Monday, December 16, 2013

12/16/13 Letter


Winter weather is coming... so i guess they knew the Texan can’t handle the cold so i am getting transferred to the sea. I am moving to Rijeka on Thursday.
It is about 2 hours away but has 20 members and the missionaries are really quiet so i think i am going lighten up the party!  i am excited to be going to the sea, but my heart will always stay in varaždin. Thought my companion, sister Mortensen, was leaving 100% so before the transfer call we planned in our  weekly planning schedule all the things she wanted to do before she left... well my mouth dropped when i found out i was leaving! #shocked #neželim
#volimvaraždin#somanygoodthingsareabouttohappenhere!!! I even asked the AP (Assistants to our mission President) if they were joking with me.. #realtalk!  So now i have to pack all my stuff and i think i have like 80 pounds in each of my bags cause i bought a lot here...YIKES! So for Christmas i will be in a new place, with a new companion, and new members! So im really happy that i get to skype and talk to someone i know at Christmas!  

It was so hard my last Sunday and the branch president was not going to let me speak!!! We always have extra time in church but this Sunday the Branch President just keeps on talking and talking to fill time, but i said OH, NOT TODAY!  right before we sang the closing song i just got up from my seat and went to the stand and said sorry about it... and then said my goodbye!  Then tears started flowing ...oh boy, because i just love the people in this branch so much!  I read Matt 19:26 (mom your fave) saying with God all things are possible! I said we must never never forget that! Then we took pictures and this week i have a ton of people to see and before u know it, it will be Christmas!  I just don’t want to go cause, I opened this area and now we have like 8 progressing investigators and i could really see them getting baptized! I thought i was going to be here for that and now i am not!  With these people i have seen many miracles happen! 

One awesome story is about a woman who has two kids we are teaching English to!  She was very anti about even coming to English class because she knew nothing about us and then her friend just said come, it is free! So as we started teaching her she said "no i will NOT join your church, just to let u know “but now she is starting to ask us questions about our church and a week ago i gave her a first lesson and she was like wow you’re not that crazy of a religion! #surprise! Then on Saturday she just invited us to her house for her son’s birthday party where we had cake and sang together!!!!! (It was amazing.  the boy just turned 8!!! =)  and after that  I was bold and gave her the "come and join us talk." I was a little nervous, but yolo! So she said she would read it and we can talk about it on Tuesday Then i am going to give her a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and write her a note on the back of it!  We have found everyone through our English class! Then one of our new students who is the best said," ok well if u give me free English then u can teach me about your church.. i don’t believe in God, but maybe you can change that!!! You know that right! He is an awesome 30 year old!  Then The English teacher who we had a lesson with in the car said she wants to meet and talk more about the book of Mormon!!!! I can’t leave! I have too much stuff going on for me here!!!! 

Well, Then on Tuesday i went on my first exchange in Croatia to karlovac! We sang Christmas songs and then we taught at the high school about America.. Good thing i have my power point presentation from the last one i did!  cause the church is so new here we want to do anything to get our name out!   So that was way fun!

Well we have just had a blessed week with lots of lessons to teach as we don’t get home till 9:30 like everynight#webeworkingwomen!
Well hope all is well and everyone is having a great Christmas!

xoxox sestra Peterson

Friday, December 13, 2013

12/9/13 Letter

Where the heck did this week go? We were booked to the max!!!! Well, this week we talked at the college again and had a great turn out and after, the teacher who lives in varaždin drove us home and we gave her a first lesson in the car!!!!  She agreed with everything that we said as we talked about the differences between our church and the catholic church!  At the end we gave her a book of Mormon and she said ok i will call u if i have any questions! Then we did service for a less active member named lidija who has the cutest girl ever!  

She knows the gospel is true as she was one of the first members in Varaždin  but she fell in love with a boy whose family was so against the church that they had to go into hiding, and after a while she just stopped going cause it was too hard¨! it was so sad to hear her story as there is so many others like hers! there are so many less actives here because of family problems. 

The thought crossed my mind today as i  reflected on the words our mission president-pres. Rowe said at district conference about  how " 2 apostles have blessed this land that it will bloom and how after all they have been through here,  there will be great peace and happiness here, and how this will be a promised land." Today i though about how these people are like the pioneers! Look at all the pioneers went through as they had so many hardships  but because of their efforts and their enduring to the end,  we have so many Mormons in Utah and a beautiful temple!  THESE PLACES ARE SO MUCH ALIKE AND THIS LAND HAS BEEN PROMISED A TEMPLE!   These hardships will only last a season, but we have to keep our perspective on the bigger picture, the eternities and enduring to the end, knowing that because of our good works others will be blessed! I am so grateful to be here and part of this work here in the Adriatic mission!  

I feel like the pioneers story is being modernized right before my eyes as this week we had district conference and my branch took a 3 hour train ride, then walked an hour and a half in the cold 35 degree weather to get to the train to get to the church!  We truly don't know how blessed we are in America! There were 108 members at district conference from all over Croatia plus about 70 missionaries! Shoot i woke up at 4:30am,  took a bus at 6 and got to the church at 8am.... me and my team of 6 were proud to say we were the first ones there hahaha! My comp and i did a musical number as she played the piano and i sang i feel my savior love and i know my redeemer lives! we combined them into one and it was way cool!  Apparently president Rowe started crying.. i love making tough guys cry haha! I was so grateful and humbled  for the opportunity to share my testimony through the talent i have been given!  Well, then on Thursday we had Zone conference with the missionaries! so again i woke up at 5:30! who needs sleep right ... I’m wendy petersons daughter! like #realtalk i have the best and smartest mission prez ever! The Croatian Book of Mormon doesn't have an introduction so instead it uses Moroni 10: 3-4!  President Rowe talked about how it never says ponder in your head if these things are true, but in your heart! what does that mean.... to ponder in your heart?... That when a person reads the Book of Mormon, they need to pay attention to the way they feel, then everything will make sense in your brain!  if we look at the book of Mormon like just another book then is it, but if we ask and pray  and ponder with our hearts, then our eyes will be opened to the truth and power it speaks!  
This was at conference where Brianne sang her song and was reunited with her MTC companion Sister Frampton

