Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I sure did! It was 70
degrees here in New Jersey and I was able to spend the day with many
people who I've come to really love. :) The highlight was spending
Christmas Eve with the members who we live with, the Terasevichs. They
had three of their kids and their families over as well and they made
me feel like I was at home. This couple served a mission in Poland and
they've implemented a lot of polish customs and traditions to their
celebrations to make sure that everyone's thoughts are centered on the
Savior. I'm so grateful for the Christmas season because of the
special spirit that just fills the air. I know that as we all make
more of an effort to focus on the savior throughout this next year we
will be able to have that spirit with us all year!

Other than the Christmas festivities this week has been spent with us
meeting lots of new people! We received a lot of referrals this week,
meaning that a lot of people requested a Book of Mormon or bible or
missionary visit, and we've been trying to meet them all! I don't know
if I've ever explained my area, but it's HUGE.  I'll include a picture
of the ward so you can get a general idea, but we had people to meet
in all parts of our area! I've been really impressed by the faith of
those we've met this week. One referral was a woman named Ephesia,
named after the book of Ephesians in the bible, and when we asked if
we could come teach her she got a big grin on her face and said "If
it's about the Lord, I'll do anything!" That is just such an admirable
attitude to have! I've been really trying harder to apply that mindset
this week. One of "if it's from or for the Lord, I'll do it!" Another
we met was a man named Sam. Sam is such a sweetheart. As we gave him
the books he requested his face lit up and he told us that he was
looking for a church to join. The next day he walked in and sat next
to me during sacrament meeting and said that he'd come back! These
things might be seemingly small, but as it says in Alma 37 "by small
and simple things are great things brought to pass." One step at a
time these people are changing their lives and I'm so grateful to be a
part of it!

With the new year coming I want to encourage everyone to read or
listen to the talk "Put Your Trust in the Lord" by Elder Ballard and
do as he counsels and pray about ways that you and your family can
bring someone into the fold of God.

I love being a missionary! I know that this is his work and I am just
so grateful for all of the things that I'm learning and experiencing.
:) I love you all!

Sister Rachel Petrick

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!!

I just LOVE the Christmas season! It is by far the best time to be a
missionary. It's really incredible and humbling to be able to see the
way that people's hearts change this time of year. It seems a little
odd at first, but it happens because everyone tends to think a little
bit more about Jesus Christ and, as we hear every week at church, when
we "always remember him we will have his spirit to be with us." As we
think of Jesus Christ we can't help but be happier! We can't help but
feel joy! :) These lives, and ESPECIALLY the Christmas season, are
meant for us to have joy. :) So the moral of the story is, use your
free moments to think of the Savior and you'll be happier! :)

We were able to see a lot of Christmas miracles this week. Because of
the #ASaviorIsBorn initiative we've been receiving a lot of referrals,
meaning people have seen the video or the website and have requested
items or visits from the missionaries, and us going to see one is the
first miracle I want to share. We set up an appointment with a man who
asked for a bible. When we came he wasn't there. At first I was a
little bit sad but the thought came to mind to ask them if they wanted
to watch our video, and they invited us in! Both women there had met
missionaries before but they had never met sisters before, which made
them excited! It was also an African American family so it was like I
was back in Philly right in my element. The words came easy as we
talked with them. Soon they called all of their kids downstairs and we
had about ten kids sitting at our feet as we shared the video. They
loved it and invited us back! As I talked with these women I couldn't
help but smile just because of the honest love I already was feeling
for them. As I was giving them a Book of Mormon and telling them about
what we do as missionaries one of the women stopped me and said
"you're doing Christ's work. You have a light , I can see it in your
face." She accepted the Book of Mormon and asked us to come back! It
was one of the sweetest moments I've had in a while and it really
taught me that I have every reason in the world to be happy! I'm
standing in the place of Jesus Christ, spreading his gospel to those
who haven't heard it yet. And we don't need a name tag to have that
light with us. Matthew 5:16 says "Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify you Father which is in
heaven." We all have a light that we can share with those around us!

Basically this entire year I've had a theme of studying light. And
I've really learned a lot and was so thrilled when that was the focus
of Elder Bednar's Christmas address, he really helped me click some
pieces together of things which I've been learning. Jesus Christ truly
is the light of the world. In Helaman and 3 Nephi 1 we learn that the
signs of his birth were "a day and a night and a day, as if it were
one day and there were no light" and "a new star shall arise." As I
studied it really hit me that these signs are both different forms of
light because Jesus Christ literally brought light into the world.
Likewise, in 3 Nephi 8:20-23, when Christ died there were three days
and three nights of complete and utter darkness. Between the time of
Christ's death and the resurrection light was missing because Christ
was gone. Jesus Christ literally brings light into our lives. He is
the light.

This week I got to go to Gospel Doctrine and it went right along with
this light theme. We were learning about the first part of the book of
Revelations. In the first chapter John writes about candlesticks. Our
discussion led to the finalized thought that Jesus Christ is that
light. He is the Light and the Life of the world. We, as his
followers, are the candlestick. We bring the light of Christ to those
who are struggling to find it themselves. Last night we were able to
witness this ourselves. The youth had a caroling activity and they let
us tag along for part of it and we visited some of the people we work
with. I have never seen so many hearts touched in such a short period
of time. Each time we went to a door and sang I thought about the
challenges that these people were going through. Their heartaches,
their feelings of inadequacy or the feelings of being forgotten. And I
watched as tears came to their eyes because this group of youth was
standing in the Savior's place. They were showing these lost sheep
that they are not forgotten. We have so many opportunities to serve
those around us. And as these youth taught me last night, it doesn't
have to be fancy, it doesn't have to take a lot of time, you don't
even have to sing on key! It's the simple acts of kindness that just
show that we are thinking of our fellow men that mean the most.

