2 Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

Monday, December 29, 2008

T'was the week after Christmas....

Happy Holidays everyone!

Hope y'all survived Christmas. I must admit, I had a BLAST! There is something truly special about Christmas in the mission field.

Christmas Eve, we (Sister Dansie and I, and Elders Jones and Jamsa) were at the Butlers, where we opened a special present from Sister Dansie's mom. The present was the symbols of Christmas, and we each read a little blurb about what each symbol meant. There was a star, representing the star which proclaimed His birth. There was a candy cane---shaped in a J for His name, red and white symbolizing His blood and the purity we get from that sacrifice. There were bells, representing the ringing joy and hope we all should feel this time of year. There was an orange; the story that went with that was about a group of orphans who got a Christmas orange, and one boy got his taken away as punishment for a wrong-doing. Each other boy gave him one section of their orange so he could have one. It was a cute story. And the last gift was a small ornament in the shape of a present. For that gift, we read Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-11. Elder Jamsa then finished off the night with a special Christmas Eve song in Finnish. When he finished, we all were quiet for a moment; there was a very special spirit in the Butler home that night.

Christmas morning came bright and early---well, early at the very least. It was pretty foggy, so there wasn't so much 'bright,' but that was okay. The fog was grayish-white, so Sister Dansie and I decided that was as close to a white Christmas as we were going to get. (It was 80 degrees outside Christmas Eve, and was supposed to be about the same on Christmas.) We spent Christmas morning with the McIlwain family. We had fruit soup for breakfast, and it was AMAZING! Brother McIlwain's family is German, and he had fruit soup every Christmas growing up. It was really yummy! We got to open presents with their family, which was fun. It reminded me of how excited I got every Christmas morning when I was younger too. Then it was off to the Butlers for Christmas supper and more presents, and best of all, phonecalls home. :)

I really had fun talking to my family. I had to laugh; the first thing Sister Butler said to me when we walked in the door was that my mom had been texting her all morning, asking if I was there yet. Good ole Mom----I sure do love her! I got to talk to them for about an hour, and then I had to go because we were getting ready to eat. But it was fun to hear everyone's voices. And thank heavens, my package got up to Oregon in time, so they all had their homemade Christmas presents from me to open. :)

We had ham and deer roast and rolls and sugar-snap peas and mashed potatoes and corn and all sorts of stuff for lunch. The Butlers really outdid themselves; it was so good! And then we got to hang out with their family the rest of the day, which was so much fun. We went outside and threw the football around. I even had a few nice spirals in there, and was complimented on my arm twice! But just in case I was getting a big head, the Lord reminded me that I couldn't catch worth beans---and everyone saw that. :) It's all good. I got to call my family again, and finish up our conversations before saying good night. We thanked the Butlers over and over, and gave them big hugs. They sent us off with leftovers, and wished us a Merry Christmas.

We finished off the night by stopping by to see Elder and Sister Bruening, the office couple. Sister Bruening had us try these very...interesting chocolate covered caramels. They were interesting because they had sea salt on them. They weren't bad...I just don't think I'd try them again. Elder Bruening told us about a lecture he'd read that was written by a Jewish lady who converted to Christianity. The lecture explained her theory on the events that occured the night of the Savior's birth: how Mary would have been dressed, what the swaddling clothes would have looked like, etc. It really made you think, and it made a lot of sense too. Elder Bruening was really getting into it, and you could tell Sister Bruening was worried he was enjoying his "captive" audience too much; she kept trying to hurry him along. It made me smile.In the end, we headed home, very tired and very grateful. I took a moment in my nightly prayer to really thank my Father in Heaven for my Savior. Truly, this was one Christmas I'll never forget.

Other than that, this week has been good. A little crazy, but altogether not too shabby. It's been difficult trying to get in touch with our investigators because of the holidays, but we did get to talk to Shawn again, which was good. And the rest of them we're planning on seeing this week.

Sister Dansie is slowly starting to pack up her stuff. She's not trunky; she's just realistic. I'm really going to miss her! But she's headed off into her next big adventure, and she's promised to write, so I guess I'll survive. ;)

Well, that's all for now! Love y'all!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.

Monday, December 22, 2008

'Tis the Season to Rejoice!

To my wonderful family and friends---
I just wanted to take a quick minute and wish y'all a Merry Christmas! Truly, 'tis the season to rejoice---not because of all the presents or fun trinkets, but because we're celebrating the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. That's what Christmas is all about. I know that this isn't new news to any of you; it wasn't to me either. But getting to spend my first Christmas on a mission has really emphasized that point for me.

I've loved reading all the prophecies of the birth of Christ in the scriptures; from Isaiah---"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."---to Micah,---"But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."---from Nephi, the son of Lehi---"And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white...And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!"---to Nephi, the son of Helaman---"Our father Lehi was driven out of Jerusalem because he testified of these things. Nephi also testified of these things, and also almost all of our fathers, even down to this time; yea, they have testified of the coming of Christ, and have looked forward, and have rejoiced in his day which is to come."---and also to Samuel the Lamanite---"And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you. And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven. And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life."
And then, in Matthew and Luke, we read of His birth. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost...And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his aname JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn...And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Truly, what greater reason have we to rejoice? Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He descended below all things to prepare the way for us. He invites all mankind to follow Him. He atoned for our sins and our sorrows. "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent..." He has restored His Church, that we may draw closer to Him. I am so grateful for these "good tidings of great joy," and I'm doing my best to bring them to all people! I am so grateful to be on a mission, to have the chance to share this joy I have with others. I love you all. May you feel of our Father in Heaven's love in great abundance this Christmas season. God the Father gave the first Christmas gift. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting ilife. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." And because of the Father's gift, Jesus Christ gave us the Greatest Gift of All---The Gift of Eternal Life.

How can we not rejoice?

Merry Christmas everyone!
Sister Pedersen

P.S. Here are the scriptures I used:
Isaiah 9:6
Micah 5:2
1 Nephi 11:13, 20-21
Helaman 8:22
Helaman 14:5-8
Matthew 1:18, 21-23
Luke 2:7-14
D&C 19:16
John 3:16

Monday, December 15, 2008

Week 10...here we go again! (Boy, this rhyming stuff is gonna get tricky fast...)

Warm Southern greetings, y'all!
You'll never guess what happened here on Thursday...

IT SNOWED!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right, folks...Baton Rouge got a couple soggy inches of that wonderful white stuff! Elder Jones called us at 6 AM, and all he said was, "Go look outside." We'd been talking about snow the day before, and so when he said that, I leapt out of bed. I have never gotten out of bed that fast before in my entire life. And lo and behold, we had BIG old flakes coming down! So Sister Dansie and I piled on the warmest clothes we had, pulled on our gloves, and had a ball---a snowball! It was amazing!
Other than that, this week has been pretty good. We've had to drop some investigators--or rather, they dropped us--and while that was frustrating, it happens, and we're pushing forward. We did have a pretty darn good Sunday! We had a nice surprise at church---Honor and Damian came! That was really cool to see. Sister Dansie got to talk with them, and Honor is feeling really happy and good, and she's reading the Book of Mormon, and she's still praying to find out if it's true. And then, after church, we got a text message from Valentina. She told us that she wasn't at church today because her mom found out that she got baptized. I believe my direct words were, "Oh snap." But the Lord is AMAZING, and He had softened her mother's heart. Valentina's mom was pretty much okay with everything, and said that Valentina could still go to church, just not every Sunday. That part is good and not so good at the same time, but we're not too worried. We're just going to keep praying with everything we've got, and the Lord will make up for the rest.
We had a really amazing experience last night, and that's my other highlight of the week (besides the snow).Saturday, we got a call from Elder Newton over in Gonzales. He had a referral for us, and he said this lady was golden. We took down her information, and went to go see her Sunday night. We pulled up, and I knocked on the door, and she came out. We told her who we were, and that we had a great message for her. And then she started to cry. This poor lady was just falling apart. She said that she had run into the elders at the flea market, and that she'd felt some peace around them, and that she needed some peace so badly in her life. She said that she just felt ready to lie down and never get back up again. Her name is Shawn, and she stood out on her front step and talked with us for at least ten or fifteen minutes. My heart just ached for her. Her husband had just gotten laid off in October, she's on disability and has had four different back surgeries. She lost her little daughter a long time ago, and then her mother, and then last year, she lost her mother-in-law. She said that she felt like all her plugs were being pulled out of the wall. And then we shared our message with her. The Spirit was so incredibly strong. Sister Dansie bore her testimony that our message would bring her that needed peace. I promised her that as she read the Book of Mormon, she would feel and see the power of God in her life, and that the Holy Ghost would bring that peace that she was seeking for. It was an amazing experience. We set up a time to come back and teach her more, and we're bringing back-up! Shawn just lives up the road from the Butlers, and so as soon as we got back in the car, and said a prayer of gratitude, we rushed down to the Butlers to tell them about the cool experience. Sister Butler said that she wanted to come with us to go see her, and so on Wednesday, the three of us are going to go visit Shawn and teach her, AND WE'RE SO EXCITED!!!!So, yup, this coming week is going to rock. Why? Because GOD rocks! That's right, I said it, and I'll say it again and again and again. I love Him so much! He has provided so many miracles for us here in Prairieville, and we're just so thrilled and so humbled that we get to be a part of all these cool experiences.

Well, I think that's all folks! I love you, and keep sending those emails and letters!

Sister P.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Well folks, it's that most wonderful time of the year again! And lucky for y'all, it's that most wonderful time of the week again! Hooray for Preparation Day! (Ha ha ha.)

