Ashley, Rebecca, and Daniel Petterle of Lowell, Indiana
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“Ashley, Rebecca, and Daniel Petterle of Lowell, Indiana,” Friend, Apr. 2001, 40

Making Friends:

Ashley, Rebecca, and Daniel Petterle of Lowell, Indiana

Lowell, Indiana, is a small town on the edge of a great metropolitan area that goes around Lake Michigan from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, through Chicago, Illinois, and Gary, Indiana, to Detroit, Michigan. The Petterles live on the outskirts of Lowell.

Their ward is in another small town, Hebron, Indiana. Part of Valparaiso Indiana Stake, Hebron Ward has about 220 members and 4 full-time missionaries—two from Utah, one from Mexico, and one from Russia—serving there.

Daniel (8) and Rebecca (9) think that the hardest part about being a Latter-day Saint is having to go so far every Sunday to church. But the ward is comfortable and family-like. Daniel especially likes its Cub Scout program; Rebecca likes Primary and other activities.

Ashley (11) said, “I knew inside that the Church was true right before I got baptized. That is why I wanted to be baptized.” Though she is struggling right now in earning her Gospel in Action award, she loves learning both at church and at home about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, and she especially likes being part of the Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation each year with her Primary class.

Rebecca used to love to bear her testimony, “when I was young,” she said, “but now I am too shy.” She has a strong testimony, though, and would like to tell children everywhere to “always believe in Jesus.”

Daniel said that he felt really happy when he was baptized by his dad. He also said, “I want to tell the children in the Church that I like them.”

C is for Christ, born this day.

H is for holiness He gives to us.

R is for His Resurrection.

I is for Israel, the place where He stayed.

S is for His sacrifice He gave to us.

T is for the blood He shed.

M is for His mother, who took care of Him.

A is for the angel who helped guide His way.

S is for His sacred love.

1. Ashley gives a family home evening lesson. All three children feel that family home evenings help them learn important things. Daniel said that one of the things he learned was “to be nice to everyone, even if they are not nice to me.” Rebecca: “The steps we need to take to become a member of the Church.” Ashley: “How you can return to Heavenly Father after you are baptized.”

2. The road past the Petterle home is too bumpy to ride on much, but the driveway to their house is long and smooth and lots of fun to bike up and coast down.

Dancing, including making up dances, is also something the three children like to do together, especially in the basement on rainy days.

3. Ginger is their three-month-old golden retriever puppy. She loves to be with people and runs to meet the school bus in the afternoon. Daniel said, “She likes to play and sleep a lot. I will be nice to her and brush her.” Rebecca said, “She’s cute and friendly. I’m going to feed her and give her water.” Ashley said, “She’s a little chubby and likes to chew on fingers. I will help clean up after her and play with her.”

4. Ashley likes to draw and to write scary stories. Here, she is holding up a picture of Christine, one of the characters in the book she has begun, called The Cave of Time. So far it is thirty-six pages long and takes about forty-five minutes to read. It is about two girls who go through time warps, first through a cave with coffins, into a girl’s house in the seventeenth century. Next, they find themselves on the Titanic. Then they find themselves on a raft on the Atlantic Ocean. That’s all so far. … It’s a very exciting story.

5. Daniel is in line to shake hands with the other team after a soccer game. He scored a goal in the game, and Rebecca made a great defensive play. Ashley was a voluntary cheerleader (she is too old to play in this league, but she has been in a cheerleading camp at Lowell High School). Daniel and Rebecca’s team, the Planets, won, 3–2!

6. Daniel is holding up the trophy and ribbon he won in the Pinewood Derby. His friend Jay Berkey gave him some good tips for making his car, and it was the second fastest car in the stake! He likes to play most sports. Math is his favorite subject at school. He wants to be an airline pilot when he grows up “because my dad is one. I’ll need to learn how to drive and to get good grades in school.”

7. Rebecca likes to play the piano, and she wrote the lyrics and some music for this song, which she calls “Christmas”:

She writes other things, too. In fact, she won first place in a contest at school for her poem about a leprechaun. She also won a book and a pizza for reading over six hundred pages of books. Another time, she won a book and chose one on sign language so she can speak at least a little bit with her Aunt Cindy, who is deaf.

8. Ashley is on the Lowell swim team, the Dolphins. She won this first-place medal in the freestyle race. She likes gymnastics, too, and singing, bike riding, and playing with her friends.

9. Rebecca and Jenna Berkey love to get together and play with their dolls. On this particular day, they were having so much fun that they fell off the bed, laughing. Sometimes they play dress-up, with fancy dresses, high heels, hats, and jewelry. Jenna didn’t have any with her on this day, but it didn’t matter.

10. Daniel likes to make breadsticks, Caesar salad, macaroni and cheese, and other things—like chocolate chip cookies with candies on top! He isn’t the only one who likes cookies—Rebecca and Ashley like them, too.