Monday, October 26, 2015

Elder Peterson & Elder Fullmer
October 2015

Elder Peterson had a crazy fly problem in his flat.
They caught about 200 plus flies.

Elder Peterson and Elder Stokes
October 2015

Elder Peterson
Enjoying his box of chocolates a member sent him for his birthday
October 2015

Elder Peterson was taught by Elder Shaw
how to do the Rubics Cube
October 2015

Letter #67

Dear Mum and family,

Thank you for all of your wonderful letters this week. I really enjoyed them all. 
I had a great birthday this past week. Thank you for the video of you all singing happy birthday to me. I really enjoyed it. I will be honest the morning of my birthday I had forgotten that it was my birthday and I didn't remember until about the afternoon. Haha the other missionaries found out it was my birthday and we went out to an all you can eat Chinese place called the real China. It was really good and one of the missionaries said he would buy for me because it was my birthday which was really nice of him. I really didn't do anything else fun until later that night when we had a ward coordination meeting at a member’s house. Somehow a couple of members had found out that it was my birthday and the family that we went to that night was one of them. We had a great dinner with them and a wonderful meeting. They had a cake and they sang happy birthday to me. They gave me a card and a box of Lindor chocolates.  Mums favorite and I don't have to share with her. Haha. That was really all I did on my birthday other than the regular missionary work which was great to do on my birthday.
We have found this Chinese person named J***** ( that's his English name) and he is such a solid investigator. When we found him he said that he has always wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ and when we told him that is exactly what we do he was way excited to meet with us. We have taught him a couple of lessons already and he loves them. He came to church yesterday and he said that it was amazing. He has a friend that he said he is going to try and get to church next week. We will be seeing him again this week which I am really excited for. I have picked up a couple of Chinese words from him which is really fun to learn. He is a way cool guy and is studying at the Uni here and his English is pretty good. 

Other than all of that there hasn't been a whole lot more going on other then regular missionary work like finding haha. I always talk about that because this is a finding mission.  You really grow to love something when you do it almost 24/7. We have found and talked to some great people its just we haven't found enough solid people that want to meet again another time. I am really enjoying it here in Leicester though. Lots of great people here and it seems like the area is a lot more energized probably because it is a university area and there are a lot more younger people than older people. My past areas where the opposite.  So it has taken time to get use to it but I am loving it. I am always so tired though. Missionary work drains you every piece of energy that you have. I guess it must mean that I am doing something right if I am exhausted at the end of the day. 

Well I don't really have much more to say so I will leave you whith a spiritual thought.

Following the promptings of the Spirit
      Once while President Monson was on assignment in Louisiana, a stake president asked him if he would have time to visit a 10-year-old girl named Christal, who was in the final stages of cancer. Christal’s family had been praying that President Monson would come. But their home was far away, and the schedule was so tight that there wasn’t time. So instead, President Monson asked that those who offered prayers during the stake conference include Christal in their prayers. Surely the Lord and the family would understand.
    During the Saturday session of the conference, as President Monson stood to speak, the Spirit whispered, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
       “His notes became a blur. He attempted to pursue the theme of the meeting as outlined, but the name and image of [the little girl] would not leave his mind.”
         He listened to the Spirit and rearranged his schedule. Early the next morning, President Monson left the ninety and nine and traveled many miles to be at the bedside of the one.
         Once there, he “gazed down upon a child too ill to rise, too weak to speak. Her illness had now rendered her sightless. Deeply touched by the scene and the Spirit of the Lord … , Brother Monson … took the child’s frail hand in his own. ‘Christal,’ he whispered, ‘I am here.’
       “With great effort she whispered back, ‘Brother Monson, I just knew you would come.’”
There are many times in our own lives where we are prompted by the Spirit to help someone whether we recognize the prompting or not. Most of the time God uses us as His disciples to help others.  After baptism we are given that special gift of the Holy Ghost, we just need to remain worthy enough for it to be with us at all times. 
President Monson shows the perfect example of following the Spirit. I have read many other stories of him leaving meetings because the Spirit was prompting him so strongly. We need to follow his example so that we can bless others.

