2 Corinthians 4:5

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hope everyone's holidays were good! I'm down to mere seconds, so I just wanted to tell you a little bit about what we did down here in the south. :)

We had a really great Christmas, but I think my favorite part was Christmas Eve. We went with Sister Vance (the senior sister missionary) to go sing Christmas carols. We picked a handful of our investigators, and some people in the ward that we thought might need a boost. And then, we went to the hospital and sang to the 9 patients there. That was REALLY something. I really felt the Spirit, and I know they did too. Everyone asked us who we were, and told us we sounded like angels. I'd been thinking a lot about that lately---about what an angel's job is, and how we can be angels here on earth. The Book of Mormon is chock full of information about angels, and it's been really incredible to read about them and see how we can be angels of the Lord as well. My favorite scripture I've found about angels thus far is Alma 13:22-26. Alma mentions the 'glad tidings of great joy' and 'joyful news' a good handful of times---and what is that message of great joy? What are those glad tidings? Look at D&C 76:40. "And this is the gospel, the GLAD TIDINGS, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us---" And again in D&C 79:1---"...proclaiming GLAD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, even the everlasting gospel." And last of all, in D&C 128:19-20---"Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have recieved? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy...And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah!...declaring...the dispensation of the fulness of times!" What greater joy can we ask for than to know and have the Spirit of God bear witness to us that Jesus is the Christ, that He still lives and loves us, and has proclaimed His gospel in its fulness so that we can make it back to our heavenly home and family?! I love this work. I love getting to share this news with everyone I can. I'm so grateful that I have been able to serve the Savior here in Louisiana. I have learned so much, and I have seen the hand of the Lord more clearly in my life and in the lives others than I ever have before. This gospel is true! This is Christ's church, and He stands at the head of it, beckoning us to come follow Him.

I love y'all! Keep on keepin' on!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.


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Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving/December!

Hey y'all! It's your favorite sporadically-writing missionary here! How was y'all's Turkey Day? Ours here in Oakdale was good...much turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, rice dressing, pecan pie, sweet potato souffle...oh so yummy! Plus, we got to share the gospel! HOORAY! Best Thanksgiving EVER!

Work-wise, it was a tough week this last week, but we dug in our heels, and came out with just a few bumps and bruises. Our car, on the other hand, did not fare so well. We came out of our lovely abode Sunday morning, and found the scandalous scene unfolded! The culprit, a big orange pumpkin, lay carelessly a few feet from the victimized Malibu. We almost got out our sidewalk chalk to draw outlines on the asphalt of the broken pieces of the driver's side tail-light. There was mucous-like orange entrails above the damaged light, and even a seed stuck to the trunk of the car. Needless to say, we were shocked and amazed. Apparently Oakdale is smaller than I thought---or the people here are REALLY REALLY bored. Either one... :)

Well, that's all I've got time for folks! I love y'all! Keep on keepin' on! Do good, TRUST GOD, and don't worry.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sista P!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sorry it's been a while!

So, I just realized I hadn't sent out a mass email for a couple of weeks now. Oops...my bad! Sorry!

This is probably my first email since transfers. So...I got transfered. I'm in Oakdale, Louisiana, and I am a lucky stinker and get two companions!!!! YIPEE!!! Sisters Bunker and Myer and I are having an absolute BLAST. We're tearing it up up here, and loving every minute of it. Sister Bunker and I have discovered that we are long lost twins seperated in the pre-mortal life. Seriously, we are so alike, we creep Sister Myer out. It's AWESOME. :) And Sister Myer is so much fun---she's a riot. She has only brothers at home, so Bunkie and I are slowly breaking her in, and getting her used to sisters. Needless to say, we are all sleep deprived and very giggly. I love it.

Funny story of the week:
we're participating in the Oakdale Community Christmas Pagaent. I was Mary for one rehearsal...then we found out that our director, Mrs. Bradley, wanted a more...um...lively pagaent than most Christmas pagaents. Let me put it this way---Sisters Bunker, Myer and I, along with the senior missionary couple here (the Vances) are the ONLY white people in the entire cast. Yup. It's pretty entertaining, to say the least. So yeah, I was Mary...til I discovered that Mrs. Bradley expected me to really sound like I was going into labor. Moaning, groaning...and the more of it, the better. Needless to say, I couldn't do it without laughing, and since I'm pretty sure those kind of hysterics aren't a typical part of childbirth, we decided to let the Vances be Joseph and Mary. Which of course is even more hilarious because Elder Vance and Mrs. Bradley have very different views of how things should be done, and both keep trying to undermine each other. Yup---never a dull moment in Oakdale, that's for sure. :)

Well, that's it for me for now! Love y'all. Keep on keepin' on! Fight the good fight!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sista P!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Goodbye Houma, Hello Oakdale!

Well, you guessed it...they're moving me out of Houma. I've loved this place so much, it's hard to leave. But I'm leaving this part of the Lord's vineyard in truly capable and loving hands---Sister Thomas and Sister Schultz are going to be AMAZING down here.

As for me, I'm headed to Oakdale with Sisters Myer and Bunker. Yup, I'm going to be in a tri-panionship. It's going to be SO much fun. I've been dying to serve with these two stellar sisters, and I never thought I'd get to. And now, BLESSINGS FROM HEAVEN and TENDER MERCIES, I get them both! HOORAY!!!

We did have a baptism this weekend---Sister Dana Rutledge is the newest member of the Thibodaux ward! HOORAY!!!! She's still struggling with smoking, so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep her in y'all's prayers. She's going through some rough stuff right now, and could use all the extra prayers that she can get.

Um...let's see. Not much else to report on, really. It's bittersweet, leaving Houma. I've learned SO MUCH here. I can honestly look at myself and see the growth that I've made because I came here. I've been so blessed. I've had amazing companions and good areas my entire mission, and I am only adding more to that list. God works in mysterious ways. I know that it was He that called me to Oakdale through President Woods, and when the call came, the only answer I could give was, "Here I am, send me."

We are led by men of God, who are inspired by Him. What joy and relief that brings me! We will never be led astray by them, and as we hold true to the promises and teachings of Jesus Christ, we will see so many tender mercies! I love y'all! I'll get my new address up here next week. Until then, send stuff to the mission office address:
Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission
12025 Justice Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Keep on keepin' on! Do good, TRUST GOD, and don't worry.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sista P! ;)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hey y'all!

So, I'm being forced to say goodbye to Sister Santos...sigh. She's been a blast and a half, and I'll miss her like crazy. If any of y'all are going to be visiting Temple Square between now and March, find a Brazilian sister and ask her to find Sister Santos for you so you can give her a big hug for me (if you're a girl, at least!).

I'm probably not going to be in Houma much longer...droga. (That's 'dang' in Portuguese.) We had to push Dana's baptism back again...she went through some major stress, and picked up smoking again. Keep her in y'all's prayers, okay? We've got our fingers crossed for this weekend.

Um...I can't think of much else. We've been working our little hineys off, and have been seeing so many tender mercies, I can hardly keep track of them! I love being a missionary! I love being able to tell people, "This is how you can have eternal happiness!" The gospel really is the answer---and the fulness of it is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's true. I know it.

Sorry so short...down to mere seconds!

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.

Monday, October 5, 2009

No time...sorry!

This week has been really good. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED GENERAL CONFERENCE. We are truly led by men and women inspired by God. Anyone who missed Elder Holland's talk in the Sunday afternoon session NEEDS to find some way to watch it. WOW. I now know how to better bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon.

I know that Jesus Christ lives, that He loves us, and is still guiding us today. He has set up one way of doing things (see Ephesians 4:4-6, 11-14), and it is our duty and privilege to always be striving to find that way, that path. I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the words of God, and when used together, bring us more peace and assurance in this life, and the promise of life eternal in the world to come. If you have ever doubted the veracity of the Book of Mormon, know that you are not alone. There is one simple way to find your answer concerning it's truthfulness. Read it, ponder its message, and then ask your Heavenly Father. I promise you, as a servant of God, that He does hear and answer our prayers, and that if we ask with "a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto [us], by the power of the Holy Ghost." (Moroni 10:4)

"Hearken unto these words, and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words, believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good." (2 Nephi 33:10)

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers! Please keep the new members of the Church in your prayers as well...they need your love and your support.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lovin' Life in Lousiana!

Hey y'all...
So, I know I didn't write last week. My bad...I took too long writing my other emails and debating which pictures to include, and the computer booted me off. Sad day, huh? (Okay, not REALLY sad, but still...)

