Monday, December 29, 2014

Letter #24

Dear Mum and Family,

From all of the emails that you guys sent it sounds like you have all had a great Christmas holiday and that you are going to have a fun New Years.  I too had a pretty great Christmas thousands of miles away.  As a missionary it didn't really feel like Christmas.  I have decided it is because of a few things.  I think the number one reason is because I am not home doing all of the things that we would be doing as a family. The second reason would be because there is no snow here.  It did snow on Saturday a little but it is so wet that nothing stuck.  It was still a great Christmas and I really enjoyed going over to the members house and also skyping you guys.  It was a lot of fun talking with you and hear all of you great voices.  It was also pretty funny to see Lyndsey in a sling.  Hahaha

You asked what church we went to on Christmas.  Well when we were tracting this last week we knocked on this guy’s door and invited him to look at the He is the Gift video.  He then invited us to come to his Christmas service at his church house.  So we went to a Pentecostal church.  It was kind of cool seeing what other people do at their churches and at the same time it was also kind of different.  They did a lot of singing and praying during it.  When they sing they use a lot of instruments like the guitars, piano, drums and a few other things which was really interesting. 
 It was a good experience because it really strengthened my testimony about our church being the only true church on the earth today.  I don't think that the guy was interested at all, but we are going to stop by some other time and see if we could start teaching him.

On a great note we had an awesome miracle yesterday.  After church we went to a member’s house and had a great meal.  You all know how much I like food so you all know how much I enjoyed that meal.  Anyways after the meal as we were walking to the car we received a text from one of our investigators named S****.  We haven't taught her since I have been here because she has been really busy with the holiday season.  We have been inviting here to church and she has come the past two weeks.  The text that she sent said that she felt really peaceful at church the past two Sundays and her faith in Christ has really been strengthened.  She then said that she really wants to get baptized.  That just made me and my companion super excited. I wish you guys could have seen the excitement that we had when we read her text.  It was such a miracle and we have really been blessed to find her and to be able to teach her.  She has only been taught the restoration so we still have quite a lot to teach.  We will probably be seeing her tomorrow which I am super excited for.  We have received such a great blessing.

Last Friday was pretty fun. We played soccer for a little while in the rain which made it more fun.  It was super wet and muddy so we definitely did not come home nice and clean.  It was still pretty fun though.  Like I told Dad and Caden I will not be coming home liking soccer any more than when I left so tell Lyndsey not to get her hopes up.

You asked about the 101 ways to help missionaries and where I found it.  Well I was looking at the pictures on drop box and there is was.  I thought that you put it on, but apparently you didn't so you will have to look at it.  It was a long list of ways to help missionaries and to do missionary work as members. You will have to look at it because it was really cool. 

Caden I hope that you are really enjoying working and making some money for me because you owe me when I get back because I am the oldest and you are supposed to pay the oldest siblings in the family. hahaha

Chelsey to answer the last question that you asked about what is the latest I have stayed up. We have to go to bed at 10:30 so that is the latest I have stayed up.  We are usually really tired at the end of our day so we usually go to be between 9:30 and 10:00 sometimes.  It is a really good time to go to bed so that we can get  a lot of sleep so that we can work hard the next day.

Lindsee the coolest thing about my area is that it is mostly country.  It makes it feel a lot more like home because of all of the open area and also because of all of the hills.  There are hills everywhere and when you drive past them and look there are always lots of sheep which also makes it feel more like home. 
I really don't know what the coolest thing about my new companion is.  We just get along really well and we have a lot of fun times together.  It was like we were best friends before we ever became companions.  He is really cool and a great missionary.

