Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Letter # 63

What's up Mum and Fam,

It sounds like another great week has come and gone for you guys back home.  We also have had a fantastic week.  As you know we had the baptism of J***** this past week and it was an amazing experience for us all.  It has been a little over a year since this ward has had a baptism so it really got them more excited for missionary work.  He was baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday.  The Spirit was so strong at both of them and it was such a great experience.  It brought back memories from my baptism when I was younger and I enjoyed the feelings of peace and joy that came.  I had to do the baptism twice though because his knee came up out of the water.  J******** is kind of tall and they didn't fill the font up as much as I was hoping so it was kind of hard to get him under.  I kind of had to force him under.  The water was also a little cooler too but at least it wasn't freezing haha.  I kept telling him that if it's cold we both have to suffer through it and that gave him more comfort. haha  Over all it was a great experience.  I wish that I was able to do more exercising though because I am eating a lot of food and when I put my white trousers on for the baptism they were a little on the tighter side. haha They weren't super bad but I can tell that I have gained a bit.  Everyone that I talk to that has served a mission say not to worry about not eating a lot and gaining wait because the girls will like you either way when I get home. haha So I have taken their advice.

I am glad that you had an enjoyable time in St. George this past week.  You haven't told me if it rained though.  I was really looking forward to the part where you tell me that it rained a lot one of the days and it ruined your vacation.  I think it should have rained on the day that you looked at houses because then that would be a sign that you are making a bad decision.  I think you are a little confused about you 49er shirt though.  I don't think it is a good looking shirt just so you know.  You should get one that's blue and has a horse shoe on it.  Caden was telling me today how the game went between the 49ers and the Steelers and it was great to hear.  They lost because you were wearing that ugly shirt. haha Hopefully that will teach you haha.

I am really excited for Braden.  When I got that email I was really happy to read it.  I know he is going to be a great missionary and I am excited to hear how it goes when he leaves.  I am sure the Anderson family is having some great times preparing him to leave.  I remember those days and I can't believe how fast it has gone.  

I can't believe that Conference is this weekend already.  It seems like the last conference was not too long ago at all.  I too am excited to see who gets called as Apostles.  It definitely is going to be a historical conference this weekend and I am especially excited for the talks that will be given.  I have really grown to love learning about the gospel and General Conference is a great time to learn more.  I am super excited for it.
Well like you have figured out it is transfer week this week.  I have a feeling that I am going to be leaving this week since I am done training Elder Fullmer and I have been here for 4 1/2 months already.  I can't believe that I have been here for that long already.  It has been a great experience serving here and meeting so many wonderful people.  I have learned a lot from my service here and I am excited to see what the Lord has planned for me to do now.  Who knows maybe I will stay another one.  I will find out tonight and you will have to suffer until you next Monday. haha

Well I don't have much more time but like usual I would like to share a spiritual though with you guys.  I am sure that mum is going to enjoy this one. haha

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead? ( 1 Cor. 15:29)
We were blessed to have a baptism of one of our investigators this past week which was an amazing experience.  After the baptism I was thinking of the day when I was baptized.  I don't remember too much of that day but I do remember the wonderful feelings that I had.  Those wonderful feelings of peace and joy came over me on Saturday during the baptism and it was amazing to feel them.
Now to get to the scripture in Corinthians.  There are many souls in the Spirit World who have not felt that same peace and joy that many of us have when we were baptized.  They just didn't have the opportunity while they were on the earth.  It is our responsibility while on the earth to help them with that ordinance.  Many of those people are our own ancestors. They are waiting for us to do our part as members of the church.  Think back to your own baptism and try to remember the feelings you felt.  Don't you think they want to feel them too?  Think about the covenants you have made with God and because you have made those covenants  you are able to live with God and with your families again for eternity.  Do you think that is something that they may want too?  "Those in the Spirit World have a right to expect someone will do their work." 