Also I would like to share with you a experience my companion and I had yesterday…. 
27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?
28 For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens.
29And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
(Moroni 7:27-29)

I would like to share with you an amazing experience that happened to me yesterday that has made this scripture more meaningful to me and has strengthen my testimony of the gospel. 
Last night at about 5:30 we get a call during a lesson that comes up as a private number so we can't tell who it is to call them back. And the phone only rang once so we wouldn't have had time to answer it anyway if we hadn't been in a lesson. We didn't think much about it because we usually get those type of calls. We continue on our night stopping by Less Actives and Former investigators. It gets to be about 6:50 and we start heading back towards the flat because we need to be in for nightly calls.  On Sunday where the District accounts to me about there last week and then I account to the Zone Leaders about our week along with the Districts. We are on foot so that's why we started heading back so soon. 
It's about 7:10 and the phone starts ringing and it's the private number again. A lady named M*** is on the other side and she is talking to Elder Stokes. She said that she was not feeling so well and she would love a blessing. So we literally ran to her flat which was about a 10 minute run and because we wanted to save as much time as possible so we could make it back in on time. We get to her flat and apparently she had also called the Sisters because they arrived the same time as we had. We knock on her door and she didn't answer for close to 5 minutes and we were getting kind of worried. She finally answers the door and let's us in and she slowly walks back to her bed and lays back down and explains how she was feeling. She said that she tried calling us earlier but it only rang once and then she didn't have the strength to dial the phone so she dropped it. That explained the call that we received at about 5:30 p.m.  She said that after church her head started to have the worst pain she had ever felt. She described it as her head felt like it was splitting in half. She also had horrible pain rushing down her legs which made it really hard for her to walk. She said she had not felt this type of pain before. She asked the Sisters if they would make her some food because she hadn't eaten since lunch and then she asked us if we would give her a blessing. 
She didn't care who did what for the blessing so Elder Stokes said that he would do the anointing and I could do the blessing. So we did the blessing and to be totally honest I don't really remember the words that I had said during that blessing. I know that the Spirit was working through me. I know I said some tipping along the lines of she will heal quickly and regain her strength, but that is really all I could remember. After the blessing we sat there quietly because the spirit was so strong. It felt like quite a while that we were in silence but it wasn't that long before she said something. She said that once we had started to give the blessing she felt this cold rush go from the top of her legs all the way to her toes. As it moved through her legs the pain in her legs became less and less painful until she didn't have much more pain. Elder Stokes and I helped her get comfortable in bed and before we could leave the room she was sound asleep like a little baby. 

After we had left I started to think of that miraculous experience we had just witnessed. As I was thinking of it a line from my patriarchal blessing came into my mind. It says that I will have the gift of healing, and those that I lay hands upon can be healed from their illnesses and the problems of the flesh. This line has stuck out to me many times as I have read my blessing over and over again throughout my mission.  After that experience I have gained a better testimony of a couple of things. One to be the power of the priesthood and that miracles do not cease to happen.  I know that we are instruments in the hands of God and that he is always blessing His children through each of us. Just like Ammon I do not boast of my own strength because I know that I am weak and it is through the power of God that she was healed. 
The second thing that I have gained a stronger testimony on is the power of a patriarchal blessing. Like I said before I didn't know why that line had stuck out to me many times. Because it had stuck out to me I had taken a lot of time to ponder it more and now that I had that experience that line meant so much more to me. I know that God is omniscience, or in other words all knowing. He knows what is in store for our lives and how He is going to use us to do His work. 
Just like the scripture in Moroni, I know that miracles do not cease to happen today. I know that through the Priesthood power of God that many miracles happen each day and I was blessed to have witnessed one of those many that happen. I am grateful for that experience and how it has strengthened my testimony of this Gospel. I know that it is the Lords church and he is our eternal head. He knows what he is doing we just need to trust in Him and move forward with faith. 
Thank you for letting me share this special experience with you all. Have a great week!!
Elder Peterson
PS I put some pictures in drop box. Some horses we saw today on our long bike ride to get s parcel for elder stokes, a box of chocolates that I got for my birthday from a member, our flat had a crazy fly problem a couple of weeks ago and we caught like 200 and something flies plus all the other ones that we didn't count but killed, I learned to do the rubics cube in my second area when I was with Elder Shaw I just kept forgetting to tell you so I thought I would take a picture. I hope you like them all. I liked the pictures from the reunion 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Letter # 66

Hey Mum and Fam,

I am grateful to have such a wonderful family writing me such great letters each week. Thank you for all the updates and for all the love and support.  I enjoy reading all of your emails. They all are amazing.