Thank you all for all of your great quotes and letters.  I really enjoyed reading them all.  I really don't have much to say because I emailed you on Friday and we haven't done a whole lot since. I just want to end by sharing a thought with you guys. It is kind of long but I hope that you enjoy it. It comes from Neal A. Maxwell.  He says: 
"It is extremely important for you to believe in yourselves not only for what you are now, but for what you have the power to become.  Trust in the Lord as He leads you along.  He has things for you to do that you won't know about now, but will be revealed later.  If you stay close to Him, you will have some great adventures. You will live in a time when instead of just talking about prophesies that will sometime be fulfilled, many of  them will actually be fulfilled. The Lord will unfold your future bit by bit. All the easy things that the church has had to do have been done, so you're going to live in a time of high adventure.  You were brought to earth because you can handle that time of adventure. And you will do well."
Even though this was given some time ago I think that it is still true today.  We all will have some great adventures while we are here on this earth today.  There are many things that are going to happen in this church because the second coming of the Savior is close and there are many things that need to be done before he comes.  I hope that we can stay close to the Lord and trust him so that we can help him in bringing those to the gospel that need to learn and by doing things that he wants us to do. 
I hope that you all have a great week and that you enjoy your New Year celebration. Make sure you all eat a lot of food for me because you know how much I love food. 
Elder Peterson

Friday, December 26, 2014

Letter # 23

Dear Mum and family,

Well since I talked with you guys not too long ago I really don't have much to say so I guess I will just answer your questions and let you guys have a great break.  
My retainers are doing really well.  They are not broken and I have been wearing them every night so you don't need to worry.  When I get home I will still have nice straight posh teeth.  
I am not quite sure exactly what I want to put for my goals this next year.  I will think about it and I will let you know on Monday when I email you then.
It was a lot of fun talking with you guys yesterday and I hope that you enjoyed your Christmas in Newton.  I really enjoyed it here even though there is no snow.  It was weird not having snow for Christmas, but at the same time it is a great experience. I don't have my camera with me because we just got done playing football with some investigators.  It was pouring while we were playing so I left it at the flat so it wouldn't get wet.  I guess you will have to wait until Monday to see all of the photos I have taken.
I went and bought some football cleats today and they are actually pretty nice.  They were 90% off which was a great deal.  I only spent 5 pounds on them which is about $10.  I think they are normally about $80 so I got a great deal. I also bought me a really nice rugby ball that was only 10 pounds and it was normally 50 pounds so I got two really great deals.

I hope that you have a great week and that you enjoy the rest of you break from school and work.  
Elder Peterson

Just so you know I read the 101 ways to help missionaries and they are all true.  I hope that you guys are finding ways to help missionaries because it really helps when the members are involved.

Elder Peterson Christmas Day
Called home 12/25/2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Letter #22

Dear Mum and Family,

Thank you all for all of the wonderful letters that you sent.  I really enjoyed reading them all. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to reply to them all because I don't have much time here at the library.  But that is okay because I will be skyping on Christmas so make sure you remember all of the questions that you asked so that I can answer them for you all on Christmas.  I am way excited and I can't wait to talk with you guys.

Well just so you guys know I got transferred this last week and you will not believe where I have moved to.  So you know that joke that I played on you guys well that is actually where I got moved to.  I am now in Llanelli Wales right on the coast.  I know you won't believe me, but I am not lying this time. (2 Nephi 9:34)  The ward is really amazing here.  I don't know them all personally yet, but then again I have only been here for a couple of days.  My companion is Elder Shaw from South Africa.  He has been out for about 9 months now and he is really cool.  We get along quite well and we have lots of fun doing missionary work together. 

Well we have set up the time when we will be able to Skype on Christmas with a member. I am way excited to talk with you guys.  
Have a great week and I can't wait to talk to you soon.
Elder Peterson
Elder Peterson's 2nd area
Llanelli Wales
December 16, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Letter # 21

Dear Mum and Family,

It has been another great week and you can definitely feel the Christmas season in the air.  It is definitely really cold but unfortunately we haven't gotten any snow.  There is lots of talking going on about the winter this year being like the winter last year which was really cold and no snow at all.  I think it would be really cool to see what it is like to have no snow for Christmas, but at the same time I think it would be really weird.  Who knows maybe we will just get snow for Christmas day and then it will all go away.  That would be kind of nice.