This week has been a toughie, I won't deny it. Our amazing investigators have been a little flaky this week. But that's okay, we still love them. I really don't have anything thrilling to write about. Before I came out, I thought that missionary life must be exciting 24/7! It is...but not quite in the way I had thought it would be. 99.9% of my exciting moments are just little things that happen every day. It's fun, I like it! The highlights of this week were our lesson with Honor, and the Christmas devotional. They're both pretty short, so this won't be a super long "epistle," but that's all right! It should still be a good one. HONOR: Honor is this amazing woman we got to talk with this week. Her husband Damian is a member, but he's been less active for a long time. We're hoping that by us spending time with her, maybe that will spark something in him. But if not, that's okay too. BECAUSE HONOR IS AMAZING! :) She is one of the most genuinely sweet people I have ever met. She's very sincere too, which is awesome. Honor met with the missionaries a long time ago, and we asked her about it. She said that she just hadn't gotten that confirmation that this was true yet. But as we talked about some things and shared some scriptures, we told her that she should keep asking. I can't remember the reference off the top of my head, but there's a scripture that talks about "wearying the Lord"---or in other words, PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY! Before we left, she told us that she was going to start reading the Book of Mormon again, and that she would keep asking. She gave us big hugs, and we set up a time to come back! The best part about all of this is that she is so close...so close to the Lord, so close to the Spirit, and SO CLOSE to accepting the gospel. I'm excited that we get to keep working with her. She already knows how greatly the gospel has blessed her life. She told us that! I mean, this woman is golden. She's such a precious daughter of God. What a blessing it is that I get to be friends with her!

The other highlight of my week was the Christmas devotional yesterday. We got to watch it at the stake president's house. The talks were amazing! They sunk so deep into my soul! I loved all of them. And the Tabernacle Choir did not disappoint. Their rendition of "Silent Night" was really....oh gosh, there isn't even a word. It really touched me. It spoke to my heart, my soul. I love how music can do that! There is such a sweet spirit that comes into the heart whenever you hear those blessed Christmas carols. They have a way of calming the spirit, and softening even the toughest of hearts, if the heart is willing. How lucky we are to have such blessings as these beautiful songs! And what a blessing it is, this time of the year! To remember why we are celebrating... President Monson really said it best. He talked about the real gifts of Christmas in his talk---the gifts that Christ Himself gave. Love, peace, comfort. What greater gifts could we give to those around us?

Well, that's all the time I've got today. I love you all! Merry Christmas!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, December 1, 2008

Week...uh...8, I think. Oh boy.

I suppose it's not a good thing that I've already forgotten how long I've been out here. Or maybe it is. Oh well. I'm over it.

Greetings y'all from a different Dixie! (Technically, I don't think 'Dixie' is in Lousiana, but I already typed it, plus I think it's kind of catchy, so I'm keeping it!)Life here in the GLBRM is fantabulous! Sister Dansie and I are working hard, and with the Lord's help, we'll see some great miracles---or as Elder Crawford says, "Miricals"---this transfer! We must be doing something right, because already we're facing opposition. But we aren't discouraged; on the contrary, we are now kicking it up a notch! And because we are, the Lord has been so merciful and let us see some small miracles already!
We were blessed this week to find some really amazing new people to teach; the three I'll tell you about are Steve, Becky, and Tesseena.
We met Steve at the post office one night. My wonderful family sent me a package, and Sister Dansie and I were rushing to try and beat the clock, and make it to the post office before it closed. Thankfully, we got there just in time, and as we were standing in line, I asked Sister Dansie what the date was. She couldn't remember (that happens to us missionaries a lot), so she asked the man in front of us. He told us, and we chit chatted about Thanksgiving coming up, etc. Then I picked up my package, and we were headed out the door. The man in front of us was standing off to the side of the door, and he called to us, asking us where we worked. We both grinned, and Sister Dansie explained that we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The man started to laugh, and he said that he'd been to our church many times. We started talking to him, and he introduced himself as Steve. Steve was from Jamaica, and had the COOLEST accent! (If I'd ever actually seen Cool Runnings, I could tell you if it was like their accents...but since I haven't, I can't.) We talked to him for about ten minutes, and he told us a little bit about himself. He was so nice! He told us that when he first saw us, he didn't want to talk to us, but something kept poking at him. Sister Dansie later said that she could tell something was up because when we were standing in line, he kept turning around and glancing at us. Steve gave us his information, and we invited him out to church. He told us to call him, and he'd meet us at the church and we could teach him! Yes, he actually said that! He waited until we'd gotten in our car (to make sure we were okay), and then waved to us as we drove away! We had the biggest grins on our faces, and we thanked Heavenly Father for letting us run into Steve.
Saturday, we were out and about, trying to track down some PIs and PFIs. We knocked on Becky's door, and she came right out and started talking to us. She was so nice! She had just had her baby, Gavin, a few weeks ago, so we got to meet him too. She told us that the last time the missionaries had come by, they'd gotten into a disagreement about something, and they hadn't been back since. We went over her concerns, and she was really fun to talk to. She is a science teacher, so a lot of her questions were from that angle, but we managed to answer them all to her satisfaction, thanks to the Holy Ghost! She told us that she would definitely read the Book of Mormon, and that the next time we came by, she'd have more questions for us. She was really nice and outgoing, and there is something special about her, I think. I'm excited to go back and see her this week!
Ah, Tesseena! We actually met her right after I came out to Louisiana. She was really nice, and we gave her a pamphlet, and she gave us her phone number, and then.....nothing. We couldn't get a hold of her, she wasn't home when we tried to see her, nothing. So yesterday, Sister Dansie said, "Let's just go try again." So we did...AND SHE WAS HOME! She invited us in, and we taught her about the Restoration. She seemed pretty interested. We gave her a Book of Mormon, and she told us that she'd read it too. We gave her our number again, and told her about some things going on in the ward that she might like. We set up a return appointment, and she seemed genuinely happy to have us come back.
So you see? If we do our part, the Lord backs us up one hundred percent...and then some!

Well, that's all for now, folks! Until next week---

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Week 7---TRANSFERS!!!

Sorry about the one-day delay in email, everyone! This week is transfers, so our preparation day got pushed back until Tuesday (today). I'm not headed anywhere, so you can keep sending mail to the Alco apartment address or the mission office on Justice Ave. I'll get it either way because the office elders love us. :) It's fun being the only set of sisters in the North Baton Rouge Zone!
This past week was slow again. That's all right though. We did have one big exciting thing happen---TINA GOT THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST!!! Hooray! She is going to be AMAZING. She quit her job because they had her working all sorts of crazy hours on the weekends, and she was afraid she wouldn't be able to make it to church, so she quit! Seriously, this girl is incredible! Definitely one of the Lord's elect.We also got to go visit a lot of members this week, which was a blast! I haven't really told you anything about my AMAZING Baton Rouge 3rd ward, have I? Well, guess what...THEY'RE AMAZING! Sister Abel is the Relief Society president. She went on a mission to FRANCE! Her and Brother Abel and their family are just so much fun. She's come on splits with us, and she just dives right back in to missionary work like she never left France. It's awesome. Sister Rebstock-DeGraff (her married name is DeGraff but for some reason no one ever calls her by that) is the 1st or 2nd counselor in the RS, and she is a riot! She is a bucket full of sass and then some. Sister Heiner is so cool! She's an RM too, and is the Primary president. She's amazing---all of our investigators' kids who go to Primary never want to leave. Yeah, she's that good. She'd fit right in with our amazing Hurricane primary. And then there's the Butlers...oh boy! I'll tell you about them in a minute. I'd better answer some questions first before I get too off track.

