Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Hello everybody!!

And Happy Memorial Day! Today I'm definitely so grateful for all of the Memorial Day traditions that my family has, and I'm sad that I can't be there this year but I'm grateful that I get to spend Memorial Day in a place where so many lost their lives for the freedom of this country. I'm truly so grateful! And we have some fun plans today too! We're going to go to a cemetery to look at the gravestones that are hundreds of years old and then we have been invited to a barbecue by a  funny old catholic couple in our neighborhood! I still get my burger and it may turn out to be a great finding activity! We're excited!

To answer questions that a few people asked about transfers: Yes, I'm still in my first area. Yes, I realize I'll most likely be transferred. But I still have two weeks left!! I'm not even thinking about it! I have two baptisms that I'm preparing for!! :)

And this week was full of miracles! There were so many stressful moments, but it's incredible to see the way that Heavenly Father makes sure we're where we're needed. Our first major miracle was the lesson that we had with Esther and Madison on Tuesday. We were teaching Esther about the temple because she went to Washington DC with the Ward. She absolutely LOVED it. We've already started preparing her to go to the Manhattan temple for baptisms when the Ward goes in July. She's so excited. She says she wants to see every temple in the world! We're planning in her visiting me in Utah and taking a nice road trip
next summer. :) But anyway, we were teaching her and Madison came halfway through, so we over viewed everything for him and he said "So what are your qualifications for baptism?" We were both a little shocked. But we went through the baptismal interviews questions, he
loved and agreed with all the standards and things he hadn't learned yet and then said "So I was reading the Book of Mormon and a question famed to my mind. Are there any rules about the amount of meat we should eat?" So we taught him the Word of Wisdom! Just by his
questions he's completely being prepared!! And he asked if they had to get married in the temple before baptism and I was able to, in more detail, explain that one year after they're baptized they get to be sealed! And they both just looked so happy! I'm so grateful for the temple and all of the covenants we are able to make and the blessings we are able to receive. :)

We had another lesson with just Esther and as we were leaving there were a ton of African kids outside, and I love African kids, there was the Sumo family from my ward and they have five crazy kids, and then five others who I've met a couple of times. I sat down on the side with them and started teaching them I am a Child of God and they all pretty much just started piling on top of me. Hahahah, and the pictures I'm going to send basically describe it perfectly.

Another miracle came with us making a goal to get solid referrals at meal appointments. And we had two African meal appointments the last week. At the first one, we started talking to this man, George. He asked who we were and we told him and said we were called to share
Christs restored gospel with everyone and he looked at us for a second and said "when will you be back? I want to meet with you" and at another appointment we met this man, Edwin, and he said he also wanted to join our church! Both these men are in the Elders' areas but
miracles came as we set these goals and the elders will hopefully be able to meet with them both soon!

We've also, as a mission, had to cut back on miles. So in my area we got cut back 300 miles, so we've been walking a lot more. And we've definitely been getting creative with getting to all of our appointments in the Elders' areas. Hahahahahah, it's been a blessing
though! We're both getting much better at talking to people and we've really been able to see how beautiful Pennsylvania really is. I am truly so grateful to be here serving my Savior, I cannot imagine doing anything different and I know I'm exactly where I need to be. This gospel is truly the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I testify that by living it is the only way to find true happiness and peace.  I love you all and hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Sister Rachel Petrick

Sister Shaffer and Sister Petrick
Being attacked by the children

Monday, May 18, 2015

This weeks letter

Hello everybody!!

I am very excited to tell everyone about some of the things that happened this week. First, it is getting hot. And humidity and I do not get along. Hahahah, it hasn't been too bad, but man, I'm really going to be enduring this summer!!

Anyway, this week has honestly been super rough. Probably the hardest of my mission so far. We basically had every single one the appointments we had set up fell through, no one in our area wanted to talk to us, and even everyone at church seemed really on edge this
week. But that's okay! Yes, I had a really hard time for the majority of this week, but it taught me a lot. And Heavenly Father knows that I'm trying. I'm not perfect, nowhere near it, but I'm on Heavenly Fathers team and this is His work. He knows what needs to be done. And there have been many times this week where I've felt him pushing me along and I'm so grateful for that. All week I've been studying about faith and how to strengthen my faith and I've come across a talk that I want to invite everyone to read. It's called Tasting the Light by Lynn G. Robbins. I've only just started it, but it's incredible! So far it's talked a lot about planting that seed of faith like is mentioned in Alma 32. When we have just a desire then Heavenly Father will take that desire and it will grow inside of us until we have the faith to see miracles!

