One Very Long Day

We awoke on Thursday morning, June 28, 2012 at 5:00 AM.  The  MTC van to the airport picked us up in Provo, Utah at 6:45 AM to deliver us to the airport in Salt Lake City.  We are on our way to our mission!

President Robinson Studying

Sister Robinson, trying to take a least one good picture of myself!

At 11:15 AM, we lifted of and headed to Seattle, Washington for a layover before boarding an AirBus for the Netherlands.  At 2:00 PM, MDT, we lifted off on our long flight to Amsterdam.

The flight was long, 8 plus hours, but the 'jet lag' factor was an 8 hour time difference so upon arrival in Amsterdam, it was 8:30 AM on Friday, June 29, 2012, somewhere over the Atlantic we had lost a day, or rather a good night's sleep.

  On June 29, 2012 we were met at the airport by President and Sister Burbaker, the current president, and the AP Elders-- Elder Van De Graaff and Elder Van Overbeek.  I'm not sure who was happier to see whom!  Sister Brubaker even had flowers for me!  What a wonderful sight.  It all felt unreal.  However, as odd as it may sound, I felt like I was coming home.

Elder Van De Graaff, Pres. Brubaker, Sis. Brubaker, Sis. Robinson, President Robinson, and Elder Van Overbeek.  

Hallo Belgie and Nederland.  Wij zijn blij u te ontmoeten!

Days Never to Be Forgotten

This week has been as a dream.  One week ago we entered the MTC.  Tonight, I turn the lights off in my home in Leidschendam Netherlands.  Truly, these past days are days never to be forgotten.  In Joseph Smith----History 1: 75, Oliver Cowdery describes these events thus: "These were days never to be forgotten--to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued. . . The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed. . . . .  dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior's goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry...."
That is how Alden and I felt about the five glorious days in the MTC.  We will forever be grateful for our brief moment in time when the we were taught and encouraged and fortified by latter day prophets of God.


Farewell to the MTC

Farewell to the MTC.  It has been a most remarkable journey.  Three full weeks  of Language Immersion, and four full day with the First Presidency, eleven of the twelve apostles, and the Quorum of Seventy. Elder Ballard gave one of the most powerful talks on Joseph and Hyrum Smith I have ever heard.  It was just one hour prior to the hour of the 168th anniversary of the martyrdom of the prophet and his brother.  We shook hands with Elder Ballard about 10 minutes after he finished.  There was still a power and light around him at that time.  It was hard not to weep when we thanked him.

  We couldn't have a more prepared and great sendoff.  Ready or not!!!

 President Robinson, Sister Robinson and Bro. Clay Johnson

Clay Johnson was the MTC Tutor we worked with from March until May.  He was the expert in Preach My Gospel and gave us a wonderful foundation in the book and in the eight fundamental training lessons that we will use with all missionaries in the mission.  He is great.  We love and appreciate his commitment to us and our preparation.

President Robinson, Sister Robinson, Sister Wright, President Wright
I would like you to meet President and Sister Wright.  They are on their way to Brazil.  We won't see them for three years--when we return we will look each other up and have a wonderful reunion.  We met during our weeks of Language Immersion.  We had an immediate bond of love and friendship.  It's as if we have been friends our entire lives.  I don't know how something like that happens, but it did and our love and prayers go with the Wrights. We feel so blessed to know them. How lucky are the missionaries in Brazil Porto Alegre North.  


Day Four

 Wow!  Day four was as exciting as any other day.  We heard from President Uchtdorf this morning and from Bro. Causse from the Presiding Bishopric.  The afternoon was spend with a variety of the Seventy.  We also heard from L. Tom Perry.  This evening it was dinner with an apostle--we were blessed to have dinner with Elder Russell M. Nielsen and his wife, Wendy.  Again, there were a number of Seventy and an Area Authority presidency member from the European Area Presidency.  Again, it is a who's who when ever we sit down in a meeting or at a meal.  This morning we rode in the shuttle with Joseph B. Wirthlin Jr.  He and his wife are new Mission Presidents for upstate New York. 

