Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Letter #32

Dear Mum and Family,

It is that time of the week again that I get to write you all another letter about my week and that I get to enjoy reading about all of the interesting things that you have all done back home.  It sounds like you have all enjoyed yourselves this last week.  It sounds like you have had a great time with Anna Stilger this past week.  You will have to tell her that I do really and truly like hagas.  I know that it is hard to believe, but I really do.   It sounds like there are some great things happening with many different families back home that I wasn't aware of.  Thanks for letting me know how they are doing.

I can't believe that another month is almost past.  I will now have been out 7 months in a couple of days.  It is really crazy to think about.  Time is flying so fast I can't believe it.
You asked about some of the ways that people reject us that are kind of weird.  I have come to know that people really don't think we are as smart as we really are.  Most times they try giving us fake phone numbers, so I have become pretty good at knowing what is a fake phone number and what isn't.  We get a lot of people who are walking pretty slowly and when we try to stop them they always say that they are in a really big hurry and as we watch them leave we notice that they have all the time in the world.  I have had people who would say to me that they don't speak any English and to be fair there are some people who don't, but when they have an English accent it doesn't really fool me. I know there are some others but I can't think of them at the moment.  It's crazy what some people do so they don't have to stop and talk with you.

Every day is a fun day with Elder Shaw and I.  We haven't gone to the beach or the castle yet, but we are planning on going to the castle next week.  Other than that we just do a lot of fun things while we are doing missionary work.  Things like singing as we tracked, watching people do funny things, playing a few funny jokes on other missionaries.  Just normal missionary stuff I guess.  We have both come to know that you have to have fun while you are doing missionary work or you are going to go crazy.  So we are definitely having fun.

Yes Elder Shaw does cut my hair and it does look pretty nice.  It is definitely worth a free haircut. I don't really cut his hair much.  He usually does most of it himself and then I do the touching up at the end.  I would have to say that we are pretty good hair barbers.

I really enjoyed the package that you sent me.  I really liked all of the great quotes that you sent and I really like the variety.  I think that those will probably last me the rest of my mission so you don't need to worry about sending me anymore.  

Elder Shaw told me that his mom Facebooked you and you both were very worried about something.  I don't think that there was anything that you both needed to worry about.  Elder Shaw just got done talking about it and we both agreed that you and his mom get along really well because you are both worry warts and that you stress too much. We also both agreed that you both need to stop stressing so much because you are going to be getting wrinkles and gray hair faster than you need to.  I know that you already have a lot of gray hair, but if you keep up the stressing you will have a full head of gray hair by the time I get home.

Zone conference was really great.  I learned a lot of great things from President and Sister Rasmussen.  The topic was pretty much on how to use time wisely and how to be effective with your time.  I learned how important it is to do the small and simple things.  Just like the scriptures say by small and simple things great things are brought to pass. So I am really focusing on doing things that seem so small that actually make a big difference.  
I am also working on being more confident when I speak with people.  I went on exchange with one of the zone leaders this last week and he gave me a challenge to be more confident when I speak to people on the street or when we are teaching a lesson.  He said that I know a lot about the Gospel and that my knowledge of the Gospel can really bless other people’s lives.  I know that I have a greater knowledge of this Gospel because the Spirit really teaches me when I am doing my studies each morning.  I think that is why I have loved studying each day and I have really loved learning on how I can better help other people that I talk to.   Sometimes I just don't talk enough or share everything that I know. So I am going to be more bold and confident when I am speaking with people.  That is pretty much what I can remember of what I learned this last zone conference.  I took a lot of great notes so I can go back and study.  But I would have to say that it was a great zone conference. Probably one of my favorite’s

S**** is doing amazing and it is really cool to see that the ward members are also seeing how amazing she is.  The ward had a ward temple night this last Saturday and She was super excited to go.  I talked to her on Sunday and she said that she had the best time ever doing baptisms for the dead.  She said that the whole time she had a smile on her face because she was super happy to help those on the other side that have never been baptized.  She is the best. 
I was talking to a member yesterday and he was saying that She is amazing.  He said that she is learning so much and she is trying to learn as much as she can.  I have really noticed that she has grown so much in the Gospel.  We went to visit her one day and I asked her what she remembered from the Restoration when we taught her.  This wasn't too long after her baptism so I didn't expect her to know much more from what we taught her.  She started explaining to us the whole restoration and most of the things that she said to us we don't even teach in the Restoration lesson.  We try to keep it simple so they understand it all and she brought up things we don't teach because it makes it a little more complex.  It just shows that she soaks everything in and that she is still learning.  When she was done telling us we didn't have to clear anything up because she knew it all.  It is just amazing and it is such a testimony builder to me because it shows that people are really prepared to hear the gospel and we just need to find them and say the right things so that they know that they need it in their lives. 

