Monday, August 31, 2015

Letter # 59

Hello Mum and Fam,  
I just have to start out by saying that another month is down and I have less than a year now. Tear tear...  It's going way too fast!!

Well it was good to hear from you all.  It sounds like you are all staring to get back into the school spirit and that you are all enjoying it haha. Except for Lyndsey of course who thinks she can be lazy and sleep in all day long because she doesn't have to go to school. Soon enough it will come back and get you when you have to get up really early in the mornings. Haha I am glad that everyone else is being productive though.

Well I know that you don't really believe me when I said that we are biking that many miles in a day. The area that I am in is actually a really big area and should have two sets of missionaries in it. It did at one point but they took one out not too long ago.  So we have to take care of a pretty big area on our own which means we have to do a lot of biking. We has to ride to the church today because it is a bank holiday and the library is closed and it's a 2 mile bike ride to the church and it's all up hill haha. Luckily we will have a nice bike ride back haha.  So right now I am at the church and for the first time since I have had an iPad I am emailing you from it. I feel like a pretty technological missionary right now as I am not on a computer emailing you haha.  It's quite nice to be honest. If it wasn't such a long bike ride to the church I think we would do this every week. 

You don't have to worry mum there are no sisters in this district so no they don't have to call me haha. I can tell that you were really worried that I was changing my mind about moving out of the house and not making a man cave in the basement but don't worry that won't be happening haha.

 I am really enjoying my new calling as a district leader even though it's kind of tough sometimes and really busy. I have learned a lot of great things though over the past couple of weeks and it's really pushed me to become a better missionary and to focus more on others and their areas rather than just the area that I am in. It is a pretty small district so it's not too hard and we are pretty close so it's a lot of fun. 

This past week has been pretty great. We have had some nice weather all week long and it is starting to cool off a little now. You can tell that we are starting to get closer to winter now. Soon enough it will be Christmas time and I will be experiencing lots and lots of cold rain while you are all experiencing lots and lots of snow haha. I am pretty excited for Christmas just because I can't wait to see what the church is going to be coming out with that we as missionaries get to have fun sharing with others.  But we still have some time before that comes so I guess I will have to wait patiently. 

J***** was able to come to church this past week because he got work off which was a great miracle. He said that he really enjoyed it and we are still helping him get ready for baptism. He hasn't been feeling good for the past couple of days so we haven't been able to see him much but he is doing really well and is still enjoying reading and learning great things.  I have really enjoyed getting to know him and teaching him for the past couple of months. 
Everything is going well with my companion and I. We are working pretty hard and he is learning a lot of great things. I am sure that I haven't taught him anything and that he has taught me more since we have been companions. He is getting the missionary life down and I think that he is really enjoying it. I am having a lot of fun doing work here in Tamworth with him and seeing great things happen. I believe this will be my last transfer here in Tamworth so I am going to make the most of it and leave this area better than I found it. 

Well I don't want to take up the anymore of your time so I will end my letter this week with a spiritual thought like always. This past week I finished reading through the Book of Mormon again on my mission so I thought I would focus the thought in the Book of Mormon this week.  I am pretty sure that I shared this quote with you before but it's a great quote and I would like to share it again. 

" Could Joseph Smith, I ask you, the young man reared in rural New York largely without schooling, have dictated in so short a time a volume so complex in its nature and yet so harmonious in its whole, with so large a cast of characters and so extensive in its scope? Could he of his own abilities have created the language, the thought, the moving inspiration that has caused millions over the earth to read and say, it is true?"
- President Gordon B. Hinckley 

Over the past couple of months I have been reading the Book of Mormon more deeply then I have ever done before in my life.  During that time I have found so many different things that I have never found before in my reading.  I have found things that I didn't know were  in the Book of Mormon and I have found things that have helped me to become a better person and to improve in the missionary work that I am doing and I have found things that have helped me to understand the plan that God has for me.  When I found this quote from President Hinckley I loved it and I know that what he is saying is so true. I know without a doubt that Joseph Smith could not have written the Book of Mormon alone with just the knowledge that he had as a young farm boy in New York. I know that God was helping him to translate this ancient record so that we today could read it and ponder the message it contains and then to ask God if it's true.  By doing this we come to know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. Once we receive this answer we come to know that Christ did live and that he is the son of God and the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith really was and is a Prophet of God and that there are prophets and Apostles on the earth today, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's church once again on the earth today. (Intro to Book of Mormon)