On Friday our friend from osijek came down and it was way fun to have him here!  For aktivnost(Which is usually on Friday nights) we had a music party as one of the members was a professional singer  and we sang like a rock Christmas song with him. haha it was really fun,--shoot, black gospel choir here i come! then we sang "rollen in the river"as i had to make up my own words to the song... well im not the best song writer let’s just say, but i was pulling people of out of their chairs and just having such a fun time!  then we met with 3 students who wanted to meet us from the English presentation we did!  It was so sad though, because we met with them for 2 hours and in that time they had to leave and smoke 3 times!  Then one of the girls said  it was nice going to coffee for once and not coming home smelling like smoke! I count my blessing everyday that i don't smoke. it has such a depressing sad effect on people !  One student we taught took ping pong lessons for 8 years so i will be playing here and getting my butt whipped by her!  ping pong and hand ball are huge here! 

Then on Saturday we saw lidija  preform at this event with her Croatian instrument (i forgot what it was called) and after that, we watched Saturday session of district conference  through skype! Well i will skype everyone soon as božić dolazi!  hope all is well and remember nothing is too hard for the lord!

sestra peterson xoxox 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

11/18/13 Letter

My hair is growing longer!!!! its cause i am serving a mission that the lord is blessing me with longer hair #realtalk 
well i had an amazing week as so many great things have been going on!  well i am still in Varaždin, which i am so happy about and i will stay here till Dec 16 then we have another transfer so we shall see!  

So first off on Thursday i talked to the most amazing woman in my life!  well they are Croatians from Zadar  but moved to Provo, Utah  a long time ago because her husband played basketball for BYU with Krešimir ćosić  who was a great basketball legend and also the person who translated the Book of Mormon into Croatian.  When Kresimir arrived at BYU he was not a member of the church. Anyhow, this lady  lived there for a long time. But now they are back here to serve as the first counselor  in the district over here! We dont even have a stake in Croatia or all the areas in the mission!   krešimir ćosić baptized them  (he was the first member of the church over here!) anyways she came up to talk to us and wow  i felt like i was talking to one of the  young women presidency! She is the type of person u want to take notes when she is speaking  cause she is so strong in the church!  she told of her conversion story and how she didnt go to church or anything and yet she was taught the plan of salvation and  everything the Mormons told her about this journey of life-  this puzzle- well it all fit together perfectly.  It made total sense and there was not one piece left out.  No more qeustions for speculation or mysteries that she was always told not to question. She talked about how this the hardest mission in the world right now because the people here think that if they leave the catholic church they are giving up their nationality because it is their history with the ethnic cleansing and war that took place I think in the 1990’s here.! But she said,"Don’t give up! THE FACT THAT YOU WERE CALLED TO THIS MISSION SAYS A TON ABOUT THE PERSON YOU WERE BEFORE YOU CAME ON YOUR MISSION! this mission is hard, as  we see the circle of people coming to church then leaving church then coming to church and leaving church  but i have found out that when u can do nothing else, when u can’t run or jump anymore stay on the path and crawl. 

Many of the people forgot all the blessing that have come from being members of this church, but we HAVE TO REMEMBER! EVEN IN THE BAD TIMES WE HAVE TO REMEMBER ALL THE HAPPINESS WE HAVE RECEIVED AND THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE GAINED THAT OTHERS DO NOT HAVE.  WE HAVE THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NEVER FORGET IT!"  these words pierced my soul and i will never forget our conversation my comp and i had with her.   Then we did a finding activity in our town square where we made chocolate chip cookies and gave them out to people who would fill out a list of questions they might have  ever thought about- questions of the soul along with a flyer about a  stop smoking class we are going to have! We did it right in front of the web cam onb the town square so on Tuesday we are doing it again around like 530 am your time so yep  I am just saying!  

So an amazing miracle happened.  We had 25 PEOPLE AT CHURCH!!! 5 WERE FROM ZAGREB BUT OTHER THAN THAT WE HAD 13 MEMBERS 1 LESS ACTIVE AND 2 INVESTIGATORS!!!  VESNA WHO IS LESS ACTIVE HAS BEEN TO CHURCH 2 WEEK IN A ROW AND NOW HER DAUGHTER IS BECOMING INTERESTED!  this is the one that said could not have missionaries in her house because they were guys but things have changes because  we as sisters are now serving! then Andriana - one of the kids that was going to get baptized came to church for the first time in a month ... with her mom!!!!! petar was sick!  she loved it and said they were coming back next week! it was so weird to hear kids talking in church!  i was fighting back tears when i heard other voices singing besides mine and the piano!  and we had a lesson with this girl who is 28 and has 2 kids and she said we could come back next week! so that is an event to look forward to!
well i have to go but hope all is well!
love sestra peterson 

PS Here are some answers to questions people have asked:
1. Do you have a baptismal font in your church building?
We have like a blow up pool or in the city of  Zadar they baptize in the river! We have a big baptism the 21st in Zagreb.   all who is getting baptized will go there from all of Croatia.  Zagreb is the only place in Croatia with a font.  (It is bout 1-1 1/2 hours away by bus for us.)That is why they are doing the baptisms there.  However, in the summer they always do it in the river.