This week has been good...we had zone conference on Wednesday, and it was AMAZING!, as usual. President Woods taught us about charity, which was truly inspired, because I'd been struggling feeling patience, let alone love, for some people lately. It was a good reminder of why I am really out here, and who I need to BE and BE LIKE to invite people with the power that is neccessary. I love being led by inspiration!

We got to see the General Relief Society broadcast this weekend, and OH BOY WAS IT GOOD!!! I loved Sister Thompson's talk, "Mind the Gap." I loved all the talks, but I really related to Sister Thompson's. It was really REALLY good.

I've got some names for y'all to keep in your prayers---April Scott, Nancy Bonvillain, Rita Hebert, Jeff Outhouse, Dana Rutledge, and Day. They're all trying to quit smoking, and we're trying to help them. But that tobacco has a really REALLY strong pull, and they need all the strength they can get.

I love you all! Keep on keepin' on! Remember---trust God, do good, don't worry!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Transfer time again....

So, I'm staying in Houma (YAY!) with Sister Santos (YAY!) until she goes back to Temple Square in October (YA....wait a second...that's not a good thing!)

We were asked by the assistants to type up a little note talking about the miracles we've seen here in Houma. I know we were inspired while writing it, because it's better than anything I normally can come up with. So I'm including that in here, because it's fitting.

""But behold, [we, Sisters Pedersen and Santos], will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." (1 Nephi 1:20)

What an outpouring of tender mercies we are truly seeing here in our beloved Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission, elders and sisters! We cannot begin to express our amazement and our love and gratitude for our Heavenly Father and our Savior. Remember that tsunami Elder Kikuchi promised us? Well, seeing as how we're closest to the coast, we want to let y'all know that the gargantuan wave of spiritual blessings is headed your way.

Every day, our faith and our trust in the Lord is being tested and tried. We've been given the weapons we need to "fight the good fight," and as we use them boldly and with the power that has been given to us as representatives of the Savior, we ARE seeing miracles. As we strive to continue to be exactly obedient, our Father cannot help but shower us in a multitude of blessings. Our Savior cannot help but walk beside us as we push forward in our ministries. They ARE with us, elders and sisters, and we testify of that with great joy!

"Be not afraid," our Master has assured us, "but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee...for I have much people in this city." (Acts 18:9-10). The people are out there, and we are humbled at the tender mercies and miracles we have seen. All of you helped bring these souls to Christ---it is because of our increase in obedience and faith and diligence as a mission that this tidal wave is being brought to pass.

Get ready, everyone...the wave is coming your way! Let us all continue to be obedient, to be more like our Savior and Redeemer, and prove ourselves to be disturbers and annoyers of the advesary's kingdom. We love you, and pray for every one of you each night.

Your Friends in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen and Sister Santos"

The world is getting scarier and scarier. The Savior needs us to do our part so He can come again. Let's work our hardest so that He can come soon, and bring that promised peace we're all so desperately seeking! I love you all, and I'll talk to y'all next week!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hymn #266

What a crazy week! We were blessed to see two more baptisms! Chris and April Scott are the newest members of the Thibodaux ward, and we couldn't be happier. Especially since they were originally committed for baptism on September 5th. :) We had a lesson with them last Monday, and Chris had everything about his baptism all planned out, and asked us if there was anyway he could get baptized sooner. I felt like I had to clean out my ears. It was AWESOME. :)

We've been working hard, and we're loving life down here. We've got interviews this Friday, which I'm excited for because I've got some questions I want to ask President Woods. He's seriously the COOLEST guy ever. I know pretty much all missionaries think that about their mission presidents, but it still is true! He's absolutely amazing, and so in tune with the Spirit, it's just AWESOME.

ANYHOOT...um...that's it for me, I think. Keep on keepin' on, everyone. I love you all. Remember this sage advice from a wiser missionary than myself: "Tip #1----trust God. Tip #2----Trust God. Tip #3----It's all good. And when all else fails.....TRUST GOD!!!"

Do good, trust God, and don't worry!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, August 24, 2009

Still more blessings...

We got to see two more people come closer to the Savior this weekend! Hallelujah! Truly, GOD ROCKS!!!

We also had a really neat experience with an investigator named Chris. He's Falon's (a recent convert) brother, and has been listening to what we've been teaching his family for quite a while now. He came to the baptisms on Saturday, and then got to be present when McShane was received the priesthood. He pulled me aside right afterward, and told me that while he was watching McShane, he felt this overwhelming peace and love flood his system. He said that he almost started to cry. He'd been praying and reading the Book of Mormon, and trying to decide if this is what the Lord wanted for him. Saturday night, he got his answer. He told me that his heart felt different, and that he knew that this was God's way of telling him what God wanted for him. I had goosebumps all over my arms, and chills running up and down my spine. I bore my testimony to him that I knew what he felt was the Spirit, and that God was indeed answering his prayers. So now, Chris and his wife April are preparing to be baptized on September 5th.

God is really there. He really answers our prayers. He loves us, He is our Father, and He asked our Brother to pave the way for us here on earth. Our Savior lives! He stands on the right hand of God, and is rooting for us every step of the way.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bonsai!

Elder Kikuchi, when he toured our mission in February, told us that the word 'bonsai' meant 'hallelujah'. He also told us that if we would be 100% morning schedule missionaries, and read from the Book of Mormon 30 minutes every day, we would experience a spiritual tsunami and that the number of convert baptisms in our mission would double. I thought it was appropriate to title this email/blurb 'Bonsai!' because of the blessings and tender mercies the Lord has poured out upon us here in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission.

In July, we saw the beginning of the fulfilment of that promise from Elder Kikuchi. We were blessed to see 41 people enter the waters of baptism for our entire mission---five of which Sister Santos and I were personally able to see. As for August, we're still seeing many miracles, and we have three investigators with baptismal dates for this month so far. Elder Kikuchi also promised us that if we would contact at least 80 people a week, our teaching pool would be full. I have personally seen this blessing in the work here in Houma, and can humbly add my testimony of how it's affected me as a servant of the Lord. There really are good people out here, searching for the truth. And they aren't just in the poorer parts of town. There are good people everywhere, and they all deserve the chance to hear the gospel.

This last week we had our zone conference, and I cannot express enough gratitude to the Lord for the inspired messages we heard there. I don't know what everyone else got out of them; it felt as though President and Sister Woods and Elders Broadley and Nnah were talking directly to me. Seriously, every single thing that was said was an answer to a struggle or question I'd been having. I am in awe and amazement at how merciful our Father in Heaven truly is. I am so blessed! And I deserve absolutely none of it. How tenderly our Savior loves us! It truly gives us reason to rejoice, to shout, "Bonsai!" I am so grateful that I get to be a servant of the Lord here in Louisiana.

I love you all! Y'all are just awesome! Keep on keepin' on, and know that the Savior yet lives! He loves each and every one of us, as does our Father in Heaven. They desire only the very best for us, and as we listen and follow Their instructions, we will receive so many blessings that "there shall not be room enough to receive [them]." (Malachi 3:10) The power of prayer is very real---Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees. I know God lives, I know He loves me. I know He hears and answers prayers. I know that because of His tender mercy and the power of the priesthood, our families are united for all eternity. It is my privilege to bear this witness of our Father and of our Savior, and I do so in the sacred name of the Savior Jesus Christ, amen.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, August 10, 2009

Having a blast here in Houma!

Yup, that's right folks! Transfers have come and gone, and BLESSING FROM HEAVEN, I'm still hanging out in heavenly Houma! HOORAY!!!!

Sorry I didn't write last week...surprisingly, I was crunched for time with emails! (I know, BIG shock, huh?) ;)

Well, we're doing great down here---surviving the heat, and finding awesome people to teach the gospel too! We found a couple cool new families that we're really excited about---the Fanguys (pronounced "fungys"), and the Jacksons (and they actually do have a son named Michael!). We've got an appointment with the Fanguys tomorrow, so we're super excited for that. We taught the Jacksons about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Saturday, and we're going to call Sharon tomorrow to find out when we can come over again---that's when she'll have her work schedule.

The Parfaits are hanging in there. As usually happens when we make a firm stance against the advesary, they've been hit with some heavy burdens. Any prayers in their behalf would be awesome. I think I'm starting to get an idea of what it feels like to be a parent----it hurts. I felt like screaming at the devil yesterday, "Just leave them alone!!!" when the Parfaits were telling us about their struggles. But at the same time, I know that they NEED this test of faith so that they can have the strength to face the rest of their lives. They're doing great, faith-wise. They understand why life all of a sudden got tougher. But it still hurts to see them suffer. My love and respect for Heavenly Father has grown even more---I feel like I understand Him a little better. What strength He has! He has the power and the capability to take all our pains and struggles away, but He does not because He knows we need it. Ugh. I couldn't do that. I'm not that strong. Thank heavens He's in charge!