I think that the service project that you all had this last week was amazing.  It sounds like you all had a great time serving others and that you had a great time talking with everyone.  I wish that I was able to be there and enjoy it with you all but it sounds like it has turned into something that is going to be done every year.  So I guess I have a new tradition to look forward to when I get home.  I hope that you all remember the feeling that you had while you did that great service and that you always look for opportunities to serve. 

It sounds like it was pretty fun dipping chocolates with the missionaries. You said that you saw something different from the Elders.  I think that you just saw that the Elders are just so much better because that is definitely the truth.  It’s okay you don't have to admit it though.
This last week for us has been a lot of tracting and talking to people on the streets.  I think one of the tender mercies that we had this week was a couple of days ago when we were tracting.  For the first hour or so we were having no success at all.  We had talked to a lot of people and they were not interested at all.  Most of them just ignored us and they didn't want anything to do with us.  It was kind of annoying but at the same time I kind of liked it because it was hard.  I have come to really enjoy the hard times that I have had on the mission because they really help me grow and learn. Well to continue on with my tender mercy.  We went down to almost the end of the street and something really cool happened.  The next four doors that we knocked on were some really nice people.  They were kind of busy at the moment but they invited us back next week to talk with them some more.  We were both really excited and so grateful for that great tender mercy that we had. I learned from that experience and how enduring to the end is really important.  If we would have just quit and done something else we wouldn't have found those people who are prepared by God.

Caden…..I have not seen the movie ‘When the game stands tall’.  I am sure it is a really great movie because it is a football movie and those are definitely the best movies ever.  I will have to put that on a paper to remember it so when I get home we can watch it.  

Chelsey….It sounds like you are reading a really cool book right now.  I really like how it talks about a boy going on a mission and also a little bit about sports.  Maybe when I get home you will have to remind me about that book so that I can read it because it sounds really good. Thanks for sharing it with me and I hope that you really enjoy it.

Lyndsey…..When it rains here it is sometimes cold.  Right now because it is winter time it does get really cold when it rains, but during the summer it was actually pretty warm.  The sun does look the same here.  The only difference is it doesn't stay out very long.  It's pretty much totally dark at about 4 in the afternoon which is really weird.  I have started to get used to it though. I can't believe that you actually believed me when I said that the washing machine in the kitchen was a dish washer.  Everyone here has there washing machine in the kitchen usually so it is quite normal and it is for clothes not dishes.  You are such a blonde.

Dad…..I also can't believe how fast this month has flown by.  I remember like it was yesterday it was the first of December.  In fact I remember when I hopped on the plane and was heading to the MTC.  Man it has really flown by super-fast.  
I can't believe all of the wonderful weather that you guys are having there. It has been pretty cold here which I think is horrible because if it is going to be cold there at least needs to be some snow on the ground.  The warmest it gets here during the day is about 8 degrees Celsius.  And if there is a wind, which there normally is, it gets super cold.  It hasn't really rained a whole lot lately but the cold weather is definitely making up for all of it.  Lots of people are hoping that it doesn't snow because apparently the whole place just shuts down when it snows.  I think it is kind of funny because when it does snow they really don't get very much. Maybe we can swap weather with each other. I am sure mom would love that.

Well transfers are here! There is some much excitement that goes around during this time of the mission.  Some missionaries are going home which brings excitement, some missionaries are coming in, and some missionaries are moving to new areas or getting new companions.  I know that I am really excited to find out tonight what happens to me and my companion.  I have a feeling that this will be the last time I will be emailing you guys from the Sheldon ward, but I guess you will find out next week.  I know that whatever happens I will be at a place that God wants me to be.  I know that he knows me and knows what I need to learn at this time or who I need to help. So wherever he sends me I am excited to learn and help others who he wants me to help.

Well I am excited for this Christmas coming up.  I know that I will really enjoy being in England this Christmas.  I know that this is where I am supposed to be at this time and that there is no other place I would rather be.  I have grown a lot and learned a lot on my mission and it has only been 4 months.  I am really enjoying it.  I hope that this Christmas is as special for you guys as it is going to be for me.  