2. Do you have lots of dinners?

Also,we have dinner every sunday with tim and vanja and a lesson with vanja and hope tomislov hears cause he is  all into science and everything so religion is hard for him  but we are straight up with him adn he is so nice! so that is at 7 to 9 cause at 6 there is no one in the street to talk to cause they are all sleeping! dad could live here ah! last night we has a really good Croatian dish that tasted  like stuffed peppers 

3. Do you know your neighbors?  Do you live in a house or an apartment?  Does it have 1-2 bedrooms?  Is it tiny?

Yes yes yes! Our neighbor works at  a casino so that's fun haha. Our land lord is awesome! We have a two room apt and its nice we want to give the landlord a book of Mormon but we never see them.   our apt is not tiny.  i think it is big!  i can't believe how fast the mission is going. i need more time here as there is so much work to get done and not enough time 
 Also, we have  no senior couple so i have made a lot of cookies for activities. And i am getting really good at ping pong cause its a popular sport over here so Blair and Preston better watch out!   did u know our mission is the largest by land mass with like the smallest amount of missionaries ha im so lucky to be one of them! we only see prez rowe (our mission president) once a month at zone conference! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

11/11/13 Letter

Dobar Dan. Kaj ima? 

Hope everyone is enjoying this great fall weather, i mean i guess its almost winter. So this week was pretty good. Nothing too exciting. So i don't really remember what happened on what day, so i am just gonna throw it all out there. So bear with me. Our english classes were way bomb this week. And i asked Ante one of our students if he wanted to learn more about the church and he said yes! so we will start teaching him this week. And apparently this week they did a documentary on the mormons and i think it was probably pretty good. And tons of people all over this area said they saw it. And they interviewed mormons in Germany and the missionaries there, and talked about our beliefs, and how we don't drink and smoke and follow the law of chastity and everything. Everyone said it was way good. So i hope it was. We also whipped up a ton of chocolate chip cookies, and planned a finding activity out in the centar of town. We got one of the members to go with us. And had a poster and everything. And we had a survey composed of the questions of the soul, and they were to put a check mark next to each question they had ever thought about before. So we could gauge which questions spark peoples interest more and so we can find new investigators and find the prepared who have actually thought about these questions before and want the answers. And after they filled it out they got a free cookie! It was way successful until it started to we are going to do it again later this week!  

Zone conference was pretty much bomb this week, and makes me want to go out and baptize everyone. President wanted the Varaždin sisters mortenson and I to talk about english class, and our secret to success. And he wanted us to tell the WHOLE mission about it...pretty crazy. So since there are 4 diff zones and conferences they like would skype us in. Pretty cool but we ran out of time so that sucks. We also went and visited a less active named Vesna. We had talked about in Zone conference earlier this week about the importance of teaching members the lessons, especially less actives who haven't had the real actual lessons in a long time. So we felt prompted to teach Vesna the first lesson again. And surprisingly she had forgotten a lot of the basics of the gospel, and then 20 minutes into the lesson her daughter walks in! No coincidence there. So  her daughter sat down and listened to the whole first lesson, it was soo awesome! We had them both write a question down and promised them they could both get an answer to their questions if they came to church. Her daughter was like yeah mom how come you dont come to church anymore, church is so close to you, you have no excuse. haha and vesna just sat there like...oh danget you're right. And we told her we would be by on sunday morning to pick her up and walk to church. And her daughter was like yep likes like you are going to church on sunday mom, their is no way out. we all laughed it was way funny and good. 

Sunday was so good! We thought no one was going to come to church cause everyone we called and invited had one excuse or another about why they couldn't come to church. Yeah im pretty sure you are realllly going to be hanging out with your friend on 10 am on a sunday...but oh well haha sometimes i hate that people have their free agency..But sunday was better than i thought! We went to go pick up Vesna and i was praying all day that she would actually open her door and be ready to come to church with us, since last week she stood us up...and to our surprise she was wearing her skirt and all ready to go to church when we got there!!  I was soo happpy! Zlatko gave a great talk, he is an awesome long time member and i think it really touched everyone's hearts especially Vesna. Since she said she wants to come to FHE on monday at the church with everyone!! YEAH. i dont think she has been to church at least for acouple years. This is great. Branka also came! We had a great lesson with her earlier this week and we showed her the joseph smith movie and she loved it. She said she was still praying to know if God has one true church, since she thinks all churches are true.She said the most sincere prayer i have ever heard at the end of the lesson! There really is power in prayers when you kneel. i dont think i realized that until i came on a mission. 

That night one of our investigators cooked us lasagna. OH MAN. pretty sure he got the recipe from God or something. Ive never really been a huge lasagna fan, but that was heavenly. Renata a way less active who finally moved back to varaždin came and met us at the church and brought her sister and her sisters husband. So we got to meet them all. They said they want to start coming to our english class. So many good things are starting to happen here, and i have really learned and felt about our saviors love for us. There really our special moments that our heavenly father gives us when we can truly feel that love. I am SO grateful to have that knowledge and be sharing the good news that Christ lives and that this church is true with people alll day errryday. Thanks for all the love and suppport!! keep it real this week, and dont do anything i wouldnt do..

lots of ljubav,
sestra peterson 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

11/4/13 Letter

“Rise and shine and give God the glory glory, children of the Lord.”

WOW SO MUCH HAPPENED THIS WEEK I DONT KNOW WHERE TO START SO I GUESS I WILL FROM THE BEGINING!  I mean all I am saying is I like to party so this week was full of parties, holiday fun and full of laughs!  well Tuesday  we did service for a less active, can anyone guess what we did... well this year because I was not home I though I was getting out of raking the leaves, but no!  We picked up all the leaves in the yard and I was very prepared from all those years we did it at our house=) Then we asked if they had something to cut the grass with and u will never believe what they brought out!!!!!!!!!!!..... A sickle...!!!!!!!!!!  