1. Did you meet The Bergolds of the Gonzales ward in Praireville, they are Myra Bakers relatives?
No, I haven't met Mrs. Baker's relatives. Gonzales is it's own area, but I'll see if I can find out who is there and have them look them up.
2. What are your plans for thanksgiving? I hope you don't have to go to several members home. If you do, just eat small amounts at each place so you don't get sick.
Right now, we're making a quick stop at Sister Rebstock's, and then we're headed to the AMAZING Butlers! Thanks for the tip though. I'll definitely be using it!
3. How are your headaches, have you had any or are they manageable?
Truly, the Lord is so awesome! I've only had one real headache, and it wasn't as bad as they usually were. I took Excedrin pretty dang quick, so that might be part of it. But other than that, I just laid down and took a little nap during our lunch break, and that fixed it.
4. Did you get and like your "greenie" package?
Haven't got a "greenie" package yet....should I be afraid? Ha ha. Just teasing. It'll probably come today, I'll bet.
5. We are getting you Christmas package together, where do you want us to send it? Also g & g have something they want to send too to help you enjoy the holidays? We are going to buy and take the errand of angels movie to Oregon with us in case they want to watch it and see what you are doing.
You can send it to either the mission office address (12025 Justice Ave) or my pad address (Alco Ave). When in doubt, send it to the mission office. Like I said earlier, Elder Jones and Elder Jamsa are amazing, and they're our best buds. They brought us brand new mattresses this week! Our old mattresses weren't even that bad! But that's just how they are; they're always checking up on us, making sure we're okay. Elder Jones was Sister Dansie's district leader at one point, and this will be their last transfer. They both go home at the beginning of January! So I get to "kill" my trainer, which is pretty cool! I love Sister Dansie tons, and I told her she has to go visit Hurricane for me when she gets home.
Oh, and P.S. President Woods said that we can listen to any Christmas music as long as it's in tune with the Spirit. So...I know Josh Groban has a new Christmas CD out, and I'm pretty sure you already have it...so, can I get a copy? :) Plus, he sings on there with Mo-Tab!
6. Can I send anything to Tina that could help her a book, CTR ring or bracelet? Also do you want something like that do give out like the rubber bracelets with sayings? There are so many cool things at the LDS book stores.
Um...well, Mom, you'd know best what a new convert needs. You can send me anything, and I'll be sure to get it to her. I did give her our home phone number, but I don't know if she'll ever use it.
7. What do you use for a comforter? I know they had you bring your own sheets but do you need a warm blanket, comforter etc.?
I've got a blanket Mom, never fear. That was the first thing I bought in Louisiana. I'm good, I promise.
8. Guess who is getting married in December? Charmane Hall. I will send her announcement to you. I don't know when Cassie's is put I heard they just had a shower for her so it must be soon.
I told Elder...oh wait, it's Ryan Crawford now. He's home. Anyway, I told him about Charmane, and he was surprised. I guess he'll know lots more about it now, but there ya go.
9. Would you download all your mission pictures to a CD at walmart and send them to me? That way I can keep your mission DVD up to date. Then when you get home you can tell me what music and information you want written on each part.
Of course I'll do that! I was just wondering how I was going to get all my pictures home...way to go Mom! As for music...um...just have Stacia help with that. She knows what kind of stuff I listen to. When in doubt, EFY is always good. :)
10. Why did they not confirm Tina immediately especially when she couldn't make it to church on Sunday? That was really strange.
The way it works is that we usually will baptize someone on a Saturday, and then they get confirmed on Sunday during sacrament meeting. With Valentina, things got a little wonky because she was baptized on a Wednesday, and then her car broke down so she couldn't make it to church on Sunday, but we didn't find that out until after church on Sunday. But now it's all good, because she's the newest member of the Baton Rouge 3rd ward!
11. What is the weather like and was it a pretty fall? we would love to see some pictures of the countryside or city shots.
Done deal. :) I'll attach some pictures of the city to this email.
12. Who has written or emailed you?
I got a letter from our cousin Holly, and I'm still working on my reply (if you are reading this, I'M SORRY HOLLY!!!). I usually get an email from our cousin Jessa once a week, and she keeps sending snail mail too, which is amazing (Jess, you stinkin' ROCK!). Matt and Belinda and the gang write me often, which I love (THANK YOU THANK YOU!). I got a letter from my friend Kira from college, and that was a total surprise! I really enjoyed that. I've gotten some from the Thomas' and Sister Hardcastle, which were nice surprises too. Um...dang it. I left my letter binder in the car; I'd be able to tell you everyone for sure if I had it. I've gotten a "letter" and some pictures from my good friends at the Best Western Abbey Inn. They made me laugh. Pretty sure I know what shift they were working when they wrote them. ;) I also get emails and letters from my amazing family, who I love with all my heart!
13. Do you want me to give the bishop a copy of your weekly letters or do you write him separately once a month?
Ah...you should probably give him a copy of the weekly letter. I've got an addressed envelope with his name on it, stamped and ready to go! I've just got to write the letter to go in it. (I promise Bishop Blake, it's coming!)

I'd totally forgotten that Sister Gomez and Elder Packer went to the MTC already! Holy cow! That's way cool! I'll have to get their addresses from my MTC connections. (Yes, I have MTC connections.) That's crazy that Jordan's coming home so soon! You'll have to tell him hi for me. It's so incredible to watch the elders out here. They go from being goofy nineteen year old boys to these rock solid AMAZING men. It's very, very cool. It's very obvious that the Lord is with them. I admire them a lot. I know I'm older than pretty much all of them, but that priesthood power makes them a LOT more mature. (Most of the time, anyway. Preparation day doesn't always count. Ha ha ha...)
And now, to tell you about the Butlers! They are definitely a favorite! I plan on keeping in touch with them when I get home. Sister Butler had been a member all her life, but she was inactive after she moved out. She joined the Navy, and has some pretty crazy stories to tell from it. That's how she met Brother Butler. They got married and while they weren't really religious, they were very spiritual, and have had some incredible experiences. Brother Butler was baptized a couple years ago, and his conversion story is amazing. He was having some health problems, and had a very severe heart attack. While he was recovering, a couple of elders knocked on their door, and Brother Butler decided that he'd listen to them now. And next thing you know, their two kids were baptized, and then they were all sealed in the temple, and then they moved from Alexandria to Baton Rouge, and now they are FREAKIN' AMAZING! They've already claimed us for Christmas, which is going to be crazy fun! And Sister Butler told us yesterday that we're their family for the holidays. Everyone else is too far away, or they don't have any contact with them for one reason or another. I cannot tell you how genuinely good these people are. They are truly destined for great things in life and in the Church. Brother Butler gave a short talk in church on Sunday, and I was floored. He got up there and grabbed hold of the pulpit, and gave a beautiful and simple talk about being grateful. He bore his testimony, and he fought back tears, which was something his family had never seen before. Truly, he is just a great man, and I can't wait to see what a great usurper of the advesary's kingdom he will be.
Well, that's all for this week! Next week's email will be longer, I promise. We're stepping up our game here in Prairieville. Our goal every day is to make Satan think, "Oh crap. They're up." We know that it is nothing that we do of ourselves that will make Satan tremble. But we are not alone. We are mere instruments in the hands of the Savior, and it is through Him that all things are possible. It is because we are on His side that Satan will tremble. I'm just glad I get to be a part of it!

Sister P.

Week 6! OH MY GOSH! It's already week 6?! ARGH! Time goes by WAY too fast!!!

Warm Southern greetings, my loved ones!!!
Another crazy busy week has come and gone. Can you believe I've already been out for a whole transfer now?! (Oh yeah, we missionaries don't think in months. We think in transfers. Ask any missionary, I can pretty much guarantee that's what they'll tell you.) I only have 12 more transfers?! BAH! Not fair! Time is going by WAY too fast! So before I waste any more, let's answer some questions and then I can tell you about the crowning jewel of my week!

Okay, the infamous questions, thanks to mi madre:
1. What ward are you in and have you meet Mrs. Bakers relatives? I wrote about them a few letters back.
I am in the Baton Rouge 3rd ward, and I cannot tell you how amazing these folks are! They are AMAZING! Really really. I just love them so much! They are always excited to see us, and keep telling us how excited they are to have sisters serving here again. I could not have asked for a better place to start my mission. I've really connected with the members here, and Sister Dansie and I can both tell something BIG is about to happen, and we're SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED FOR IT, IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY!!!
Where are Mrs. Baker's relatives again? In Natchez, or was it somewhere else?
2. What families are you teaching or specific areas are you working in that we can pray for or put names in the temple to assist you?
We are trying to teach Jessica's family. Jess is a favorite! She's so cool. She was baptized in August, and she just eats the gospel up! Her mom, Judy, is finally interested, and so is her brother Junior. Her sister Iesha isn't yet, but hopefully we'll get through to all of them. We keep trying to get them over to the stake president's house for a lesson, but obviously they are meant to do lots of good because Satan is working really hard on them. The first time we tried, Jess got attacked by a pit bull, and her mom had back problems so they couldn't make it. The second time, her mom got called into work, and something else happened so they couldn't make it. It's really frustrating. I wish I could just put them in this giant protective bubble until we could get to them again! But that's all right. The Lord knows them, and loves them, and if He says they'll be taught, well then, THEY'LL BE TAUGHT. So please pray for them. Also, pray for Valentina, and I'll explain why in a minute.
3. Any new sayings or strange food of the week?
New sayings? Hmm...no. And no strange food yet, but I might be eating alligator later tonight! Seriously! I'll let you know. I've heard it tastes like chicken.

Okay! Now the SUPER EXCITING PART!!!This last Wednesday, Valentina was baptized!!!! Can I just say, GOD STINKIN' ROCKS?!?!?!!!! It was incredible! The Spirit was very VERY present, and everyone could feel it. Brother Joffrion gave a talk on baptism, and explained to Valentina a little more about why we are baptized and what we promise and what God promises us. Then Elder Jones met Tina down in the font. As he started to speak, I had this amazing feeling building up inside me. You know that excitement you feel when you're on rollar coaster, and you can see the big hill in front of you, and as you're going up it, your heart beats faster and faster, and you get goosebumps everywhere, and just as you reach the top, there's that moment of silence, and you think, "Oh boy!"? That's about the best way I can think to explain how I was feeling, except you've got to times it by like a billion. I have never felt that way before in my entire life. When she came up out of the water, Valentina just started to sob. Sister Dansie said she's never seen anyone grasp the Atonement that quickly before. Tina just stood there and cried. It was the best feeling ever to see her realize that she was pure, she was clean, and she was loved by her Heavenly Father. Brr, I've got goosebumps right now, just remembering it! Sister Dansie and Jessica went back in the bathroom with her to help her get ready, and I stayed out in case they needed me to play the piano for interlude. Sister Dansie said that Valentina couldn't stop smiling. Valentina told her, "I have never felt like this before. I have never felt this happy." It was the best day ever---worth every second of worry, stress, everything, just to see Valentina's joy. If I never see another baptism on my mission, it won't matter. That one I will never EVER forget.
Truly, this is Christ's church. Nowhere, I repeat, NOWHERE else has the full truth. Christ's power and authority is here again, restored today on the earth. It is through that power and authority that we can and will have the most and best happiness we can ever imagine while here on earth. We cannot obtain that happiness anywhere else. I know, without any doubts, that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, our Redeemer, and that He loves us. He called a prophet to restore His church. I know that Joseph Smith was that prophet, and that he did see God the Father and Jesus Christ. As John Taylor said, "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it." (D&C 135) I testify that this is true. I know that we have a prophet here on earth today, President Thomas S. Monson, and that he is also called by God to lead and guide us here on earth.
This is my testimony, and I will never EVER retract it. I will never go against the knowledge and the truth I have been blessed to know. And I will do everything in my power to help all those I meet, all those I see remember who they really are---precious children of a loving Heavenly Father---and that there is a way to have that happiness we are all seeking for. That Way is Jesus Christ, and that is why I am here. I am here to show others the way to Him.