       I know that from my studying of the Book of Mormon I have come to know these things and the way that God works with me and what God expects from me as His child. We are all here for a purpose and that purpose is to learn, be tested, and to become more like God.  We can do this as we come to know more about God and His son, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, even Jesus Christ.  We come to know them better by reading and praying about His words.
       I challenge you if you have not read the Book of Mormon to read it and to pray about it, if you have done that I challenge you to continue to read and ponder the things it contains and to ask God through prayer to reaffirm your answer that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that as you do this the Lord will answer your prayers and that your testimony on the Book of Mormon will be strengthened. 
Thanks again for all the great letters that you sent to me this week. I hope that you all have a great week and I can't wait to hear from you next week.  
Elder Peterson

President Leppard sent this to the missionaries this week.  Even though it is focused on a mum of a missionary I thank you all for the great support and the hard work that you are all doing so that I can be out here serving the Lord. I know that you will be blessed greatly for your sacrifice and for your love. 
"Ever shall I remember the hand of one mother—the mother of a missionary. Some years ago at a worldwide seminar for mission presidents, the parents of missionaries were invited to meet and visit briefly with each mission president. 
Forgotten are the names of each who extended a greeting and exchanged a friendly handshake. 
Remembered are the feelings which welled up within me as I took in my hand the calloused hand of one mother from Star Valley, Wyoming. 'Please excuse the roughness of my hand,' she apologized. 
'Since my husband has been ill, the work of the farm has been mine to do, that our boy may, as a missionary, serve the Lord.'
"Tears could not be restrained, nor should they have been. Such tears produce a certain cleansing of the soul. A mother’s labor sanctified a son’s service. Loved are the hands of a mother. (Hands, General Conference Oct. 1972)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Letter #58

Hello Mum and Fam,

I don't know why you had to chew me out for changing the start of my letter for a week.  I thought it was getting old for you guys to see the same thing so I started to switch it up a bit.  I guess I better keep it the same from now on though. haha
It sounds like there are some great things happening back in the home ward of Newton.  I am sure that the members are just as great as they were when I left and that they are doing amazing things together.  I have started to get use to the really small wards that they have here in England so I don't know what is going to happen when I get back.  Because the wards over here are small it's like it's just a small family which is a pretty cool feeling.  I am really enjoying this area and being around the great members that live here.

This past week has been a pretty great week.  We do a lot of biking in this area and for a few months I have always wanted to buy an odometer to see how many miles we bike each day.  The most we biked in one day this last week was 20 miles and the least was 13 miles so I would have to say that we do a good amount of biking.  That's not even counting the walking that we do.  Because we have bikes though we don't do too much walking.  This is such a big area so it's nice to have bikes.

Well it was transfer week also this last week and nothing changed with my companion and I which isn't a surprise to be honest.  I am sure that in 6 weeks I will be moving but until then I am going to continue to work hard and to make this area the best that I can before I do leave it.  I was looking at the stats from this last transfer and the past ones and you can definitely see the change.  I know that the Lord has guided us to help many people and to do great things in this area.  I have made it a goal to leave each of my areas better than I have found it.  It is kind of hard to do that it some areas but I know that as we work hard and follow the Spirit then we will be able to do great things.

We taught J******  just a couple of hours ago and he is doing really well.  He talked to his boss and she said that once he gets baptized he can have every other Sunday off. Of course it's kind of hard for him to get every Sunday off at the moment because he is a chef but he is doing his best and he knows that God has helped him a lot.  He said today that he is going to be asking his boss this week for a day off so that he can have his baptism.  He still has to have his baptismal interview which I am not worried about because we have gone through the questions with him and he understood them and answered them really well.  I love meeting with him each week and seeing the progress that he is making.  He is doing really well.