McShane and Falon are doing great. McShane got things worked out with his boss so that he can come to sacrament every Sunday, which is a total blessing! They're hard people to catch at home, so we haven't been able to have a sit-down lesson with them this last week, but we're going to set something up for Thursday, probably. If I remember right, they both have at least part of that day off.

AND...we are working with an awesome part-member family, the Naquins. Brett and Sandy are so much fun, and Brett comes to church every week. You'd never guess he wasn't a member. But anyways, we had a good lesson with them and their two cute little boys yesterday. We talked about the power and protection that prayer and the scriptures give us. Then Sister Santos boldly committed Brett to prepare to be baptized on the 22nd. He said he would, so we're planning another baptism for this month! I was a little hesitant to commit him, because I know he's been pushed in the past, but I also know that he'll let us know if he isn't ready. Until then, we're going to shower them with as much love as possible, to show him that we're asking him to do this because we care, and not because we're just trying to get him wet.

We've got zone conference this week---President Woods is switching the schedule around. I'm helping the sisters in Metairie do a musical number. We decided to pick a hymn that people aren't familiar with---that way, when we mess up, no one will know the difference! Sister Riddle thought of that one...pretty smart, huh? And, as I like to tell people, the scriptures tell us to "make a joyful noise" (see Psalms 81:1, 95:1-2). They never say it has to sound good. :)

But in case I get called on...which, knowing Sister Woods, is more than likely going to happen...if anyone has any good arrangements of hymns or EFY songs that they'd like to send me, I would be most grateful! You can mail it to me (485 Grand Caillou Apt. E, Houma, LA 70363) or you can email it to me, and I can print it off at the library (morganjpedersen@myldsmail.net).

I love y'all! Congratulations to Adam Wilcock! You're going to do wonders in Texas! And congrats to Daniel Worwood, who definitely returned with honor from Indonesia. Way to go.

Keep on keepin' on, everyone!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bah...last week of the transfer ALREADY?!

So, this week has been AWESOME. McShane got baptized on Wednesday, but he hasn't been confirmed yet, so please keep him in y'alls prayers. He NEEDS that extra protection, especially now. His wife, Falon, is planning on getting baptized on Thursday, so by Sunday, the ward will have two more new members! HOORAY!

Um...this week has been hot and sometimes rainy. Um...I'm down to like 5 seconds, so I love y'all! The Church is true! Pres. Monson is God's chosen Prophet! Jesus Christ LIVES, and is our Savior and our best friend! And last, but not least....GOD FREAKING ROCKS!!! ;)

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another blessed week!

Can I just tell y'all how much I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY?!!!!! Truly, I have never experience more REAL JOY in my entire life than I have in these blessed months I've spent in the service of my Savior.

I am constantly and continually amazed and humbled by the tender mercies the Lord is pouring down upon us here in Houma. We've got two more souls who have committed to come unto Christ by being baptized this week. McShane and Falon are amazing! They have just EATEN everything up, and they have a solid, SOLID testimony of the Savior and the Book of Mormon already. I am just in awe.

Brother and Sister Parfait and Sister Hebert are doing just FANTABULOUS! I've always heard about how people can tell a difference between members of the Church and the rest of the world, but I never really understood or saw it myself. I mean, yes, I believed it, but most everyone I knew was a member, so there wasn't much for me to compare appearances with. But now! I can see the difference, the change that has come over the Parfaits and Sister Hebert, and it is absolutely incredible. Their house, which is normally quite chaotic on account of having 9 or more people living there, is still crazy...but there is such a peace there! It's amazing! I love it! I was just in complete and utter awe as we sat and talked with them this week. I can't even describe it in words. But now I understand. Now I can see what everyone else sees, what they describe as a "glow" or "light." It is the SPIRIT OF THE LORD, and it FREAKING ROCKS!!! ;)

I absolutely LOVE being a missionary. There is NOWHERE else I would rather be in the whole entire world. There is NOTHING else I'd rather be doing---no book, no movie, no major world event, no concert, NOTHING could bring me the joy that this work brings!

Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, 15-16-----"The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.…And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"

I testify with all my heart and soul that this is true! I know that this gospel changes lives and hearts, and brings us closer to the Savior. This is HIS work, and how privileged am I to be a part of it!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Still more tender mercies...

As you can see, the Thibodaux ward has three new members! Brother and Sister Parfait and Sister Hebert are doing just splendorific! (Yes, I just made up that word...I'm allowed to!)

Their baptisms were amazing. I am so blessed to have been a part of their lives. They've taught me so much about faith and trust in the Lord. They're just awesome. I am truly humbled when I think about all the circumstances surrounding Sister McKay and I finding them, and how truly prepared they were.

I love them, and y'all with all my heart! The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to earth in its fulness, and I get to go tell people about it! Seriously! This is what the scriptures mean when they talk about "glad tidings of great joy"! (See Alma 13:21-24) How blessed am I to be a part of this great work!

I love y'all so much! Thank you for your prayers. They mean so much to me.

Keep on keepin' on, everyone! Work as though it all depends on you, and PRAY because it ALL depends on HIM.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blessings from heaven and tender mercies of the Lord!

Hey y'all!

This past week was really REALLY good. Friday, we got to go to New Missionary Training at the mission home, and I got to see Sister Pilette and Sister Bunker, and I got to meet Sister Hill and Sister English! It was an AWESOME start to an AWESOME day! The Spirit was so strong in our meeting, and so many things were said that seemed like they were directed just to me. Isn't it so cool how the Spirit works?! It was a super-charged boost to my spiritual battery, and I loved every minute of it---even the hour and a half drive there and back. (Of course, that's probably because we got to ride with Elders Hudson and Bounds, and those two are just funny, so the ride went super fast!)

We had a good but uneventful 4th of July. We had to come in early Saturday night, but we got to watch some fireworks from our apartment, which was cool. Sister Santos asked me to sing the national anthem for her, and I got to tell her what I could remember of the story behind the poem that Francis Scott Key wrote. It really brought a lot of things into perspective for me, and I was very grateful for the blessings of liberty and freedom that so many people gave up their lives to protect---then and now.

Sunday was AWESOME! I love fast and testimony meeting! The Spirit was so strong. We had three of our investigators there who have baptismal dates, and they all said they loved every minute of church. Miss Rita read from Mosiah chapter 18, verses 8 to 10. As she began reading verse 10, her emotions were very close to the surface, and there was such a sweet spirit in the room. I'm pretty sure the Lord confirmed in her heart that her decision to be baptized was the thing He desired for her.

Next email---we'll have some baptisms to report on! Truly, I am in complete and total awe at the tender mercies of the Lord. This will be the first baptism that I've actually had a major role in, and I feel SO blessed to be a part of it. Kim, Chris, and Rita are absolutely GOLDEN, and I cannot believe how blessed I am to be one of the missionaries who found them and had the privelege of teaching them. It's still very surreal to me. I'm so humbled that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of this great work!

I love y'all! Keep sending letters, pictures, whatever. They make my day.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, June 29, 2009

Onto week 2 of transfer 7

Hey y'all!

This week has been HOT...REALLY RIDICULOUSLY HOT. But other than that, really good. :) Sister Santos and I rode our bikes two days this week, and we walked one. And then we had a member tell us that this is the hottest weather he's felt here in 30 years. All I can say is...joy to the stinkin' world. :) We survived...somehow. Biking in a skirt is NOT easy...especially when the only street you can go on to get to your investigators' house is the crazy big main street of town. Then you have to wait at stop lights, and try not to DIE as cars go whizzing by you, AND try to maintain modesty. But thanks to the many blessings of our Heavenly Father, we survived to see a new month...and more importantly, NEW MILES! HOORAY!!! ;)

We've dealt a lot this week with people who have been affected by deaths. It's given us a great opportunity to share the Plan of Salvation with people. The Spirit has really been strong in so many of our lessons. I feel so lucky to be able to be with these amazing people here in Houma. We are teaching some truly incredible people, and it's been amazing to watch them grow to love the gospel more and more. We've got an amazing ward who really welcomes people in with open arms. What a tender mercy from the Lord.

We've also been blessed to have some awesome training experiences with our mission president. I know without a doubt that President Woods is inspired by God, and that if I will do my best to follow his instructions with exactness, we will see that tsunami of miracles promised by Elder Kikuchi. I'm trying to be more obedient, and I'm quickly discovering the areas where I am the weakest. I can't help but think of President as our Captain Moroni---fortifying our weakest points against the advesary, and strengthening our hope and faith in our Savior.