Before we came to this world we knew what challenges we would face while on the earth. Our ancestors knew that they would be crossing seas, others knew they would be crossing the plains to Utah.  I truly believe that the investigators that I have taught I knew before this earth life and I promised them I would find them.  It could be the same way with our ancestors.  Maybe they knew that they wouldn't receive the gospel on the earth and you and I promised them that we could do their work for them so that they could live with God and their families again.  They had a different part in their lives that they were supposed to do to help us.  Now we are to do our part so that we can help them.  Many are just waiting patiently for us to do it.  Some are prepared to accept it right now and we just need to put forth the effort to find them.

Through my experiences I have come to love and understand D&C 18 15-16 a lot more.  
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

I believe that when we do the temple work for our ancestors we can feel the same joy that is talked about in this scripture.  We are bringing souls unto Christ and that definitely brings great joy in this life and it will be even greater in the kingdom of God.  
Doing family history and finding those who have not been baptized can be hard at times.  To be honest I have a hard time doing it, you could ask mum she will tell you, but I know that as we do our best the Lord will help us.  And when we pass on to the next life, whenever that day comes, our ancestors will be waiting with arms opened just waiting to embrace us and thank us for the work that we did for them.  How great that day will be if we have done all we can for them. 
Well thank you all for you great letters and I hope that you have a great week and go Colts. haha
Elder Peterson 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Letter #62

Hey Mum and Family,

So the reason I put the title of this email as 'still the man' is because of what I did this last week.  I went on exchanges this last week with the Elder in my District.  When we got back to Tamworth we were doing some finding before we had dinner.  Well when it got to dinner time we decided that pizza sounded really good for dinner so we decided to get some 
Papa John's.  Their special was any size pizza for 9.99 which was a great deal so we each ordered an XXL pizza.  (Nope I didn't put in too many X's)  We took it to the flat and had a lovely meal.  The reason I am still the man is because I ate all but 2 slices of the pizza.  I just couldn't seem to get those last 2 slices down, but I thought that I did really well.  I still have the eating skills in me as you can tell.  

It sounds like it was a great week for you all and I can't believe that mum is in St. George.  I was just asking dad what you did to deserve such a treat and I hope that it was something good.  I am sure you are enjoying sitting in the sun frying yourself and dad is wishing it was snowing at the moment.  I hope that it rains like it is supposed to so then dad can enjoy a little bit of nice weather too.  Plus it wouldn't hurt for you guys to get a little wet would it.  Especially since you are in St. George.  If it does rain I hope that it ruins that horrible 49ers shirt that mum is wearing in the photos that I received.  I didn't hear about how the game went for them this past week but I am glad that they didn't win.  I know that much.  haha

This past week for me was full of meeting’s.  We had to go to the mission home twice this week.  One for Zone Conference and another for a follow up trainers meeting.  They were both really good meetings and I learned a lot of great things from them both.  President and Sister Leppard gave some great training that I am excited to apply into the missionary work that I am doing here in Tamworth.  It has changed a little bit how we plan and how we work with the members and I know it's going to do lots of great things.  

There was a District Leader meeting before Zone Conference and I am sure that mum would be happy to hear that a good part of the meeting was on family history and how we are going to start using it as missionaries soon.  There are a lot of great tools that we are going to be receiving to use when we speak to people on the street.  I found out that there is actually a television program over here about famous people doing their family history and ever since that show came out it made more people interested in their family history.  So from hearing that and learning how we are going to start using family history I am excited to see how well it works.  I am sure that we will see some great success from it as we apply it in the work we are doing.

Obviously the big event that is going to be happening this week is the baptism of J*****.  We met with him today and he is ready and excited for his baptism.  We have it all planned out and the Bishop announced it in church yesterday so the ward knows and we just need to wait until Saturday comes.  It is going to be a great day I know that already. It has been fun teaching him and also learning a lot myself as we taught him.  It is a great way to end off the transfer especially because I think that I could be leaving this area this transfer.  This could be my last full week here which is crazy to think about.  If I do end up leaving I will definitely miss the great people I have met and the wonderful area that it is here.
Well I really loved the spiritual thought that you send this week.  Thanks for that.  I would love to share my thought with you guys now before I go.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even  as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:48)
We are here on the earth to learn and become perfect like our Heavenly Father.  Obviously becoming perfect won't happen until after this life, but that's what we are working towards while here on the earth.  In order for us to become perfect like Him we need to change and improve ourselves every single day.  We need to always do our best to live the gospel every day.  "Living the gospel is somewhat like combing your hair- no matter how well we did it yesterday- we have to repeat it today."