 Tomorrow is our last day of President's Seminar.  I guess by then they expect us to be able to run a mission---we are not feeling it yet.  We realize that we probably never will, so we are going to jump in with both feet and start swimming.  I talked with a wife of the Mission President going to Portugal Lisbon, Sister Fluckiger.  We talked today and we both feel that we need the Spirit to be with us as never before.  We need to Spirit to assist us with the mission and the missionaries.  We need the Spirit to be with us to help and support our husbands.  We both feel that we can not afford even a slight slip up that would offend the Spirit--it takes too much time to get the Spirit back, and we can not afford the time that would take away from the missionary work.  We both feel the weight.  We have to be wise so the Spirit is always with us so we can best serve and love the missionaries and the Mission President. I find comfort in realizing that so many of the wives have feelings and concerns like mine.  She will be a dear "best friend".  We will see each other every Area Conference and training. There is a unique sisterhood among the wives.  I am grateful for that unity. 


Day Three

This morning we spent with a number of the Twelve Apostles and President Eyring.  President Eyring spoke for 1 1/2 hours and it was just perfect for us as new Mission Presidents.  The rest of the day was spent with the Seventy and Mission Department Directors training and teaching.

Meals are wonderful, but the company is even better.  We have had dinner with a number of the Presidents of the Seventy, assorted members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, the European Area Presidency and, of course, their wives.  It is a who's who at break, at meals, in meetings.  I talked with Richard G. Scott today and we discussed his conference address from April.  I used part of his talk in my Sacrament Meeting talk on Father's Day in Flowell Ward.  I shared the parts that were important to me.  It was a very special discussion.  That's the way it goes.  Alden was stopped by M. Russell Ballard again today for a quick exchange.  

Todays trainings were more focused on the day to day planning and training of Missionaries in the Mission.  It was exciting and it helped put structure and form to the many things we have to accomplish each week.  We feel like the tread mill is being turned up faster and faster.


Day Two

Our English Tags to be worn at the MTC

Today, Sunday June 24, we felt like missionaries.  We wore our English name tags all day.  We had sacrament meeting with the First Presidency and nine of the twelve apostles.  What a treat.  For the afternoon session, Russell M. Nielsen spoke.  Later we shook hands and visited with Elder Nielsen, Elder Ballard, and Elder Cook.  We met several of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric. What a wonderful first day.  We have been instructed on great ways to train, motivate and have real growth in the mission.  We have met almost all the new mission presidents and wives that are going to Europe Area.  They are my new "best friends". We all feel a sisterhood and will depend on each other over the years.  Again, we feel so very blessed.  Wij zijn gezegend.

Onze Nederlands naam label


Day One---It Finally Came

All the family came for breakfast at our home on Saturday, June 23, 2012.  It was the last time we would all be together for three years.  We laughed and enjoyed each other as much as we could possibly enjoy.  We went to the deck to get a "last" family group photo.  Then it was time to hug and say goodbye.  
The Lord has a way of preparing hearts.  Mine was heavy, but not broken.  As I hugged the grandchildren goodbye, I wanted to tell them how much I loved them, but tears were too close to the surface.  I think they felt the same way, because all we could do has hug each other without words.  Instead to talking, we hugged harder!  

Then my kids.  Wow!  It's hard to say goodbye to children who are your best friends also.  Again, it was hard to say what I wanted to say without tears and a broken voice.  

To my family.  I love you.  I am so blessed to have you in my life.  Be united and grow in love and concern for one another while we are away.  Thank you for your example.  Thank you for who you are and what you have done for us. We love you all with a love that is deep, abiding and eternal.  I have a better perspective on the importance of what a "forever family" must feel like.  Scott, Suzie, Sally and families--you are my forever family.  Take care to business and take care of each other.  Tot ziens!  Goodbyes are hard. 


After a series of events, we were dropped off at the MTC and started our experience.  The first thing was our name badges.  We really are missionaries! I now own a missionary badge!!!

The afternoon was spent with different missionary departments of the church and getting all the necessary supplies and information that we need to take with us.  Good New!! We have visas!  We won't have to go to Spokane!

We spent our first meeting with members of the Seventy being trained in Member Districts.  

Tonight we officially met with the Elders going to Belgium Netherlands Mission that are currently in the MTC.  We had a meeting for about an hour.  The Spirit was present, we spent about half the time speaking Dutch.  All I can say is--It's a gift of the Spirit, the gift of tongues!  

We are excited!! 