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! There is nowhere else I'd rather be. Nowhere.

I love you all. Thank you for your prayers. I know I've seen the blessings from them. Keep those letters coming!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Onto Transfer #7!

I'm trying to keep things short and simple...because, as usual, I'm ridiculously low on time.

So, transfers are this week. Sister Santos and I are staying in Houma. HOORAY!

My amazing experience of the week---remember me telling y'all about the Parfait family and their faith? Well, it paid off BIG TIME. We got there to teach them on Thursday, and they told us about how they'd been praying and reading the Book of Mormon and Bible as a family, and Tuesday night, when they were about to lose hope, they had a miracle! They were able to get the money to pay the taxes on the land their home is on, and they didn't lose their trailer. As they were telling us the story, Chris (the dad) started to cry. The Spirit was so strong! I cannot express my love and gratitude for my Heavenly Father and my Savior. There are simply not words. I love Them with all my heart, and I KNOW, without a doubt, that They hear and answer prayers. How blessed am I to be a part of this work!

I love you all! Keep on keepin' on! Do good, work hard, TRUST GOD, and don't worry!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, June 15, 2009

SERIOUSLY...I swear I JUST got here!

Time moves too fast. That's all I'll say, because I know y'all are probably sick of me saying it.

This week has been bittersweet. I said goodbye to Sister McKay; she flew back to Temple Square on Wednesday. I did get to go on exchanges with Sisters Boulter and Horan, which was a lot of fun. And I picked up my new companion, Sister Santos from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She's awesome, and we're going to be rockin' it down here! ;)

We had an amazing surprise yesterday. Kim and Chris Parfait came to church! They were part of that family of nine that came last week. Because of the chaos of dropping off Sister McKay and picking up Sister Santos, we didn't have a chance to see them before Sunday. We weren't expecting to see them at church. But they came on their own, and they really liked it, and the Spirit was so strong, and we committed them to prepare to be baptized on July 11th! We had an AWESOME lesson with them yesterday about the Plan of Salvation, and they really liked it. We challenged them to read Moroni 10, and to take Moroni's challenge. Our only worry with them is their financial situation right now. It's a long and complicated story, but through no fault of their own, they might be out of a place to live on Wednesday. We're praying for them so hard. They are such an amazing family, and they have such strong faith in Jesus Christ. Kim told us that, "We know that God loves us, and He'll make things work out." That was it. No complaining, no comments of doubt or worry. Just pure faith in Christ. So I'm determined to do my part, and add to their faith mine.

I know that we were supposed to meet this family. There is no doubt about that in my mind. I know that God is very aware of them, and that everything will be okay. And I'm going to do everything in my power to help them. I'm going to pray harder than I ever have before, and I know that God answers prayers. Look at what He did for Alma the Elder----Alma prayed an angel to his son. I don't expect an angel. All I expect is an answer, and I know that He will give one. He loves this family more than I do, and that's what matters most.

I love y'all, keep those letters coming, and I'll talk to y'all next week!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

P.S. Enjoy the pictures! That's Sister Worthey's BEAUTIFUL red Camaro that I'm sitting in. Oh yeah, it was amazing. ;) Also, a picture of us with the Wortheys (Sister Worthey was goofing off---she probably won't be too happy about me sticking that picture on here...oh well), and a picture of the Thibodaux, or "Thibodizzle," district. :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

New companion, many miracles, no time!

Tomorrow Sister McKay and I drive to Baton Rouge, and we'll spend the night in the mission home. Wednesday she flies back to Temple Square, I'll spend some time with the sisters in Gonzales, and then pick up my new companion, Sister Santos from Brazil.

Miracles! We had *11* investigators at church on Sunday. The Lord is truly amazing! We have been so blessed here in Houma, and we're working with some incredible people.

I'm sorry this is so short, but I really REALLY have no time---we've got to get back to the pad so Sister McKay can pack. Blech. :)

I love y'all, keep sending those emails and letters, the gospel of Jesus Christ brings us all the peace and joy we could ever desire and more, and I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, June 1, 2009

Onto week 4...

I promised myself today that I wouldn't say the same things that I always say in this email. So here it goes...

This week was normal. We did normal missionary things, we taught some lessons which were normal, and we met some normal people.

Okay, that's enough of that. That is proof that 'normal' is BORING. :)

This week was AWESOME! Sister McKay and I worked our butts off. We walked a good bit, and somehow survived the INSANE heat. We talked to some CRAZY people, who told us some very INTERESTING stories. We also taught some INCREDIBLE lessons, thanks to the Spirit.

I think my highlight of the week was sacrament meeting yesterday. As we sat in PEC, there was an enormous BANG. A transformer had blown, and we were left in a pickle---no power for the building. And yet, these faithful Saints just went forward. They made phonecalls and got ahold of generators, lights, flashlights, and determined that we'd just have sacrament meeting this week. They posted us missionaries by the doors to inform people, and they even got ahold of a big fan to keep the chapel at a decent temperature.

But that's not the reason why sacrament touched me so much this week---well, not entirely anyway. They could have just cancelled church; they could have just made some phonecalls, and no one would have really blamed them because there was nothing they could do to remedy the situation. But they recognized that the sacrament is so important, so they made sure that all who wanted to come and partake would still have that opportunity. There was just this feeling of peace there, more so than usual. I watched as the sacrament was passed, and was reminded of why I came to church. It wasn't for the classes, or the social aspect, though those are two benefits I enjoy about church. But the reason I go is to partake of the sacrament, and to renew those sacred, holy covenants that I made when I had more pure faith than I do now. I'm not saying I don't have faith; but when I was eight, and chose to be baptized, I had no doubts. My faith was truly that of a little child's, and it was as clean and pure as I became that day. I was reminded that my faith can become that clean and pure if I am really focusing on what the sacrament is and why we take it.

I'm out of time, so I'll end with that. But just know that the sacrament it more important than we sometimes realize, and I challenge everyone to do some digging and find out why it's important---why it's REALLY important---to them.

Love y'all!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm already in week 3? THIS IS RIDICULOUS!

Why does time insist on moving so fast? WHY???

Anyways...hey y'all! It's been a crazy week, so let me see if I can recap some of the highlights for y'all. We've definitely had ups and downs, but God triumphs over all, so we're doing good!

Tuesday night, we got dropped by a family that the elders who had previously been in West Houma were teaching. Normally, being dropped is a little frustrating, but this was different. We had an awesome lesson with them; we talked about how the Savior knew everything we were going through, and that He'd always be there to support us. We shared some scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants sections 121-123. Sister McKay and I sang a song. The Spirit was so strong. And then, as we were leaving, the mom told us to never come back. I didn't hear her at first, and Sister McKay was in shock, so Denise said it again...and again and again and again. We were blown away. I was angry, Sister McKay was hurt, and when we got to our apartment, we poured out our hearts in prayer. Comfort flooded our souls, and we knew that we'd done our best, and that it was accepted by the Lord. To this day, I don't know what made Denise pull a 360 on us like that, but she has that choice. Hopefully she'll listen someday. If not, then maybe her kids will. Sister McKay told me that statistically it takes 7 contacts with the Church before someone starts investigating. If nothing else, we knocked off one of those contacts for that family.

Thursday, we received a media referral off of a pass along card we'd handed out. That hardly ever happens! And this family is AMAZING. The Parfaits are so humble, and they love God so much. We got to talk with them about the eternal nature of families, and about how we go through trials to strengthen our faith and ourselves. We're super excited to teach them; plus, Chris (the dad) speaks French! CAJUN French. It's INSANE. I can pick out a sentence here and there, but it is SO different than normal French. But I love it, and I hope I can pick it up!

Last big exciting event of the week happened on Friday. One of our investigators, Brittany, got married, and we got to help set up for her reception. It felt so good to see her take a step closer to her Savior. She'd been living with her boyfriend for a long time, and she knew that in order to be baptized, she had to either move out or get married. She wants to be baptized, so she took the steps neccessary to qualify herself for those blessings. It was awesome. And her family was really impressed by all the work we willingly and lovingly did. We think this might have really opened their hearts, so we're going to take a shot at it and try to teach them. :) YIPEE!

Houma is such an amazing place. I LOVE IT!!! And seriously, I have been spoiled rotten with companions---Sister McKay is incredible. I wish I didn't have to lose her in a few weeks; she goes back to Temple Square June 10th. I'm already dreading that day.