Now Croatia is been known to be ten years behind in the world (I think I have only seen 1 iPhone) but even this was considered way old here for Croatia!  It was so cool!  I can honest say I have trusted  with all my sickle like in D&C 4.4  "For behold the afield is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in cstore that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul!!!   i mean i just felt like Nephi as i was cutting the grass!  AND then we had lunch there but my comp saw and ate some flies in her soup ... well extra protein right ha-ha! But then after that for English class we had a group scavenger hunt in the city!!!! It was sooo fun!!!!!!  Everyone loved it so much as there were about 20 people there!  i love English class so much! 

well then on Thursday we got ready cause we had a Halloween party with spider webs, chili that they have never had here before( PS they don’t like spicy food here at all ha  aka mom u could live here!)  Only about 15 came but it was the 15 people that we wanted that we feel like could be interested in the church so that was good to see! we have has 4 lessons with people from English class and now we feel like there are a lot more who could be interested so I’m just so excited to have English tomorrow as ask people if they want to know more about our church cause they are all our friends now!  And if every church here is catholic ... (aka it like Utah here but instead of Mormon churches they're catholic ...) would u want to know more about what this church is like and how it is different!  I’m excited! But we also played the mummy game where u rap the person up, the game where u put your hand in a bowl and guess what food it is.. Then we played bobbing for apples! i was a face painter! It was way fun and people stayed for a long time just talking us so and having fun!  THEN on Friday it’s like the biggest holiday here! November 1 all saints day or day of the dead! Everyone is at the cemetery all day as they put tons of candles on the graves for love ones! Varaždin has been rated the prettiest cemetery in all of Europe so it was amazing to see!!! Mom u would have loved it and it compares nothing to the ones u took us to see in California when we were little ha-ha!  i have officially eaten “chest nuts roasting on an open fire" as they are the big thing here along with Turkish honey!  Chest nuts taste like bake potatoes here...surprise right!   So i bought a candle for grandma and Grandpa Peterson and lit it for them and put it in the middle of the cemetery where all the other candles were whose ancestors are not buried there.  It was way cool and i really wanted to pass out the dead grandma card to everyone saying "there is more than life after death"... but then a member was like you can’t do that today!   It made me really appreciate the plan of salvation and that we know we can be with our loved ones again and forever. And that there is more than just this life, there is greater happiness that can await us.  We are so lucky to have this gospel! As i have been reading in the bible during my personal study i am so grateful for this church and how our church is built exactly as Christ's church was then when he was on the earth in Jerusalem:   with 12 apostles, a prophet, the priesthood to help others like what the 12 had!  It says in the Bible to not have paid leaders or ministers in his church and that is one thing a lot of people here are mad about how the pope is driving a super nice car with his servants..... all that is worldly things and Christ say give up those things to follow me!  i love how i am here- not here getting money for my service, but because i know this gospel it true, i have felt this burning of truth in my heart  Like I have never felt anywhere else. 

No matter if i am in America or here in Croatia, the church is the same ....and u can feel holy ghost the same and  it doesn’t matter if the church has 500 people back at home or in 10 like here... or if the language is different .  i felt the Holy Ghost so strong yesterday as i gave my testimony of this restored gospel in all in Croatian in church. If that is not truth than i don’t know what is! This gospel is so simple, and i know without a shadow of doubt that joseph smith saw god the father and his son. If Christ promised us that his gospel is the same yesterday and forever then if we wanted to bring back a prophet then of course he would see god like the prophets in the bible did!  If Mary saw a heavenly messenger saying she was going to bring forth the son of god, why is it hard to understand and accept that Joseph Smith saw the Son (Christ) and the Father (Heavenly Father) bringing back his true gospel?  I know if we are truly humble then we all can believe, but if our heart is set upon the world and harden then our eyes will not be open. we had an experience with that this week as a man we met last week read the whole Book of Mormon but said it was good but i don’t want it, ¸and that he didn't believe in god that much... i said well what did u think of alma 22... and he was like wow u really know this book ...and i said well yes because I’m not going to claim i am of one religion and not read what it teaches.  Anyways he said he it was good but didn’t like some things in it and every time we said what ... he could not think of anything.  If we seek to read this book just to read it and find fault in it then u will gain nothing, but if u have question and truly ask if this book is correct in prayer, then u will get an answer!   Wow!  

i just love it here and what i am doing and on Sunday we had 16 people in church!   Finally again!!!! and everyone was so happy.  Church feels like a heavenly home and it did!   My Croatian is getting better as we spoke in Croatian all day Saturday and half of Sunday! Shoot i sill have so much more to go but it will come and I’m sorry my English spelling it getting horrible as i think in their alphabet now!   Yikes sorry!
Well love y'all so much!
sestra peterson

Monday, October 14, 2013

10/14/13 Letter

We had zone conference and it hit me like a ton of bricks! First Prez is going to be an apostle one day so i am so happy to have him as a prez #realtalk #heisthebest #heismyrolemodel! 

They talked about how they served in orphanages in russia and in africa and showed us this pic of these starving children.. and he talked about how if we saw a child like this we would want to feed it and care for it! Well thats how everyone spirits look like that don't have the gosple they are starving souls "looking for the truth but know not where to find it!" It is up to us to bring them to christ!  that impressed my mind so much that like christ we should not look on the out ward appearance of people and look in there heart!  this gospel is for everyone  it brings families closer together, why would i not want to tell people that?  why would i be scared to share that with people just because i cant speak that well?  

I truly know i am meant to be here even though at times it cause i looked around at dinner the other day and  me eyes were truly opened as this one man was so sad eating by himself and then this family didn't even talk together at the other table  but on there phones and then is other family just sat in silence! i just wanted to run up to them all and give them a big hug saying, "Don't worry be happy!" Thats why its hard for people to convert to the gospel cause the only thing the have is there traditions to keep them happy cause of the war they feel like they have to hold on to there religion cause they fought for it.   

So get this ... this week was downer but Sunday night was great and my comp said ok we need to go to a house that is 17 and is green! She said it just came to me when i was praying  that it is over in this area. We contacted more till we got to house that was green and #17! shut up shut up shut up! i could not believe this!  so the door bell didn't work  and they had this sweet dog that was up against this lock gate that had the keys on it so what did Sister Peterson do ... she unlocked the gate... and then i thought the dog was going to not let us in-but he stepped back like saying ok here u go come in! Oh man we prayed so hard they would let us in and well prayers are answered as these old man did let us in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is a professor and he made a chart how marriages are failing and how people are not happy anymore!  Well for some reason my comp could not understand him so we left him with some pamphlets and we are coming back! His house connects with his sons house who is the head of the hospital here! We have been praying to find a new branch president so  this has to be a sign! 

