Monday, May 9, 2016

Last letter from the mission field

Hello dear friends and family!

This week will be my last week as a set apart full time missionary and I wanted to thank you all for the love and support that I've received over the last 18 months. I can't tell you how grateful I am for you
all. :)

In honor of 18 months of service I wanted to share 18 of the great lessons I've learned while on my mission. I can't even count all of the things This experience has taught me, but I decided I could manage putting 18 of those great things into words.

1. My purpose as a missionary, and my purpose as a child of God, is to do all I can to bring others closer to the Savior.
2. Charity, the pure love of Christ, must be the motive for all that we do. There is no way for us to bring others closer to Jesus Christ without first seeing them as He sees them. And it's through charity
that we are able to see our brothers and sisters through Christ's eyes.
3. The more you share your testimony, the stronger it becomes.
4. Jesus Christ's atonement is very real. His atonement can be and must be applied in every single aspect of our lives. His bleeding from every pore for the sins, pains, sicknesses etc. of ALL God's children in the Garden of Gethsemane, his sacrifice and crucifixion on the cross, and his Resurrection on the third day, is for EVERYONE!!! It is for all of us, and I have learned that I need it every single day.
Through His suffering Christ has come to know us all p e r f e c t l y and He wants to run to our aide.
5. The way to access the atonement is by living the gospel of JesusvChrist, which we all know from the fourth article of faith. We must have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. Living the gospel is simple. We convince ourselves that it's hard. The gospel is for everyone. It is the roadmap to help though life's trials.
6. This life is a period is testing, a period of probation. I have been given my agency. I will be tested and tried and it will be up to me to choose to turn to the Lord for guidance.
7. All Heavenly Father wants is for all of his children to return to live with Him again. This life is given to us for those tests and to take part in the saving ordinances that prepare and qualify us to live with Him again.
8. Those ordinances must be done by the priesthood power. The priesthood is the power of God given to man to act in His name for thevsalvation of his children. It was lost, but was restored through
Joseph smith! The priesthood indicates God being in control.
9. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was translated by Joseph
Smith. I know and have experienced how the Book of Mormon answers
EVERY question. As you read you will feel the love of Christ and the power of the atonement. The Book of Mormon has taught me what Christ's sacrifice means for me.
10. God answers prayers. If we ask with just a hint of faith and desire and real intent he will answer.
11. The temple is the House of The Lord. It is His home and we must be worthy to enter.
12. I have learned how the spirit speaks to me and the process I need to go through in order to receive personal revelation. I know that this lesson alone will bless me for the rest of my life.
13. I have learned the principle of accountability. What I say and do
is my choice but at the end of the day when I get on my knees I'm accountable to the lord for those choices.
14. The Sabbath is a Delight and Satan knows that. He will give us every reason not to go. We need the sacrament. We need that cleanse. We need the recharge.
15. There is so much importance in expressing our love for others. We
don't know how long we will have them or what they're going through and our love might be exactly what they need.
16. Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet on the earth today.
17. Repentance is just a big fancy word that means change. When we repent we change anything it might be to become more like the Savior. We all need to repent each and every day.
18. Heavenly Father ALWAYS knows best. His gospel will not change. Truth is truth. We have to humble ourselves and have the goal to be submissive to His will.

I can't express just how much my mission means to mean. I've learned countless lessons, met some of the best people on this planet, and I have come to know my Savior more than I ever thought possible. I know that this is God's work. I know that His hand was in every seam of my mission as well as in every seam of our lives. I know that this is His church and His gospel. And although I will be taking off my badge, I will always be a missionary.

Friends and family, thank you again for these 18 months. I will see all of you Utah folks next week. :)

So so much love,
Sister Rachel Petrick

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016

Hello everyone!

Thank you to everyone who sent me a letter this week! It really meant so much that so many people kept me in their thoughts and prayers! So thank you!

