Monday, November 24, 2014

I am bad with subject lines

Salutations comrades,

In my last email I neglected to say much about my beautiful companion, so I'll start by answering some questions that I was asked about her. Sister Allyson Ririe grew up in eastern Washington on an asparagus farm which is now an alfalfa farm. She's the last of six kids and we celebrated her 21st birthday my first Sunday in the field. She's great and seriously loves all of the people here so much. She went to BYUI before her mission and is going to be an elementary school teacher but really wants to be a white girl rapper. She's in the Mormon Message "Teaching the Gospel in the Saviors Way." She's the girl who looks like she's wiping a tear from her eye like halfway through.  And that is Sister Ririe in a nutshell. :) 

Tons of people also have asked me if I've been okay with how cold it is up here. Surprise! Utah is like a bajillion times colder than Philadelphia right now. But that won't last for long. We had a conference call with the entire mission this week and the man speaking said "Get ready for the cold. Especially in downtown Philly." Jokes on me because that's my area.  

I feel like in my last email I didn't do downtown Philly justice. It's awesome and so ghetto. The stores have been one of my favorite parts. Two of the best stores that I've seen are, I kid you not, Live Poultry and Human Hair. That is what they're called. I can only assume that that is what they sell. Hahahahah one of the elders was in the bathroom of an investigator's house and a rat ran from out of the bathroom mirror into the garbage can. Hahahahahahah it's so wonderful! I really do love it. Like I said, it's very humbling to see these people who are in hard situations give everything they have to serving Christ. And luckily only the elders live in Downtown Philly. We live in Havertown which is more upper middle class. So no worries. 

It's so incredible to see all of the miracles that Heavenly Father provides. First, we were talking with Grandma Boyoue and found out that she doesn't have a coat because she made sure all the kids in her house (not all of them are hers) had one and she can't afford another one. We came home and cleaned out a closet where missionaries have left just random things and we found a coat! Sister Boyoue was so happy! My second story was super awkward for us. So onFriday all of our appointments fell through. And our back ups fell through. Since we had a while before our next scheduled thing we decided to go try the door of a new investigator our ZLs transferred to us. We were knocking, no answer. But one of the sets of Elders in our Ward showed up saying that they had an appointment at that house. Super awkward for us because it was their area. But no one was home. We decided to try the door of a less active single sister before we went back to our area. No answer. We pulled over to tell the elders that we were really leaving their area and they said that they also had an appointment with the house we knocked. WE WENT TO THE SAME HOUSE AS THE ELDERS TWICE IN A ROW. That doesn't happen. We felt bad and told them to go talk to an older man we saw on a porch. Later they called us and said our encroaching on their territory wasn't in vain because they never would have thought to talk to this man and it turns out he really needed a message. They set up an appointment!! So cool. Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways but with Him everything does work out. 

One really cool thing that I get to do is teach an English class. It's for the Africans who don't know how to read and write. We teach two nights a week and our part is basically helping them know key words. We teach the alphabet and the sounds the letters make and them help them sound out words they'll see on a regular basis. Then another man comes and teaches them about writing. It's again been so humbling for me. Being in this area I've had to completely change how I taught from when I was in the MTC. We so often have to teach so simply and so direct. The language barrier has been tough, but I'm learning every day. And I truly a, learning that I'm not the teacher. There's no way that these people understand all that I'm saying. With the language barrier and how fast I talk it would be impossible without the spirit. I know that these people are learning and I know that it's not me. It's beautiful. 

With Thanksgiving coming up this week I hope that everyone takes note of all of the good that Heavenly Father has given us. I've decided that this week to help me notice more of the good Im going to slightly change my prayers. All week I'm just going to give prayers of thanks and asking for blessings for others. I'm not going to focus on what I may want. This week it's all about blessing others and giving thanks and I encourage everyone to do the same. I know that it's going to be a pretty eye opening experience.

I love you all and I love the work!
Sister Petrick

"Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not, fear not."

Monday, November 17, 2014


I am assuming this is still at the MTC

I know this is the MTC

Sister Ririe and Sister Petrick

Her Apartment

Philly is Golden

NOTE FROM LESLEE:  I am going to title the blog posts the same that Rachel titles her letters.  I got a personal letter from her as well.  Her companion is from Washington.  They just celebrated her 21 birthday.  She also said they get fed almost every night and have been given bags of food twice. The Elders, not so much.

So, here is the letter

Hello Everyone!

I'm going to apologize for how scatterbrained this is probably going to be - there's just so much to mention!