Everything this week felt like it happened a month ago!  i have so very very intresting stories this week!  so get ready an hold on tight! 

We were in čakovec Wednesday when me and my companion got lost in a whole other town. We only saw this guy who was walking the same way as us so i though to talk to him.  We talked about the church and then gave him a Book of Mormon!  The next day he was like... "There is somthing different about y'all and can we meet?" He saw the light of Thursday he drove down to varaždin for a lesson but..... he really drove down 15 min to take me and my comp out for drinks ahhahah??? He was like what you are missionaries? Um hello why would i give u a Book of Mormon and talk about the gospel if i was not??? Well poor guy who was like 35 felt a little embarassed hahah so funny.

Thats all i have time for this week but love u all.

sestra peterson 

10/7/13 letter

“The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted.”
No one is perfect..  the only thing that is perfect is this church and because its run by  our perfect father in heaven who has  a perfect plan for us and is carried out by our  perfect brother, our perfect savior .. his perfect son Jesus Christ.   the gospel  is for the sinner trying to become saints trying to  work better and harder to over come the challenges we face in life today. As we carry out our life  journey remember that hold to the what u know and that satin will try everything to put doubt in our head to second guess our self, our happiness. i love what we have just hear for man who have faced doubts many times in there lives..

"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."  wow can u get any more powerful than that! I was reading a talk cause time for trouble  by Holland and he said this ", I wish at the beginning to make a distinction author F. Scott Fitzgerald  once made—that “trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement—discouragement has a germ of its own, as different from trouble as arthritis is different from a stiff joint” We all have troubles, but the “germ” of discouragement, to use Fitzgerald’s word, is not in the trouble, it is in us—or to be more precise, I believe it is in Satan, the prince of darkness, the father of lies. And he wants us to have it in us. It’s frequently a small germ, but it will work and it will grow and it will spread. In fact it can become almost a habit, a way of living and thinking, and there the greatest damage is done. Then it takes an increasingly severe toll on our spirit, for it erodes the deepest religious commitments we can make—those of faith, and hope, and charity. We turn inward and look downward, and these greatest of Christlike virtues are damaged or at the very least impaired. We become unhappy and soon make others unhappy, and before long Lucifer is happy.You can change anything you want to change and you can do it very fast. That’s another Satanic deception that it takes years and years to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say, “I’ll change”—and mean it.
 i love that because as a missionary  i feel like i have counted on the atonement more than ever and i get down on my knees saying forgive me... for not talking to that person cause what if there whole salvation is lost because i had a feeling to talked to them but i was to scared.. its a big weight on your shoulder. But with what we just heard in conference gives everyone hope.

He works through us–His imperfect children–and imperfect people make mistakes.” and that “Your faith strengthens my faith. Your devotion makes me more devoted.” 

Let me tell u about my week and how i spent  conference... well first of all we went to this town out side of varaždin cause we had a referral over lds ord for Canada saying this person has family her so we went to see them and they were so interested! the funny thing is that we saw the girl riding her bike in the center and i said hi.. then we when to lunch  and then well surprise the referral was the girl i just said i to in center! she said she noticed us cause we looked different and happy unlike other people walking. well we had a great lesson and the mom was like well i will get baptized... haha well it would be the first member cause there is not a church out there. but the mom had so many great question and  we are going to see them this week.... the have 6 kids... son is marries and is like 20.. it screams Mormon all over the place hahaha but then after that the kids said that people told them in there community it was a sin when its not .. if u were not baptized  the way chirst by immersion fully in the water like it talked in about in Matt 3 "straightway out of the water:" . but they still will come to church and everything. im kind of said but at the same time i am not giving up because those kids have something different about them. where do u find kids 11 and 14 who sit through sat day and Sunday general conference and not move a muscle or fall asleep like like half the teens in America-when all they have to do is walk down stairs in there house? 

Saturday here was live for us at 6 at night and we made sugar cookie, which our friend matina helped make and she almost died cause she saw all the sugar hahaha  but everyone loved them! so we had Saturday night  was the sat morning un america and only 2 member and the 2 kids came to that, then sunday we watched in church the sat night and then made lunch for everyone so there were 15 people.  dn chilli was way to hot for them cause they can not handel hot stuff here so i put sugar and sour cream and this sweet ketchup stuff to make it hot  ... i just but in everthing that was sweet and  prayed really hard they would love it and they loved it... i was so funny!  then it was 3 members at 6 watching the American 10 session. and then noone watches the end session here cause is at 10 at night!

Love yall lots and hope this week is great for everyone
sestra peterson 

09/30/13 letter

Hello Family and Friends!


Peter and his sister want to get baptized! we had a lesson with them on tuseday about prayer and it was awesome! everyone prayes to Mary here so we told them that we talk about her in church  as the mother of Jesus, but we dont worship her cause she did not pay the biggest price and pay for our sins.  And we taked about how in the bible the comandment is not to worship idels and thats also why we dont pray to a statue of her.  Next thing u know we were all kneeling and the kid were a littlle nervous then peter said "wait" we start off by saying  our "Heavenly father" cause he is the father of everthing,  then we thank him, then we ask for help, and then we say "in the name of jesus christ amen" cause he is our savior".. then after that he said the most beautiful prayer as a smile lit up his face!  then is sister wanted to try and man, they were all so happy after. Peter was giving  his sister a hi 5 cause he was like that was so good and so did the member, vanja, who was also there helping out!  PS vanja has not smoked in 4 days through the stop smoking program!  poor thing she is so sick of grapfruit ahha!  but anyways so that night we invited them to pray on their own about if this church was true and andrijana said when she was sleeping she had a dream that she was talking with us on the street! she was like i am pretty sure that was my answer! man i got the chills when she said that becuase god is there to help us and when we pray he will answer our desires!  Sunday even though it was raning (and had been all week)we had 4 invesigators at church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  well i am still with my companion and staying here for another 6 weeks! im so happy cause i love it so much here in varaždin!  