I am really excited to share with you guys a spiritual thought this week.  I hope you guys are okay with all of the quotes that I send you guys because I have really grown to love quotes so much since I have been on my mission. I have enough quotes to last me the rest of my life.
The one that I wanted to share with you this week is from Henry B. Eyring.

 "Where ever you are on the path to inherit the gift of eternal life, you have the opportunity to show many people the way to greater happiness.  When you choose whether to make or keep a covenant with God, you choose whether you will leave an inheritance of hope to those who might follow your example."
I really like this quote because I have come to know that being an example to others is very important whether you know they are watching you or not.  I know that you are all a great example to me and there are also so many other great people that are examples to me.  I know that you and I probably wouldn't be a member of the church if our ancestors didn't keep the covenants that they have made and if people weren't an example to them.  It is very important to be that good example because you never know who you are going to touch or who you are going to help come closer to Christ.  There are so many people that we walk past each and every day that we don't even notice.  Just remember that because we don't notice them doesn't mean that they don't notice us. Thank you all for being that great example to me.

I hope that you all have a great week this week.  Thanks for all the great letters and the spiritual thoughts that you sent me.  Keep working hard and remember to always smile even when things aren't going the way that you want them to. Smiling helps make our trials a little easier.
Elder Peterson

Monday, February 16, 2015

Letter #31

Dear Mum and Family,

It sounds like it has been a pretty interesting week for you all and that some of you have had a great time seeing and listening to David Archuleta while others didn't care at all for it.  I would have to admit that I am going to have to be on the side that wouldn't have cared much for him.  I am glad that you all enjoyed it though and I hope that you guys were able to be uplifted from the spirit. I heard it was amazing there.  I have heard that there were some great talks given also and I wish I was able to listen to them and to learn more great things, but I hope that you all enjoyed them and that you learned something that you can all apply to your lives.  I can't even tell you how excited I am to come home and learn all about family history.  Whoopy!  I am jumping with joy right now which I am sure that you can imagine. 

Mum you mentioned something’s about food in your letter…Well speaking about cooking and food, which I love so very much if you didn't know that by the way, I had some amazing food the other day. We were at a member’s house doing a service project on Saturday and they asked if there was a certain food that we would like to have for lunch.  I asked her if we could have a food called Hagas.  I am pretty sure that you don't know what it is, but you should look it up to see what it is.  I will not type it up and tell you because I don't want to make anyone who reads this sick.  To be honest I thought that it was actually really good.  Elder Shaw didn't really care much for it, but I would have it again.  I am sure that you would all love to try it also.  But you should really look it up when you get time.  Maybe when I get home that is probably the only thing that I will make for you because I still am not very good at the cooking part.  I am good at  eating though. Haha

I hope that you will be able to get some moisture there sometime soon. I don't know what the summer is going to be like over there if you don't get any moisture. I am sure that it is going to be a mess and a very stressful summer for the farmers unless something happens. Who knows maybe you will get a ton of snow today.  I am sure mom would love to see that.  Haha
I am trying my hardest to stay in shape. We do a lot of biking and walking each day and I am still doing lots of pushups every day.  We have a few weights in our flat too so that is quite nice to have.  I hope that Caden is working out because I am and I will still be able to kick his butt when I get home I am sure of it. Haha (I make the Hulk look like weak sauce)

Lyndsey sometimes I think that you ask the weirdest questions ever though.  Yes they do have bananas here and they do eat them. My toothbrush is red and I buy them at a store called ASDA which is pretty much like a Walmart back home. My companion has cut my hair a couple of times and I usually get it cut every 6 weeks.  If my companion doesn't cut hair then I find a place to go and get my hair cut.  I do shave every single day mostly because I am a man and every morning that I wake up I have a full beard and you can't have beards as a missionary.  I can't say that I miss you that much really mostly because you are kind of weird especially since you think that Italians speak Spanish.

There is no double decker buses in the area that I am serving in now, but it is a bus that has an upstairs to it.  They are actually really cool and we would ride them all the time when I was in Sheldon.  It was weird at first getting on them, but I have gotten used to it and I actually quite enjoy it.  In this area we do a lot of training.  So when we have to go anywhere outside of Llanelli we train there and it usually is pretty far.  We are going to zone conference tomorrow and we will be on a train for a couple of hours.  Not only that we have to get up pretty early so that we can catch the train and make it on time.  It is going to be a lot of fun though and I am way excited to go and expand my knowledge and to learn how I can be a better missionary and a servant to the Lord.