Oh! One other exciting thing. We're teaching this lady named Holly and her daughter Paige. They are really cool. But the exciting part was talking with Holly's husband John, who is kind of anti. We had a really good talk with him on Saturday about temples; he says that his biggest hang-up with "the Mormons" is that they won't let non-members into the temple. God is amazing, and blessed me and Houma with a sister missionary from Temple Square. Sister McKay gets this question all the time there, and she did an amazing job explaining why. We've got a return appointment on Wednesday (tomorrow??? OH MY GOSH, time goes WAY TOO FAST!), and if he brings it up again, we're going to emphasize that the temple is meant for everyone, but you have to meet certain requirements. We didn't come up with the requirements, God did. We're going to bear our testimonies, and let the Spirit do what it does best---testify of truth. Who knows? He may listen, he may not. But the Spirit will be present, and Holly and Paige will feel it, and it's all because our Savior is AMAZING. The End!

Okay, now I really have to go. I love you all! I think I may have mis-typed my zipcode, so here's my new address again, just in case:

Sister Morgan Pedersen
485 Grand Caillou Apt. E
Houma, LA 70360

LOVE Y'ALL!!!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, May 18, 2009

Houma, BLESSED HOUMA!

Hey y'all!

Again, no time....big surprise. I arrived safely in Houma, Louisiana, after playing follow-the-leader out of Mettairie and taking the scenic route back (meaning that it was the blind leading the blind) on Wednesday, and I've loved every minute of it! Houma is AMAZING! The people here are so friendly, and so willing to talk to us---of course, making progress with them is often difficult, but hey, I'll take what I can get for now!

My companion, Sister McKay, is AMAZING!!! I love her guts. We are loving life down here. Our motto thus far is, "The Grand Adventures of McKay and Pedersen..." because really, everyday is an adventure of some sort. Neither one of us really know where we're going, and that's half the fun of things! YIPEE!!!

The weather continues to heat up...I'm surviving, suprisingly enough. The scenery down here is SO different from Prairieville---different colors of green, the clouds seem lower/closer to the ground, and the town itself is SO much smaller. But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'm hooked on Houma.

We got to see a baptism on Saturday, which was so much fun! Dosheeka is an amazing girl, and she's so solid. I also got to bear my testimony to an investigator about why I came on my mission. No investigator has ever asked me that before, and I was blessed to have an "ah-ha!" moment. The Spirit touched my spirit, and I knew without a doubt that I was out here for the right reason, and that gave me such comfort and assurance. God FREAKING ROCKS!!! :)

Well, I'm outta here y'all! Oh! Before I forget, here is my new address. SEND ALL MAIL HERE, because the mission office is no longer three minutes away from my apartment. :)

Sister Pedersen
485 Grand Caillou Apt. E
Houma, LA 70363

I love y'all, and I'll talk to y'all later! Keep on keepin' on!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TRANSFERS!!!!

Okay y'all, I really only have time for one email today---I've got to go pack. Yup, you read that right. They're shipping me out. I'm off to Houma, which is as south as you can go. I'm headed into Cajun country! Ah ma chere! I'm excited. My new companion is Sister McKay; she's one of the ones who got to come up and do splits with us. I'm super stoked! I only get her until the 10th of June though, because then she flies back (either to Temple Square or to home...I'm not sure). So come June, I'll be getting a new companion before everyone else. Dang. CRAZINESS. The plus side---I'm pretty sure I get to come back up to Baton Rouge for New Missionary Training, so I'll get to see some familiar faces again.

As for Sister Horan, she's going just down the road a bit to Gonzales. She gets Sister Boulter as a companion, and I am way excited for both of them! They are going to tear it up out there!

Elder Jamsa is being released from the office for his last six weeks, and he's opening a new area on the Texas border. He's really excited. I'm happy for him too, though I am kinda bummed. Today will probably be the last time I see him...until like mission reunions or something. He's been the best district leader any missionary could ask for, and he's set such a great example for me. I really admire and look up to him. He's going to do great things in Fields.

As for Elder Stratton, he's staying in the office, and he gets Elder Snow as his companion. I HEART ELDER SNOW!!! He's a riot.

As for Prairieville, President Woods is combining it with the office elders area, so Elders Stratton and Snow will take over where we left off with Honor, Shawn, and Karla. We have been majorly blessed this last week---we've had two AMAZING lessons with Shawn, and she wants to be baptized! We're so excited. She's reading the Book of Mormon and loving it, and we've got her hooked up with a couple of members, so hopefully this transition will be a bit easier.

I hope everyone told their mothers how much they loved them on Sunday. I know I did!!! :) Seriously, my mom rocks. I'm so grateful for her.

Well, that's it for me! I love you all! As for letters and stuff, hold off on sending them until I can get y'all my new address. The office address worked great while I was here, because I was two minutes away from the office. Now, it's a bit further....like an hour and a half further. :)

Keep on keepin' on everyone!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, May 4, 2009

I can't believe this is the last week of the transfer already!

Y'all are probably tired of seeing that in practically every subject line. Sorry. :) I can't help it, though! Time flies by so stinkin' fast, it's ridiculous!

So, my uber big super exciting news is that (providing everything works out the way it should) we should be having a baptism on May 9th!!!! We FINALLY got all the little kinks worked out with Honor and Damian, and she's firmly committed to getting baptized this weekend. They're supposed to go pick up the marriage license today, then Bishop Sanders is going to marry them at the church on Thursday, and then Saturday she'll get baptized! This is truly a miracle and tender mercy from the Lord, and we're positive and full of faith that everything will work out.

Other than that, it's coming up on transfer time again. I'm 99.9% sure that I'll be leaving Prairieville...but Heavenly Father likes to keep me on my toes, and I often need reminding that I am NOT the one in charge, so we'll see. I'll be able to let y'all know for sure next Tuesday, because I'll know for sure a week from today. (A WEEK FROM TODAY?!! Holy CROW!)

We had an AWESOME fast and testimony meeting yesterday. There was an actual theme to everyone's testimonies. I've never seen that happen in a ward before (that I can remember, at least). There was such a sweet feeling---nothing overwhelming or super powerful, but just a tender, quiet feeling of love. It boosted me for the rest of the day. I loved it.

We're working with some awesome people here! I'm pretty sure I already told y'all about Crystal, and then there is Karla. She just moved from Virginia with her husband and little girl, Jayla. She'd been talking a bit with sister missionaries up there, and tender mercies from the Lord, we happened to bump into her while walking around the apartment complex where she lives. (I might have already told y'all about her too, I can't remember.) We had a good lesson with her earlier this week; she had some questions about some things she'd been reading in Genesis, so we were able to help her out with that. We also got to talk about Adam and Eve, and the Fall, which was awesome. She was going to come to church yesterday, but ended up not being able to make it. But it wasn't because she didn't want to, which is new and a relief. She'll get baptized, I can just feel it.

Other than that, everything else is going good! Sister Horan and I decided to end this transfer with a BANG!, so I WILL have some good stories to share next week. Let's just hope I have time to write them all!

I love y'all! Thanks for all your prayers. We really can feel them out here.

Also, in case he's reading this, thank you Anthony. You know why. :)

All right, I'm outta here! Keep on keepin' on, y'all!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another week bites the dust...

Well, I can honestly say that this is the first time I've felt like an actual week has passed in between Preparation Days. Hey y'all! How is everybody?
Life here in Prairieville is rolling along! We're working hard, and we come home every night really tired. There's been a few nights this week where I just laid on the living room floor and almost fell asleep there. But it's a good kind of tired---it's the kind of tired you get when you've given something your utmost, your all, your EVERYTHING. It's the best kind of tired feeling I've ever had, and I love it.
Still not too much to report on, excitement-wise. We did have interviews this past week, which is always a blast. We have some amazing leaders, and we heard some AWESOME instructions. Plus, we all get to sit and talk with President Woods for a few minutes, and seriously, that is my favorite part! He's incredible, and so is Sister Woods. I'm seriously the MOST SPOILED missionary in the entire world---I have the BEST mission president ever. No, seriously. :) Plus, I got to catch President Woods feeling like an elder again...have fun with these pictures!




























Keep on sending those emails and letters! I cannot even begin to express how much they help missionaries, especially on rough days. I love you all so much, and I want y'all to know that our Savior LIVES, He loves us, and He's waiting to bless us if we'll only follow Him.
Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, April 13, 2009

Onto week 3 already? HOLY STINKING CROW!

Okay, y'all...I'm sure you can already guess about how much time I have left today. Ha ha ha...dang, I've GOT to get faster fingers! (Writing less isn't an option.)