I have to admit that I totally forgot that it was my birthday coming up soon. At the beginning of the month I remembered that it would be coming up but I am seriously telling the truth that I really forgot about it. I am pretty sure that if you wouldn't have told me it would have gone by without me even noticing. Haha I think it's pretty funny. 

In the picture for the last zone conference the missionary that we are holding is my companion Elder Stokes and I can't remember the ones name that I am standing next to.  That was the first time I had met some of those missionaries.  I can't remember who Elder Huff is either so I will have to look for him so I can outs face to his name.  It was a great zone conference though and I learned a lot of great things about family history and getting our investigators to the temple after they are baptized. It is something that our mission is really starting to focus on and I think it is going to do some great things for those who are baptized. 

The weather over here is definitely getting colder. I am sure that you guys are having some warmer weather then we are at the moment. Everyone has started to break out the winter coats and are preparing for the cold which I am sure that mum is so jealous of. I bet you all can't wait for the cold of the winter and for the nice snow that falls and you have to shovel everyday almost. I can just see the excitement now that is coming to you all especially mum. 

We are really enjoying the work here. We have seen some great progress this past week as we have done lots of finding. We found this Chinese person who was actually really interested and when we met with him this past week he brought some of his friends who are also really interested to learn. They are in Uni at the moment but they really want to meet with us and learn about the gospel. The Chinese people are so cool to talk to because they come from China to study and they have never heard of anything like what we teach and they are really interested. That's the joys of serving in a Uni area. There are so many great students that are interested you just have to find them. So I am excited to continue working hard and finding lots of people to teach. 

Well it was good to hear from you all. I hope that you have a great week, but before I go I will share a spiritual thought with you.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
There have been times throughout my life and definitely throughout my mission that have tested me.  I know these certain tests were given to me to teach me something. I am sure that you too could pick out times when you were tested and it taught you something. 
At the beginning of this past week I had this thought to study obedience and the importance of being obedient. I thought it was kind of interesting because there were a few experiences that I had towards the end of this week that tested me and my obedience.  Looking back I have really gained a testimony on obedience and how we are blessed when we do obey certain rules or commandments we are given even if we are not sure why we are given it. 
When I think of someone who is obedient in the scriptures I usually think of Nephi when he says " I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded".  Another part that sticks out to me from Nephi is when he is commanded to go and get the brass plates from Laban and he has already tried two times. It took them three tries to get the plates from Laban. If we think about it Laman and Lemuel had a pretty good reason to be discouraged. Lehi and his family had traveled out of Jerusalem and then the Lord told them to go back. The Lord could have easily told them before they left to get the plates from Laban so that they wouldn't have to travel all the way back.  This would have been to easy though and probably wouldn't have taught them what they needed to learn. Laban had taken all their gold, silver, and precious things from them and they still didn't get the plates. They were getting discouraged because it wasn't working out for them.   I believe that the Lord did it this way because he wanted to teach them something important. He does the same with us today. 
If we liken the scriptures to ourselves we may ask ourselves " if I was going through a tough time like them would I have given up or would I stay obedient to the commandment that was given?" Sometimes it is hard to follow commandments and sometimes it's not. I believe the Lord gives us tests like this so that he can see if we truly are in His side and are willing to follow Him. Just like the scripture in John states that if we truly do love our Heavenly Father and our Savior then we will follow them with exact obedience. God knows that we won't be perfect at being obedient and that's why we have our Savior who has paid the price so that we can repent and do better. 
I know that our Heavenly Father and our Savior live. I know that they give us commandments and things to follow because they want to protect us. The commandments are given for our benefit.  God wants us to be happy and by keeping the commandments we experience true happiness. 
I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Peterson

Monday, October 12, 2015

Letter #65

Hello Mum and Family,

Thank you all for your great letters I truly love reading them each week and feeling the great love that you have, not only for me but for others too. I am glad that you are all having a great time and that you are loving doing things together.  You guys are great examples to me. 