I love you all, and thank you for all you have taught me and for your prayers.

Sister P.

Week 5--Stayin' Alive! (In the Gospel, that is!)

Hello my loved family!!!
This week has been amazing! But before I get into that, I'll answer some more questions, courtesy of my AMAZING mom!
1. Why did you not use you bike for moutain biking?
My bike is NOT a mountain bike. It would have been bad had I rode it on those trails. No bueno, I can tell you that. NO BUENO! But my bike is pretty AMAZING! Still haven't got to ride it yet, but I'll tell you this---I'm taking it apart and mailing it home at the end of my mission! I'm using that thing until it dies! Or until I die...which, when you consider me on a bike, could come first. (Just kidding Mom!)
2. Mrs. Baker and her class loved th LSU photos and want more if you get a chance?
I will send all the LSU pictures I can! Really, it shouldn't be hard...AT ALL. LSU football is it's own religion here. Even if they do get beat like they did this weekend.
3. Did you get your package and turkey card? I had too much fun picking it out. They don't make singing missionary cards sorry. Maybe that should be my new business.
I absolutely LOVED my turkey card!!! The office elders liked it too. Pretty much, IT ROCKS! I got a package from Aunt Belinda and the munchkins, and it was AMAZING!!! They'll be getting a big ole thank you letter in the mail!
4. Can you give Tina my phone number, I would love to talk to her?
I'll talk to Tina, and see what she would like. She might honestly be easier to reach with a letter, but I'll let you know.
5. What is you funny experience of the week and what is your best door approach? With Christmas coming you could trying singing carols to get them to open the door then sing your message?
Funny experience of the week, huh? Well, during district meeting, Elder Crawford was pretty funny. He tried to kick Elder Jones out of the room, and Elder Jones proceeded to pick him up and pretty much shove him in a trash can. Somehow, Elder Crawford managed to avoid the can, and so when he was back on his own two feet, he said, "That's right...this is Cowman Crawford's turf. Get off." We've been referring to him as Cowman Crawford ever since.
6. Do you get the ensign, friend, and new era or do you want us to send them? Is there amything else we can send like book of mormons with our picture and testimony in it? Stacia had a friend get called to my folks mission and my prinicpals son got sent to the Portland mission. Justin Bellitti from Lindon got sent to Brisband, Australia.
We do get the Ensign, so you don't have to worry about that. As for sending copies of the Book of Mormon with testimonies in them...Mom, I think that writing your testimony period for Tina would be AMAZING! I think she'd really like that. And if I think of anyone else, I'll let you know.
7. Do you want me to make those hats for anyone in your mission and any certain colors?
Hee hee hee...I'm tempted to say make a purple and gold one for Elder Jones...but he hates LSU, so don't really. Again, I'll have to think about it and let you know.
8. Do you get to attend the temple weekly or monthly on your pday since your near it?
We are allowed to go to the temple once a transfer, but we haven't had time yet. Sister Dansie wants to go before she leaves in 9 WEEKS, so we'll see.
9. Do you want me to send you old boombox and that little tape recorder so we can trade tapes?
I'd LOVE to trade tapes! I was actually just thinking about that the other day! That would be AMAZING! As for the boombox, don't bother. If I remember right, the CD player part doesn't work. But I'm not sure. If you want, you can try it out and if it does work, you send it.

All right, I don't have tons of time left, but I have to tell y'all about my amazing Sunday!!!
It all started off with me being humbled. I caught myself doing something that wouldn't have been a big deal if I was just Morgan. But the Lord then reminded me that it wasn't only my name I was wearing. It was His. That shook me up pretty good. I doubt I'll ever forget that feeling. What I'd been doing wasn't bad at all. But it wasn't what I was sent out here to do. I was sent to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and He reminded me firmly but lovingly that if I was not careful, something I did without thinking could destroy someone's chance of coming closer to Him. I felt very ashamed, and pleaded for forgiveness all throughout the rest of the meeting. It was then that the Lord showed Sister Dansie and I that He was truly in charge, and that all our hard work these last four weeks was not for naught.We'd met a lady at the post office a while back, and invited her to church. Well, she showed up---with her WHOLE FAMILY! Sister Dansie and I were shocked! We showed them around quickly, and then took them to the different classes. Afterward, we met up with them and talked to them a little, and they liked it! They had really enjoyed themselves, and they wanted to know more. So we said we'd call them this week, and they said great, and they even paid TITHING before they left! We explained that we didn't have a collection plate, but that we followed the law of tithing. Latasha (the mom and lady we met) really liked that, and she gave us the money and had us help her fill out a tithing slip, and that was that! So boy, were we excited. We weren't even expecting what came next.
Miracle #2 happened right after church. We got a phone call from Brother Joffrion, and he said that Tina was coming over to his house, and that she wanted to talk to us. I'll admit, I was worried. Our last meeting with Tina had gone really well, but I was afraid she was going to back out of her baptism. We got there, and were talking with her a little, asking her how school and work was going. She then said, "You know, I've been thinking a lot about my baptism." My heart sank. I did not expect the next words out of her mouth: "If I'm really going to do this, I can't keep putting it off because it'll never happen. So I was wondering if I could change my date to earlier in the week." My jaw pretty much hit the pavement. Luckily, Sister Dansie was on top of things, and she started setting things up and asking all these questions about when, and who she wanted to baptize her and stuff. By then, my brain caught up, and I jumped right in and told her how excited I was for her, and that I really admired her for making this hard decision. We went over the baptismal interview questions with her, and we couldn't keep these big grins off our faces! We got everything set up, so Valentina Skoric (I think that's how you spell her last name) will be baptized on Wednesday, November 12th! I GET TO SEE MY FIRST BAPTISM OF MY MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best part was that Sister Dansie and I had absolutely NOTHING to do with it. This was all Tina and God's doing. We were just there to tie up loose ends. It was so amazing, and as I ran back to the car to grab a pen for Sister Dansie, I pretty much was flipping out the entire time! There were a bunch of ward members at Brother Joffrion's house because they were finishing fixing his roof, and a bunch of them came over and told Tina how excited they were for her. She got to talk to Brother Ferguson, who is in the bishopric, and they kind of bonded because his family disowned him when he got baptized, so he could understand her worries and fears better than anyone else there could. Tina was still really excited when we left, and we were pretty much dancing all the way back to the car. "Seriously, how could this day get any better?" we asked ourselves. Well, God showed us.
The last miracle of this miraculous Sunday was the most powerful. We'd been invited over to a member's house for dinner, and since there would be non-members coming too, we could stay for longer than an hour. Sashika (our member) is AMAZING! She just got engaged, and she is the best example of a member missionary that I can think of. When we got there, her parents welcomed us in with open arms, and INCREDIBLE FOOD! They are originaly from Trinidad and Tobago, and we had this curry chicken that was SOOOOOOOO good, I about died. And we had peanut punch! Sashika's brother, Ricky, said that it was like liquefied Reese's Pieces. That made me nervous, because anyone who knows me really well knows that I can't stand peanut butter. But I made a promise to myself before I ever came on a mission that I would try everything once, and then if I didn't like it, I could make up an excuse not to eat it again. So, I tried it, and it was actually pretty good! I only had one glass, but hey, I kept my promise! That felt good.Right before dinner, Sashika and her fiance, Dustin, called everyone into the living room. They told us that this was their engagement party. That was surprise number one for Sister Dansie and I. Surprise number two came when Sashika said, "And the sister missionaries have a little message they're going to share with us." Sister Dansie leaned over to me and said, "Pedersen! You didn't tell me we were sharing a message!" I whispered back, "That's because I didn't know we were either!" We quickly composed ourselves, and asked Sashika what she wanted us to talk about. She said that everyone knew they were getting married in the temple, and she just wanted them to know a little bit about why that was so important.So, after dinner, we went back to the living room, and Sister Dansie started off by talking briefly about what we believe, emphasizing the importance of families. I then expounded on that a little more, and then we watched "Together Forever." Yes, that cheesy 80's movie the church put out. But it turned out really well. Everyone watched, and at the end, Sister Dansie bore her testimony about the gospel and how it blesses families. I bore my testimony about the same thing, I think. The Spirit was so strong! It was so quiet and peaceful, I loved it! And again, it had nothing to do with Sister Dansie or me. Neither of us can really remember what we said. It was all the Lord, using our mouths as His. It was the perfect end to an incredible day, and as we knelt in companion prayer that night, we felt very grateful and very humble that the Lord had let us participate in those miraculous events. Truly, this was a Sunday like I've never experienced before, and that I will never forget.

Wow! I'm out of time, AGAIN? Argh! Okay. Well, I love you all!

Sister P.

