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

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