This week was incredible. On Tuesday, Sister Horan and I got to spend a couple hours with our zone leaders, Elders Garrett and Bare. They showed us some ways that they've been using to find new investigators, and it was a lot of fun. They are truly amazing missionaries. I seriously am THE most spoiled sister missionary in the entire Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission. I have THE BEST zone leaders; they took about two hours out of their day to come and help us. They definitely could have used that time to work in their own area, but they wanted to come and help us. That really meant a lot to me, and it really humbled me too. How blessed am I to serve with such incredible servants of God!

Then, on Friday, we got to go on EXCHANGES!!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Real EXCHANGES with Sister Boulter (who I came out with) and Sister McKay, who are serving down in Houma. They had a meeting at the mission home most of the day Friday, and then we got to pick them up and go out with them and hit our area twice as hard! It was amazing! It helped me to see Prairieville with new eyes, and gave me a bunch of new ideas to try. Plus, just getting to see Sister Boulter again brought such joy and excitement, it was ridiculous. I'm pretty sure we frightened some of the new elders at the meeting. Oh well---it's good for them. Eventually, they could be serving around sisters, and we just gave them a small taste of how AWESOME it will be. :D President said that he was going to try and arrange these sister exchanges more often, so I'm super stoked.

Easter was really good. I got to sing with the ward choir, which felt WONDERFUL! *Happy sigh* I also had my first taste of deep fried turkey, and I must admit, it was pretty tasty---though probably not so healthy. (Don't worry, Mom...I had a plate of salad before and after, to try and counteract the grease. Wink, wink!)

I've seen so many small miracles and tender mercies from the Lord this week, and I cannot express my gratitude in words...so I'm determined to show it in my actions this week. Next time you hear from me, I'll have some really good miracles and blessings from God to share with y'all.

Please keep Honor and Damian in your prayers. We thought we had them convinced to get their marriage license and to get legally married and celebrate later, but apparently not. Honor WAS committed to be baptized this weekend, but if she's not married, it's not going to happen. We need all the spiritual guidance and strength we can get to help them, because my human frailities are starting to show through my missionary demeanor---meaning that they are wearing on my LAST nerve. I love them, I really do, and I want them to receive all the blessings that Heavenly Father is just waiting to pour out upon them...but if they won't choose to keep His commandments, He cannot bless them. Honestly, I think that's what happens when we think we're being punished----we're the ones punishing ourselves. We're robbing ourselves of blessings. Because God is God, He cannot bless us unless we do our part. That's just how it works. So we have to take that leap of faith, and make that first move, and then we'll receive so many blessings! "...prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? Why are we dragging our feet to be obedient? I'm just as guilty as anyone else, and perhaps that's why the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to experience this with Damian and Honor. It wouldn't surprise me...plus, it's helping develop my patience.

ANYWAY, I've prattled on too long as it is. I love y'all, and I just want to give a special CONGRATULATIONS to Hermana Kira Good for receiving her call to the New Mexico Albuquerque Spanish Speaking Mission! You go girl! Also, congrats to my little cousin Zoe for getting baptized this past week---I love you, Rugrat!

Okay, now I've really gotta go. Do good, work hard, trust God, and don't worry!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, April 6, 2009

Recap of Week 1 of Transfer 5

So, big surprise...I'm low on time. Again. As usual. :) What can I say? Galatians 6:11!

This last week has been pretty crazy. Transfers came and went, and life moved on. We kicked it up a notch, trying our hardest to get people out to General Conference. It sorta worked...sorta. We had one investigator, Nita, try to listen to it on the internet, but there were so many people on at the same time, the internet was struggling. And Honor came to watch with her mom---they just came in between sessions and watched some of the Church news report. She did, however, get to watch a little bit at her aunt's house. That was a MIRACLE! Why? Because the little bit she watched talked about temples and eternal marriage. And what have we been trying to get her and Damian to do? GET MARRIED. Coincidence? I think NOT. :) I've said it before, and I'll say it again---God rocks. ;)

Conference was incredible! I loved every minute of it. I especially loved Elder Holland's talk about the Savior and Elder Perry's talk about member missionary work. Not only do I love listening to Elder Perry in the first place (I even got to meet him once!), but he was truly inspired in his remarks, because I can testify that they are all 100% true. Members have access to people that we as missionaries will never touch if left to our own efforts. We get transferred into an area, and we have to meet, befriend, and teach as many people as possible in the short amount of time we are there. And statistically speaking, there are fewer and fewer 19 year olds going out on missions because there are fewer of them period. And yet, the First Presidency has said that the number of baptisms will increase. How do we bridge that gap? With the MEMBERS.

Jeremiah 16:16 says, "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." President Eyring, in a talk to the new mission presidents while President Woods was in the MTC, said that this prophecy is being fulfilled TODAY, and how blessed are we to be a part of it! The way I see it, the full time missionaries are like the hunters---we go out every day, and search every mountain, every hill, and every hole in the rocks for people who are ready and willing to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd. We go places where most people in their right minds would never go. We are relentless in our zeal, and do this every day for 18 months to 2 years.

The members are the fishers. Fishing takes longer than hunting does (usually). It requires patience and diligence. Trust me, I know---I've been fishing many times, and lots of times, you come home empty-handed. :) But with fishing, you can have more than one line out at a time, and watch all of them. You put "tasty tasty bait," as Elder Kent would say on your hooks, and you wait. What is your bait? It is YOU. It is the joy that is in your lives and eyes because of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the way you treat others and serve others. People are ALWAYS watching you, and those who are truly elect (see D&C 29:7) will want to know more. Fishing isn't just sitting back and waiting, though. You must always be checking your lines, checking the bait. You have to go where the fish are. You have to offer them the bait. You must open your mouths (D&C 33:8-10). The Lord promises to fill our mouths with what the people around us need to hear. Take Him up on that promise!

....oops. I'm done. Well, sorta. I challenge everyone who reads this to "warn their neighbor." (D&C 88:81) It's not hard---simply share a blessing of the gospel that is near and dear to your heart. Everyone can do that, and if they did, think of the joy that would fill our Father's heart and our Savior's heart! Let us all live so that when we see our Lord Jesus Christ again, He will say to us, "Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full." (3 Nephi 17:20)

I love y'all! I know that as we show the Lord we are willing to follow them in all things, He will pour out blessings upon us "that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10) This I promise you as a servant of Christ, and do so in His holy name, amen.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Curse you, AquaScum!!!

Okay, so I had this really good email all typed up, but for some reason the dumb Internet deleted it. So sorry ya'll, but you get the super short readers digest version, and I'll try and catch ya'll up next week.

Transfers are this week; I'm staying here in Prairieville with Sister Horan. This week was good, but crazy---zone conference was incredible, and I sang at the funeral of our ward mission leader's son. The Spirit was so strong there, and I got to bear my testimony through the song, "Be Still, My Soul." We had an awesome lesson with our investigator, Nita, and she's committed to pray about baptism for April 25th, so PLEASE keep her in your prayers. Also, any prayers you can spare for Honor and Becky would be MOST helpful; we need all the help we can get with them.

I love you all, and I'm really sorry this is so short, but I am completely out of time, and I promise to try and get out a good long epistle next week.

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, March 16, 2009

Only two weeks left in this transfer? You've GOT to be kidding me!

As you can tell by the subject line of this email, time is moving way too FREAKING fast. :) Just in case ya'll were wondering.

Not much to report on this week. We called in reinforcments with Honor and Damian---and the office elders came to the rescue! Our district leader, Elder Jamsa, is AMAZING. He is an incredible missionary, and a great example of obedience and faith in Jesus Christ. We had a joint lesson with them on Friday, and would have had another on Saturday, but I got sick, and was confined to my apartment all weekend. (Boo hiss!) So they went over and taught Honor and Damian some more Saturday night, and lo and behold, they both came to church on Sunday and stayed for almost all three meetings! That is most definitely a step in the right direction.

I also was blessed to have a very humbling experience this week. We were teaching an older couple, Mr. Freddy and Miss Audrey, and because they'd told us they believed everything we'd taught them, we extended the commitment to be baptized. Freddy told us that he couldn't do that, because he'd already been baptized once, and that being baptized again would be saying that his first one wasn't valid, and he couldn't do that. So I tried to explain about proper authority, and how Christ didn't go to Simon down the street, but He'd gone to John the Baptist because John had the priesthood authority to baptize. Freddy and I talked in circles for probably about twenty minutes before I stopped and took a step back to look at the situation. That was the closest to bashing I had ever been, and that realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt awful. I let Freddy finish talking, and then we thanked them for the time they'd spent with us, and we left. I thought a lot about that this weekend, and I realized that I had been trying to convince him on my own. Obviously, that doesn't work. I'm very grateful that I was able to stop just for a second so I could hear the Holy Ghost telling me that this wasn't working. It was a lesson that I needed badly to learn, and now that I have, I don't plan on forgetting it.