Week 5

Hey y'all!
This week has been pretty good. Satan is trying hard to discourage us, but we're just sticking our tongues out at him and blowing big fat old razzberries! The work is moving slowly, but we are pushing onward, never fearing. We're on the Lord's side, the outcome of the battle we already know, and we're just getting the glad tidings of great joy out to everyone. Whether or not they will hear it is up to them.Mountain bike riding was SO MUCH FUN! I didn't use my bike--I borrowed an elder's, which made life interesting. And yes, I did fall and crash a few times, but it made us all laugh, so it's all good. Thank heavens I have long skirts so no one has to see my scraped and bruised legs. Don't worry Mom, I'm really okay. I now can see a great big benefit to being clumsy my entire life. I'm a lot tougher than I thought! Falling down and off things doesn't even phase me anymore. Yipee!
As for real important news, we're making some good progress with Tina. We finally met her this week, and had just an incredible lesson. She knows that what we're teaching her is true. Her only hang-up is her family, who are VERY anti. Everytime she comes to Brother Joffrion's to meet with us or when she comes to church, she has to lie to them and tell them that she's taking Bro. Joffrion to the doctor. Please pray for her. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for her. At the same time, it makes me appreciate my mom so much more, because of her courageous decision and sacrifice. So, it's bittersweet. Tina set her own baptismal date for November 16th. To all who read this, please keep her in your prayers. This gospel will bless her life so much...it's just getting her into that font! Sigh. Things will all work out in the end. And if they aren't working out, then obviously it's not the end yet! :)
We've also been working with a new convert, Jessica. This girl is seriously AMAZING! She pretty much walked right into the baptismal font herself, without any coaxing. She KNEW it was true from the moment she heard it. I mean, seriously! How many people do you know that actually go looking for the missionaries? She was being taught at her dad's house, and then she moved to Baton Rouge with her mom. Jessica wanted to get baptized, so she went out looking for the elders. Long story short, she found them, they baptized her, and now we're caught up to speed! Jess has a little one-year-old daughter, Jaycee, who is so darling! Anyway, Jess has been struggling lately because her family is very negative about everything. This girl is so incredible! She's helping support her mom and brother and sister as well as her own daughter. She quit her job because they weren't giving her Sundays off. She's going back to school to get her GED. She doesn't have a car, so trying to get to school and to church and eventually to her job is super difficult. And yet, in spite of all this, she is still steadfast in the gospel. Sister Dansie was telling her that obviously she is destined for greatness in the church; why else would Satan be trying so hard to discourage her? We told her that we are her personal 911 and that she can call us anytime. We talked to her about getting her patriarchal blessing, and we really think that will help her so much too. We're trying to teach her brother and sister, Junior and Iesha, but they haven't been very interested yet. But we're still trying! We even carved the Plan of Salvation into a pumpkin to teach them! We didn't get to use it though, because of the craziness of Halloween, so now we have this AWESOME pumpkin in our fridge that we're not entirely sure what to do with. We'll think of something.
Now for questions!
1. What did you do for Halloween? Did you have trick or treaters come to your pad?
Halloween, we were on lockdown from 6 PM on. So we ate candy and wrote letters. We had this really good idea for trick or treaters! We taped candy to pass along cards! But no one knocked on our door...so we just ate the candy.
2. How was the bike, it did have speeds on it right? Remember if you ride it with a skirt or dress, use a clothes pin to pin between your legs to make it like a skort, do you need a clothespin?
My bike is FREAKING AMAZING! I haven't got the chance to ride it yet; we've got a maroon Malibu. But it was all the elders' favorite at transfers...probably because they didn't have to put it together.
3. Anything you need from home, warmer pj's, ant spray etc.? Do you have a cd player so we can send some church music?
I do need a copy of my patriarchal blessing! I didn't get it packed from home. Other than that, I could use some T-shirts for Preparation Day (those didn't get packed either). And that letter about no jeans? Does NOT apply here. President Woods said jeans were fine. So you could send my old pair if you wanted. But they aren't crucial, I've got shorts and those other pants. We are allowed to listen to EFY, Mormon Tab, and some instrumental hymns, but we don't have a CD player at our pad, so that's no biggie either. We can pick a cheap one up at a Goodwill or something.
4. Myra says you won't see fireflies until spring, so how are the sunsets, I need a picture of a good one?
We haven't had any real good sunsets yet, but I'll try and catch one for you, Mom. Tell Myra thanks for the note about fireflies.
Oh! Also, this morning, we found the state bird of Louisiana crawling across our wall. That's what the picture of the pot and phonebooks is. I have NEVER seen a cockroach that HUGE before. And Sister Dansie said that it was a fairly small one too. I tried to go get my camera to take a picture of the bug itself, but we decided to catch it while we still could. *Shudder*...things that make you go BUUUUUUUH!
5. Maybe you should try a singing door approach like an old negro spiritual and you might get in, have you tried that yet?
We have not tried singing our way in yet...but now that everyone is all excited for Christmas coming up, we'll probably use that more often.
6. Any suggestions for possible Christmas presents, we will need to mail them early?
I sent Stacia a letter about this, but I need ties. Big, fat, 70's era, polyester ties. The wider, the better. If you can hold it in the middle, and it still sticks straight out, that's a keeper. It's a GLBRM thing. We give ties to our favorites.
Other than that, um...pictures! I love have pictures to put all over everywhere. Ooh! And could you send me one of my hoodies? My LHS volleyball one that Kathryn gave me maybe? It's a different kind of cold down here...it seeps into you! And you stay cold for a LONG time. Not like Rexburg cold. It's no bueno. :)
In all seriousness, I can't really think of anything I need or even really want. Just keep those letters coming! I love them more than anything else!
7. What is the funniest saying people say down there?
Hmm...that's a toughie. Remember that salt in the pepper shaker analogy I used? There are a lot of black people here, and that means a LOT of cool sayings. "I has been doing" or "I was like, you know, you know, whatever." I'm drawing blanks really for local sayings.Of course, missionaries will ALWAYS have the strangest catchphrases, bar none. Elder Jones, one of the office elders, says, "Dang 'me." It's hard to try and spell it the way he says it, though. You'll just have to ask me sometime in person. Elder Pickup (yes, that's his real name) says, "Dang Gina!" a lot, which makes us laugh. Sister Dansie says, "Excuse me?" and "Oh boy." I can't really think of anymore off the top of my head, but I'll pay close attention this week and see if I can't come up with any others.
8. Are there Piggly Wiggly grocery stores down there?
Yes, there are a few Piggly Wiggly stores, but I haven't been in one. The elders say that it's not really worth it; Walmart and Target have better things.
9. Why can't the members feed you? I was told you got fed every lunch and dinner and you just had to buy food for breakfast?
Members now can feed us, but they couldn't in the past because of past experiences in the mission when President Patterson was here. President Wood thinks that by having meals as priesthood directed visits, it'll create less of an atmosphere of a "hang out," and it'll also be a good tool to maybe activate some less active members. It's a new thing, so it's just getting started, but the members are thrilled about it.
We don't really have to shop for much. The members take care of that too. We give them a list every two weeks of things we need, and then they sign up to buy certain things, and we take home big old bags of groceries. It's very humbling, to see the willingness of these wonderful members. They just jump at the opportunity to do anything for us. It's made me love them so much more.
10. Seen any snakes or gators yet?
No snakes or gators yet; it's getting cold, so they're hibernating or something. I did have a nightmare about getting chased by gators the other night though. So I haven't seen any in real life, but they are quite active in my subconcious, apparently.

In conclusion, life is AMAZING, we love it here, the people are incredible, and "the work of God shall go forth boldly, nobly, and independant, until is has penetrated every continant, visited every clime, swept every nation, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great JEHOVAH shall say the work is done." To quote Elisha, "they that be with us are more than they that be with them." We have this wonderful message and duty to help everyone remember who they really are, whether we are set apart missionaries or member missionaries. Everyone you see, EVERY SINGLE ONE, is a precious, beloved child of God. They just can't remember it! How much better the world would be, if only we could all remember that! Talk to your friends, invite them to be taught. Invite the missionaries to teach people in your homes. The Spirit that is already there will intensify, and bless you and those who are being taught.

That was my soapbox. I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU!!!!!

Sister P.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

another letter from my wonderful sissy!!!

Hello all my wonderful loved ones! Can you believe it? I've been out here for three weeks tomorrow! Crazy crazy! But I love it. It's where I'm supposed to be, that's for sure! Before I get into my "epistle" mode, I'll answer some questions.

1. Where is your companion from and how long has she been out? Sister Dansie is from Sunset, Utah, across the freeway from Roy and Clinton area. She goes home at the beginning of January! She says that time has gone by so fast, and she's not sure what she'll do with herself when she gets home. "My friends are going to think I'm lame when 9:30 or 10:00 rolls around, and I tell them that it's past my bedtime," she said. Ha ha ha! I believe it too.

2. How are the bugs and have you made friends with them? The bugs...well, there are mosquitoes galore, but so far they haven't been the problem. Apparently there's big ole cockroaches too, but I haven't seen any yet, and they don't really bother me anyway, seeing as how we have oodles of them back at home. The biggest bug problem I'm having is with the littlest bugs around...ants. They are MEAN suckers down here. I thought I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, except that all of my bites were on the tops of my feet and my ankles. They itch like crazy for about a week, and then they stop, but the spots are still there, and they are like a purplish color now. Apparently, if you scratch them, they get all swollen and pussy. I've decided not to test that theory, and so in the meantime, hyrocortizone is my best friend!