During this Christmas season and also for the time I have been out here serving I have learned a lot more on gratitude.  I have seen all of the great blessing that I have received and for all of the many things you guys are blessed with while I have been serving.  I am so thankful for all of the great thinks that the Lord blesses me with.  I know that you all know about the ten lepers and how they were healed, but only one of them was grateful and he thanked the Christ.  Well I found a poem and I would like to share it with you all.


In a certain village, on a certain day,
ten lepers stood far off
and lifted up their voices unto Christ:
" Have mercy on us, Master, please, 
take our infirmities away." 

And it was done, according to the grace
of the Savior, Father's son.
They showed themselves unto the priest
and were cleansed.

And one of them, on finding he was whole,
paused moments on a grassy knoll,
turned his back
upon the path he would trod,
and fell upon his face in praise of God.

But of the other nine, no word of thanks
escaped their tongues,
no hymns of praise were sung.
Too busy in their haste
to get on with their lives-
to publish joyous tidings
to their children and their wives-
perhaps without intending to be rude,
they overlooked the sacrament of thanks
and lost the sacred blessings bought
by showing gratitude.

Oh, that I might
from this parable be taught
and practice well the part
of the living with and ever- grateful hear.
- Sharon Nauta Steele

I hope that this Christmas season we can show our gratitude towards God and toward Christ for all that we have been blessed with. I hope you all have a great week and who knows maybe I will be emailing from different computer next week.

Elder Peterson

PS  You don't have to send me any chocolate I think I can go without.  I have received all of my packages and letters that you all sent and I can't wait to open them all.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Letter # 20

Dear Mum and Family,

I really enjoyed all of your great letters that you have sent this last week.  This last week has also gone really fast for me and I can't believe that this transfer is almost over.  Next Monday I will be finding out if I stay here in Sheldon or if I will be moving. There is a really high chance that I could be moving because President doesn't like to keep newer missionaries in an area for more than three transfers, but with Christmas coming up I could also be staying.  Either way I am really excited for the results and I can't believe how fast it has all gone.

It sounds like you guys had a really great time feeding the Sister missionaries. 
The Christmas initiative has been a lot of fun.  We haven't really had much success from it yet, but we are getting word out and hopefully people are watching the video.  I am sure that it is really helping a lot of people this Christmas season though. 

We haven't taught I***  this last week because he got his wisdom teeth out so he probably wasn't doing so well.  Hopefully we will be able to talk with him this next week because we are almost done teaching him and he is such a great guy.

It sounds like you all have a great service opportunity this next week and I am really excited for all of you to have that great opportunity to serve.  It sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun and that you are going to be really busy today making a lot of cinnamon rolls.  I hope that you enjoy it and all I can say is if I was there I think I would have chosen going to school rather than making all those cinnamon rolls.  It sounds like fun though and I hope you all enjoy serving others.

Asking if I need an IPad to share the video is actually a pretty touchy subject in this mission.  We keep getting told that they will be here really soon and when I was first out on the mission I was told that they should be here this month.  They are not here though and we are now being told that they will be here at the beginning of the year.  I don't know if I believe that one though either so I am not worrying about it too much right now.  I will let you know when we are able to get them though.

I do not have an accent yet and I don't think that I will have one when I come home either.  A lot of missionaries that have been out for almost two years don't even have an accent so I don't think I will be coming home with one so don't plan on it.
The clouds over here are sometimes fluffy, but most of the time when there are clouds they are pretty grey because it usually rains.  But when the sky is blue, like today, they are usually white and fluffy. 
I haven't taken any pictures of the hills or cars, but if I remember I will send them next week. 
I think that my favorite thing about my companion is he likes to have a lot of fun while we are doing missionary work.  For example while we are walking down the streets doing tracking if a song pops up in his head we will  both start singing it out loud.  And the best part is the people we pass usually have weird looks on their face which is pretty funny.