I was also able to see some amazing miracles this week. For exchanges I was able to serve in Center City Philadelphia, right in the middle of the city! And the the Philadelphia temple site is located right in the center of this area. We spent all day walking around and talking to people about this magnificent building and sharing with them how sacred it is to our Heavenly Father. And I cannot express how much I have come to love the temple. I say that as a general statement as well as directed toward this specific building. Even without being dedicated, this building already radiates the spirit and I have been so blessed to be serving so close to it and to serve with those who are more than ready to receive of the blessings! A quote that I love from Neil L Anderson says "The location of a temple is not a convenient geographical decision. It comes by revelation from the Lord to His prophet, signifying a great work to be done and acknowledging the righteousness of the Saints who will treasure and care for His house through generations." Those words perfectly describe the members of the Philadelphia 1st Ward and I'm sure so many other surrounding

I'm so grateful for all of the support and prayers that you all send my way. You're all incredible and I love you so much! I just love being a missionary and am so grateful for this time to serve my Savior.

Until next week,
Sister Rachel Petrick

Monday, May 11, 2015

Look Up Revelations 3:7

Hello humans.

I first want to just express how excited I am to be sharing what I'm about to share with you. Many of you may already know, but everyone needs to prepare yourselves because this is BIG.

Are you ready?

Probably not, but here it comes!

MISSIONARIES ARE BEING LET BACK INTO LIBERIA!!!! HOW EXCITING IS THAT!?!? The last known case of Ebolla has been gone from the country for about 50 days now, so it's no longer under such high radar. It was announced on KSL on Tuesday that there have been mission presidents called for Liberia and Sierra Leone! I have already been able to see so many blessings come from this! There are members in my ward who have been sending copies of the Book of Mormon, pamphlets, pass along cards, anything they can to family and friends back home who haven't been able to join the church. UNTIL NOW. This gospel is so true and I cannot even describe how much joy it brings me to know how much stronger the church in Liberia is going to become! I've already been told that in certain places you have to get to church two hours early or you won't get a seat. People will stand out in the hallways and parking lots of church buildings just to hear what's being taught. It is so humbling and so incredible to hear all of these stories and how much these people love their Heavenly Father and Savior.

The rest of the week was incredible as well. We had the BEST ward party. The theme was Dancing Through the Decades and we had a dance floor, a photo booth, pizza as the meal, and a LIVE BAND made up of members of the ward. They played everything from The Beatles to the
Black Keys to Aretha Franklin, it was so much fun! And they had everyone come dressed up as their favorite decade. I am just so in love with this ward. This ward feels like home to me and I am so grateful for all of the people who I have met who have taught me more of who I want to become. Serving in the Philadelphia 1st ward has completely changed me, my mission, and my life.

We also taught a few new investigators with week and there are two who I want to mention. First is Lovette. She had originally met with the elders but didn't like the idea of three men coming to see her so now we teach her! We taught her the Restoration and she had a LOT of questions, all great ones too, but it was a really cool testimony builder. She had a lot of questions about a modern day prophet and how there's only one. She said that there was no way one man would be able to do Christ's work. One man could not be everywhere sharing Christ's word. And I was able to think for a second and then say "Lovette, he's not alone. He has an army of 85,000 missionaries, just like us, all over the world, sharing the gospel with him ." And I don't know if she felt it, but right in that moment I felt such a strong witness that I was there doing the Lord's work. And that 85,000 is just the young proselyting missionaries. There are senior couples and service missionaries as well and those numbers add up. His work is hastening and we're all a part of it! And it's such a joyous work!

The next I want to mention is a woman named Jessie and her husband Chen. They're from China and they also have a little girl. They went to church with one of Jessie's friends in Seattle and then found our address here and just showed up! And I was lucky enough to be one of the first to see and greet them because I already just love Jessie so much! She had a lot of questions because being from China she doesn't have a Christian background, but she loved church and was so happy and bubbly the entire time. It made me so grateful for the knowledge that I've always had of the Savior. I absolutely had to come to know him
myself but because of my family and the ward that I grew up in I have always loved the Savior and I have always known so much of what He's done for me. It was incredible to see Jessie's eyes light up as I told her about the Savior's life and his miracles. She asked me what a miracle is and I really had to think, I never had had to define that before. I told her that it's something wonderful and unexpected. It's something that happens when really it's not supposed to. Christ rose a man from the dead, that's not supposed to happen but because Christ was so special, he was able to produce miracles. She looked like a
five year old on Christmas morning, it was heart warming. She's unfortunately not in our ward boundaries, but she gave me her email address and to,d me she wants to tell me all about how her missionary lessons go and that if I'm ever in China I can stay with her! :)