3. Did you get your package and bike and was it ok? I did get my package, and I had to laugh. We all (my MTC district) got mail that night, and everyone had their letters, and then comes Elder Jones (one of the office elders) with this GIANT box. Ha ha ha. It made us all laugh. And mine was the only bike that was pre-assembled, so I quickly became a favorite with the other elders at transfers because they didn't have to put mine together. Plus, it's pretty much the COOLEST BIKE EVER!!! I love it! It's all old school looking and awesomeness. I'm just sad I haven't gotten to ride it yet. But we'll get to fix that today (which I will explain about later)!

4. Do you need us to send anything? Hmm...um, not that I can think of off the top of my head. I'll let you know though, promise.

5. What names can we put on the temple roll to help you? I don't really have any names yet for the temple roll, but it would be awesome if y'all could pray for Emily and her mom. Emily is a friend of one of our amazing members' daughter, Lacey Butler, and she wants to take the discussions. However, her mom has us confused with the Jehovahs Witnesses or something, and they got in a big old fight and now Emily can't even go over to the Butlers' anymore, and it's really sad. She even came to church on Sunday and was in the Primary program with Lacey! Just pray for Emily, that she won't lose that desire to learn more, and ask that her mother's heart will be softened so that she too can see and realize what her daughter is seeing and feeling. Also, just pray to help us find those who will listen to our message and not keep skipping out of appointments.

6. How is the weather? The weather is GORGEOUS! It's definitely fall here in Louisiana, and it's amazing. Today is a little bit colder--in the 50's--but the humidity is pretty much non-existant, and it's just so nice!

7. What are some of the biggest differences? Biggest differences? Well, there are churches on every corner...just not LDS churches. Lots of Baptists, though. LOTS. Ha ha. Prairieville is a suburb of Baton Rouge, so there is a pretty good mix of people here. We haven't met with anyone hostile at all (yet) so that's nice too. There are times though, as Sister Dalley said, "I feel like we're two pieces of salt in a pepper shaker!" But everyone here is really friendly so far, and they all say, "Yes ma'am," or "Yes sir," and they call you, "Mr. So-and-So" or "Miss So-and-So." They're all very polite, and it's really nice. Also, in a lot of areas where our members live, they have gas porchlights, which is the COOLEST THING EVER! They are all flickering, and especially since it's Halloween time, it sets the mood real nicely. It's so cool. Sister Dansie said that she's going to have them on her house one day, and that's how everyone will know where she served a mission.

8. What are some of your biggest challenges? Right now, our biggest challenge is finding people to teach. We're finding 3 or 4 investigators a day usually, which is awesome!...until we try to come teach them a real sit-down lesson. That's where we're coming across some difficulty. They aren't home, or make up some excuse, or just tell us that "today's not a good day." So we set up another appointment with them...and then the same thing happens. It's a bit frustrating, but funny too. Usually when we show up for the appointment, which they made and set up and said, "Yes, that's a good time for you to come back," they look so surprised to see us on their doorstep. It's humorous, which is good and keeps my spirits up

9. What has been the most unique experience you've had to date? Most unique? Probably talking to people through their doors. That's happened twice now. Again, it's hard not to start laughing, because we look ridiculous, and seriously, how hard is it to just open your door a little and talk to us face to face? It's not like we're going to come barging in; you have your free agency to choose whether or not you want to hear our message, and we respect that. The funniest is when their door has a big window in it, so we can see them, and they can see us, and yet apparently we're still scary enough that they don't open the door. And it's not like these are little kids, home by themselves. That I could understand. No, these people are adults in their forties and up. It's frustrating and funny at the same time.

10. Do you ride bikes, walk, or use a car? We get to use a car! Hooray! Apparently, all the elders think it's super awkward to see a sister on a bike, so they'll do whatever they can to get us a car, which is really sweet of them. But most of our mission have cars. I think there's only a few who are actually on bikes 24/7. The reason we have them is if we run out of our allotted miles for the month. Then we have to use them, or arrange rides from the ward, or walk. And actually, our area is pretty spread out, so our miles this month are dangerously low--we're down to about 20 miles a day. But, when they gave us the car, it came from another area, so most of our miles were already gone anyway.

11. How long do you get on the internet on p-day? Internet time varies. It depends on the library--how busy they are, and how nice they'll be. So far, the library we go to is really nice and quiet, so we get as long as we need.

12. Have you seen fireflies yet? NO, I HAVE NOT SEEN FIREFLIES YET AND I AM VERY UPSET BY THIS FACT! Okay, well maybe not very upset. Fireflies are in the bayous more, and seeing as how we're mostly in the city, and the fact that it's getting colder, it makes sense as to why I haven't seen them yet. But I will! I'll find a way.
13. What are some of the different foods you've been given by members? Well, they're just starting to let the members feed us again, so we haven't had too many meals anywhere yet. It's a priesthood directed visit, and our ward mission leader was out of town so we just ate at our pad. But we did get to go eat "snacks" at the Butlers' house twice this last week. The first time we had crawfish fetticine alfredo stuff, and BOY OH BOY WAS IT GOOD!!! It was so yummy, and Sister Butler gave us the ingredients and instructions so we can make it on our own. The second time, the Butlers had just gotten back from fishing all day, so we had fresh fried fish. I can't remember what kinds though. I know one was a type of trout. But they were the BIGGEST fish I've seen yet! Monster ones. And they were really yummy too.

Keep the questions coming!

I love 'em!This week was really good, actually. We found a few more investigators, knocked on a lot of doors, and I actually got my first polite rejection. This lady had been taught by the elders a long time ago, so we thought we'd drop by and see how she was, if she was still interested, etc. She was very nice, talked to us for a while, but politely said that if she joined any church, it would be one of her sons, and that she just didn't believe the Book of Mormon. She then talked about the Messianic Jews, and completely lost me for a while. The biggest impression I got from this whole occurance was how I felt during this whole conversation. It didn't shake my faith at all; I just felt a little sad that she wouldn't open her heart to the wonderful message I had to share. As we left, Sister Dansie mentioned similar feelings. She said that she could have gone into more scriptures with her, but the feeling wasn't right. It would have been contentious, and pretty much whatever we would have said, she would have found an answer or excuse to combat it. The lady brought up the Revelations scripture about how none shall add to this book, and we tried to show her it says the same thing in Deuteronomy, and that it was meant to be specific for that book, but she just wouldn't hear us. In the end, we asked if she knew anyone else who might be interested in hearing our message, she said no, we thanked her and left.

My testimony was only strengthed by this experience. I came to understand the promptings of the Spirit a little better, and how NOT to Bible bash. All in all, it was a good thing. And besides, we found two people later that day who were actually really interested and receptive to what we had to say, so there you go!

I wasn't going to share this, but I'm being prompted to, so here goes. The same day all the above happened, I had a good growth experience. We'd been out contacting all morning, and I was really struggling. I was letting my fear of talking to random people stiffle my words, and Sister Dansie was doing all the talking. I was really frustrated with myself! Here I was, on a mission, and what was I doing? Clamming up? That wasn't how it was supposed to work! But every time we walked up to someone, that fear became so overwhelming, I could hardly breathe. Sister Dansie was so kind and caring, and tried to encourage me, but I still couldn't do it. We went back to our pad for lunch, and the whole drive home I spent looking out the window, berating myself. I felt so weak, and it really got to me.

We walked in our door, my mood still melancholy. I sat down at our table, and pulled out my Preach My Gospel. I was having doubts about whether or not I was currently able to feel the Spirit, and I knew there was a whole chapter in there about the Holy Ghost and recognizing it's promptings. As I opened it up, I started to feel a little better. I kinda skimmed through it until I got to the part entitled, "Relying on the Spirit." As I read, I found the answer to my dilemma. There was a box that had questions followed by scriptures that answered that question. I was drawn to the question, "What should I say?" for this indeed was my dilemma. The scriptures that followed pulled me in, and even Sister Dansie later mentioned that she noticed how intently and intensely I was reading my scriptures. All of the scriptures had the same theme---the Spirit will tell you what to say. But they each were different, and I took something different from each. The fear I had been feeling was, I felt, Satan's way of tripping me up. I had the distinct thought that Satan knew me and remembered me and remembered my weaknesses, and he would use them to his advantage. So far, he had been successful. But he could only use those weaknesses as long as I let him, as long as they were still weaknesses. In Exodus 4:10-12, Moses is expressing a similar concern to the Lord. The Lord's reply to him was the Lord's reply to my silent prayer as well---"Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say," (v. 11-12). Such comfort came with those words! I felt happier than I had all day, and knew that yes, I'd probably still have that fear. But I no longer dealt with it alone. I knew that I could follow Moses' example again, and tell Satan, "Who art thou? For behold, I am a [daughter] of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should [fear] thee?" (Moses 1:13) I am not alone. This isn't my message, but His who made me, His who created all things, HIS. This is the message of our Father in Heaven, our God. This is the message of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In D&C 84:85-88, we are told that as long as we do our part, we will be given the words that Christ would have us say, and that He will be there with us, in our hearts. With that kind of company, how can we fear? How can we fail? I testify that we cannot, that we will not. This gospel isn't the gospel of Sister Pedersen, it isn't the gospel of Joseph Smith. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I testify of that eternal truth with all that I am, and I do so in His precious sacred name, the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wow...that all just flowed right out. I don't know if I just needed to bear that testimony, or if someone needed to hear it. But I was prompted to bear it, and so I did.
My time is pretty much up. I love you all! I'm off to go ride some trails! (Yes, they have mountain bike trails here...except I'm not so sure how they are mountain bike trails without mountains. Oh well. I get to ride my awesome sweet bike, and I am so totally excited!)
Your Favorite Missionary,
Sister P

P.S. I included some pictures of my MTC district, Sister Dansie, the Baton Rouge Temple, and some other things. I'll keep sending a few pics every week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The phone call home and her first email from Louisanna!!!