This last week we have been still doing a lot of finding and we have had some pretty good experiences.  I have been focusing a lot on following the spirit to the right people to talk to when we are walking around the city center.  I have been guided by the spirit to a few people that really accepted the message that we have to share.  One of the ladies was really nice and we won't be able to teach here because she doesn't live in our area.  But I referred her to other missionaries and I am really excited to see how it goes.  It is really cool just to walk around and just follow the spirit and be guided by the spirit to stop random people that I have never seen before and just start talking to them like I have known them for a while.  Now of course there are some people who don't know how to show respect, but for every 100 rejections it is worth the one solid person who wants and needs the gospel at this time.  Hopefully we can continue to find those brothers and sisters that need the gospel at this time.

Thank you for the great thought that you have sent this week.  As much as I don't really care about doing family history work I know that it is really important to do.  There are many people in the Spirit world who are waiting for someone to do their temple work for them and I know that it is really important that we find them and do it for them.

Well I want to share a spiritual thought with you guys today and for this week on becoming better.  Carlos A. Godoy said: “The Lord has a plan for us in this life.  He knows us. He knows what is best for us.  Just because things are going well does not mean that we should not from time to time consider whether there might be something better.  If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessing be fulfilled?"  I really like the question that was asked in the quote.  We might be doing some good things, but we can always be doing a little better than we are.  Ford Lewis said “Life is not a rigid business of being, but a lively process of becoming."  We came on this earth to become more like our Heavenly Father.  So each day we need to do better than the day before or do better than we are doing at this moment so that we can become more like our Heavenly Father.  I know that as we do this we will be so much happier. 

I hope that you all have a great week this week and I hope that you get something from that thought.  I hope you all have a great week and enjoy cleaning the house today. 
Elder Peterson

Monday, February 9, 2015

Letter #30

Elder Peterson

Dear Mum and Family,

It sounds like you have all had a great week and it also sounds like there are some mixed emotions about seeing David Archuleta this next week.  It sounds like all of the girls are excited for it and Dad and Caden are just excited for the food afterwards.  That is what I am getting from it and if I was there I would definitely only be going for the food afterwards, but that is just me and you probably don't care what I would do anyway. Ha-ha I hope that you all have a great time though.

We have been stopping by S**** every once in a while and she is still doing great.  We talked to her daughter the other day and she has definitely seen how her mum is a lot more happier now that she has the gospel in her life which is definitely true.  We have seen a pretty big change in her life since she has been baptized.  Her daughter isn't quite sure if she wants to learn more about the Gospel right now or not, but she does have a Book of Mormon and S****  is still trying to help her so I know eventually she will want to learn more.  It is so cool to see S**** be such a great example to everyone around her now that she has found the happiness of being a part of Christ's church.

Now to answer a few of your questions Mum.  Well not to be rude but you answered the first question from what you said in the second question that I am an adult.  So I think that I am fine without hand warmers and I only have to keep warm for a year and a half and I can be as warm as I want when I get home.
You asked if the car’s license plates are really that big and to answer that yes they are.  They probably look so much bigger because the cars are pretty small here too, but yes they are big at the same time.
The picture of the Hobbit sign was taken when I was in Sheldon riding the bus along with a few other pictures of just roads.  They were taken on top of a double decker bus and I thought you would like them.  
The castle is in a place called Kidwelly which is about a 10 minute train ride from us.  Apparently it is a pretty cool castle and it doesn't cost too much to go in so we are going to be going there sometime soon.
The aprons were given to Elder Shaw from his mum I believe.  We just wear them when we cook and we decided to take a picture with them on because we are always wearing them. I am glad that you think that I look good in an apron because I don't know if I will be wearing one that often when I get home because you will be making most of the food.

It sounds like you have all liked the picture that I have sent and yes that is all of them.  I hope that you also like the letter that I sent.  Chelsey was telling me that mum wasn't just crying a little she was actually crying a lot.  And she also told me that she was rubbing her face on the envelope because I had licked it.  Ha-ha The reason that I find that so funny is because I actually didn't lick it.  The letters that I bought you don't need to be licked you just pull a little tab off and they are sticky under it.  Ha-ha My day was made when Chelsey told me that.

Thank you for the great thought that you sent on the Atonement.  I really love studying the Atonement and I especially love studying about it deeply.  I have learned a lot of great things about it and I am still learning a lot of great things.  I told Lyndsey that I love studying a lot and if you guys have any question that you would like me to answer just ask and I would love to try and answer them.  By the way I like hard questions because then it gives me something to study.

I want to share a poem with you that I am sure that you have all heard of, but it is one of my favorites and I would like to share it with you.

 It is called "Footprints in the Sand"

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.  Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.  In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.  Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints.  This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat, I could only see one set of footprints. So I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord that if I followed you, you would walk with me always, but I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.  Why when I needed you most you have not been there for me?"  The Lord replied, "The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you."