Sorry for such a long email, it was just such an incredible week and I had so much that I wanted to share with you all! And to end I want to wish a Happy Mothers Day to all of the incredible women in my life! There are so many of you who have influenced me so much and I wouldn't be who I am today without each and every one of you. Thank you!

Sister Petrick

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the Fourth Be With You

Hello everybody!!

I feel like I say it every week, but this week was wonderful and taught me so much! It started with transfers. Since one of my companions went home it was a little different for us and we actually had four sisters in our area for a couple of days and we split up so we could do twice as much work! I got to spend time with Sister Smith and it's so cool because even though we only spent a day and a half as companions I just know that Sister Smith and I will continue to be great friends! The mission has an amazing way of helping you meet your best friends. We definitely had some crazy adventures. We decided to park our car and just walk around the streets of Southwest Philadelphia. It was a learning experience, for sure. We were able to talk to a bunch of different people as well as become a little bit more cultured with what goes on in the streets... We eventually made our way to our English class where we began teaching the African women "I am a Child of God." I cannot tell you how full my heart was as they sang those sweet truths. It is so amazing to be a witness of a Heavenly Father who I know loves each and every one of His children. Serving in this area has taught me so much about how valuable and powerful charity is. I have come to love these people and this culture so much and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve them.

And Sister Shaffer and I are staying together this transfer and it's just the two of us! I had fun in my three months of being in a trio, but I'm very grateful to be back with just the two of us. We had sort of a rough week. There was a little bit of sickness and then a lot of cancelled appointments and empty door approaches. Basically what we've discovered is that the sun comes out and everyone leaves their house! But it really taught me a lot! By the end of Friday night I was feeling a little bit discouraged because of how little I felt we had done this week, so I decided that Saturday was going to be a good day regardless of who was or wasn't home. This, however, was our sick day, so we stayed inside a few extra hours taking care of my companion, and then once we got out it was the same thing, no one was home. But I knew we had done everything that we could, and that made a difference. A successful missionary isn't one who baptizes every week or teaches tons of lessons. A successful missionary is one who does everything in their power to do as the Spirit directs and is enthusiastic about doing their very best. I need to get better at making every day like that, but I'm getting closer. :)

And then....ladies and gentlemen, buckle your seat belts because SUNDAY HAPPENED. After this bully of a week Sister Shaffer and I truly saw miracles happen. And I testify to you that not only does Heavenly Father reward you for faithfully serving him, but that FASTING BRINGS MIRACLES. To begin I need to tell a little background story. We've been teaching this woman named Esther. Esther is someone who I made us stop the car and get out to talk to her on the side of the road. She just came from Africa and she is incredible! We've been teaching her for a couple of weeks and she just loves it all and has a baptismal date
for June 7!! Pray for Esther, please. :) Anyway, she told us that she would ask her husband for permission to come to church and church had started and no Esther. And the right after sacrament meeting began Esther came waking in the door dressed in beautiful African garb! AND HER HUSBAND CAME WITH HER. And the fact that is was a testimony meeting made all the difference for them, they stood up in our Sunday school class and the husband said that after seeing how everyone plays a part in this church he too is interested in joining. Miracle!! I could go on about Esther for days, but basically they both loved church and I love them and they're wonderful! :) That day we were also able to get in contact with two investigators who we haven't seen in a very long time and resolve major concerns that they have had. We were also able to end the day with Helen and Davidson. We showed up at their house and they were locked out, so I asked if we could keep them entertained. So we watched the Finding Faith in Christ video on my iPad and then they both bore beautiful testimonies of the Savior. Those two just warm my heart, they truly have become members of my family and it was the perfect way to end the night. I again testify that fasting brings miracles. And long suffering ends with pure joy. :) And although I'm really still working on developing it, we are rewarded for our patience. This work is such a joyful one and I
encourage everyone to pray about ways that you can step a little bit out of your comfort zone and share the good news of Christ's gospel with those around you.

I love you all! Thank you for all of the prayers and support, it really truly does mean so much.

Sister Petrick