WELL STACIA IS SO HAPPY FOR MORGAN!!!So Morgan called home last tuesday morning and it was so good to hear her voice!! When we answered the phone and she was so happy to hear our voices but she sounded really shakey.. I could tell she was on the verge of tears but they were tears of happiness...She loved the mtc experience and was so excited to get out on the field... we only got to talk to her for about ten minutes but they were a good ten minutes! I was crying pretty good and I just was so grateful to talk to her!

OK!!! Now for her first letter! She sent her first email!!!Here's the email she sent to the fam!!

Greetings y'all from the GLBRM (Great Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission)!Holy cow, I've been here almost a whole week, and it's AMAZING! Where do I even begin? Hmm...I'll start with transfers, and then go from there. So, Tuesday night we spent at President and Sister Woods' home. They are truly two of the nicest people I have ever met! I love them already! We had a little meeting, explaining the basic rules, and then they fed us dinner...and OH MY HEAVENS WAS IT GOOD!!! Of course, now that I think about it, I hadn't really eaten anything all day (you know how I am on airplanes--better safe than sorry), so they could have fed me fried gator droppings and I probably would have loved it. (I'm exaggerating about the fried gator droppings, Mom. Promise.) WE had roast beef, potatoes, cooked veggies, salad, and the most AMAZING rolls I've ever had in my entire life. Oh boy! :) And THEN, after dinner, we had....wait for it....HOME-MADE ICE CREAM!!!! It was like being home all over again!Anyways, we talked some more about rules, introducing ourselves, and then we got our area assignments. We (Sis. Dalley, Sis. Boulter, and I) opened ours first. Sis. Dalley was going to Metterie, a new sister area. It's a suburb of New Orleans. And her companion was Sis. Martin who was FROM FRANCE!!!! I know, I was so excited for her! Sis. Boulter was going to De Ridder, which is the farthest west area of the mission, right on the Texas border. She laughed, because she has a brother that lives like an hour into Texas, and she's from Fort Worth, and voila! She's pretty much in Texas again. Her companion was Sis. Pennock. And then it was my turn.When I first opened the letter, I read the wrong part (go figure). Sis. Boulter had to lean over and point to the part I was supposed to read. Once I was on the right track, I read, "You have been assigned to labor in the Prairieville area." The office elders--Elders Jones and Jamsa--were excited. This too was a new sisters area! And my companion was Sister Dansie. That made them excited too, because we'd be in their ward, and they LOVE Sister Dansie. Then Sister Woods scurried us all off to bed after our last district prayer with our beloved MTC elders--Elders Cook, Winlow, Syme, & Kent.We got up early (5 AM) the next morning, got ready, ate some homemade cinnamon rolls (P.S. I really like Sister Woods!) and eggs, and then jumped in the Transfer Van and headed off to the stake center to meet everyone else. I saw Elder Crawford--he's my district leader! He looks pretty much the same...except with short hair. It made me laugh. Slowly, we all (our MTC district) seperated and then the transfer van came back with my trainer, Sister Dansie!Sister Dansie is so much fun! I love her to death! I will send pictures, I promise, I just didn't bring the right cord thing today. Next week, I promise! Anywho...Sister Dansie is a blast! She's so cute and fun and excited and she loves being here in Louisiana. She was so excited to find out she'd be serving in Baton Rouge (Prairieville is a suburb) because sisters haven't been there for YEARS--like since before she got here! She told everyone she'd serve there someday, and all the elders were like, "No you won't," and now here she is! I'm learning lots from her, especially how to introduce the concept of baptism right from the start. It's great!We live in a little apartment that the elders lived in before us, which meant that once we got there, we deep cleaned. Dad, your apartment had better have not been as nasty as that was! Because if it was, you had NO room to tell me my room was messy! (Just teasing...but seriously!) Anyway, we got all settled, re-did our map so we'd know where we were going, and got down to business!We inherited a committed invesitgator from the elders before us. Her name is Tina, and she's set to get baptized on the 1st of November. We've talked to her on the phone, and will get to meet her this week. We also found a couple other investigators yesterday. There's Tesseena, whose door we knocked on thinking someone else lived there. She seems really cool! We get to talk to her later this week. And then there is Rasheed and his family. The missionaries had talked to him before, but since he drives for Pepsi, he wasn't home that much. But now he will be, and so we get to teach him and his family. He has three little kids--a girl who is 5, a boy (Cameron) who is 3, and they just had a baby boy a couple weeks ago. We're really excited to talk to them!We met a lot of members of the ward this week. That's where we'll be getting most of our investigators from. We're really pushing member referals because that's what the prophets have been telling us lately. "Every member a missionary!" It works so much better, too! Because a member already knows the person, there is already that basis of trust that is crucial for them to be taught. That's where the missionaries come in. We knock on their door, give them a present (Finding Faith in Christ, Joy to the World, etc.) and tell them how much their member friend appreciates them and says all this nice stuff about them. Because of that friendship, we are more likely to be let in to teach. So please everyone--REFER YOUR FRIENDS! The Second Coming is most assuredly coming, and there isn't much time left. We want all God's children to hear His message!Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. This is so important to me, you have to understand. That's why I might get a little excitable about it. But it's the truth, and people have a right to hear it.One last story, and then I've got to go. So we were driving back to the pad Friday night. We came to a three way stop. It looked like a four way stop, except that we didn't have a stop sign. So we drive through, and we're almost all the way through when this white truck runs his stop sign, and bangs into our back bumper. For a second, we thought we'd just hit a pothole or something. But then I turned around, and saw him keep driving, and that's when it hit me (no pun intended)--we'd just been in a hit and run! We pulled over into a parking lot, and got out to survey the damage. Our nice little maroon Malibu now has a big old dent in the back right bumper. We had to call the office elders, who told us to call 911 and then get back in the car and wait for them (Jamsa and Jones) and the police. Sister Dansie was a little paranoid because she'd just gotten a ticket on the way to transfers, and the Louisiana government is not known for being morally great. But the sherriff that helped us out was so nice, and helped her calm down. We sat and talked to him while we were filling out paperwork. I took a bunch of pictures of the bumper and gave them to Elder Jones who was impressed with that bit of thinking. I admitted that I kinda knew what the insurance company would want, seeing as how I had put a big dent in my own car. That made him laugh. But we finished the paperwork, said good night to the elders and the officer, and went home. And we were only a few minutes late! Yay hooray!In all seriousness, the Lord truly does care for His servants. Had we been going just a bit slower, or had entered the intersection a second earlier, had the truck been going any faster, we would have got broadsided. We said a very grateful prayer that night.Mom and Dad, thank you so much for your letters. I was a bit down yesterday, because we hadn't found too many people willing to listen, and the ones we did find, I let Sister Dansie do the talking because I was scared. But then I read your letters last night, and both of your parting comments were exactly what I needed to hear. Mom, you reminded me not to get discouraged if people weren't lining up to hear what I had to say, and that the right person would hear it and would listen. Dad, you told me that the message I am sharing was so important and that it was God's message, and then you said, "Be not afraid and testify." I almost started to cry reading both of those, because I had been worrying all evening about whether or not I was doing the right thing, and was so frustrated because people weren't listening. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for those words. They bolstered and strengthened me and reminded me that I am out here where I am most needed, that the message I am sharing is that God lives, that Christ lives, and that They love us so much, They've made it possible to be cleansed and return to Them through this gospel, THEIR gospel. And if people don't want to accept that, then that's their choice. But I've been called of God and been asked by Him to tell His children His message and to invite them to come home to Him through baptism, repentance, following the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. And I will not rest, I will not give up until I've said all I can say so that I can stand before my Father and my Savior and know that I did all I could, that I gave Them my very best. And then I will hear those precious words, "Well done, my daughter. Welcome home." This is the truth, and the only way to return to our Heavenly Father. This is the message that Christ died to give us, that Joseph Smith died to give us, that countless of other worthy and loyal and wonderful souls have dedicated their lives to give us. May we ever remember that. May we always remember the sacrafice that Christ made for us, and that it is after all we can do that He will step in and apply His Atonement, and tell the Father in our behalf, "They have done all they could, and now I will make up the rest." I love you all! Keep those letters and emails coming.

Your Favorite Missionary,Sis. P

ok so that was a pretty good first letter i must say!

heres the mini one she sent to me!!!

Okay, this won't be a very long email, but I just wanted to tell you that I am so thoroughly impressed with your decision to try and go to BYU! I know that you will be blessed for this decision. I love you so much! Keep the emails and letters coming! I only get to write on Mondays, so be patient with me if my emails aren't too long. I LOVE YOU!!!!

Your Big Sister,Morgan

P.S. You might be getting a letter from a sister here in Louisiana. She's an Alpha Phi and I told her about you, and she thinks she knows who you are because your big sister was her little sister....or something like that. Ha ha.

So thats the latest from Sister P!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sister Pedersen takes wings!