I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, but I feel like I'm cheating out here; I'm supposed to be teaching people, and instead it feels like I'm the one doing all the learning! Oh well---God lets it work this way, so it must be okay by Him. :)

That's all for me. Love ya'll!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Goodbye week 2, onto week 3!

Hey ya'll!

So, I've survived my first full week of training. More importantly, Sister Horan has survived my first full week of training! HOORAY! ;)
This last week was a really good one, even if it was insane. Because of Mardi Gras on Tuesday, everything got turned topsy-turvy. Monday, which is normally P-day, was district meeting; however, because the assistants and the office elders had a office staff meeting (and they ARE our district), our district meeting was moved to Wednesday, which made Monday a normal proselyting day, which was very odd.
Then we had New Missionary Training on Friday, which took up most of our day. That part I didn't mind; I needed New Missionary Training! We had instructions from the assistants, as well as President and Sister Woods. I even got to have a mini-reunion with half of my MTC district! I got to see Elders Winlow and Cook, because they were both training too. I hadn't seen Elder Cook since I was the new missionary at NMT! That was fun, getting to catch up with them. I also got to see Elders Snow, Zollinger, and Richins, who are all my good buddies too. They split us up into trainees and trainers, and as trainers, we got to sit and have a personal pow-wow with President and Sister Woods. They gave us advice and counsel, and we got to be very open about how we were feeling and getting along with our companions. It was comforting to know that I wasn't the only young trainer there. In fact, the oldest---who had been in the mission field the longest---missionary there had just hit his 8 month mark. Elder Cook, Elder Winlow and I hit our 4 1/2 month mark the end of February, and Elder Richins and Zollinger came out one transfer after we did! President told us that he felt inspired to call young trainers, and that he knew we all would be fine. He is an amazing man, and I love him dearly! He gave us all a lot of comfort that day.
Sister Horan and I found a couple of sweet new investigators this week too! Mr. Freddy and Ms. Audry are an older couple, and they invited us right in, and we all sat and talked for half an hour about angels and the Holy Ghost, and there was such a peaceful feeling in their little apartment! We're going to try and see them again either tonight or tomorrow. I'm super stoked!
Well, that's all for me! Oh, wait...one last thing. I had my first boiled crawfish this last week, and it was SO GOOD! And yes, for all ya'll who have ever had boiled crawfish before, I did suck the head. And I have pictures to prove it. :) One of our investigators, Becky, got a entire feast for us to try! We had seafood gumbo (SO YUMMY!), fried shrimp poboy (SO YUMMY!), king cake (SO SO SO YUMMY!!!), boudin (pretty good), and cracklin. Honestly, the only thing I didn't like out of the entire meal was the cracklin. I'm sorry, it must be an acquired taste thing or something, because deep fried pig skin and leftovers? NASTY. Blech. And I've been warned about hogshead cheese....*shudder!* That might be the only exception I make to my rule of trying everything at least once.
Okay, now I'm outta time! 'Til next week---
Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister P.


So...I meant to post this last week, but ran outta time...my bad!

Hey y'all!

This week has been CRAZY! Transfers came and went, and Sister Pennock is now home. Sister Horan is my "greenie," and she is so sweet! She grew up in Beaverton, Oregon, and her family is now living in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She is very quiet and sweet to everyone, and I already am growing to love her.

This week has been a little hectic; transfer week usually is. We found ourselves a new investigator, thanks to Brother Joffrion! His home-health nurse lady, Mary, wanted to know a little more about what he believed. So he invited us over to teach her, and she said she'd like to hear more. This was just proof to me that the Lord is keeping an eye on us here in Prairieville.

We got to go to an INCREDIBLE concert on Thursday, and the Spirit was so strong! Alex Boye, of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Freddie Ashby, and Clyde Bawden came to here to share their talents with us as the final hoorah for the Reflections of Christ exhibit. It was amazing. And then, because as missionaries, we like to socialize and clean up at the same time, we were helping put stuff away when President Woods asked all the missionaries to come into the chapel and sit in the first three rows of the chapel. So we filed in, and Freddie had us all stand up, and Clyde began to play a beautifully arranged version of "Called to Serve." Freddie directed us, had us all stand up, and it was like I was in the MTC again! The room was filled with big bass and tenor voices, and I loved it! Then Alex sang a hymn and bore his testimony about missionary work, and shared some amazing stories about his mission. Then we had a closing prayer by Elder Hall, who had just been released, and the Spirit was so strong, and my heart went out to him. He was crying as he prayed, and you could just tell that he loved his mission and was so sad to be leaving. It was an AMAZING night, and I will never forget it.

The last bit of fun news I have just happened last night. We were over talking to Honor, and she told us straight up that SHE WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED!!! Halleluah! Blessings from heaven! There are still some wrinkles to be ironed out, but we know where she stands, and she knows that we are behind her 100%. I love her with all my heart.

And now, I'm outta here. I love y'all!

Love,
Sister P.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Transfers #4, new companion, and other such news...

Hey everyone! I'm cutting right to the chase because I've got like 10 minutes left, so here we go!

Transfer call night was yesterday. We had to be in our apartment by 7, which wasn't a big deal. The last two transfers, I haven't gotten a call---usually that means nothing too big is going to happen. So I really wasn't expecting one yesterday. I thought I had a pretty good guess as to who my new companion would be, and I was 99% sure that I was staying here in Prairieville.
I ended up being right as to staying. However, at 7:06 pm, our phone rang. I was slightly surprised, but not too much. I figured President Woods would want to talk to Sister Pennock about going home stuff, so I answered the phone with the expectation of handing it over to her. However, President said, "Sister Pedersen! Just the missionary I wanted to talk to!" He then proceeded to tell me that he had a new companion for me....in fact, she was so new, she wasn't in the mission yet.

Yup, you read that correctly. President Woods asked me to train the new sister missionary who gets here today (actually, the plane is supposed to land in about an hour.)

Needless to say, there was a good ten or so seconds of silence on my end of the phone before I could stutter out, "O-oh." President told me that he had the utmost confidence in me, and that I'd do a great job of training the new sister. He asked if I thought I could handle that. It was at this point my brain disconnected with the rest of my body, and my mouth just did it's own thing. I know this because I heard myself say, "Well President, I think so. I'll do my best!" While that's what I said, that is NOT what I was thinking. What I was thinking was more along the lines of...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"

And no, that was not a scream of excitement; it was more of sheer terror. I looked at Sister Pennock, and I'm guessing the blood must have drained out of my face because she gasped and said, "NO WAY. You're training?" I nodded. She stared at me a minute more, and asked, "Are you okay?" I sat there, staring back at her, and said slowly, "I'm...not...sure."

I had a good LONG chat with the Lord last night, and I've come to a few conclusions.First, this is possibly His way of fulfilling scripture:

Ether 12:27 says, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Doctrine and Covenants 133:58-59 says, "the weak shall confound the wise...And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thrash the nations by the power of his Spirit."

1 Corinthians 1:27 says, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."

Jacob 4:7---"Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things."

And finally, Alma 26:12 says, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."

The scripture from Jacob and from Alma really stick out to me right now. I most definitely qualify as a "weak thing." But I am not alone.

The other conclusion I came to was that this was the surest way to humble me sufficiently so that I could learn something I've failed to learn thus far. He knew that this would bring me to my knees in honest, sincere, earnest, Enos-like prayer faster and more often than anything else. And boy, was He right!

In my long talk with Him before I went to bed last night, I laid out all my fears, all my worries, and most especially, all the reasons why I was NOT the right person for the job. And after I'd gotten done with that long list, I paused, and sat quietly for a moment. I remember the thought coming over and over, "With God, nothing is impossible." I chewed on that for a bit, and decided that yes, I did believe that was true. I also thought about Ether 12:27, which we'd just read with Honor a few days ago. There was no doubt in my mind (and there still isn't) that I was definitely a "weak thing." I then thought about how God keeps His promises, and about all the promises He's not only given missionaries, but all the promises He's given me specifically. I thought about how saying that I couldn't do it could be considered offensive to God, because in essense, that was me telling Him that I didn't think He could do it, that I didn't think He kept His promises. A little shudder ran through me, and I sat and pondered for another minute. I then finished my prayer with a timid, "But Father, not my will, but Thine be done."