We have done a good amount of tracting this past week which was alright.  I personally would rather do more street contacting and talking to people in Town Centre, but we haven't had much success doing that lately so we tried a little bit of tracting.  We did find a young family that said we could come back this next week and talk with them so hopefully we are able to find them in and to teach them.  I think that it would be way cool to see a family get baptized into the ward.  The ward really needs it because the young families keep moving out.  We will see how it goes this next week I guess.

Well I don't want to keep you too long but before I go it's my favorite time of the letter.  Spiritual thought time!!
As I was thinking of what to share today I thought about a talk that I read a while ago and the many great things that I learned from it.  I thought that I would share just a little bit from it and what I learned from just a piece of the talk.
We live in an instantaneous world.  With all of the great technology that we have in today’s world it has made us be great and do great things instantly.  We see great people that are very successful in their lives and we want to be like them, but we don't really see small simple things that they have done to get there.  We see great athletes, but we don't think of the daily training that they do that has helped them get to be a champion. We even look at the General Authorities and the great people that they are, but we don't see simple things that they do every day that has helped them to become great spiritual people.  Prophets past and present have asked us to do small and simple things like reading and praying daily.  Sometimes we don't do this simple things because we don't see dramatic consequences if we miss just one or two days.  It's like when we miss one day of brushing our teeth.  If we just miss one day all of our teeth are not going to decay and fall out just because we missed one day.  "Most of the consequences, positive and negative, will come later, over time.  But they will come." So we need to start doing the simple things right now. ”A year from now you will either be glad you started today or you will wish you had."  I know that as we do the simple things we will draw closer to God and we will be able to understand more of our purpose here on earth.

I hope that you all have a great week this week.  Sorry the letter was kind of long but I am sure that it will help mum keep busy as she reads it over and over again.  So you could say that I have done you all a great favor. haha I had to get you back mum.
Elder Peterson     

Monday, August 17, 2015

Letter #57

Good Morning Peterson Fam,

It sounds like you have all had another eventful week.  It is good to hear that you are all keeping busy and it is especially good to hear that you are all preparing for school to start.  I am sure that there is a lot of excitement in the air and that you are all just waiting for summer to be over. I am going to interrupt this email with some crazy news.  So you mentioned transfers this week which is true.  About 10 seconds ago I just received a phone call to be a District Leader.  I am sure that I will be staying here in Tamworth because I am training but we don't find out until tonight.  Just the way that everything works out though I believe I will be here still so you don't need to worry mum I won't be leaving.

So this past week has been a fantastic week.  We had a couple of great meetings that I learned so much from and that I really enjoyed.  I have really been learning so much and I think that I have started to learn a lot more since I have become a senior companion.  I am so grateful for all of the many things that I am learning even though having this much responsibility is kind of stressful.  If I come home bald then you can't make fun of me because you are already grey mum. haha

We were able to teach J***** a couple of times this last week and he is doing really well.  He is getting really excited to be baptized this upcoming month and he is working to get Sundays off so that he can make that date.  He is keeping all of the commitments really well and is really enjoying learning.  Today he was explaining the amount of change that he has seen in himself since he has started living the commandments and has continued to learn.  I know for a fact that the Gospel does change lives if we follow the teaching and the commandments.

I kind of had a hard time when it came to a lesson with J**** though.  He was the guy that we were lead to on the bridge last week.  He had texted us before the lesson and as I talked to him for a bit it turns out that he had gotten into anti stuff and didn't want to learn anymore.  It really was frustrating because as I was thinking about what happened I kept on asking myself why was this happening?  Why were we guided to someone that would end up not listening to us?  As I was thinking about that for some time I came to the conclusion that I learned a very important lesson that day.  Even though we never got to teach him again I learned the importance of obeying the Spirit not matter what. I didn't know that we were going to find him and I didn't know that it was going to end this way.  One thing that I do know though is if I didn't follow the prompting of the Spirit, if I would have turned around then I would have regretted that for probably the rest of my life  But because I had that experience I know that I did what I was supposed to do even if it didn't go the way that I wanted it to. Who knows maybe we were still supposed to meet him that day for a different reason I don't know.  But I learned something and that is what I am grateful for.

Well I guess I will answer your questions.

