Monday, December 29, 2014

Tis the Season

Hello everyone!
And Merry Christmas -

This week has been wonderful! I love Christmas! I love the Savior! I love being a missionary!! :) My Christmas was incredible and so funny so I really want to just share with you all what happened.

Our first visit of the day was to a less active recent convert named Sister Burras. She bought us this gingerbread train and had been telling us for most of the month how excited she was to make it with us. She had family coming over so we had to make it considerably fast and then she insisted on us taking it home with us. A lot of the houses in this part of town have gates outside the front door since they don't want anyone to break in and when we got outside we realized that we didn't have the keys. We couldn't find them anywhere. We decided to say a prayer and like 3 minutes later we found them -MIRACLE. We were no longer trapped inside this woman's house. Hahaha. So we were hugging her goodbye and as we stepped away the gingerbread train fell out of our hands and shattered. We dropped her present all over the streets of Philly. Merry Christmas to the ground! And she saw the whole thing! We felt so bad! It was awful.

Next we went and visited two African ward members, Sister Padmore and Howa. We asked them to play their instruments while we sing a Christmas song and it actually was super cool. Sister Padmore insisted on dressing us in some of her African clothes, so Sister Ririe and I agreed and she dressed us up. After singing the song and reading Luke 2 to them there was a knock on the door and this man who I had never met came in. He looked at us and said "OH! Who are these beautiful African ladies?? Looks like there's going to be a double African wedding!!" And he totally sat on our laps and put his arms around us. We both sort of gently pushed him off of us but it was so awkward. A couple minutes later there was another knock on the door and our Zone Leaders who serve in our ward walked in! They looked at us for a minute like they had no idea what to say. Then the man who sat on us said "Don't they look so cute?" Sister Ririe and I just told them not t answer and went and changed. At District Meeting the next day we were telling the rest of the district this story since the ZLs were at a different meeting and right as I said "And then the zone leaders walked in" the zone leaders walked into the meeting. It was too much and too funny.

We then got to Skype home. I got to see my entire family, including Becca who skyped in because she's in China right now and it was really so great. :) There were tears. It was a different way to spend Christmas, that's for sure. Our Bishop and his family fed us for dinner and then we visited a few less actives, but it was an amazing holiday. I'm so grateful that I've been able to serve at this time of year. It's amazing to see how open everyone is to letting Christ into their hearts around the Christmas season. But it's also so important that we keep him right in our mind the entire year. Every day should be Christmas! We should always be celebrating the birth and the Atonement of our Savior because it truly made everything possible. To end the tale of my Christmas, I want to leave you with this thought: Do you want to be part of the inn crowd or part of the stable few?

With this being the last week of 2014 I've been thinking back on all that has happened this last year and I have just felt so much gratitude and love. I can say with full sincerity that this has been the best year of my life. Its been hard, I have never been so stressed, but I have also never been as happy. Even just looking at the names of all of the people I'm sending this email to makes my heart so happy. There are so many people who I either didn't know or didn't talk to on a regular basis who I can now say that I've grown to love. I could go through and mention how each and every one of you have blessed my life. I won't because that would make this email far too long, but I do want to express how grateful I am to have each and every one of you as a part of my life. I'm very blessed.

I'm so grateful that I chose to serve a mission. I've already grown to love my Savior more than I ever could have imagined. I know that this is his true and full gospel that has been restored to the earth. How lucky am I? I'm set apart as someone who is called to share of Christ's message and love every single day. But everyone can share the gospel! Everyone can take part in hastening His work. Share your testimonies with others, lend a helping hand, share a scripture with someone you see n the street. It's an incredible work and I'm so grateful to be part of it. :)

I love you all!
Sister Petrick

Sister Rachel Petrick
700 Darby Road #201
Havertown, PA 19083

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!

We said goodbye to Sister Cox this week, it was very sad. She got her new companion. And yet another reason my mission is the best ever is the way that our transfers happen. It's so great. So transfers calls come in the Friday night and they tell you if you're staying or going. Then on Tuesday the companionships that are changing all meet at the mission office building. Those staying are on one side of the gym and those leaving are on the other. It's like a game show, they do it by locations and use a PowerPoint to announce the new companionships. they meet in the middle and hug and get their picture taken and it's just wonderful. Hahahahah, I love the PPM!