I'm not perfect. I'm so far from it, it's not even funny. But I do know that this is an opportunity for me to develop my faith and my trust in the Lord. In not so many words, the Lord is telling me to put up, or shut up. ;) And so, I plan on wearing out the carpet next to my bed from kneeling so often, and wearing holes in my shoes from doing my best. "Work as though it all depends on you, then pray because it all depends on Him."

That's all for now. I love you all, and you'll hear more from me next week!


Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, February 9, 2009

Week 6 of Transfer 3----THE END OF THE TRANSFER IS ALREADY HERE?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!

So....if you couldn't tell by the subject line of this entry....TIME MOVES WAY TOO FREAKING FAST!!! ;)

I am UBER short on time today, so I'm just going to tell y'all about the amazing fireside we had last night!

Last night was the opening night of the "Reflections of Christ" exhibit. Brother Mark Mabry, the photographer, gave a talk, and spoke about why he decided to take these incredible pictures of Christ's life. (By the way, if you are totally lost as to what I am talking about, I believe the website is <http://www.reflectionsofchrist.org/>....CHECK IT OUT!!!) He did an amazing job, and the entire chapel and cultural hall/gym was full...all the way back to the stage! It was amazing! I don't think there were even that many people in the building for Stake Conference! Anyway, I digress....Brother Mabry did an amazing job. He brought the Spirit so strongly into that room, and then when everyone got to go through and see the pictures, the Spirit was even stronger! I got to stand at the beginning of the exhibit and welcome people, and I could hear sniffles pretty much the entire two and a half hours I stood there. I got to go through with Sister Pennock and Elders Jamsa and Stratton after everyone had left, and then I understood why I heard sniffles. The photographs were breath-taking, and truly awe-inspiring, and with the sounds of "Come Thou Fount" and other beautifully arranged hymns and melodies playing softly in the background, the Spirit was almost tangible. Looking at all the pictures, I felt so close to my Savior, and I felt such joy.

And then I remembered that the reason I was out on a mission in the first place was to share that joy I felt at that moment with everyone I could. It was an exhilarating thought, and I felt completely re-energized spiritually. I am so excited to have this exhibit here, and I am telling everyone---and I mean EVERYONE---I can about it so they too can feel the witness of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, and the Savior of the World. He invites us to be like Him, and to learn of Him, and to allow Him to cleanse us and to heal our hearts. HE LIVES, and I know it. I will not rest until I hear His voice and see His face, and until He tells me, "The work is done," I will ALWAYS be about His business---spreading forth His gospel, and sharing that JOY I feel.

And that's it for me. I love y'all!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen

Monday, February 2, 2009

Week 4 of Transfer 3...wait a second! WEEK 4?!?! ARGH!!! Time goes by WAY TOO FAST!!!

So, as you may or may not be able to tell, I am highly upset about how quickly this transfer is passing. HIGHLY upset. I mean, COME ON!!! A transfer is only 6 weeks, and we're already summing up week 4?!!! ARGABITE!!!!

Now that that is out of my system...hey y'all! I've only got a few minutes left, so I'm skipping all the pleasantries and getting right down to the good stuff!

This week we had a breakthrough with one of our investigators, Honor. Sister Woods came on an exchange with us, and the three of us headed on over to talk to Honor and Damian. Our plan was to give them a "Kikuchi First," the method that we'd practiced with Elder Kikuchi. The whole goal of the lesson was to get the Spirit so strong in the room that we'd be able to point out exactly what it felt like, and then transition into how we can feel this all the time. We had just barely gotten started talking about 3 Nephi 11 when Damian was called away. I won't lie, I was bummed. We'd been trying for AGES to get Damian to stay through a whole lesson so he'd feel the Spirit too, and want to get back into church. But it ended up being good that he left, because we got to have a one-on-one...or rather, three-on-one, I suppose...with Honor.

We read together the first half of 3 Nephi 11, and Sister Woods shared how important this chapter was to her. Honor then mentioned that she didn't really know whether Christ was a real person, or rather just an inner feeling. Sister Woods looked over at Sister Pennock and I; I felt like I just had stuck my finger in an electrical socket. We were teaching the completely wrong lesson! Sister Woods looked back at Honor and asked, "So, you're really wondering about the nature of God?" Honor said, "Well, yeah. I guess I am." At that moment, we chucked our beautifully planned lesson out the window, and proceeded to fly by the seat of our pants...or skirts, I suppose.

Sister Woods told Honor that she had a loving Heavenly Father who knew her and cared about her personally. We briefly talked about the pre-mortal life---that we all were spirit children of God, and that we had lived with Him before we came to earth. Naturally, the topic turned to Jesus Christ, and Sister Woods began to talk about the Atonement. She paused, looked Honor right in the eyes, and asked, "Do you understand what the Atonement is?" Honor replied that she didn't; she recognized the term, because she was Catholic, but she told us she'd never really understood what they were talking about. Sister Woods explained that because Christ died, we all have the opportunity to live again. She said that this was only part of what the Atonement was, and she looked over at me. I pulled out my Bible, and prepared to search quickly for the right chapter that talked about the Garden of Gethsemane. I had another shock to my system as my scriptures fell---I mean really just opened by themselves---to Matthew 26. I stared at the words in awe for a few seconds, and looked up at Sister Woods. I whispered, "This is obviously the right thing to be teaching, because look at where my scriptures just opened to." She looked down, and then looked back at me and smiled. I had goosebumps everywhere, and that alone was a testimony to me that the Holy Ghost was very present in that room.

I turned my attention then to Honor. I started to briefly explain about the events leading up to the Savior's entering the garden. As I hope I always will, I got teary when I talked about Him praying and asking if there was any other way; and upon realizing there was not, He then said, "Father, not my will, but thine be done." Honor and I were looking right at each other as I explained why the Savior was suffering in those verses---that He was taking upon Himself all the sins and mistakes of the world, yes, but also all the pains, the sorrows, the afflictions of the world as well. I said, "Because of the Atonement, because of His willingness to go through it all, He knows exactly how we personally feel while we are struggling. He went through all of that so that we would never have to be alone." Honor then began to cry. She told us that she'd been really struggling lately, and that she had felt all alone. Sister Woods got up and went to sit by her, and gave her a hug.

I waited a minute, and then I suddenly felt that I should tell her something that had only occured to me right before I left on my mission. I said, "Honor, even if everyone else in the world were perfect, and you were the only one who couldn't make it back to our Father's presence on your own---even if you were the only one who ever needed the cleansing and the healing the Atonement brings---your Savior Jesus Christ would have gladly gone through it all, just for you. Your Heavenly Father would have wanted that so He could hold you in His arms again. That is how much you are loved. That is how precious you are in your Father's eyes, and in your Savior's eyes."

Honor really began to cry then. The Spirit was so incredibly strong in that little apartment. We all bore our testimonies of the power of the Atonement in our lives, and we talked more with her about different things. We ended with a prayer, and we all gave her a big hug, and told her we'd come by and see her the next night. As we walked out to Sister Woods' car, the three of us were in awe at the turn of events. We were very grateful for the chance we had to be a part of helping Honor realize who she really was, and helping her have hope.

(Holy crow, I have like two minutes left, so I'm sorry, but I've got to do reader's digest style!)
Sister Pennock and I went back the next night, and we witnessed a miracle. Honor had read (not the miracle) everything we'd suggested, and SHE UNDERSTOOD IT ALL. Honor is very dyslexic, so this was a HUGE deal! She really understood it, and was asking us questions. We answered most of them, and then set up an appointment to come back later.

Skip ahead to Sunday---Honor was sick, so she didn't get to come to church, but she wanted to. We went over on Sunday night, and she asked all sorts of questions about church and who spoke and what the lessons were about. We filled her in, and then we started talking about faith. We watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with her and Damian, and talked about some of the scenes from Christ's life that the movie portrayed. Talking about faith lead to talking about repentance, which then in turn lead to talking about baptism. Honor brought up the subject, surprisingly, and asked about the covenants we make at baptism. We explained them, and then Sister Pennock, following a prompting of the Spirit, asked Honor to not only pray to see if baptism was a step her Father wanted her to take, but to pray about a specific date. AND SHE SAID SHE
WOULD!!! We gave big hugs, said goodbye, and got back in our car, and proceeded to flip out. WE HAVE A COMMITED, PROGRESSING INVESTIGATOR!!!! Truly, God is a God of wonder and of miracles!

And that is all for me, folks! I'll keep y'all updated, I promise. Please pray for Honor! Pray that she will be able to recognize the answer that God will give her.

I love you all!

Your Friend in the Faith,
Sister Pedersen