1. Are you able to wear the tie we sent you? Yeah I can wear it but I haven't yet.  I will probably wear it this week though.
2. Did you enjoy the Hump day poem we sent? I thought that was a pretty great poem.  
3. I talked with another Elder that just left England and he asked me if you burned your shirt on your hump day. Have you burned any of your clothes?  Are you kidding me of course I haven't burned anything.  You know how I am with spending money mum.  Why would I do that and have to buy a new one. People these days! haha

4. Do you know anything about  Yep I know all about it.  When it comes out I will be starting it.  I think that you have forgotten that I am a missionary and missionaries know EVERYTHING.  

6. What did you eat the other day with Darren?  He made some spicy burritos which were really good, but come to find out Elder Fullmer hates spicy things so it was funny watching him eat them. haha

7. Have you been able to meet with D*** and his wife yet?  Not yet but he is reading the Book of Mormon and is loving it. He said it will be soon though.

8. How’s the weather?  Depends on who you ask.  I think that it is really warm because I am sweating, but if you ask Elder Fullmer he will say it's cold because he gets cold easy.

9. Tender mercy this week?  This past week I would have to say that it was the answer that I got from when J*** dropped us.

10. Have you done much with family history?  Nope.  Don’t you think that is a little boring and for old people. haha

11. Are you really going to call me Mum when you get home?  Probably out of habit but I don't know how long it will last.

Well I am glad that your questions are not as ridiculous as Lindsey's questions so they weren't as bad to answer. Before I end my letter with a thought I thought I would let you know that I have put pictures in the Dropbox and the couple is the Dowlings.

So my thought for this week comes from Moroni 7:35.  The last part of 35 asks the question “...has the day of miracles ceased?" I am sure that you have all seen miracles in your own life and I know that I have seen miracles in my life.  As I was thinking about this it came to me that I have never considered being a member of the church a miracle.  I would have to say that it is a miracle though.  Think about how you became a member of the church.  I am sure that you prayed to know and you got an answer, well isn't that a miracle in itself.  But if you think back a little farther to our ancestors.  Isn't it a miracle that they became members of the church and throughout history from generation to generation the gospel was passed down to the day when we came to the earth.  Through those generations it could have been easy for someone to have lost faith, especially when it came to the pioneers and what they went through.  It could have been real easy for them to lose faith and who knows maybe if that did happen you and I might not be members today.  So I thought that I would just leave that with you and I hope that you really do realize how much of a miracle it is to be a member of the church.  I know that it has blessed my life tremendously and I know it can bless others.  I also know that miracles have not ceased just like it say in verse 37 of Moroni 7 and it is by faith that they still happen today.
Thank you all for the wonderful letters and I hope that you have a great week.

Elder Peterson  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Elder Peterson
Showing his new badge in Welsh

Elder Peterson's badge with his missionary scripture

Elder Peterson's missionary badge in Welsh

Monday, August 10, 2015

Letter #56

Hello Mum and Fam,

From the sounds of it you have all had another exciting week and it's good that you are enjoying yourselves while I am not there.  I think that it's good to hear that. Because that means that I can stay here in England forever and you wouldn't want me to come home because you already know how to have fun.  I can't believe that you are already going to be starting school shopping again.  It seems like school just got out a couple weeks ago and that you shouldn't be going back for another 2 months.  I guess you all want to go back anyway so that's good.  It sounds like you all have different reasons though.  Some advice for you all…. Lyndsey make sure that you pay attention to your schooling and don't go on too many dates because you need to focus on school.  Caden same with you.  Focus on school and don't pay attention to the girls, they will take your money and it's not worth it.  Hang in there little man just one more year and then I will be home to save you.  It sounds like Chelsey is the only perfect one who wants to go to school to learn and get it over with. Work hard and enjoy going to Sky View because it is the best high school ever.  Mum and Dad don't get too relaxed even though you are getting older now that your youngest is almost a freshman. haha You can relax when dad retires soon and you move to St. George. haha