Thanks for all of your great letters that you have all sent and also for all of the wonderful thoughts and scriptures.  I don't know if I quite like Caden’s thought though because I think it had to do with marriage and you all know how touchy that subject is for me.  I can't have the best man cave if I am married!

The thought that I would like to share with you all this week is actually a poem that I found out of the ensign. It goes with the "He is the Gift" video because it talks about how the world doesn't focus on the true meaning of Christmas any more.

It's called "Celebrating Christmas"

Schools celebrate Christmas, 
But not like they use to
And not as much as they used to.
It's all about Holiday, time off,
Games and fun and things.
I wonder what happened to the King of Kings!

Shops celebrate Christmas
Special offers and discounts
 funny hats and costumes
glitter and streamers
And the profit it brings.
I wonder what happened to the King of Kings!

Our town celebrates Christmas
A big tree in the square
with lots of fancy lights 
sparkling and dancing in the wind
as they stretch between the buildings
I wonder what happened to the King of Kings!

The world celebrates Christmas
with worldly pleasures and parties
fancy focks and new clothes
presents, cards, music, and other things 
I wonder what happened to the King of Kings!

As we celebrate Christmas
Perhaps we can think of the birth
of the Messiah who came to save
and the hope he brings to our lives
as we live the divine teachings
of the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings!

I hope that whoever reads this wonderful poem realizes the great meaning of the Christmas season and that we can all remember the greatest gift that was ever given to us.  The Savior of the world.  What a special time of year to remember His great birth and for all the many blessings that we received because He was born.  One of those great blessings is the wonderful Atonement.  How blessed we are to be able to be clean from all of our sins because of the great price that He paid for us. May we all remember Him thank Him for all that we have.
I hope that you all have a great week and thanks again for all that you guys do.
Elder Peterson

Monday, December 1, 2014

Letter # 19

Dear Mum and Family,

It sounds like you have all had a great thanksgiving and that you had plenty of food.  I too had a good amount of food.  I did think that thanksgiving was probably one of the best that I have had in a long time and now that I have read your letter I think I know why it was so great.  Maybe because the 49ers lost. haha  
A member took us to an all you can eat Chinese restaurant called Ming Moon.  It is really expensive to buy a turkey over here so we didn't have a turkey which was a little weird, but it was a good experience to celebrate thanksgiving in England.  I do not really miss all of the fuss about black Friday though.  Apparently they are trying to start doing it here in England, but it isn't as big here yet.  It sounds like you guys had a lot of fun though.

Warwick castle last Monday was a lot of fun.  It only took us about 30 minutes to get there and one of the best things was there was hardly anyone there because mostly everyone was at school. I will have to admit it is kind of nice not having to go to school and watching everyone else have to go. I am really glad that you all enjoyed the pictures that I sent home.

I am glad that you liked the new Christmas video that the church has put out.  We have been using the cards in our missionary work, but we haven't had much success so far.  It is a little early though into the Christmas Initiative so hopefully we will start to see a little more success.  I am really excited for this Christmas season.  In fact as I am writing this letter right now there is a little party going on in another room of the library and there is a lady singing a lot of Christmas songs right now.  So I have been getting into the Christmas spirit most of my morning.

This last week we actually taught a lesson to a potential who is now an investigator. Her name is D**** and she talked to other missionaries when she was out shopping.  Because she lives in our area the other missionaries referred her to us and we finally were able to teach here.  We taught her briefly about the Restoration and we gave her a Book of Mormon.  She believes in God and she is going through a hard time right now.  Her father has cancer and he is going in for treatment apparently sometime soon.  She doesn't know if he will make it much longer so when we told her about the Plan of Salvation she was really happy.  We asked her if she comes to find out that these things are true if she will be baptized and without hesitation she said "Yes I would love to!"  That was really exciting to hear.  We will be meeting with her tomorrow so I am excited for that.  

