after we get done making gifts for our members and investigators
     We did get to celebrate Mongolian Independence Day on Friday with one of our investigator families, the Göb's. Lately, I feel like all that we are eating is German potato salad and Mongolian dumplings- it's good thing that they are both so delicious!!

Mongolian Independence Day celebrations
Thank you so much for your love, your support and your prayers,
Love to you all,
Sister Peterson

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A little Spice to Life

Dear Family & Friends,

     At the beginning of my mission, I made the goal to eat everything that was put in front of my plate by members or investigators, no matter how gross or scary it was to me. I didn't want to be too picky and I definitely did not want to offend anyone by my food likes and dislikes. Luckily, I have not really had a problem with that my entire mission (except for the blood sausage that I ate in Freiburg- but I didn't know what that was until after I ate it). 
This is how we spent Independence Day
      Well, this sweet lady in our ward invited several of the missionaries to her house for dinner. Before we went in, Sister Erdenetsogt grabbed my arm and said very seriously, 'You need to be very careful eating here, she cooks really SPICY!'  Its not that I don't like spicy foods, I do; I think spicy foods have the potential to taste really good. I am just a big food wimp when it comes to extreme spice and flavor! But I was confident and faithful that I could tackle this food. I was actually doing pretty good for most of the appointment, only dishing up small amounts of spicy food and big amounts of rice, and drinking plenty of water in between. 
     Until someone noticed that I hadn't eaten any of the meat dish yet. I said that I would, but I wasn't sure how spicy it was, so I didn't want too much. Elder Jones assured me that it wasn't spicy at all, it was actually really delicious- reassuring me that I would want a lot.  
     Sister Erdenetsogt immediately objected and whispered to me 'don't do it, don't do it, its sooo hot!  I'm not joking, don't do it!'  
     By this point, I was curious, and I wanted to try just a bit, I gave Elder Jones my plate and told him to dish up just a tiny bit, and that I would try more later if I liked it. To my horror, he kept dishing more and more until all of my rice was soaked and covered with the meat and it's sauce. Needless to say, it was HOT! I think I had to drink an entire glass of water for every tiny bit of rice that I ate. I kept having to add more and more rice and drink more and more water; I'm sure my stomach was about to explode. I felt so bad, the food really did taste good, but I'm sure my face looked like I was in so much pain, because the poor member kept standing up and bringing me cucumbers, water, bread, yogurt, etc...Everyone cheered when I finished it. Mensch. I guess I learned to never trust an Elder at dinnertime- even if they are AP!
     We started our Austausches (exchanges) this week. By now, I am definitely comfortable with Austausches by now and have loved all the times I have gotten to do them in the past. I've been going on exchanges my entire mission- but these have been a little different. As a missionary or trainer, we only do one Tausch every 6 weeks and we don't have any planning or training that we need to prepare. We also don't have to make any of the organization plans either, so we aren't involved with who goes where and works with who! All I've ever had to do in the past is go through the day with the Sister Training Leader who was working with me, take their suggestions and ask any questions or concerns. We would set goals and talk about how to achieve them... then the STL would return to her area and my life would return to missionary normal. 
Starburg Sea
      Well, now, we are tausching with a companionship once a week for the rest of the transfer, we have to plan who goes where, when it happens, what our goals and focus of the exchange is going to be, everything! I'm not gonna lie, I was a little nervous and anxious to lead the exchanges. But we had one last week with the other Sisters in Munich (working in the München 3 area) and I went to work in their area with a cute German missionary, Sister Kutschke. 
     It was kinda funny to still be working in Munich, taking the same Sbahns and Ubahns that I normally do! But I always love working with other missionaries and getting new ideas from them on how they do missionary work, how they work with members and other missionaries, and how they organize and plan for the day. It was also very humbling to go in with a specific goal for each tausch, be asked questions on some things that the missionary companionship was struggling with, and try to help exchange ideas and set goals to help them with their work. Leadership positions are always more hard and humbling than I expect them to be! Training is quite different, mainly because the new golden's don't know the difference if you do anything wrong or make a mistake and since the trainer is usually their first companion, they don't compare you to others either-
     President Kohler and his family traveled around the mission last week to host an Introduction Conference for the missionaries. This was mainly so they could get to know the missionaries in each area and we could get to know the expectations and plans for this mission at this time. During these conferences, time was given to Sister Kohler and their children, Erika and Tanner to introduce themselves and talk about their thoughts and feelings about being here. One thing that really hit me, which I guess I thought about before but never really understood, was how much they have all had to sacrifice to come here. The kids are still young and in high school, and yet, they left everything to support this calling to serve the Lord! I threw a huge fit when I found out that I was moving from California to Texas during my senior year of high school, but I was still able to visit California pretty frequently after I left. These kids have just been asked to move, not only away from home, but to a different country, where they will need to learn a new language and a new culture AND have very limited opportunity to travel home to see friends and family. Again, I just have so much respect and appreciation for them and what they are doing! I know that for the Kohler's, this is a family calling. Though President & Sister Kohler will be doing most of the "in the trenches" work, their children will spend most of their free time traveling from one mission area to the next! Though, I will confess, that traveling around Germany is definitely NOT the worst thing they could be forced to do, I appreciate what they are willing to do for the sake of serving the missionaries and members of this area! 
     Well, I think this is the end of my time.
     Love to you all,

Sister Peterson