Sister Ririe and I are working on a pretty great transfer goal. By the end of this transfer we're going to teach 40 lessons in a single week! I'm super pumped about it. We're building up to it and decided this week would would do 20, 8 of them being member present lessons. It's so amazing how Heavenly Father rewards us as we make and work toward our goals. We taught 23 lessons, 7 were member presents, and we got 2 new investigators! It was incredible because the two new investigators came on the days that we were struggling to meet our goals. Heavenly Father knew we were working hard and He provided us with new people to teach! He is so good. :)

Today I got to use my PDay to do some really great service. A woman who is the Primary President in Provo has been in contact with our Primary President and she put together boxes of toys, art supplies, coats, clothes, books, basically everything you could imagine and sent it to us to give to the families in our ward who are in need. Today we were able to sort through the boxes and look through what we think each family would need. Tomorrow they're coming to the church and they'll be able to look through the HUNDREDS of items that were sent to us and pick out presents for their children. It's so amazing how giving people are, especially this time of year. It was so humbling to see how a lot of these toys were hand picked by the children and sent with notes about how much they love the toys. We were also given around $2000 in gift cards to either give people or buy what they specifically need. Christmas is a time for giving and this primary so incredibly showed us what it means to selflessly give.

I did want to tell you all a story about a particularly crazy lesson that we had this week. We had been fasting with a woman in the ward and went over to end the fast with her and also teach her kids about fasting. We got there and there were neighbor kids and everyone was yelling and the mom wasn't home. Once the mom got there we started teaching and we finally started to calm the kids down by singing I Am a Child of God with them. As soon as we started praying the fire alarm went off which made all of the kids start jumping around and screaming and the girl saying the prayer started doing some weird chant thing and was telling the demons to leave their house. We shared with them the story of Esther, but it didn't seem to make too much impact. We ended our fast and went our way. After the mom came down to see us as we were getting in the car and she hugged us. She said she really needed our support to make it through the fasting and she was so grateful we did it with her. It's so hard when lessons don't go our way, but this really taught me that it's not really about what I take out of the lesson, it's about what they do. And it was exactly what she had needed, even if it wasn't the best for her kids.

I hope that everyone thinks of Christ often this week. Remember that it's because of Him that we have this Christmas season. Think of Him in all you do and the season will be more meaningful that you could possibly imagine. :)

Much love,
Sister Petrick
Sister Rachel Petrick
700 Darby Road #201
Havertown, PA 19083

Monday, December 15, 2014

More pictures

Christmas Party
Sister Cox's District

Sister Petrick, Santa, Sister Ririe

Missionaries find weird ways to entertain themselves
Sister Ririe, Sister Petrick, Sister Cox

No idea
Missionary Service

More service, smashing strawberries, I believe

That time I serenaded all of McDonalds

Hello everyone!!

This week has been pretty fantastic. Like I mentioned in my email last week, we have had a third sister with us, Sister Cox. We've been working both in our area and in hers, so we've been jam packed with lessons. With how organized we had to be, Sister Ririe and I actually doubled what our goal was for lessons. We thought it was going to be a slow week but since we focused in our planning we were able to go above and beyond all that we thought we would. Heavenly Father made it possible for us to get everything done that we needed to this week. Miracles definitely happen when you stop and listen to what the spirit is telling you to do. :)

The first story I want to tell is about Mark. Mark is the son Shirley, one of Sister Cox's investigators. We went to teach Shirley and Mark came downstairs, satdown next to us and just started crying. He told us that he had just found out that he had brain tumors because of past choices and asked us to pray for him. As we talked he said that he felt like God didn't love him anymore because of his choices and he just wanted to know what God's plan was for him. Miracle - we had planned on teaching the Plan of Salvation that day! And we wanted to visually teach it in a way that actually spells out LOVE. We taught him and he just soaked everything in that we told him. At the end of the lesson we invited him to be baptized. He said he didn't know and walked into the next room. A minute later he came back and said that he would. He said that he didn't know why, but he knew that it was what he needed to do. We came back later in the week and taught him about the Restoration. Again, he just took everything in and loved every second of it. We gave him the Book of Mormon and he agreed to read. A couple of ward members came with us and gave Mark a blessing. He said that the whole time he felt warm and knew that the men blessing him held God's power. Since then he's been reading and he loves it!! He's incredible and being baptized in January.

