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

Monday, March 7, 2016

May 7, 2016

Hello everybody!!

Sorry for not emailing last week. Pdays  seem to get filled very easily, so as requested I have a longer email today! :) Morrisville is very different from Vineland but I am learning so so much every single day and I love it here!

This week we were able to go on some exchanges. For the first I was able to be with Sister Van Arsdale. And if you don't remember, Sister Van Arsdale was my companion when I was back in Delaware and it was so much fun going into her area with her. One of the best parts is that she serves in part of Philadelphia so it was a huge flashback to the beginning on my mission. One experience I wanted to share was a lesson that we had with a woman named Linda. Linda is preparing to be baptized at the end of the month and she is just such a sweetheart.
She lives in a Russian retirement home so even from just walking through the front door it was a neat experience. We went in and taught her very simply about repentance. We focused on how repentance is when we turn away from what's wrong and focus ourselves on  and do what's right. And it went really well! And then we felt prompted to share a scripture with her from Mosiah 26, which teaches a lot of great truths about repentance. At the end of the lesson Sister Van Arsdale asked her what she had learned that day about repentance. Her answer
surprised me. When we were teaching we repeated the same simple points multiple times to try to get it to stick in her mind, but when she answered the question she repeated the words that she learned from the scriptures she read. This experience taught me so much. I realized that my calling as a missionary is not to go out and teach people everything I've come to know, my job is share the Book of Mormon with everyone that I can and SHOW them how their lives can be changed by applying the words they read. The Book of Mormon teaches far more
powerfully and far simpler than I ever could. I know with full certainty that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that every single verse is meant to teach us and that reading it will teach us more than anything else can. We need to use the Book of Mormon because that's when the spirit is able to teach.

In this area we don't have many people to teach so we've been doing a lot of finding this week. While knocking on doors we met one of the cutest women I've ever seen! Her name is Irma. She let us in her home immediately and let us share our message with her and then proceeded to tell us about growing up during WWII. As we sat talking with her I was just overwhelmed by how much I knew that Heavenly Father loves this woman. She made me think of Alma 26:37 where it says "God is mindful of every people" because her life and her upbringing has been
completely different than mine but it doesn't mean that we're loved any differently. Our Heavenly Father has given us the lives and experiences that we specifically need to become the person who He sees in us. He has great potential for us all and every single trial and lesson is to help us reach that potential.

We also, because we've been doing so much finding, have met TONS of interesting people this week. It's been a week full of adventures and awkward situations. One experience that taught me a lot was when we met an older couple named Sharon and Rich. We were contacting some one else but saw them loading cages into their car so we ran to ask if we could help! It turns out they catch stray cats and nurse them to health and help them get adopted! Pretty cool! You're probably expecting a story that ends with these two wanting to meet with us and
get baptized, but unfortunately this story ends exactly the opposite way. These people were wonderful and so fun to talk to but they wouldn't even give our message a chance. The man even as part of our conversation told us that he became Christian because he insisted on reading everything so that he could find what's true, but still said
no when we offered him a Book of Mormon. Now you might wonder why I share that story, but it's because as we walked away from these people I felt that my testimony was stronger. I knew that their rejection didn't make the gospel any less true, their rejection didn't make the Book of Mormon any less true. I've been rejected plenty of times on my mission, but this particular situation taught me how important it is to know for myself that this message is true. Our Heavenly Father asks us to have faith and when we act on that faith he will help us know
that these things are the truth.

I'm so grateful for my testimony. I know that this is Christ's restored gospel. I know that it's the only way to everlasting happiness and I know that my calling as a missionary is so special and 

I'm so grateful to have these experiences.

Have a great week!
Sister Rachel Petrick

The Zone