This past week has been a hectic week as we have tried to get things moving here in Westcotes. The investigators that we have at the moment are not the most solid investigators and they have been taught for quite some time and they just seem to be progressing at the moment.  So this past week our focus was on finding new investigators and building our teaching pool. You might not believe me but since I have been out on the mission I have grown to love talking to people. Don't worry though I am not a chatter box like Lyndsey though. At first I wasn't really sure about stopping random people on the street and talking about the gospel with them, but now I cannot walk down a single street without looking at people and thinking of who I am going to stop. It has become a habit and I don't even think about doing it. It is something that I have noticed this past week and it's crazy how it happens. So I guess what I am trying to say is that I have grown to love talking to strangers. So everything you taught me mum and dad about not doing that, sorry I threw it all out the window. Haha

We were finally able to meet the members of this ward this past week. This ward is a bigger ward then Tamworth but not too much bigger. It is definitely a lot younger ward though which is kind of nice. It is a very energetic ward with lots of great members that I am excited to get to know and to serve. They are very involved with missionary work which is a big help for us obviously. Missionary work goes best when members and missionaries are working together. I am excited to see what great things happen as we work with this wonderful ward.

Elder Stokes has been out for 6 months now and he loves Football. It is about time that I got a companion that likes real football and not that soccer stuff that they call football over here. We are having a lot of fun together working here in Westcotes. 

Don't worry we definitely have enough food right now. All of the other missionaries are jealous because of the amount of good food that we have right now so we are surviving. I took money out last week because the axle on my bike broke and I had to get it fixed. It was a pretty cheap fix though. The guy that we take it to knows the missionaries so he gave me a discount. This area just can't get any better. 

Don't worry my camera didn't break. I just use the iPad because we have it all the time with us and it's just easier to take them with it.  I can start using my camera a little more if  you want me to though. I have used it a bit though just not recently. The iPads are just nice to use because it is so easy to. 

This past week we had a zone meeting on family history which was pretty exciting. Like I told you guys a couple of weeks ago we have started to do more things with family history. It hasn't fully started up, but we are applying different things and trying to improve the things that we do with family history.
I would like to share something that really stuck out to me during that meeting. So I guess you could say that you get 2 spiritual thoughts this week. How lucky are you guys?  Haha

Ether 3:6
And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
The question that goes with this is " Was it more important that the Lord put the light in the stones or that the light was put into the Brother of Jared?" Obviously it was that the light was put into the Brother of Jared.  In order for us to do family history work we need to gain that light. We need to gain the Spirit of Elijah. When we realize the importance of the family and living together forever and when we realize the importance of the temple ordinances that we perform for those who have passed on then that's when we understand the importance of doing family history.
Well I am excited for this next week and to see what great miracles come as we use family history and as we spread the joy of this gospel. I love seeing the look on people faces as they feel the Spirit touch their hearts when we share the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this is the true church and that today we having a living Prophet just like in times of old. I am grateful for his direction that he gives us and how we come closer to our Heavenly Father by following his guidance. 

Now it is time for the spiritual thought that I love sharing with you guys each week. If it doesn't teach you anything it definitely teaches me something that's why I love sharing it. 
The lesson that I really loved in church yesterday was on leadership. The part of that lesson that stuck out to me was the examples of leaders that we each have in our lives that have helped us to be the person that we are today.  
Sometimes we think that leaders have to be people who are in a high ranking in the church, or a person who is a popular person, but that isn't always the case.  I know that the people I looked up to were all different. Some had high callings and others didn't have what we consider a high calling. I know that I learned a lot of great things from them all because of the person they were all the time whether they were serving in their callings or not. 
We all have those great examples but we too may be that great example to others without even knowing it. It is good to ask yourself, "Am I living the type of life that others could follow and get closer to Christ?"  You never know who is watching you and following your actions. Actions do speak louder than words.  One of my favorite quotes goes something like " Always teach the gospel and sometimes use words."  We need to be that type of person that others can see our loving Heavenly Father through us. 
I know that I didn't fully understand how people saw the light in me.  I know that the way we live is how we are a good example, but the light that people see in us I never understood where that came from. The other day I was studying Alma 5 and I found this scripture that explained it perfectly to me. 
Alma 5:14&19
...Have ye received his image in your countenances?... I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
If we truly do accept God in our lives and we are doing our best to live the commandments that He has given us then we are changed in a way that we appear as our Heavenly Father whose image we were created in.  We gain that light from our Heavenly Father and we start to become more like him. So we need to make sure that we are living the right type of life so others can see our loving Heavenly Father through us.