The next story I want to share is about McDonalds. We go to McDonalds sometimes to use their WiFi. When we went this week we ran into 4 teenage boys and started talking to them. They had never met missionaries before and knew nothing about the church. We told them about the temple and the Book of Mormon and about what missionaries do. They honestly seemed really interested. We gave them the phone number for our Elders and they gave us their numbers so we can contact them. And then I sang a Polar Express song with one of them. In the middle of McDonalds. Hahahahah. You all know me, my voice isn't exactly quiet, and this guy had a beautiful voice. The whole restaurant listened in. And that is the story about how I serenaded everyone in McDonalds.

The last thing I want to share is about Alice. Alice, my amazing, wonderful investigator, was baptized yesterday!! It was so amazing. Sister Ririe and I were running around the entire day at church with filling the font, making sure the programs were printed, getting the right sized jump suits, everything was crazy. So many things fell through and were improvised, but luckily my District is incredible and they helped us out with EVERYTHING. But we were still pretty frazzled. And then as I stood on the side of the font watching Alice walk down into the water I felt such a calm, happy feeling. She was so beautiful and so happy. When she came out she smiled at us and said "I'm clean." It made everything worth it. This is what it's all about. This is the missionary purpose. Alice and her boys will be forever blessed because of the covenants she made and the ones she'll work toward making. She prayed and she said "Thank you for sending me the missionaries to save my life" and my eyes completely teared up. Even with the chaotic mess that we were originally seeing, Alice was baptized. The spirit was there. It was beautiful.

Here's some fun pictures from this week. The baptism. Then me and Jane with the best hat in the world. Jane called me a Ding-a-Ling while I was in it. And then Sister Boyoue taught me how to tie the African headdresses. :)

I love you all!
Sister Petrick

Sister Rachel Petrick
700 Darby Road #201
Havertown, PA 19083

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Birthday Party

Temple Site

Sister Missionaries

Love Park

Elder Castro and Thanksgiving Breakfast

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Got a Fairy Godmother

Hello all!

So this has been a pretty exciting week. First I want to tell everyone about my investigator, Alice. I'm not sure what I've told everyone so I'm just going to tell a couple of my favorite stories really quick. She's basically a golden investigator. So so ready for everything. She's getting baptized THIS SUNDAY!! As soon as we told her she jumped up and was so happy! She's been so ready, she just needed to get to a place where she could continually get work off to come to church, and now she has! She's the best. When we taught her about the Word of Wisdom she went and took tea out of her cupboard and asked if it was one that was okay. We looked at it and told her no and she, without hesitation, picked it up and shoved it into the garbage. Sister Ririe and I just stood there staring at her. It was like she was slapping Satan in the face. It was amazing. Another example of how great she is when SHE asked US if she could pay tithing. We hadn't even brought it up yet and she asked because she honestly wanted to pay. Heavenly Father has been preparing her and now she can finally be baptized!! I have honestly never met someone with such a great faith. She can't read so her two sons, who will hopefully have a date soon, read the Book of Mormon to her every night. They're such a great example to me. I just love them so much.

I got to go to Center City a couple of times this week, once on exchanges and today again for PDay. On exchanges I was with Sister Manson (who was in Brett's MTC district - surprise!). She's hilarious. She'll pick up garbage from the ground and send it to other people. We were able to do what's called CookieWednesday. We passed out cookies to all of the people who are working on building the temple. And in return they gave me some of the stone that the temple is being built out of. How cool is that?? On my desk I have temple rock. Holy temple rock. It's beautiful and makes me so happy. I am so beyond lucky that I've been able to spend so much time in the city. Philadelphia is honestly so beautiful. After I received my call I remembered hoping that I could just see the city around Christmas time and that wish was granted. Seeing those buildings and the boathouse row lit up with Christmas lights is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Philadelphia also has this street right in the middle of the city that's lined with flags from every single country in the world. I have been so blessed to be serving in such an amazing place. Heavenly Father is truly looking after me.

So we've had an interesting couple of days. I'm currently in a trio. We have welcomed Sister Cox (who was also in Brett's MTC district) into our companionship. Sister Cox's companion went home this week and since she has her own area that's maybe 40 minutes away and transfers are in about a week and a half we've been working in both areas. So our schedules have been jam packed. I know that Heavenly Father put us together so that Sister Ririe and I could become more organized and better at scheduling for sure appointments. Sister Cox has been a great blessing to us. So I have two trainers! And I'm learning lots!

