2 Corinthians 4:5

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

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