Get this... i saw  les misrables in Croatin cause  for 5 dallars here cause our friend aka our potential investigator was in the musical and she really wanted us to support her so we got to see it! it was so good and the the voices were awesome!  On friday we had an talent show aktivnots with people playing the accordin and a special croatian insterment!  it was so good!  
sad day cause elder bates who has the best croatian in the whole mission and taught us croatian is going home...  so i still hope i can learn this language! so we are going to zagreb to say good bye to him  well thats  all i have time for! 

love yall lots! 
sestra peterson 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

9/23/13 Letter

"The devil says look at your sins,
 the Lord says look at my son!"

Well  right now i am tying this letter with puffy fingers as last night i was "stuffed to the rafters!" i truly have never known the meaning of full until i came here!! i never want to see a hotdog again in my life!  This amazing member feeds up every wed and she is  a great cook  but man every time she makes us eat till we cant walk out the door.....  its Hansel and Gretel all over again ha.. it was pizza with hotdogs cut up! here in Croatian we have pizza, pasta, creeps,  kebob ( like shredded meat with veggies.. so good) then meat stuffed with cheese and cabbage or a tomato cabbage salad.. is so good,  but not a whole lot of different options to chose from ha.

The then night before that we went to a members house she gave us a meal that was awesome, but then dessert is a whole nother meal here as the they make u scarf  food! i think i had 10 creeps  for dessert yesterday as member just kept them coming haha and if u dont eat all of it then wow rude!! ( Elyse u are probs laughing right now cause i remember u talking about being so full!) but i am so grateful cause i hear to get feed every week is a miracle here! 

Anyways i had a miracle this week  as we have been trying to find this lady for weeks and we felt like we should not give up on her. So we were walking and saw  this lady just standing on a street corner doing nothing so i tell my comp that we should talk to her.. well are we approach her she says ooh sister peterson! i was thinking how the heck does this lady know we... well turns out that the random lady was the person we have been trying to see!!! ahhh wow that truly was a miracle that God placed her in our path cause she was like right out side our apt and so far from her house!  she said she has her religion but is open to talk so im really excited!
and also we had the senior couple leave but we still had 20 people at church! the 2 kids who are 11 and 14 came to church again and for like the first time we had a kids Sunday school!  we did an example with water how u have pure water but when Christ was killed and when his apostle were killed the gospel and priesthood left the earth.  so then we put dirt in the water and said it is still water but not its not pure like how man started taking some truth along with there own and  making up there own religions that had some truth but not the whole truth.  Then through prayer god came down and restored this whole gospel at once so man would not be led into the dark any longer through Joseph smith. The teens  who come to church alone said they knew it was true and prayed for others to know it!   they are the most well behaved teens i have ever met as they just listen and don't move in church! Peter is so funny as we call im 50 cent and learned English through watching tv.. wish i could do that with Croatian!
We had zone conference and i just love my mission president and his family!  we also have transfers coming up but i think me and my comp are staying together in varaždin! um tomorrow my comp is going to Slovenia on exchanges so i will be holding down the fort here!  ahh im so nervous pray for me!!!!  well have to go but love u all so much and congrats Heather and Zack  and know i wish i could have been there on your beautiful day! 

love y'all, sestra peteson 

PS ahhh so sad someone took out a pipe and hit the window of our church! Talk about hatred. It was definitely Satan because the church is growing so fast here. that's that.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

9/16/13 Letter

This gospel can change people and that cause they know its true people truly try try to follow the eyample and walk in christ foot steps!  FORexample Vanja, when i met her she was less active and told us that she cant stop smoking and that i dont know what its like cause everyone does it her and that she use to smoke 40 a day! well if we follow hollands example and "Hold on the ground we have already won" and act one the small things then honestly we can have a small seed of faith start to grow!   NOw by just meeting with us she has started to change  and the girl who said she cant has now been reading here scriptures for 3 hours a day and not just reading but truly studing and trying to undersatan what is happening. I could never undersatand when people said we have a light in our eyes, but now i understand as she is trying and there is a light of christ is in her! she looks diffrent and now she doesnt smoke around us and is really trying hard and wants to tell people she is mormon.  the biggest thing here is that no on here lets it be know  they are mormon and we only have one whole family in the church cause others dont share it so we are trying to bring familys together cause this goepel blessed familys more than anything. familes are so important that u not only have your family but when joining this chruch u gain another family helping one another stay on the path to grow closer to our Savior, our God. and thats what church is all about!  i heard and older couple say this and loved it "church is for sinners!" No one is perfect and we are all tryign to figure out how to be our best.  With perfect people there would be no need for church! A lot of people have fallen away cause of smoking and have little faith cause they dont think they are worthy to be there, but church is the place where sinners can try to become saints as we have to but forth the action to be better.  

I was reading in the liahona mag and it was on christ grace for us and it talked about how GRACE and how its like piano lession. have a teacher  who tells u how to pay it how when we hit the wrong notes the teacher will correct us, and then we have our parent to want us to learn and pay for the lessons. our parents have payed the price for us to learn but if we do not practice then we its a wast.  Christ has payed the price for us! Grace through the atonmnet is us having to practice to get better like to be TRANSFORMED into a mozart who still practiced everyday and even more the better he got. So  never give up. No matter how old or how small the gosple is for anyone at anytime.