Our Setting Apart

Thursday, June 21, 2012 our family met with Elder Quentin L. Cook and Patrick Kearon of the Seventy.  We had the great blessing of being set apart.  Elder Cook set Alden apart as President of the Belgium Netherlands Mission.  One of the great blessings President Robinson was given was the blessing of discernment.  Discernment in so many areas of our lives, the mission, the missionaries lives and the missionary work.  Brother Kearon set me apart.  It was an unbelievable blessing.  When it was done, Elder Cook shook my hand and commented on what a beautiful blessing that I had been given.  My mother told me that because of the blessing, she feels at peace and will know that I will be fine--she can let me go.  (Sounds like a mom:))  

There was a sweet and wonderful spirit in the room.  What a wonderful experience to share with my family.  Thank you everyone for supporting us in this unbelievable experience.   What a wonderful way to spend on of the last days at home with my family.  All too soon we will be separated.  But we are united in this mission.  I ben dunkbaar voor mijn famile.

Magical Keys

These are magical keys.  When my dad was a boy, he enjoyed eavesdropping on conversations his mother would have with friends and company.  However, they always would shoo my dad out of the room.  So he found extra keys to some of the doors in his old home.  The house was an old house with tall ceilings and at least two doors to every room.  My dad would sneak around unlocking doors and closing them again until he could listen in to the adult talk.  No one every discovered what my dad was up too.  When he went to the war, he hid the keys in the bowl of a light fixture in a bedroom.  When he returned three years later, the keys were still in the light fixture.
My dad had given me instructions that if anything every happened to him, I was to go get the important things from a particular draw in his home.  The day after his stroke, I went and got the contents of that drawer.  There were the magic keys.  Greg, my brother, shared the story with us.  Dad had referred to these keys as magical to him as a kid.  The fact that my dad kept these keys with his important things is testimony that they were important to him.
We, as siblings, made the decision to put the keys in dad's hands before we sealed the casket.  We wanted dad to have his magical keys with him. 

So Dad, enjoy eavesdropping!


This Chapter Ends

Today, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, we honored the life of Roger J. Peterson, my dad.  My brother, two sisters and I met with our family and friends as well as friends of my father.  It was a sacred and spiritual day with everyone.  Thank you for helping me close this chapter of my life's book--it has been an unbelievable journey.  I now  feel more prepared for my mission.  I have been very concerned for my dad as I prepared to leave to serve in Belgium Netherlands Mission for three years. I have expressed my concern to the Lord--I left it in his hands.  The Lord has allowed my dad to be in the perfect place as I serve for three years.  I do not worry for my Dad anymore!

It was a wonderful day.  I have had many wonderful days with my dad over the years.  Keep a watchful eye on us in Belgium Netherlands!


A Farewell to All

On Sunday, June 17, 2012, Father's Day, we had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament Meeting in the Flowell Ward.  It was so wonderful to see friends and family there to support us.  I was so pleased to see my two sisters, my brother joined us for the luncheon afterward.  My mother was there also.  My dad was missing. 

I had invited my father almost six weeks in advance to please come to church on Father's Day to be with us as we spoke before leaving on our mission.  I asked well in advance so he could be ready. Dad was not a 'church going' man, but he had agreed to come.  At first he said that he didn't know where his suit was, but I told him is was OK, he could wear what he always wore--a light blue work shirt and dark blue pants with black shoes.  He said that he would come if he could come dressed in his shirt and pants and black shoes.
Well, on Monday, June 11, 2012, a day after his stroke, I went out to the farm to lock things up.  I found his black shoes sitting on a cinder block drying.  He had polished them on Sunday, the day he had a stroke.  They were still shiny and black.  No dust on them. Some black shoe polish had dripped on the cement where he was polishing his shoes. As I looked at them I realized that he polished his shoes in preparation for Sacrament Meeting the following week. He was planning on coming because he knew it meant a lot to me.  

Dad passed away on Saturday, the day before we spoke in sacrament meeting.  He didn't make it to our meeting wearing his shoes, but he did make it to the meeting.   

Alden's family were all there to support us.  His two sisters, his brother and of course, his mother.  All of our children and grandchildren were there.  Thank you to everyone who wished us well.  We love you all.