This past week was an amazing week.  We were really struggling with lessons and finding people to teach along with getting a hold of our investigators and teaching them this past week.  We were working pretty hard we just couldn't seem to get it done.  Finding was really frustrating us both but I think that my companion was getting more frustrated because he is still learning how to do it.  On Saturday night I had set a personal goal with myself to find someone to teach during our finding time on Sunday.  During my studies on Sunday morning and during church I was focused so much on that goal and I just kept on telling myself that we are going to work hard for that lesson.  I didn't care if either of us got sick of finding we were going to work until we found at least one person.  Looking back on this amazing experience that I am about to tell you I now realize the power of the Spirit and how if you prayerfully set meaningful goals then the Lord will direct you in accomplishing that goal.  We went straight out finding once we got back from church and had our lunch.  We started walking towards the park area and through the park towards a bridge that we usually go walking on.  (Before I go on I would like to let you know that at the beginning of this transfer I had told Elder Fullmer that we would find someone on this bridge before the end of this transfer.)  Continuing on….we started walking towards the bridge and I had told myself that we will just turn left before the bridge and head a different way, but I guess that God had a different plan.  I forgot that I had made the plan quite fast and we started toward the bridge instead of turning left.  Right before we got to the bridge I asked myself why we were going that way because we were going to go the other way.  I just pushed it aside and said oh well and went to the bridge anyway not know why. When we got to the bridge we usually turn right, but this time I turned left straight away which was odd.  The first person that I say was a man in a red shirt which was about 5 yards away from me and he was the one that I stopped.  He opened up to us right away and we started to get to know him a bit better.  His name is J***** and he is from Romania and has been in England for 8 years now.  When he lived in Romania he had met missionaries there and had been to our church a couple of times and has loved it. 

Then he moved here and didn't do much about it.  Come to find out, a couple of days ago he asked himself when he was going to see the missionaries again.  Well yesterday he said that he was at home and he had 2 choices.  He could sit and watch TV all day or he could go do something.  Obviously he decided to go do something.  He had never been to the park in his life and he really didn't know how to really get there, but that's where he decided to go with no real good reason to go other than to take a little walk.  Well we met him about 75 yards or so away from his car right after he had parked it.  I know for a fact that he was guided by the Spirit and looking back I know that I felt the Spirit guiding me to where he was. To shorten it a bit we taught him the restoration yesterday and he loved it.  He remembered most of it from the past missionaries in Romania so that made it easy.  He is coming to church on Sunday and we will be seeing him on Saturday. After the lesson he said that he felt like he was at home when he heard the lesson and when we gave him another copy of the Book of Mormon because his mum threw his other one away.  

I know that he is prepared to hear the gospel and I now have a stronger testimony of the Spirit and the power that his has.  I also know that the Lord is directing this work because if it was just me and my own will I would have gone the total opposite direction and we would have never found him.  So I accomplished two goals yesterday.  One was we got a lesson and two is we found someone on the bridge before the end of the transfer. 

We also taught J***** just barely actually and he is doing really well.  He knows what he has received is true and he really wants to get baptized as soon as he can.  Because he is trying to get work off still we had to push it back to the 29 of August and he really wants to make that date.  He was telling us today that he knows it's true he just wants to get the lessons down and get work off and he is ready.  I have really enjoyed teaching him these past weeks.

That amazing experience has taken a lot of my time up so you will have to ask me those questions next week so that I can answer them then.  I do want to share a thought with you though if you don't mind.  I guess you don't really have a choice because you are all probably still being lazy and sleeping in. Haha

I want to start it off with a scripture in Mosiah 4:19
For behold, are we not all beggars?  Do we not all depend upon the same being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

Elder Holland used this scripture as one of his topics in a couple of conferences ago and he talks about how we need to serve others.  I would like to share with you of how important it is to serve.  I would like to use a really cool analogy.  If you take a spoon and you look at your reflection in the concave side, or the side that you scoop food with, you will notice that your reflection is upside down.  If you were to flip it over to the back side you will notice that you reflection is right side up.  You can compare that with service.  If we are looking inward just like when we look at ourselves on the concave side.  If we just focus on ourselves and our own problems then our lives are like that reflection of ourselves.  Our lives are upside down, or they aren't going as well as they should be.  But if we look outward like when we look at the back of the spoon and we find those that need a helping hand and we serve them, then just like our reflection on that side our lives will be going right and everything will be well.  The scripture in Mosiah I have found is true.  Everyone is struggling in their own little ways and they are begging to god for that help.  Who knows maybe you are the tool that the Lord is going to use to help that person so that their prayers can be answered.