This week was seriously just a blur. We did have a funny miracle while contacting a media referral. We had called and no one answered but since we were in the area we decided that we would still stop by and see if anyone was home. We walked up to the address and it wasn't a house or apartment, but a corner convenience store. It was a little weird, but we decided to try anyway. We went in and I asked if the man who requested the bible was there. The lady there said no. I introduced us and told her why we were there and how we got the address and she said "Oh! Well you can give the bible to me!" It turns out that just earlier that day she was wishing she had a bible! She also accepted a Book of Mormon, a return appointment and she said she would be coming to church next week! We got back into our car and tried calling the man who actually requested the bible again, this time he answered and gave us the correct address. It was amazing to see how Heavenly Fathers hand truly was there. If we would have gotten ahold of him to confirm his information before going to see him we never would have met Kia! I know that the Lord truly does palace us where he needs us!

This week we also found two new families to teach! One is a total miracle story. They're less actives that just moved here from Washington state. Out of the blue we got a call from them Monday night that basically went like this "Hi, are you the missionaries? ... Okay, I just moved here. Will you come visit me?" And that's literally all we knew. We go and she tells us all about how they were less active back home for a while but wanted to get back to church because their two youngest daughters haven't been baptized and how she knows she needs to be there so she can change her life. It was amazing and I just felt so much love for this woman. Like, I left feeling like we were best friends. We saw them a couple of times this week and they were all at church yesterday! And the plan is to have the baptism for one on my last Sunday here and then the other has her birthday the day after I leave so we're planning a birthday/deathday party. :) This family is already basically like a second family. They're just wonderful. 

I know this gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our exemplar and that He's there to give us strength each and every day. I know that we are doing His work and that He has such great things in store for us. I know that His love and our Father's love is so real and so encompassing. I know that They are there to help as we call upon them. This week I was really able to experience how Heavenly Father sends the Holy Ghost to be our comforter and how the Holy Ghost truly can and will guide our thoughts and words. I know that this is Christ's restored church and that there is no where else that we can find these blessings and promises. I LOVE being a missionary!! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has given me this chance to serve his children in this way.

I love you all!!
Sister Rachel Petrick

Monday, April 11, 2016

Back to Delaware

Hi everybody!

I have a really sad story for you all. I typed up a really good, pretty long email, went to click send and then it just disappeared. It's not in sent, not in the outbox, not in drafts, nowhere. So I'm going to attempt to recreate it but I promise that it won't be as good. Sorry!

Anyway, I have been sent to the Wilmington 1st Ward!! I cannot express how grateful  I am to be back in Delaware! I have been hoping to be sent back since I left Camden and Heavenly Father has given me this tender mercy for my last six weeks in the field!

Already I have learned that miracles come when you and your companion are willing to work hard. My companion and I doubled in to the area, which means neither of us had been here before and neither of us know the area or the people. The first day we literally had nothing. No area book, no lds tools, no names, nothing. So once we found our apartment we decided to call the bishop and the WML and we met with them both that night! And then we started setting up meetings with the other auxiliaries. Day two in the area we met with the primary president who gave us the name of a part member family, the Walkers. We went by the next day after district meeting, met the non member mom and kids, and set up an appointment for two days later. We quickly followed up with the primary president and let her know about the appointment and asked for fellowshipping advice and she gave us the name of one of the members who we were able to call. On Saturday we met with them, they didn't have a lot of time, and the kids were jumping around and wanted to see our tablets so we showed them #Hallalujah and testified of the restoration and the Book of Mormon
and we invited the mom and the 9 year old son to be baptized! They now have a date for May 14! I know that working with the ward brings the best results. There's no way we would have been able to find this family so smoothly without the inspiration and guidance of our primary president. Please keep this family in your prayers! I know that the gospel can and will change this family but there are a few miracles that need to take place if they are going to reach their date. I know with your prayers those miracles can happen! :)