Caden that's too bad that they Colts are not doing so well.  But I do have to say that they are still better than the Steelers even though they are not winning as many games.  So I think that I will stay a colts fan and not a Steelers fan.  Hopefully they can start winning games soon so they can be the next Super Bowl Champions.
I am glad that you really like the picture of the castle.  It was a lot of fun and I knew that you would have loved to been there.  I thought that it would remind you of Lord of the Rings.  Maybe when you get your mission call you will serve in England and then you can go to all of the castles here.
It sounds like there is a lot of excitement going on about the new hobbit movie coming out.  I am sure it will be a great movie and I can't wait until I get home and we can stay up all night and watch all of the movies. 
That would be really cool if I am home in time to watch Star Wars when it comes out. There have been quite a few missionaries and some members who are pretty excited for it to come out so hopefully it is a great movie.

Chelsey I did eat a lot of food on Thanksgiving but I bet you ate more than me because you eat a ton of food.  Just kidding I know you don't eat that much because you are a lot like mom.
It sounds like you have had a pretty lazy week this last week. Did you and mom watch a lot of you weird girl movies?  It definitely wouldn't surprise me if you did.  I hope you had a great time being lazy though.
It is good to hear that you are really enjoying school and that you are especially enjoying seminary.  I hope you are learning lots in seminary about the D&C because it is a great book.  You will have to tell me who Lyndsey’s boyfriend is when you find out since she is in you class.

Lindsee it doesn't surprise me that you went to black Friday and that you just had a blast spending all of your money.  That's pretty cool that you bought a Nike sweatshirt, but you could have at least spent that $7 dollars on something else other than a lame Lakers shirt.  I thought you were raised better than that.  It doesn't surprise me that you also liked spending your money on a fish.  I don't know what is so cool about getting a fish, but at least you can now say you have a true friend now because you didn't have any before.
That's really crazy that Sky View and Mountain Crest is changing to a 5A school this next year.  I wonder how all of the sports will be once they are competing against the bigger schools.  I think it will be an interesting year for sports when that happens.
I think that the second question that you asked is definitely a no brainer. You definitely haven't become any smarter than when I left.  Of course they don't have sprinkler pipe over here because it rains a lot so they don't need it.
I have been to one funeral and that was on the second day that I was in the mission.  We didn't go to the grave site, but we did go to the service that was at the church and it seemed like it was the same as back home.
No we don't wash dishes like you do. You know that washing machine that you see in the kitchen from the picture that I sent home.  We just throw all of our dishes in there and that is how we wash them.  It even dries them for us so that is a plus.
The families are really not that big over here.  They usually have about four children or less, but every once in a while you see a pretty big family.  I haven't seen any places where people can go camping, but remember I am in a city part of Birmingham so I don't see much country things.  Maybe if I go to an area where it is more country I will see them. 

The thought that I would like to share with you guys this week is about faith.  On Sunday nights we have to be in at 7 because Elder Farley is a District Leader so he has to do a thing called call ins.  So while he was doing that I was reading a few things about faith and I would like to share it with you.
I would like to start off by sharing a quote from Joseph Fielding Smith.  He says:
"Faith is the moving cause of all action. Faith, therefore, is stronger that belief."
Faith is a very important part of this gospel.  Like it is said in the scriptures only a little particle of faith can move mountains.  I don't know about you, but to me that is really cool and it definitely shows the power of faith.  We as members of this great church need to have faith in Jesus Christ.  We need to know that he is in control of everything and that he knows what's best for us even when we are going through a tough time.

There are many people in the scripture that show great faith, but one of my favorites is Nephi.  In 1 Nephi 17:50 Nephi shows his great faith towards his murmuring brothers. He says:  “If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them.  If He should command me that I should say unto this water, be earth, it should be earth, and if I should say it, it would be done."
What great faith that is! I hope that as I study faith more and I exercise it more in my life that I can someday have as great faith as Nephi has.  
I hope that this thought help someone this next week.  I hope that you all have a great week and thanks for all of your letters.  And especially thanks for all of your prayers.  I know that they are being answered.  

Elder Peterson