I know that as we all work to serve those around us and as we follow the spirit in doing so, the Lord will bless our lives as we bless the lives of other.
Thank you all for the wonderful letters and I hope that you all have a great week.
The Man
Elder Peterson
PS I put a couple of photos in drop box.  Not too many sorry.  
 The language on the badge is Welsh.  I finally received it after five weeks of waiting and I was so excited.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Letter # 55

Hello Mum and Family,

I think that I will have to stop putting Mum at the top of my letters because Lyndsey keeps making fun of the things that I say.  To be honest I think that she is a little jealous because she isn't getting that much attention.  I think that when she gets her papers filled out soon and she gets called to somewhere in Russia then she will be excited to get all of the attention.  For now she will have to wait a year until that will start to happen. Haha

Well it was good to hear that you all have had a great week.  From all of the great letters it sounds like you had a lot of fun things going on and that you really enjoyed yourselves.  I am having a hard time trying to figure out how you got Lyndsey there though.  It seems like all of the other letters that you have sent saying that you went camping they say that Lyndsey stayed home like usual.  Maybe she is starting to become more sociable. Haha

Well this past week has been great for me.  I would have to say that there were a couple of highlights with my week.  The first was probably seeing J**** at church yesterday.  He really enjoyed coming and learning more.  We will be seeing him today in a couple of hours and I am way excited for that.  We are still going to try our hardest to get him baptized on the 22 of August, but with his work schedule we don't know if it's possible because we can't see him as often as we wanted too.  We are going to try our best and if we have to push it back then we will.  I am really enjoying teaching him though.

We didn't see D**** this past week, but we say D****. The lesson with Darren went quite well.  We taught him the restoration and he really enjoyed it.  Apparently he has always wanted to meet with the missionaries and to find out more about what we believe because he thinks that it would really help him he just didn't know when to do it.  I think that he knows that the gospel can really help him now he just needs to continue learning.  He is a great guy though and he fed us a meal after the lesson which was way cool of him.  I don't think that I would have refused some good food. Haha

My interview with President Leppard went really well this past week.  I really enjoyed speaking with him and his wife.  When I had my interview with President he didn't know that it was my year mark that day and when I told him he was pretty excited to talk to me about my mission and how much I have learned so far.  He had me imagine myself a year ago and when I walked into the room what I was like.  It was really interesting to think back and to actually remember what I was like and how much I had changed in just one year.   He then had me just imagine that in one year I will have learned and changed even more.  I can't believe how much the gospel has actually changed me as I have been learning and sharing it with others.  It is really cool to look back and see the hand of the Lord in my life.

Well it's my favorite time of the letter.  As I have been thinking about what I am going to leave with you guys this week I decided to use and analogy that I really liked and maybe it will help you. 

If you were to plant some sort of flower and obviously when you take care of it, it will look really lively, but if we neglect to take care of it then it will start to wilt and eventually it will die.  If we compare that with our bodies when we are hungry or thirsty we will go and get food or a drink.  The question is though when we compare it to our Spirit are we making sure that our Spirits aren't "wilting"?  We wouldn’t neglect to feed our physical body so why sometimes do we neglect to take care of our spiritual bodies?  One of my favorite things that President Leppard says is “Do the simple things well."  It is pretty simple for us to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when we are hungry.  Shouldn't it be easy to do the simple spiritual things like reading the scriptures daily, praying daily and attending church weekly?  All of these things are really pretty simple, yet sometimes we have a hard time doing them.  As we strive to do those things along with many other things that will help our spirits from "wilting" then over time our spirits will become something beautiful.  Just like when we take care of a flower over time it blossoms into a beautiful flower.  We just need to do those simple things and we need to do the best that we can.  ‘By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.’
Well thank you all for all of the great letters.  I hope that you have a great week.
Elder Peterson
(The best looking missionary in the field)