Ik weet dat....(I know that...) life is made up of all the moments and memories of people who love us and have blessed our lives.  We felt the spirit as we sit in a room with so many people whom we love and respect and that have been examples to us and blessed our lives in so many ways.  We wish we could have had the opportunity to shake everyone's hand and personally thank each of you.  If we didn't get to shake your hand, please know of our love and thanks for you.  God will be with you until we return. Ik weet dat!



On June 16, 2012, at 9:30 am, my father quietly and with great dignity passed away. There are so many things to be thankful and grateful for at this time. Thanks to all of you who have shown great love and concern. Goodbyes are hard.


Another Very Difficult Goodbye--

After a wonderful third week at the MTC, we were settling into a busy week of packing, cleaning and spending a great week with the grandkids.  Enjoying my backyard and deck are favorite things for me to do on lazy summer evenings.  I felt like I would just soak up three years worth of "lazy summer evenings" in one week.  

However, the Lord has something different in mind--again.  Remember when I commented that His timetable is not my timetable? On Sunday, June 10, at 11:30 am we received a call that my father had just had a stroke, was in the hospital and not doing well; could we get there as soon a possible.  Without delay, Alden and I left Flowell and drove to Richfield.  On the way we called my sister, my mother, and notified our children.  Soon, everyone in the family was notified.  

This is a serious and debilitating stroke.  There is no recovery.  At age 88, my father has too many health issues to recover from this kind to stroke.  So for these few days, it has been my and my brother and sister's privilege, blessing and opportunity to care for our dad as he struggles to leave this mortal existence.   I have had Alden's support and love.  My brother and sister have been invaluable to me.  We have talked, shared, laughed and cried.  We are united in our love and support for Dad. I have felt the love and sustaining influence of all the prayers that friends, ward and stake family, and others are offering.  We all have felt it.  But most important to me--I feel and have felt the calming, sweet and peaceful presence of the Spirit.  His presence is the only way I could have made those 'hard decisions'  and the only way I can make the decisions I still have to make.  For the Gift of the Holy Ghost--I am eternally grateful.

Yesterday, June 12, 2012 was a hard day.  It is Sally's birthday and I felt so sad to not be able to just celebrate with her.  Happy Birthday to you Sally!  It was a long, emotionally hard day in the hospital, at dad's house, and waking around on the farm where I was raised. Too many memories.  Things are just heavy on my shoulders and on my heart.  I only have eleven days until I leave for my mission. The pressure of everything that I now had to get done was compounded. As I left the hospital to come home last night, I had the distinct feeling to set my stuff down and go back over to my father and tell him goodbye--that perhaps by tomorrow he would not be as alert to really hear me as he had been today.  I spent the most remarkable 30 minutes telling my father goodbye and letting go.  The Spirit was present, I know Dad heard me because he would squeeze my hand as I talked.  He couldn't answer, but he watched me the whole time.  What a blessing--I had the opportunity to tell my father of the heartfelt love and gratitude I feel for a lifetime of him being "my father" as he nears the end of his life. Very few children get that chance.  I wished him a Happy Father's Day. 

 On my hour long drive home I spend the time talking to Heavenly Father and crying. By the time I got home, I was exhausted, but I had the sweet sustaining of peace and comfort from the Spirit.  I needed that alone time to morn and sorrow in this unexpected parting.  My father was one worry that had not resolved itself for the mission.  I had great concern for my father and what the next three years would bring while I was serving in Belgium Netherlands Mission.  I felt uneasy, but I had turned the matter over to the Lord and knew all would be right when we left.  I would never have guessed my goodbye would be this way.  Nevertheless, I count this as a tender mercy for both my dad and me. 

Today, June 13, 2012, my father is resting quite peacefully.  I value the time I have to sit next to him as he sleeps.  This opportunity will be gone too soon.  Somehow, and I have turned this over to the Lord also, all preparations will be ready for us as we enter the MTC on June 23, 2012. I am at peace with that also and the burden is lightened.

This is my testimony:  God knew this was going to happen when He called us on this mission, and He called us anyway.  My Heavenly Father has made me equal to the burden placed upon my back at this time. I know He walks very closely with me right now.  I see and recognize His hand in all of the events taking place right now.  I know that God knows me by name and loves me very much.  I know that God knows my Dad by name and loves him even more.

And so we wait.  It's just hard to say goodbye.