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 rain...so 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