2 Corinthians 4:5

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

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...


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


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