The last couple tidbits from the MTC: I was kind of sad to say goodbye to the MTC, I learned so much there and loved it, but I left on a good note. On the last day my investigator Sam agreed to be baptized! He almost didn't but as we were leaving he shook our hands and said "I'll do it" and I was soooooo happy! :) Even though he was a fake investigator I seriously love Sam so much and it was amazing to see him grow. My teacher actually asked me to send him a message about my experience with Sam because no one can usually get through to him but my companion and I did! That means we were doing something right! My teacher wants future missionaries to see that it can be done. We also met with Lead one more time, and that's actually a really cool story, but long, so ask me if you want to hear it. My district and I ended our last night with getting called to the front desk. Long story short, (again, ask me sometime because it's a great story) my entire district ended up outside in our pajamas at 10pm outside the girl's residence hall with a box of brownies. I think it's safe to say that that's not something that usually happens, but we're not your average district. We used that as our goodbye, we sang God Be with You til we Meet Again, said a prayer, and said goodnight. The next morning our Elders actually got up at 3:15 in the morning to see us off!

And now I'm in Pennsylvania!! It's been crazy. First, I love being a missionary. It's honestly the best. I feel so happy all the time. Even when I'm exhausted. Anyway. The first night was spent in the mission home with the president and his wife and we learned all the rules and about the area and the history and everything. And my mission is honestly the best mission on earth. Everyone else's mission and the restoration of the gospel came to pass because of that which happened in my mission, and that's pretty amazing. The president and his wife say hello to George and Ruth and congratulations to their daughter on her sealing as well. :) yes, I'm an iPad missionary. Yes, I have a car. Yes, I'm pretty spoiled. And since I'm sure everyone has a letter that they're dying to send me, here's my new address:

Sister Rachel Petrick
700 Darby Road #201
Havertown, PA. 19803

So my area is called Havertown. It's right on the edge of Philadelphia. I live in a split apartment building. It's no mansion - ;) - but it's really nice. I'll try to send some pictures.  It's just the two of us and it's open and cute and decorated. You can totally tell that it's Sisters who live here. Downstairs is Bob. Bob is great. He's made sure that we know that he loves having us upstairs, that he feels safe having us as neighbors, and that both apartments make it a home.  He's not a member but he'll come to church and stuff. His older son says that he wants to be a missionary.  We give him BOM passages to read and he draws them out for us. We just gave him Ammon. :)  We're also going to have him teach us the Restoration soon.

My companion, Sister Ririe, and I actually cover three areas so we're so busy every day. We're serving in the Philly 1st ward with two sets of Elders.  There are 700 less active members in the ward so since they can't always have a man present, we spend a lot of time in the Elders' areas teaching the women who they can't teach.  Downtown Philly is actually super sketchy. Our church is gated and you need a special key to get inside. It's been a really humbling experience. The majority of the people downtown are African refugees who have multiple families living in one small home. they don't have a lot and it makes me so grateful for all of the blessings that I've always had. A lot of these people can't even read. It's amazing and so inspiring how they strive to know of the Savior. I love these people so much already. I just love the Africans! They refer to everything as "John." Too funny.

I feel like I have so many great stories, but I want to just quickly mention a few fun things. First is my African Grandma. Her name is Sister Boyoue and she's incredible. She comes and teaches lessons with us all the time and always tell us how much she loves us. Next, I have an African name! A woman in the ward says my name is Kwetta, which means "coming to America." I've been able to try different kinds of African food and it's really so good! I quickly learned not to ask what I was eating though. Apparently pig intestines are more common than you'd expect.

One lesson was particularly interesting. We were teaching a 17 year old girl, Diane. She asked me my name and I said "Sister Petrick." She looked up at me and said "Oh. that's weird." So my name's weird I guess. As we were leaving, the Jehovah's Witness missionaries were teaching her mom. So we totally taught a lesson with the JWs downstairs!!

I also already have a baptism! The sisters before me taught Davidson a couple of times before, but last night I got to invite him to be baptized. It was incredible. He was so happy and excited and so was I. This little boy is so ready. We had to plan it for January 14th because his mom needs that much notice to get work off, but it's all going to work out. She's also working toward baptism.

Philly Phun Phacts: I'm not a greenie here. The PPM uses the word Golden instead. Pennsylvania is gorgeous. I got here just in time to finish the fall and the trees are breathtaking. And I'm actually in Delaware County. It's super weird. I don't know. The other day we actually found some Book of Mormon graffiti. Someone tagged a wall with Alma 13. It's so funny. I also saw my first real YMCA. It was exciting.

Being out here is just incredible. I love it all so much. It's made me really appreciate all that I know. It's been cool teaching because we use words and phrases like "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" all the time. I always thought I knew exactly what the gospel was, but being out here has truly taught me. I challenge everyone to think about that this week. Learn about what The Gospel of Jesus Christ really means and apply that to your life. I know it'll be an amazing experience.

I love you all so much!!
Sister Petrick

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Phone call

Rachel left the MTC EARLY Tuesday morning and headed to the airport for a 7:30 flight to Detroit and then on to Philadelphia.  We didn't know if we would hear from her, but I got a call about 11:00 AM.  Someone in the Detroit airport let her use their cellphone so she could call.  She was emotional but happy.  Chris and Emmalee were jealous that I got to talk to her, and Ellie was just mad!  I was hoping we would get an email from the mission president or her saying she arrived safely, but I guess we have to wait until P-Day.  Thanks for all the love and support from everyone, she needs it, and can feel it.  Hopefully I will have a picture of her cute smile in Philly soon.