The more I learn the more I realize how little I know. It's amazing. I'm starting to really see how Heavenly Father uses His missionaries. As I teach these people I know that there's no way that I'd be able to know what they need to hear without the spirit. I know that I'm being guided to what they need. Heavenly Father could do this work on His own, but He's trusted me with the call to share His gospel and while that's a lot of responsibility, I'm so grateful for the chance.

I hope everyone has a good week! :)
Sister Petrick 
P.S. Those pictures are from earlier today but I'm totally going to send another email with some more because I've been slacking! :)
The first is me with Sister Manson and Sister Cox, the second is us with Eddie the Dinosaur. :)
Sister Rachel Petrick
700 Darby Road #201
Havertown, PA 19083

Monday, December 1, 2014

A couple of Pictures

In front of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Temple

District Thanksgiving Breakfast

Weaves, Leaves, and Turkey

Dearest friends and family,

I've been a missionary for a month!! How exciting is that?? I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father. I know these 18 months are going to fly by so I'm doing my best to make the most of them.

Last Monday Sister Ririe and I were able to meet with some of the other sisters and sort of get a tour of Philadelphia! We started the afternoon at the Philadelphia Temple site and volunteered for a bit in the Visiter's Center. The temple is being built right in the center of Philadelphia!  I'll add a picture or two, but the temple is coming along nicely and it's already so beautiful! I got to see portraits of what the inside will look like and it's being built in an older style to match the history of the city. We walked around the city for a little bit. I didn't get to see the Liberty Bell because it's out of the sisters' area, but I got to see Love Park, The Reading Terminal Market, their mini Chinatown, Ben Franklin's grave, the church where all the founding fathers went, Betsy Ross's house, and this cool park with giant game piece statues. This city is AMAZING! I also met Philly Jesus. He said to call him Brother PJ. Brother PJ is this guy who went to jail for heroin use. He discovered Christ while he was in jail and completely turned his life around. He dresses up like the way Jesus Christ is depicted in pictures complete with a sort of staff and the long hair and beard and says that this is how he shares his testimony and his conversion story. Sister Ririe and I told him a little bit about the Book of Mormon and he said he'd try reading it again. It was a very interesting experience. 

This week was also Thanksgiving. We were told not to proselyte and to spend the day in as many member homes as we could, so we did just that. My District started the day with a big breakfast for the 12 of us. I sure do love my District a whole lot and I'm so grateful that I was placed with so many incredible people. We all shared what we were grateful for and set the tone  for our days. Next was the TurkeyBowl. The two sets of Sisters in my District were the only Sisters to show up so the Elders didn't actually let us play. But we got a football and played our own little game, so it was fine. We also played nurse when the elders started bleeding. Hahahah, good times. And then our meals started! Sister Ririe and I had four full meals and probably gained 10 pounds each. We had two traditional thanksgivings, one African, and one Haitian. And let me just say, I don't think I've ever tasted a better turkey than the Haitian turkey. I don't know what they did, but it was delicious. Spending the day with so many different families was really such a great experience. The members in my ward are so strong. There's such a dynamic difference between the ward members who can't read or understand a lot of what's said and those who lead the auxiliaries of this ward. These are some of the strongest church members that Ive ever met. When you see how this ward has been put together you can honestly so clearly see Heavenly Father's hand.

There weren't too many exciting, ground breaking events that happened this week but I do have a couple funny stories to share!
1. At my African Thanksgiving meal I took out a girl's weave. Hahahahahah.
2. We taught Davidson, our 9year old with a baptismal date, the Word of Wisdom. He had the best questions. First he was really concerned and said "What if I don't like broccoli?" After we explained completely all the guidelines he looked at us and said "So basically you're saying that I don't have to change ANYTHING." He gets it. Hes a good kid.
3. In the English class we teach we asked the Africans if they had anything that they really want to learn. They all want to learn how to text. Hahahah. We've been teaching Africans in their 50's- 60's how to text. Hahahahah, life is so good. 

I love being a missionary. I know without a doubt that this is Christ's gospel and that it's our responsibility to share it. Even if you don't wear the missionary name tag you still have the privilege and duty to share Christ's message. This gospel brings happiness, it's the good news! Share that good news with everyone around you. :) 

If it's not too much trouble, I would really love to be added to everyone's Christmas card list. :)

Thank you for all of your support! I love and miss you all. :)

Sister Petrick
Sister Rachel Petrick
700 Darby Road #201
Havertown, PA 19083