Here we have a lot of less actives and we have seen how important it is to not only find new people but really have lessons with the members and less actives to make them come back to church!   And on sunday we had the MOST people come to church!!!!!!!!!!  we had 2 less actives there were going to be three but on was out of town  and 3 new investigators and 2 of them were 14 and 11 and came by themselves!  The other was the less active daughter who is 40 and has a baptizim date on oct12.  so it was so great to have a mother and a daughter there! then a member brought her son and is wife so the record was 23! we had a goal before zone conffrence to get 20 people to church and tomorrow is zone confrence!!!!!!  we tryed putting an extra row of chair to see if we could fill them and we did! The missionaries preformed "love is spoken here" with my comp on the piano i sang the girls part and the elders sang it was amazing cause they have never hear that song cause we dont have primary song transalated here so elder bates transalated it!
And never before we had an aktivnost for english adn members And the theme was mexican party cause they have NEVER HAS TACOS! they dont even know what mexican food is haha! so these kids helped me make a pinata and then rosted marshmellow which they have never done before too! it was way fun we double the turnout size last time!  oh and we has a magic show!!! #soooocool! untill he pulled out a trick with some naked girls in a book and scared some peopled haahah. he put that away reall quick!
Then we visited a less active and she said sisters make the biggest diffrence cause she has not been visited in like 5 years cause they didnt not have sisters here! so i am happy to be here and making a diffrence in peoples lives.

sestra peterson

Sunday, September 15, 2013

9/9/13 Letter

Dobro jutro,

This very wet and raining morning as its thundering outside right now.

Well this week a tone of good stuff happened! First off English class was the best the have ever seen it!  all out hard work payed of as 30 people came to english!!!!!!!!!! they have never seen those numbers like that and in in such a small place like varaždin!  The members said it was a miracle!!! the crazy girl holding up a huge poster really work as i think no one does that in Europe ha! So lets hope we find people who are interested in the gospel through these classes!   Well first off  teaching is good practice for me cause i had no clue what present continuous was and well  i just dont know english! me and my comp are teaching the advanced group so i have to know my stuff! i made sure we had lots of fun games to keep them entertained and understand the concept of the grammar principal so we played Simon says and looked at pictures and they had to describe them!   ha one part i didn't know why the grammar was that way so i said, "  it cant be ANY chicken  cause any is implying like a live chicken but some is like just a piece of chicken haah! 

well we have that on Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 8!  One  of the goals we have is to really make this ward excited to be a member and they are!  one inactive has come back to church  named Štefona. she is so inspiring as all of her siblings has died ex for 2 one is in a coma.  and she said she did not have enough money to buy food like so many of the members here! u see in Croatia its so messed up as you work for money but the bosses chose to pay u or not. like they always say well next week we will pay u so  they have that hope for money but sometimes they never get it.  and it so humbling to walk into someones home and they always give u juice no matter what even if they have no food!   u feel bad for eating it but if u don't its way offensive!  i have never gone into a home where i just taught a lesson with out juice.  so anyways Štefona  has not been coming to church cause its a long walk and she has back problem but has a super strong testimony!  but after we met her she started coming back and says that her back feels so much better! but then this poor person, i have never heard of a persons life being so  horrible as hers as her brother just passed away. so we brought her food and came to visit her with flowers and she just is such a beacon of light as see cried a little but then knew it was going to be ok as we know there is more then life after death! the plan of salvation has been such a blessing in her life. she said its a blessing to have sister missionaries here and that there smiles give her peace. so on Sunday i sat next to her out of the 11 that were there and just gave her the biggest hug. ts just so humbling to see these members faith here!  even in the hardest time like Holland said " dont lose the ground u have already won with faith, hold on to what u have!" 

Everyone has to see this Mormon message called mountains to climb its really good!  well we have talked about faith a lot with this one investigator who like everyone else is addicted to cigarets.  i wake up in the morning and right when i walk outside i smell like a cigaret.  i was teaching a first lesson and the person will be blowing smoke right in your face. So anyways we have been trying to get this member to stop smoking so we made fake cigarets for her to use! not going to lie they look top of the line!   we used pencil shaving, straws and white and brown tape!  so i am just praying really hard she will stop cause we spent a long time rolling them ciggies and cause i see how  it its taking over her life.  but it was really cool cause she was going to go to zagrab to hang out with her friends to party and we tried everything to stop her but she went to i was all depressed cause we cancelled some lessons to help stop her from going and it was all a wast and she was not going to come to church, but to my surprise she we got a call and she said she pulled an all nigher and and came to church straight off the train! She said that they were making fun of her for trying to change her life  and giving up smoking and drinking as she just had coke cause it so not the European way, and at that moment she was like " i should have just listen missionaries and they really care about me unlike these friends!"  ahhh it was so cool cause when we met her her testimony was a little see adn not i can start to see u grow back  and gaining strength! people can change and anything is possible through prayer!   i now have realized  why elyses prayers are so long  as its because as a missionary though they get u through the hard times as u pray with real intent for others to have there hearts open.  i have never been on my knees talking to our father as long  as i have on my mission! 

love u lots and God bless all,
Sesrta Peterson 

PS Our outlet for out fridge broke cause this morning i woke up to water all over the floor!  our apt looks nice but like the toilet seat is broken  almost all out lights are out and now we had water covering the floor ahah

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

9/2/13 Letter

Well this week as had its up and downs as i think everything has happened, but my email has to be short to send pic!  well spanširfest  was great as as we had great sauces as we held up a English class sign  for people to sign up for English class that starts tomorrow!  we are going to have a record as  i was holding the sign and screaming FREE ENGLISH!Well this week as had its up and downs as i think everything has happened, but my email has to be short to send pic!  well spanširfest  was great
everyone was way happy and couldn't believe what we were doing! sadly we couldn't hold up any gospel related things but, everyone has been calling about coming to English class! Everything ended yesterday so now it back to every day life! We didn't get to do a whole lot this week cause we made the sign, then we would spend 3 hours holding the sign and then lessons.  then Friday surprise.... i got FOOD POISONING FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!   and the sad thing is that  it wasn't even all the greasy  food at spanširfest but we think it was the beans me and my comp put in our salad to try to be healthy for once we think.....  i just woke up a 5 feeling sick  but went back to bed after an hour then at 630 my comp woke up  and said i don't feel well,  
well i guess the cool thing was that i just finished praying saying father please help me throw up to feel better  so i can do your work  and after i said amen, guess what happened... blessing do happen haha then my comp did the same thing then me again and then her and that's about it, we were keeping score but she won by one point haha to soon haha sorry.
Anyways then it has been raining all week, but that didn't stop people from coming to activnost  as we had the most people come to activnost !  a guy from German who was down her at spanširfest  who does drugs and smokes saw us holding our English sign and said he wants to come back to church and right then and there he gave it up cold turkey  and the next day he came to aktivnost  and said he was about to smoke but remembered us!  the nataša who wants to be baptized came with her inactive mom who made the best pizza ever came! she loved it!  well then we went to this city called čakovets and guess what  a girl was wearing a SAN ANTONIO TEXAS SHIRT! o man i freaked!