I really love this because it shows how much Christ actually cares for us and that he is there for us to help us.  I think a big part of that is because of the atonement and the price that he paid.  He knows what we are going through when we have hard times.  And when we have those hard times he is sometimes carrying us through those hard times.  I once read somewhere about the Atonement and how we can look at it.  It said: "While many Christians view Christ's suffering as a huge favor He did for us, Latter-day Saints also recognize it as a huge investment He made in us."  Christ paid that price for us so that we can return to him and He paid that price because He trusts that we will use it so that we can return to Him.  We need to use that Atonement as often as we can so that we can live with our Father in Heaven and our families again someday.  This life is too short to procrastinate our repentance. I know that by using the Atonement 24/7 we can become closer to Christ and we can become more like him. 

Thanks again for all that you do, you are such a great family. I really look forward to P-days so that I can read what you guys have been up to during the week.  I hope that you all have a great week and thanks for all of your great letters and quotes. I loved them all.
Elder Peterson

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Letter # 29

Elder Peterson & Elder Shaw

Castle in Wales


Dear Mum and Family,
It sounds like you all had a blast with the Book of Mormon activity that you have had as a ward.  I really miss going to that because you can learn a lot of great things from the Book of Mormon from just reading it cover to cover.  I have really enjoyed studying from it every morning and I have learned so much from it and I can't believe how the Lord really blesses us.  By just reading it for an hour a day in the morning I have learned so much and I know that the Lord blesses us if we just put in the effort and we show him that we do really want to learn from it.  I love sharing what I have learned from my studies in the morning with everyone that we talk to throughout our day and I know that it is helping those around me.  So I have a strong testimony on how studying the scriptures each day can truly help you and others.

I am glad that you liked the name of my bike.  I was thinking one day about Logan Jensen when I was writing a letter to the Jensen’s and I remember him telling us that he named his scooter.  I thought that was a great idea so I named my bike. It was hard to come up with such a great name though.  I struggled with so many names that I thought would work and they didn't.  I then thought of Scarlet because there is a rugby team based here in Llanelli and they are called the Scarlets.  I thought that that name fits really well so I named my bike scarlet and she is the best.  I hope that you all agree that that is the perfect name. Haha

S**** is doing really well and she is still learning a lot and being the best investigator that there is.  She is not married, but she does have a couple of daughters that are married along with some grandkids.  She told us the other day that one of her daughters might be interested in learning about the Gospel so we are going to continue to talk with her about it and get in contact with her daughter. 

We are still doing a lot of tracting and we have found a few families that might be interested.  We have set up some appointments for this week to hopefully teach them more.  The weather is really cold and wet still because it is still the winter months.  But I have really enjoyed my mission and working as hard as I can even if the weather is horrible or the people aren't as friendly as I want them to be. When we find someone that might be interested I look back and tell myself that this one person was worth every slammed door, or worth every minute that we are out in the cold pouring rain.  I am enjoying every second of my mission because it is going super-fast.  Think about it I am at 6 months already.  How crazy is that?  All I can say is time flies when you are having the best time of your life spreading this wonderful gospel that we are so blessed to be a part of.

I have figured out some goals that I want to have for my mission.  Do you want me to send you those or do you want me to figure some out just for this year?

The talk last week went really well and the ward is really into using the missionaries which I think is really nice.  We don't have to give a lot of talks, but we have been asked a couple of times to give a lesson in Young Women or in Elders quorum.  I have really enjoyed every opportunity that I am asked to do something like that because while I prepare for the lessons or the talks I learn a lot of great things and I love sharing those things with others because I know that it can help them.
Thanks for the great genealogy trivia that you sent me I really liked doing it.  Even though I haven't been in school for a while it didn't take me too long to think about it and understand it, but it is still mind blowing.  Maybe you are making me think too much my brain is starting to hurt just a little bit. Haha

The thought that I would like to share with you guys go along with our purpose in life. It is from Richard G Scott:
"God's purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  That is fundamental to all we do.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we find fascinating or become so consumed by mundane responsibilities that we lose sight of God's objectives. As you consistently focus your life on the most basic principles, you will gain an understanding of what you are to do, and you will produce more fruit for the Lord and more happiness for yourself."

As I was thinking about this thought the other day I noticed how important it is just to focus on the basic things of the gospel.  I have talked to many missionaries that look for answers to ridiculous questions like “Do the pearly gates swing in or out?” Now they aren't that ridiculous, but I hope that you get the point.  They are trying to find too deep of stuff that doesn't really pertain to our salvation.  So by focusing on the basic principles like Faith in Jesus Christ, his atonement, Repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, Enduring the End, etc.  We come to find more of our purpose and what we need to do on this earth so that we can return to our Father in Heaven someday. I hope that you can all get something from this and that you will all find the love of learning more about the gospel and coming to know God's purpose and our purpose while we are here on the earth.
I hope that you all have a great week this week. 
Elder Peterson