Part of becoming perfect like our Heavenly Father is becoming meek.  Being humble enough to know that we aren't always right, when we do something wrong turning to God and asking for forgiveness.  If we are humble then we recognize that we are dependent on our Heavenly Father.  Only those who are humble are able to acknowledge and truly understand the answers to their prayers.  I believe gaining humility is a big part of becoming like God because once we gain humility it is easier for us to accept more direction on other things we need to improve on or change in our lives.
Obviously the opposite of humility is pride.  "The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren't interested in changing their opinions to agree with God's."  When we are proud we don't listen to the answers that God gives us because we think that we can become perfect on our own.  The proud are very competitive with others when it comes to talents, wealth, opinions, etc.  They want to be better than everyone else.  We need to get rid of that competitiveness.  "Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. ... It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.  Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone."
Whenever we want to improve on something we usually look to Christ and His example.  Well it is no different with humility.  Christ went through so much suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.  People rejected Him, they spit on Him and beat Him.  He was falsely accused and then nailed on the cross.  Even after all the excruciating pain that he went through He still spoke to His Father while on the cross in such great humility saying " Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."  Because Christ died for us we can change and become meek and humble like Him. 

In order for us to learn and grow we need to be teachable and that is where humility comes in.  As we humble ourselves and we look to the Lord for guidance then we will be able to gain more Christ like attributes than just humility.  We will be able to gain such great knowledge about the gospel of Jesus Christ and eventually we will be able to become perfect like our Heavenly Father and our Savior.

I hope that you all have a great week. Thanks for all that you guys do.
Elder Peterson

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Elder Peterson with Elder Holland (one of the Twelve Apostles)
June 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Letter #61

Hey Mum and Family,

It sounds like another great week has come and gone in the Peterson family with lots of events and fun things happening.  I am grateful for all of the updates on how everyone is doing and it's great to hear that there are great things happening like people serving missions and not so great things like Lyndsey wrecking the car again.  To be honest though Lyndsey wrecking doesn't surprise me at all.

Well I am glad that you all liked the photos that I sent home last week.  As you can tell I either quite enjoyed the castle or I just wanted to make mum happy with some photos so that she would quite bugging me about taking photos.  I think it was mostly the second one. haha  No it was a great castle to go and visit.  But I have to say that I was quite interested in the huge spider that we found in our flat.  It was pretty big but you don't have to worry because they don't have a single poisonous spider over here in England so I am not going to die from them.  I have to say that I have been pretty nice though because I have only sent 3 pictures of spiders home and I could take so many more because they are all over.  They have some pretty cool looking spiders over here.

Well I think I will answer your question about the weather.  It is kind of hard to tell what the weather is going to do from an app because most of the time the weather people are off with the weather.  Yesterday it didn't rain at all but it was pretty cloudy for the most part.  It was warmer than 63 degrees though.  I would have to say that it was closer to 70.  Today it is pretty accurate.  It is a little cooler today and we are experiencing rain at the moment.  From what I have heard from people it is supposed to be pretty rainy the rest of the week so we will see.  If it is not raining it is going to be cloudy at least and it's supposed to be getting cooler now.  I guess I am going to have to break out the jackets and the waterproofs. Oh it's fun doing missionary work in the rain that's for sure.  You get a good amount of wife points for doing missionary work in the rain so that's a plus. haha

Well we had a great experience this past week.  J***** had his baptism interview on Wednesday and he passed it.  The Elder that interviewed him is really cool and I talked to him the other day and he said that he is so ready.  That is good to hear for me because it shows that we as missionaries taught him the right way and that he really was keeping his commitments.  I knew that he was the whole time because he is that great of a guy.  Today about an hour ago we just met with him and we set up his baptism program which went really well. He is so excited for baptism and he said that his boss has let him have the 26th off so that's when he is going to be baptized.  He asked me today if I would baptize him which I am excited about.  It is going to be a great experience and I can't wait for the 26th to come. I wish it was this Saturday and not the next Saturday.