Sorry this was a little bit longer this week. My heart has just been
so full of the Christmas spirit that's been in the air! I hope you are
all having a wonderful holiday and that Heavenly Father is leading you
to those whose hearts you can touch this year.

I love you all! Merry Christmas!!

Sister Rachel Petrick

Monday, December 14, 2015

"We are made alive in Christ, because of our faith."

This week has been a good one in Vineland! It was a little bit slower
teaching wise but we were able to make some great contact with people
who we haven't been able to see much lately. That didn't produce many
stories, but it was so good to be able to see everyone. :)

We also had such a miracle with the Christmas initiative! Maybe
miracle is the wrong word, but I think it was pretty neat. I'm sure
most of you have heard about or seen the Christmas video/ website, but
if not, check out There are a few videos and
some fun features that help make Christmas more about the Savior and
it makes it so easy to share the website with friends!

Anyway, We had talked to our ward mission leader about the Christmas
initiative and showed him the videos in our correlation meeting and he
loved it. During our ward council meeting he brought it up to the
other members, showed them the card, and asked if we could come and
share it and explain the website in all of the auxiliaries! So on
Sunday we were able to take a fair amount of time going from class to
class talking about the initiative and going through the websites with
the ENTIRE Ward! Everyone was so excited and so many, especially the
primary kids, were so excited about getting their own card to hand out
to a friend. I love this Christmas initiative and I just KNOW that
it's what our Heavenly Father wants his children to know right now. I
have loved sharing this with those around me. It's so incredible to
think about how this video and this website took months of prayer and
preparation to make. I know that the leaders of the church made sure
to follow the message that Heavenly Father picked.

I also had one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission. There's an
investigator here who's an older man, his parents joined the church
when he was a young adult, and he's been investigating for a long long
time, but he's never accepted a baptismal date or anything like that.
He's even on his third time reading the Book of Mormon and he comes to
church every week! As we were there this week he was talking about how
he always prays to be led to the truth. Now, I've always disliked that
particular prayer just because they say that and the missionaries do
come, but it's not recognized very often that that's the answer to the
prayer. Before this lesson I had committed myself to being bold and to
the point with him. So I asked him if he's prayed and asked
specifically if this church is true. He told us he had, so then I
asked what he felt his answer was. He said "I feel strongly that it
is." And I asked the same thing about the Book of Mormon and he gave
the same answer. In that moment I just felt the spirit so strongly and
I could tell that my companion and a I both knew that this was a VERY
important moment. As my companion bore testimony of her beliefs and
the things he's been learning I turned to Mosiah 18. We read 8-9,
commenting on how these are the desires of his hearts. He then noticed
that he had previously highlighted verse 10 where it says that baptism
is his next step, and I told him that he was giving himself his
answer. And he agreed with me!! My companion then invited him to be
baptized and while he originally told us that he wouldn't agree to a
date, I promised that if he set a date as his goal then he would be
ready by then and we set the date of January 3rd! I'm so grateful for
the spirit and how when we listen to that spirit we can know EXACTLY
what these people need to hear.

I can't explain how much I love being a missionary. :) I am so
eternally grateful for this gospel and for a Heavenly Father who
trusts me enough to let me share with his children. I know that this
is Christ's work that I'm apart of and I know that it's through him
and because of him that we can find peace and happiness.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of the thoughts and
prayers. :) I love you all!
Sister Rachel Petrick

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

I'm running short on emailing time, so this probably won't be too
long, but I have a couple of miracle stories that I want to share with
The first is about Karen and Dvyne. We knocked on their door this week
and they let us right in! Dvyne is an 8 year old boy who wants to
learn about Jesus and Karen is his aunt. We taught them about the
restoration of the gospel and I have never seen anyone get so excited
before! As we talked about the first vision Karen literally gasped and
asked "So. Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?" We
testified that he did and that through Joseph Christ was able to
restore his gospel. Karen got so excited as she told us about how she
was looking for a church and how every church she visited was corrupt.
She believed all that we said and agreed to read and pray about the
Book of Mormon! She taught me a good lesson. Members of the church,
and especially missionaries, know the restoration and the story of
Joseph Smith like the back of our hands. But we meet these people
every day who have never heard this, people who never knew that
Christ's gospel was lost. We need to be as excited as Karen when we
share this message because it is exciting! It's the good news!
We stopped by a woman named Wakeisha. She had met the elders at the
hospital when they were giving someone a blessing and they told us
about her. We came to her home and were again welcomed in warmly. She
told us that she had met with missionaries before and that she knew
that running into the elders that week was not a coincidence. She knew
that it was God's hands. She told us about her desire to change and
even told us that while she wasn't ready yet she wanted to work toward
being baptized!! I loved Wakeisha because she was so genuinely looking
for help. She had the desire to allow Jesus Christ into her life. We
talked about him and about how through the Atonement we can be
cleansed and freed and that we can change.
I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that it truly is
through him that we can change and be freed from any pains and sadness
we might be faced with. And I know that if we do our part by turning
to him that he will be there every step of the way. I love being his
missionary and I'm so grateful to be sharing his gospel with the
people here in southern jersey!
I love you all!
Sister Rachel Petrick
Here's some pictures! First, I got to go on exchanges with Sister
Boehm, and we had a mini Christmas celebration with the Nodolskis, and
we had zone training!
The Zone
The District