We received word that Sister Pedersen will fly out on Tuesday morning, October 14. She will arrive in Baton Rouge sometime in the early afternoon. How exciting!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sister Morgan J Pedersen's email

You can email Morgan at morganjpedersen@myldsmail.net . She can not email you back so make sure you leave her your mailing address. Spread the word!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Conference and Morgan's 3rd letter

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Dear Mom & Dad,
Got your letters today! Loved them ever so much. Don’t worry, Dad-- I’m sticking to the light stuff during meals, I promise. The sisters in my district thank you for that advice as well. Ha, ha! I’ll have to find out where President Allen served; I haven’t really met with him. Mostly, my district meets with one of his counselors, Bro. Barry. He is really nice and fun to listen to. Oh, Mom, I’m the coordinating Relief Society sister—the “district leader,” per se, for the sisters in our district…and, I guess, our zone for that matter. Sister Dalley, Sister Boulter, Sister Scheer and I are the ONLY sisters in our zone. It’s kind of neat. We’re really close, the four of us. Sister Scheer is going to Texas, so that will be hard when we split up. But right now, we’re going to celebrate because we’re no longer the “newbies!” Yey! As of tomorrow, we’re “seasoned veterans.” Ha, ha!
Just so you know, I bore my testimony at the end of my letter to Grandma & Grandpa. The first part, they’ll probably be okay with. The second part might cause issues. I told them why I was here at the MTC, my purpose as a missionary. It’s in the “Preach My Gospel” manual (which you should totally get one! It’s amazing!) and we memorized it. Anyway, it says: “My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” Just thought I’d give you a heads up….

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dear Mom & Dad,
So, I set up my e-mail and totally wrote you one, too, but the first time I clicked the wrong button and it got deleted…and the second time the computer kicked me off (time limit)! Go figure, huh? No worries.
Here’s the deal with e-mail. …While I am at the MTC, I only get access to my e-mail once a week for 30 minutes. Now that I think about it, that’s probably how my mission will work, too. For now, I’m just going to stick to “snail mail” so my “epistles” don’t get deleted.
Today is my very first “preparation day.” I’m just hanging out here in the crowded laundry room, writing away along with a ton of other missionaries. We got to go to the temple this morning and do a session as a district, which was a really amazing experience. I love the paintings in the Provo temple! So beautiful. After the session, we ate breakfast in the temple cafeteria which was…well, heavenly! I wasn’t even hungry for lunch!
I made a challenging goal for myself—I’m going to read the entire Book of Mormon before I leave the MTC. Doing so will strengthen my testimony of this wonderful work and help me be better prepared to teach my ‘Louisianians.’ (Be quiet, dad—it is too a word!)
Mom, I loved your nightly ritual with Sam! He is such a spoiled pooch! Hopefully, he’s staying out of trouble. Thanks for having Stacia give my sister missionaries Alvie’s number. I thought about giving them Grandma & Grandpas….
We had a devotional yesterday. Our speaker was Elder Daryl H. Garn of the Quorum of the Seventy. He and his wife spoke to us and were just awesome. Sister Garn spoke about D&C 4 (which I have memorized!) and took it apart, verse by verse. She did just great! I’d send you my notes, but I want them! (Ha, ha!) Let’s see, I think my favorite thing she said was about D&C 4:7. She said that no message has appeared in the scriptures more times than this one; there are 100 times it’s either quoted or rephrased slightly. How cool is that?
Elder Garn’s talk was so sweet and loving! He talked about how he got to meet with the First Presidency inside the Salt Lake Temple and the things they talked about. President Eyring stressed the retention of converts and told a story about Pres. Hinckley’s feelings on the subject. President Hinckley had told him that if the Church’s retention numbers hadn’t changed by the time he was grave, he’d jump back out again and say “Retention, retention, retention!”(while shaking his finger at us) That story got everyone laughing. He [Elder Garn]also told another story about President Hinckley. When a temple in Arizona was recently rededicated, Pres. Hinckley took some other ministers through the open house. One asked him why there was no cross displayed anywhere if Latter-Day Saints were Christians. I’m not going to tell you his response because I think it’d be a great family home evening lesson. So look it up (and send me a copy).
Let’s see, who else has spoken to us? Bro. Stephen B. Allen spoke to us on Sunday night. He was awesome! (I know, I’ve used that word a lot. Sorry, I don’t have my Thesaurus!) he could tell when we got in there that we were dragging. He told the elders they could take off their suit coats, which made them happy and he would ask us questions and have us stand up when they applied to us (i.e., Are you the first of your parents’ children to serve a mission?) Then he spoke to us plainly and simply. He told us about some missionaries that had done stupid stuff. He told us about seven stories and then told us that all these had happened just this week. He urged us to follow the mission rules, and gave strong advice and counsel. He said, “When we forget who we are and what we are about, tremendous sadness will follow.” How amazingly sad?! It hurts me to hear that could happen. It won’t happen to me! I won’t let it happen.
The last really great teacher I’ll tell you about was Brother Littlefield. He spoke about baptizing. I was blown away! He works for the Church and he goes around to different missions to help them get their baptisms up. He talked about when President Monson was a mission president in Canada; there was an area in his mission that only got a baptism or so per year. President Monson is so inspired! He pulled everyone out of that area and waited until all the missionaries who knew about that area were gone. He then spread a rumor that he was going to open a new area, and it was where Brigham Young had baptized over thirty people in a month. That part was true, too! Anyway, he started getting letters from all these excited missionaries who wanted to open the area and serve where Brother Brigham once baptized so many. He chose one elder and a brand-new greenie and sent them there. If I remember correctly, it was in a month that they’d matched Brother Brigham’s number and it just kept doubling and doubling again and almost doubled a third time! How incredible is that? And all that because the attitude of the missionaries had changed. Nothing else had, but that did, and that was what made all the difference.
He also told a great story about when Pres. Packer was a mission president, and how he set an example for his missionaries in a zone conference with a big cake. Look that one up, too! It’s a riot, and then it gets very deep. I love it.
Wow—I had not meant for this letter to last so long. Oops. Oh well. You really did get an epistle from me this time. I’d meant to get this out today, but obviously that isn’t happening. Thanks for sending me parts of my blog. Stacia did a really good job. Can you post this letter on there, too?
I love you! I love you! I love you! I love his gospel. I love my Savior. I’m so excited for General Conference. It’s going to be A-MAZING!
Until the next letter,
Sister Morgan Pedersen

Morgan's 2nd letter home

September 25, 2008

Dear Mom & Dad,
Gosh! You guys are fast! I’ve been in the MTC all of one day and already I have a package?! Wow!
Day Two at the MTC: I’m tired but thrilled to be here. I’m at a meeting right now with a really good speaker, Bro. George T. Taylor. He’s very enthusiastic, excited, and he knows his stuff. We sang “Hark All Ye Nations” for an opening song and he stopped us after the first verse. Hen then went on for about 3 minutes and talked to us about being missionaries. He told us about the word “enthusiasm,” explaining that it came from the Greek word “entheos” which meant “God in us.” Wow! “Enthusiastic” is my favorite word –of-the-week now! Then he had us sing again, and I had goosebumps all over! It reminded me that I didn’t mind being outnumbered.
The Elders are amazing!

September 26, 2008
Wow—I now understand why my friends in the MTC wrote such short letters—there is no time! We have a strict schedule and I actually love it. There is no room for doubt; I am where I am supposed to be.
Dad, I met some elders at lunch today who were going to Ecuador. I told them you served in Colombia and they got all excited. They asked if you loved it and I told them, “Of course!” I told them that they’d be eating a lot of rice and beans. One elder asked how quickly you got used to it. I told him pretty quick. Alright, that’s all for now! I’ll keep sending letters as often as possible, I promise!
your missionary

p.s. Check out Dear Elder.com! We’ve heard that if you send it through them before noon, we’ll get the letters that day! Please pass on the word! Put it on my blog, too.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Morg's First letter to me!!!

So here it is!!! The first letter to the lil sis!!!

My dearest darling chicken-y popsicle!

Hello my love! How are you? How is school going? Hopefully all is well. School is hard, but it should also be fun. Look for the fun in everything!

How's Lisa and Courtney, and Brittnee and...um...the other roommates name who I am blanking on? Sorry :( I hope you love them as much as I love mine!

My companion is Sis. Dalley. She's from Inkom ID. She's going to LA too. Sis. Scheer is her companion, and she's headed to the Texas Fortworth mission. We are the only sisters in our zone at the MTC, which is kind of fun.

There is and Elder Riches in my zone who knows Melody from Hennifer! :) And Elder Cook in my district knows the Jardines. Small world huh? I also ran into an old friend from Oak Canyon, Sis. Young, and I stood in line with Sis. Ness who knows Cydney from Timpanogos! Crazy huh?

I've run into Elder Long a couple of times. It's fun getting to talk to him in french-probably mostly because I know more than he does for now. Ha ha! :) I also met and elder who knows "oh my" Melody: he's from Hennifer too. AND an elder in my district is from Alpine and knows the Jardines. AND I saw Sis. Warwood from Battle Mountain here! I think her first name is Cara? Ask mom if you can't remember; she should.

I'm listening to a girl sing, "I Stand All Amazed" at a meeting right now, and it makes me love you all the more for your beautiful voice! You have the ability to bring such a strong spiritual prescense when you sing. Please use that gift often! You never know who much peace it can bring to others. :)

Okay, I love you tons! I'd write more, but I'm about to pass out, I'm so tired. I have never been so busy in my entire life! It's so amazing how much we get done in a single day!

I love you!

I love you!

I loveYou!!!( with a heart around the word love)

Your Favorite Missionary,
(I'd better be!)

Sister Pedersen

TADAA! I love her!! Send her your love!!!!!

Sister Morgan Pedersen
MTC Mailbox #251
LA-BAT 1014
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604-1793

She is estimated to leave for LA October 14th so I'll put her new address up when that time comes!! Until the next letter!!