A*** is also doing really well.  She wasn't able to make it to church this past week but we had some really great lessons with her this past week. She is doing really well with taking in the lessons and the things that we have taught her she just isn't ready for baptism quite yet.  She is really great friends with J**** though and I am sure she is going to be coming to the baptism so who knows maybe she will have a bigger desire to be baptized after the baptism.  We have some great plans for this week’s lessons with her so maybe she will get closer after this week.  She is a great lady though and I love going and visiting her.  

I have to say that I am pretty excited for this next week and the things that are going to happen.  I have a feeling that I am going to be leaving this area the next transfer which is in 2 weeks so I am going to work super hard this week to hopefully make the area a lot better than when I arrived.  It has made some pretty big changes since I have come here and I believe it's because the Lord has blessed us with many miracles here and there which have been amazing to see.

Well I don't want to keep you too long but I have prepared another spiritual thought that I am excited to share with you guys today.  It is focused mostly on testimonies and faith.  I would like to start it off with a quote from Thomas S. Monson.

"There is absolutely nothing in this world that will provide more comfort and happiness than a testimony of the truth"
So what is a testimony?  A testimony is evidence or proof of something.  It is a recounting of our religious conversion or experience. To put it simply it is something that we know is true.  How do we gain this testimony of the truth that President Monson is talking about?  It takes faith and hard work.  Many people believe that in order for us to believe in something we have to see it with our own eyes.  For example we have to see God to know He is there.  Well I don't think that seeing is always believing.  If we turn to 1 Nephi 3 we read about Nephi and his brothers going to get the plates from Laban.  In verse 29 Laman and Lemuel start going against Nephi and they beat him with a rod.  What happens next? An angel appeared and spoke to them and told them to stop beating Nephi and that the Lord would prepare a way that they would receive the plates.  They saw with their own eyes an angel and did that stop them from murmuring?  Did that stop them from rebelling?  Well if you go just two verses further we read that ”... after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur..."  They started to say that it's not possible that the Lord can prepare a way for them to get the plates.  So was seeing believing for them?  Doesn't sound like it to me.
Some people may argue that for some people seeing is believing, for example Alma the younger.  He was going around trying to destroy the church and an angel appeared to him and the sons of Mosiah and as we know he repented and did a great work for the Lord.  One thing we might miss though is seeing the angel wasn't what converted him.  He still had to study and pray to gain a testimony. “Seeing isn't a shortcut to faith or a testimony."  In Alma 5:45-46 we hear the testimony of Alma the younger and he doesn't mention an angel in his conversion.  He says:
“And this is not all.  Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself?  Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true.  And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety.
Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God.  Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself.  And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me."
For Alma it was not the angel that converted him, it was the fasting and praying.  It was him putting forth the effort and receiving a testimony by the Holy Ghost.  It is not different for us today.  In order for us to gain a testimony of the truth we need to put for the effort and gain that witness from the power of the Holy Ghost. I know that as we do that we will be able to gain the most precious thing that we can gain while here on this earth and that is a testimony of the restored gospel.  Once we do we too will be able to witness the great comfort and happiness that President Monson talked about.  

Well sorry that it was kind of a long thought but I thought it would be something good to share.  Thanks for all of the great letters and I hope that you have a great week.
Elder Peterson

Monday, September 7, 2015

Letter # 60

Hello Mum and Family,

Another wonderful week has come from the Peterson family from the sounds of it.  I enjoyed reading all of your letters and replying to them all.  It's good to hear that you are all doing well and that you are keeping busy. I am glad that you all are having fun and enjoying yourselves.  Keep up the fun and working hard in school for those who are in school.

Well this past week has been a pretty good week for me here in England.  The weather has been pretty clear skies, but it is starting to cool off a bit which I am grateful for. I think that it feels quite nice now but my companion is always freezing.  It is weird that it is starting to get a little cooler now because it's supposed to be quite warm still.  People keep on saying that the weather is doing crazy things this year but I don't know because I have only been here a year so I just have to agree with what they say.  