I also had an amazing experience and learned a great lesson when I met a less active couple. The missionaries before had been visiting this couple on a weekly basis and had been doing a scripture study with them. This couple isn't able to come to church due to being home bound by illness, but they're a great example of living the gospel in whatever way possible. As we were meeting with them there was a knock on the door and it was their home teachers who came so that this couple could partake of the sacrament! As these men were blessing the sacrament I gained such a great appreciation for the sacredness of this ordinance. As the prayers over the bread and water were being said I placed all my thoughts on how because of the ordinance that was being performed this home that we were in was hallowed. Just like our chapels it was a extension of the sacredness of all that happened during Christ's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. I was able to watch as this sweet old couple knowingly took part in this sacred  ordinance and took the bread and water with their frail and shaking hands. Their joy and gratitude was so great the spirit that was there
has stuck with me since that moment. I thought about this experience as I prepared myself to take the sacrament on Sunday. And for a little background, this ward has A LOT of kids. There are 110 kids in the primary. That's a lot! So there was a lot of noise throughout the entire meeting, but as I thought about the meaning behind the sacrament and the individual nature of Christ's suffering I really came to realize how reverence begins with me. Despite all that was
going on around me I was able to have a spiritual experience as I reflected on all that the Savior has done for me. And I testify that that can be the same for all of us. As we approach the sacrament with a humble mindset, being ready to make changes in our lives to draw nearer to the Savior the spirit will be there. He will guide us.

Every single day I become more and more aware of how special my calling as a missionary is. My mission means everything to me and I'm so grateful for all the lessons I learn each and every day.

Here's my new address for anyone who was waiting for it:

2209 Prior Rd. Apt D
Wilmington, DE. 19809

I love you all! :)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Bye Morrisville!

This is going to be a really quick email but hopefully it will be a
good one too! On Saturday I got the news that I'm getting transferred
tomorrow! Seven weeks in Morrisville definitely doesn't feel like
enough time and this change came as a huge shock to my my companion
and I, but as I've prayed and have talk with some of the mission
leaders I can honestly say that I know Heavenly Father needs me
somewhere else at this time. I am so grateful for the many wonderful
lessons that Morrisville has taught me. I've grown more in this
transfer than I ever would have expected was possible in seven weeks!
I had no doubts before but after all that has happened this transfer I
can say with full certainty that I KNOW that Christ's atonement is
meant to be used in every aspect of our lives. Our Heavenly Father
WANTS us to turn to him in prayer. The Savior is waiting on the edge
of his seat waiting for us to allow him into our lives, but it's up to
us to let him in. He tells us "I stand at the door, and knock: if any
man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will
sup with him, and he with me."
I also want to bear my witness that I know that Thomas S Monson is
called as the prophet of God. As He spoke, even for those few minutes,
I felt the spirit testifying of that truth to me like never before. I
know that as we follow his counsel we will find peace and joy.
I love you all! Please enjoy the included pictures and if you have
anything to send to me, hold onto it until next week!
I love you all!
Sister Rachel Petrick
Sister Rachel Petrick
The Morrisville gang for the last time.

Monday, March 28, 2016

death is conquered; man is free. Christ has won the victory.

Hello everyone and Happy Easter!

I hope everyone was able to have a beautiful Easter! Mine was so wonderful! My whole week has been great! We started our week with a specialized training from my mission president. He and his wife and the assistants came to our zone and we talked about so many things that have really helped me with my missionary work and with my testimony. Something that was perfect for this Easter week, President Anderson had us all focus on the Plan of a Salvation and teaching it simply but powerfully. Simply put the plan of salvation is that "through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel." It's the plan that a God created for us all to be able to become like him and find joy. As I studied about the resurrection this week I came to know with even more clarity that the plan of salvation, and specifically the miraculous resurrection of the Savior, enables us "to become perfect...even as our a Father in Heaven is perfect." 3Nephi12:48

Our prayers and our efforts paid off this week because we were able to meet a new family of six to teach! We met the mom, Andie, because she was the nurse for a man in the ward. He spoke to her about the gospel and gave us her name and number and this week we met her and her family! As we met in their home and from the moment that they opened the door I felt so much love for them! We shared with them the Easter initiative #Hallelujah and told them briefly about church and about the restoration and they were excited to invite us back! We just know that this family has so much potential, please keep them in your prayers!

