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