J****** is doing really well.  I wasn't too sure about how committed he was towards baptism so we talked to him this week and I have found out that he is pretty committed.  He understands what he has to do and he knows what he is getting into.  This week when he has a day off we are going to get a hold of the Zone Leaders and they are going to come and do his baptismal interview and he said that he wants to work towards being baptized next week.  I think that he is ready for baptism.  He is such a great guy and I have really enjoyed getting to know him more and helping him to come to know that what we teach is true.  He has made some really big changes in his life because he knows that what have taught him is right. 

We are also teaching this lovely lady named A*****.  I don't think that I have told you much about her but she is a great lady.  She has been taught by missionaries for quite some time now.  She comes to church almost every week and she knows every single member in the ward quite well and they know her we just can't get her baptized no matter what we do.  I do love teaching her though because we have some really great discussions with her and the spirit is so strong during them.  She has a really close relationship with God and so she loves the talks that we have with her and the feelings that she feels.  She owns a music shop in town and doesn't have much success while doing it but the cool thing is she is pretty much a missionary herself.  Everyone that comes in she is just so nice too and she always brings something up about God with them and somehow she throws something about us as missionaries in her conversations.  We have actually taught a few people that she has talked too and J******* is actually one of those people.  We never knew that he was friends with her before but now we do and it's pretty cool.  She is such a great example to me of how I need to be as a member of this church and not just as a missionary.  I am sure that she could be a great example for everyone. 

I hope that you all enjoy the wonderful pictures that I have put in drop box.  I have put some of the castle that we went to last Monday which was a lot of fun.  I also put some of a really big spider that we found in our flat while we were doing studies one day.  It doesn't look as big in the picture as it actually was.  I thought it was cool anyway.  I don't think my companion was too excited about seeing it though.  It was running around the room quite fast every time I would move the furniture out of the way so that I could get a picture of it.  I thought it was way cool.  The last pictures are of the Dowling's Garden which is super nice.  It is the biggest garden that I have seen on my mission so far.  This past week we did service for them and while Elder Fullmer was mowing the lawn Brother Dowling had me climbing one of the big trees and cutting off these huge branches.  It was some great hard work that I loved doing.  

Well before I go on to my spiritual thought I just want to say that I am glad that everyone survived Lyndsey's babysitting this past week.  I have to say that I was pretty worried that they weren't going to make it but I am glad that we have a great loving Grandma that was willing to help her out.  I don't think that she would have been able to do it by herself.  I am glad that you and Dad had an enjoyable time in Salt Lake for the week and I think that it's funny how mum things I am going to come home loving Family History.  haha just kidding I might do a little here and there just to make her happy.

Well it's my favorite time of the letter.  Spiritual thought time!!

We are sent onto this earth by our loving Heavenly Father to learn and to be tested.  During this test of life we change as we learn and apply those things into our lives.  Sometimes we forget that God is placing certain situations in our lives to test us a bit and to help us to grow.  He is helping in the process to help us change and make us into something great.  Sometimes we have things happen to us that we might think are not too pleasant to cope with.  But once we come to understand the plan that God has for us while here on the earth then we learn to make it through hard times with a smile on our face, knowing that these experience we are having is going to make us better and that it is all a part of our Heavenly Father's eternal plan.

C.S. Lewis gives a great analogy on this.  He says: “Imagine yourself as a living house.  God comes in to rebuild that house.  At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing.  He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew these jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and it does not seem to make sense.  What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of. He is throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.  You thought you were going to be make it into a decent little cottage: but He is building a Palace."

When we have little trials or tests that change us just a little bit we are usually fine with those, but it's the big tests that cause us to hurt a bit.  Just like in school we worry a little more during our final exams with hard questions and big essays to write more than we do if we are taking a 10 question quiz that's all multiple choice.  In life we get both the big tests and the small quizzes and they both are helping us learn and change.  Once we come to truly understand our Heavenly Father's plan and that He is making us into something great by the tests and experiences that He is giving us in this life, then we are alright with those changes no matter how much they may hurt us at the time. 

Well thanks again for the great letters and I hope that you all have a great week this week.
Elder Peterson

Elder Peterson
Aug. 2015 Tamworth Castle

Tamworth Castle
England August 2015

Tamworth Castle
England August 2015

Spider in Elder Peterson's Flat
Tamworth England
August 2015