Friday, November 7, 2014

MTC Week #2


So mini update right up front: I'm great. So so great. The MTC is great. The gospel is great. Life is just great. The Church is so true!

My District: I mentioned last week that I love my district. And guess what?? I LOVE MY DISTRICT. We might just love each other a little bit too much. We took free time out of our schedules so that we could talk about how to focus on having the spirit with us more since we've been having too much fun. I think it was really good for us to talk about those boundaries a little bit. Things have actually changed a little bit and I have another companion! Her name is Sister Gearheart. She's going to the St. George visitor's center for her mission so she's not actually in our classes with us, but we're still a trio. It's been fun. She doesn't seem too freaked out by the rest of us, so that's definitely a good thing! But we've been having a lot of fun. We all love to just talk in these random accents. Elder Baker does this amazing Batman voice. Hahahahah, he's the DL and has read us rules and announcements in the Batman voice. One of the other Elders, Elder Furan, is writing a short story about our district. Hahahah, I'm the bard in it. Elder Smith says that basically I'm a glorified Jigglypuff and I sing and everyone is memorized and under my control. So clearly he has me pegged. Hahahah. Just kidding though. But really. We also, no matter what, end our days with a district prayer. It's been really helpful. We, as well our teachers, dubbed ourselves The One True District. As I think about my district I can truly testify that Heavenly Father doesn't leave anything up to coincidence. I know without a doubt that I was placed with these people for a reason. Each one of them has strengthened me so much, each one has strengthened my testimony. The MTC would have been so hard if I didn't have this district that I love so I really am so so grateful.

Sunday at the MTC: Sunday at the MTC was absolutely incredible from our first activity. It was Fast Sunday and we had a zone testimony meeting. We were basically all crying and loving each other. Then we had a district conference where the MTC presidency and their wives all spoke to us. Later that night we had another devotional where we heard from Elder Nelson's wife, Wendy. She had us sing A Child's Prayer to open the meeting. It was beautiful. The sisters sang the first verse and the Elders sang the second and I just started bawling. It was as if Heavenly Father was answering our prayer right then and there. She was incredible. She told us to think of a question we wanted answered and that she promised we would receive an answer. I got my answer. I loved it so much. We also all got to choose a video to watch. My District chose The Character of Christ by Elder Bednar. If you can, I seriously suggest finding some way to watch/read/listen. It's absolutely amazing and life changing and you will not regret it. I promise you that. 

Investigators: I currently have three investigators that I'm working with. First is Sam. Sam is a bit hesitant about everything, he basically just wants to figure out if Heavenly Father is really there. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and working on praying. In our last lesson Sister Kartchner and I invited to be baptized! He said it was definitely something that he wants to work toward! Second is Christina, she basically just wants to figure out what she believes. We introduce doctrine to her and she understands and accepts almost immediately. She's really so incredible. She committed to baptism on our first lesson and since then we've just been working on her faith. Lastly is Leah. Leah is hard. The first time we met with her she basically challenged all of our beliefs and didn't let us say a word. For the first time since being here, I felt the spirit being sucked away. We've met with her once since then and I feel like we did make an impact. She told us about her having PTSD because of an experience with other missionaries and that she only comes back because she knows that it's helping her therapeutically. She said she prayed to Heavenly Father and he told her "Mormons are what hurt you, so by Mormons you'll be healed." I took the slight pause in her talking to bare my testimony to her. I shared with her John 14:18, 17 and told her of my knowledge of prayer. I told her that I know that Heavenly Father loves her and that as she shared her story I could feel of that love and that as long as she couldn't feel it, I would feel it for her. I told her that as she prayed she would be able to feel it. I know that wasn't me. That was all the spirit. She changed completely after that and asked us to come back and speak with her outside of the time we were scheduled so that she can get a picture with us. 

I've grown so much since being here, and I'm by no means a great teacher, but I've been able to improve greatly. The MTC is special. I can't fully describe it, but it's powerful. One of my favorite things about being here is singing hymns. The spirit just swells inside of me as we all sing together. For anyone that's coming to the MTC soon, really take it in every single time you sing Called to Serve. I can't describe the power that I feel as we all sing that together. I love it so much. Everyone sings with so much love and with so much testimony and that's when most of my tears have been shed. I can't tell you how beautiful it is. 

Just to finish up with some random little things. First, everyone told me not to try the orange juice. I tried it. Cause YOLO. It was probably the best night's sleep that I've had the entire time here. So if it's drugged and messes you up like people have said, I'm okay with that. Second, the singing, like I said, is great, but we stand up and all of a sudden I can't see everything because of the thick wall of elders around me. Hahahahahahah.

I love you all so much!!
Sister Petrick

"The One True District"