her family lived her for a mission trip with her church!  being from Texas is the best as everyone knows where it is! 
well other than that not much has happened but because everyone smokes here that is the biggest thing we have to work on with people and right now we are trying to help one member who is just an amazing person who  is 23 and ahh just so great! so we said she stops smoking i only speak in Croatian for 10 days...
so hard and i think my comp hates me not cause I'm understanding more but she gets so frustrated with me and i feel so bad. i hate the fact that i feel like a two year old but that's all part of being humble i think..  well lets just say its p day so i spoke English... yikes!  well today i went to a beautiful castle  ahhh so beautiful!!!! wow i want to live there in the village! this might be the most beautiful place in the world!
i just acted like i was a princess ..nbd ha!  well somthing that really stuck out was 1 nephi 17:3   and also as i was reading  i loved how nephi is tied to the boat for 4 days  drowning to death  cause of the waves for the massive storm because of his brothers and yet he never complained... but after he says my hands  and feet were swollen" i praised god for humbling my brothers hearts and for watching over me"! cray cray! no matter when times are hard and it feels like god has left, don't give up hope  and thanks god for the life u have  and after the trial of your faith  get on your knees and just thank god right away! 
love u lots and got to go teach <fhe!
sestra peterson 

fell into that hole and almost went swimming  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

8/26/13 Letter

It is a party up in here this week!!!!!!!!!!! So many things have been going on. First off so many people are getting married!!?  and Happy Birthday to my little pretty princess Jamie!!! And to Happy 63rd Wedding Anniversary to my  Grandparents!!!!

This week starting on Friday and lasting 10 days there is a huge festiveble in Varždin all Sponširfest people come from all over and sell things things and over fill the center and walk around. there are outside concerts, fireworks by the castle, people walking on stilts,  movies playing, outside plays and everything u can imagine! Tracking now is not a good idea so we made posters about English class and with all the questions of the soul.  Like the 10 different languages! Then we are pass out water saying drink of the "living waters of Christ" scripture verse of John 4:14; with Mormon. org on it! But some person got mad at us even though the people said it was ok as long as we didn't have a table up- cause we didn't pay to have a table. I think they still called the cops on us even though we moved spots cause right as we turned the corner to go home we walked into cops who looked like they were looking for some people. hahaha.

Well we have this family in čakovets who always takes care of us and we have become best friends with her daughter but we have not really brought up the gospel- so when we went to there house this week. We prayed for her to ask lots of questions and for us to give her a book of Mormon, cause last time i tried to by saying "For your kindness here is a gift cause that all i have right now." She said "No don't even worry about it," My smart plan failed!  But this time our prayers were answered and she asked lots of questions and she thought we were Jehovah Witnesses! Anyways we talked about our prophet and how we got our mission call, and i don't think she knows anything about religion so next time we are going to ask of we can teach them more about our church! I have a really good feeling about this family with 2 kids! 
We met another family who's mom was baptized but inactive, so we went to her house to try to get her active again and to our surprise we met Santa Clause who looks like he lived in Texas instead of the north pole! He was so tan but has  this long white hair, He swims everyday, and collects cactus plants!  They have had missionaries before and love Americans cause all the missionaries are Americans! The mom has a super strong testimony but i think she is ashamed cause she likes to smoke so she has not got to church. They were so welcoming and made us palačinke  in there small dirty house as their shower is outside and while we were trying to teach a lesson Santa walks over to the shower, in his swimming suit, and just rinses off ha. We taught
them yesterday and the mom said she wants to come back to church and will come to Aktivnost and cook for everyone and the daughter she will come too! I was really touched when the mother and the daughter both started talking about how when we taught them the last time the felt so happy and full of joy! They said that even their friends came about an after we life. They commented on how their place felt different and they started to act different! Natasha, the daughter, was feeling is the Holy Ghost!  We asked her to be baptized and she said she WANTS TO! But she wants to learn more first before she pics a date cause she knows baptism is important for us to return to the Father! Then we are going to teach her sister when we help her move and see her at English class!
Then Stephinia a less active we went to go see who has a very hard life. Everyone has died around her, she lives by herself, her brother is in a coma and she has major heart problems. She says she can't come to church cause like like a 20 min walk and its bad for her heart to really get out, but man does she sure have a strong testimony!!! She said, "I can see u have a lot of faith as you both just glow!"  We just had such a good talk with her and then she said she would come to church with us one Sunday! Sunday we had the most members at church i have seen - 15 people!  I was so shocked to see that many people cause with the rain no one leaves their house, Croats are very very weird about the weather. We meet in a small church building with about 3 rooms its' a very nice building.   Its so humbling to see there people walk or bike in the rain 20 mins to come to church. Our goal is to try to activate all the members cause there are 40!  We need to get people excited to come to church for growth! Speaking about getting people excited- we had a record breaking for English class sign up as we got 27 people to sign up!  It's mostly cause i stood outside waving to every car and pointed to the church building saying sign up her free English classes!  i think people standing at corners holding English signs is new for Croatians, haha but that's what got their attention to come! The people are great with helping me learn the language cause its one of the hardest to learn with all there cases but its a very slow process!  well im am about to buy everything at Sponširfest  cause its like once in a life time to get things now so ray for my wallet hahaa! 

love u love family 
thanks for the support!