I know that as we do our best to live the gospel the way that our Heavenly Father would want us too then we will be that great example to others whether we know we are that example or not. I know that others can be brought unto Christ because of our examples. We need to make sure we are that person that God would want us to be all the time.   
Thanks again for all the wonderful letters. I truly have the best family writing me and supporting me. Have a great week!
Elder Peterson

Monday, October 5, 2015

Letter #64

Hello Mum and Family,

Well it was good to hear that you all enjoyed conference this past weekend. I too thought it was amazing and I learned a lot of great things. There were definitely some great talks given and I can't wait to read them when they come out in the Ensign.   It was really cool to see the Apostles get called and I thought that their testimonies were amazing. I definitely felt the spirit testify that they are called of God.  I am sure you all felt that same Spirit as you listened and watched. 

Well I am sure that you are all are wondering where I have been transferred and who I am with. Well I believe that mum has truthfully cheated on the guessing because that is exactly where I am serving. I believe that there is no way that she could have guessed that I am in Westcotes without being told by someone. So I am in Westcotes and I am actually whitewashing. That means that Elder Stokes and I were sent to this area at the same time. So neither of us was in this area before and we are having to figure the area out which is pretty stressful but some good fun at the same time. Elder Stokes is a way cool guy and we are having a lot of fun together. We have a really nice flat.  In fact I think that it's the best flat that I have been in my whole mission. It's not the cleanest at the moment because the past Elders weren't very clean, but luckily Elder Stokes and I both like a clean flat so we are slowly getting it cleaned and organized in the little time that we have free.

 This past week we really struggled with food in the flat because the other Elders pretty much left us nothing.  We were living on a couple of small pizzas, a little bit of cereal and milk, and some rice. I would have to say that I am pretty proud of myself because I made it through the week.  You don't need to worry though because today we loaded up on the food.  There is only one thing that brings greater joy then a full fridge and cupboards and that's teaching people the gospel so the food is definitely high up there. 

Well I don't really know what else to share other than a spiritual thought.  We are playing some sports at the chapel with the other Elders too so I don't have too much time.  So I guess that I will share a spiritual thought real fast.

I loved listening to the wonderful counsel of the Prophet and Apostles this past weekend. I was able to pick something out from each of those who spoke that can help me to become closer to my Heavenly Father and more like him.  
The thought that I wanted to share with you today comes from the talk by Larry R. Lawrence in the Saturday Morning session of conference. He read a scripture from the Bible which is Matt 5:48. 
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as you’re Father which is in heaven is perfect."
I really liked what he said about being humble and faithful. He said: "Sometimes we are humble enough to ask God for help, but we are not faithful enough to follow the counsel that we receive."  When we ask God for help with things we need to follow the counsel that he gives us. When we pray and ask for help but we don't follow through its somewhat like asking a girl on a date and then not picking her up. You don't do just half of it and forget about the other because it requires a little more effort. 

When we ask God for help on becoming perfect like him we need to remember that the answer that God gives us is perfect for us. Sometimes we receive an answer but we don't do it because we think it's something that won't help us because we think we know more about ourselves then God knows. We need to remember that God is omniscient or in other words he knows everything. We as humans can see the past and the present while He can see the past, present and future.  That's why it is important for us to follow His counsel no matter how hard or easy it may seem. 
Close to the end of his talk he challenged us to do one simple thing which was to kneel down and ask God what we need to do to progress. I would like to ask you if you have not already to do that with me tonight if you can. Just kneel down tonight and ask our Father in Heaven what we need to do to become like Him. When you do pray remember that pray is a two way communication between you and God so listen. Sometimes we think that when we are praying that we have to be talking the whole time, but that's not the case. Preach my gospel says that "more important than talking is listening."  Yes it is referring to teaching investigators but I think it is also true with praying. So take the time to listen while still on your knees.

I know that as we ask God this simple question that he will answer our prayers in a way that will be best for us. And when we receive that answer and we do our part which is working to become like Heavenly Father then we will find greater joy in this life and we will more fully understand our purpose for coming down to earth. 

Well I hope that you all have a great week I will also send you some pictures of our flat. Sorry it's not the cleanest but I didn't want to wait until it was clean to take photos. Have a great week!
Elder Peterson