It was also a bit of a hard week for the Morrisville ward. A dear member, Sister Agnes Lee, unexpectedly passed away and the memorial services were held on Saturday. The spirit at the service was so strong. One of the most powerful moments was when the choir sang one of Sister Aggie's favorite songs, I Am a Child of God. The words of this song really stuck with me, especially the last verse that says:

I am a child of God
His promises are sure
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure

I was able to spend some very sweet moments with Sister Aggie and I was always so touched by her example of endurance. No matter what challenges come her way, no matter what temptations she faced, she endured. And as he favorite song teaches, promises of celestial glory and sure for those who endure. I can't say how grateful I am to have known her. I know without a doubt that she is happy. One of her top priorities was to be at the dedication of the Philadelphia temple. I know that Heavenly Father is providing her with that wish in a way far greater than she ever imagined. 

I'm so grateful for all of you and for the prayers I know are being offered in my behalf!
I love you all

Sister Rachel Petrick

Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21, 2016

Hello everybody!
It's been a good week, but not a very eventful one. At the moment my
companion and I are trying very hard to find new people to teach,
which is much easier said than done but we know that as we continue to
work hard we will be able to find those that are prepared to accept
the gospel at this time. :)
Jen and Geraldo, the couple I mentioned who we were baptized last
week, were able to be confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
yesterday! Their whole family is doing so well and it's amazing to see
how they've completely embraced the gospel. They even brought their
kids to a Book of Mormon study that we do on Sunday nights! I've loved
this study group! I always learn so much about the Book of Mormon and
about how I can apply to my life today. I know the Book of Mormon is
true and helps us with our challenges today!
I can't remember if I mentioned it last week, but I'm including the
picture that was taken of my zone at our last zone conference. I just
love being a part of the Philadelphia North Zone! This group is full
of hard working missionaries and they have all been teaching me so
I love you all and hope your week has gone well. :)
Sister Rachel Petrick

Monday, March 14, 2016

"... To him who is baptized in my name, him will the father give the Holy Ghost..."

Hello everyone!!

This has been a great week here in Morrisville. For the majority of the week Sister Madrid and I were in different mission and ward and stake meetings, so I had A LOT of learning experiences and it was definitely a week of enlightenment. If I were to sum up all of the tings I learned in a few seconds it would simply be that I know that Heavenly Father is so aware of all of our situations and all of the situations we're placed in is to help us grow. That goes for me here serving in Morrisville and it also goes for little Ellie with the challenges that she's having in the 4th grade. Heavenly Father knows it all. And he's gives us the help and the guidance that we need to be successful as long as we put Him and His work first. 

This was also probably the most exciting and eventful weekend of my entire mission! The Elders have been teaching a couple named Jennifer and Geraldo for a few months now, it's been so long that the sisters got involved with helping them too and this weekend Jen and Geraldo got married and the next day they got baptized!! One of my goals at the beginning of my mission was to be a part of a wedding and I was so grateful for the chance that I had to help Jen through her big day. This couple has taught me so many great lessons. They are the perfect example of repentance as they've stopped everything else to put the gospel and living the commandments first in their lives. 

Their wedding was just a blast. The bishop performed the wedding and he stood up at the pulpit and started by saying "On a special occasion such as this I feel that it is appropriate to begin by talking about chocolate chip cookies..." He then proceeded to make an analogy about different delicious ingredients not being able to reach their full potential until they're put together. Our bishop also had them promise right then and there that in a year they would go to the temple to be sealed. It was such a powerful moment as they expressed their desire to make in to the temple one day. I know that the priesthood power of the temple sealing is very real. Our families are meant to be forever and that is only made possible through temple covenants and in a year Jen and Geraldo will be able to be some of the first to make these covenants in the Philadelphia Temple. And their baptism was just as special. They asked me to speak and as I stood in front of them bearing my testimony of the Gift of the Holy Ghost they were both grinning from ear to ear. Again, they are the perfect example of how the gospel brings peace and joy. I am so happy for them. 

I love you all!

Sister Petrick