Monday, November 30, 2015

December 2015
The stake had a Christmas party and they wanted
 some of the missionaries to dress up as Bobbies(British Police Officer) 
so I was one of those missionaries chosen.
Elder Beckstead, Elder Pedersen, and Elder Peterson

Letter #72

Dear Mum and Family,

I am glad to hear that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that no one got seriously injured during the Black Friday events. That is always a plus!
It sounds like you all had a great Thanksgiving. To be honest I really didn't do much just because it didn't feel like Thanksgiving because no one was celebrating it. It is kind of hard to remember that it is a Holiday when no one is celebrating it around you so I kind of forgot throughout the day and I was only reminded when some one would say something about it. We went to a member’s house for dinner that day but we didn't have a big Thanksgiving dinner. It was some great food though.  I definitely was not complaining because I went away full and happy. So sorry to disappoint you but I didn't do anything excited. I wanted to make sure that I save all of the fun for when I am home and then I can party all night long. Haha

We have been doing a lot of finding this past week and we are kind of struggling. It is getting closer to Christmas so I am pretty excited to start talking to people about it. I saw the Christmas video last night and it is amazing. I am so excited to share the video with others. I saw some great things last year with the cards and the video. I am so excited that this is the week that we can start talking and sharing it with people. We are going to be bringing the true meaning of Christmas through one person at a time. It is going to be great. 

So transfers will happen on the 16 of December. That is when we move to our new areas if we are moving. We will get the call to find out if we are moving on the 14 of December at night which is a Monday. I am pretty excited to see what is going to be happening this transfer. I think there is going to be some crazy things that are going to happen this transfer. I guess we will all know on the 14th and you will have to wait a week from then. Haha that's too bad. 

To be honest I really don't know what else I want to say so I guess I will just share my weekly thought. It is kind of hard to send long emails now because I have been sending them for so long and I never know what to say anymore. So I guess you will have to do with that this week. Maybe I will come up with more to share with you next week. 

Weekly Thought
"And the Apostles said unto the Lord, increase our faith" (Luke 17: 5)
The thought that I would like to share with you all this week has to do with faith and how we can strengthen our faith. I would like to share with you something that President Leppard has taught us which is called the faith ladder. It is a ladder that shows the most amount of faith to the least amount of faith all found in scriptures. 
Faith Ladder
- Perfect Faith ( 2 Nephi 9:23)
- Everlasting Faith (Alma7:6)
- Full of Faith (Acts 6:8)
- All Faith (1 Cor. 13:2)
- Unshaken Faith (Jacob 4:6)
- Exceedingly Great Faith (Moroni 10:11)
- Great Faith (Matt. 8:10)
- Exceeding Faith (Mosiah 4:3)
- Strong Faith ( Romans 4:20)
- Sufficient Faith (3 Nephi 17:8)
- Mighty Faith (Alma 13:18)
- Much Faith ( Mosiah 27:14)
- Little Faith (3 Nephi 13:30)
- No Faith (Mark 4:40)

From this faith ladder we need to ask ourselves two very important questions that will help us strengthen our faith 

1. Where am I right now on this ladder?
2. Which direction am I heading on the ladder?

Obviously we want to reach perfect faith which is something that will take a lot of time and hard work and also we want to be heading up the ladder not down the ladder. So how can we strengthen our faith?  I am sure you could all tell me where in the Book of Mormon we can find more information on faith. And I am sure you would all say Alma 32 because you are so smart. So let's turn to Alma 32 where we can find how we can strengthen our faith. 
In this chapter we know that faith is compared to a seed. I really love in this chapter how it explains faith using a seed because we can learn so much more this way. Verse 37 says:

"And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit."
From this verse we learn that just like a tree we need to take " great care" of our faith. We need to nourish it so that it will be able to grow strong. So what do we nourish it with. We find the answer in verse 41. It says: 

"But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life."

In this verse there are four things mentioned that we can strengthen our faith with. Alma says we strengthen our faith with faith, which is active belief, or in other words by doing things that cause us to exercise faith. By taking steps to the unknown sometimes and trusting that God will help us along the way.  Or by doing things that test our faith a bit. Just like exercising a muscle we use weights that test our muscles and when we do that it causes the muscle to grow and become stronger so that it will be able to take on that weight. The same is with our faith. As we test it and work it our faith becomes stronger so that the test we are going through becomes easier. 

The next thing Alma says that will strengthen our faith is diligence with patience. They are two separate points but they work together. It is going to take hard work to strengthen our faith along with patience that the Lord is going to help us strengthen it at His own time. Strong faith doesn't come just by sitting around doing nothing. We need to do things like studying the scriptures everyday, partaking of the Sacrament weekly, going to the temple, etc.  We say these are Primary answers, or simple answers, but "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass."  It is doing the simple things continually that strengthens our faith. The definition of diligence is "careful and persistent work" which means doing things continually no matter how hard or simple they may be and obviously we do that with patience that we will be able to strengthen our faith along the way. 

The last thing that Alma says we need to do to strengthen our faith is to " look forward". We call this hope.  Hope is when we have feelings of expectation and a desire for something to happen. We trust that God will fulfill His promises that he makes with us. We show that we have hope through our confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.
That we know what we need to do to strengthen our faith we can go back to the faith ladder. Once we have figured out where we are on the ladder we need to start doing those four steps, that we learn from Alma, to strengthen our faith. I know that as we do these things then we will be rewarded with the rewards that it speaks about in verse 43 in Alma 32. 
" shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering...."
Our testimonies will become so strong that the whirlwinds, the storms and the hardships that we go through will not be able to destroy our faith because the roots of our faith will be strong and deep and there will be nothing that will destroy our faith. Just like the Apostles in Luke 17 asked the Lord to increase their faith, I know hat we too can ask the same of the Lord and as we put forth our efforts then He will do his part and we will be able o move up the faith ladder towards perfect faith. 

I hope that this all made sense because it has taught me a lot since I have studied more on faith and as I have applied these things. I hope that it will help you too. Have a great week and keep being amazing!!
Elder Peterson

Monday, November 23, 2015

Letter # 71

Dear Mum and Family,
What’s going on Peterson family?  This past week was probably the coldest week ever. Temperatures have dropped so much and it is freezing.  It got to -1 degrees Celsius. on one of the days and it really hasn't gotten much warmer at all. Yesterday I think that the warmest it got was 3 degrees Celsius. So it definitely feels like winter that's for sure. To make it worth the freezing cold they have put all of the Christmas lights up in city centre and yesterday was when they turned them all on. It was brilliant to walk down city centre and see all the great lights. They have a huge Christmas tree in the middle of town that I was actually planning on taking a picture by and sending it to you for the Christmas card, but when I pulled my camera out the battery had died so I wasn't able to get it. It was so frustrating because I had been waiting all week for that moment and when I happened it was all ruined. I guess I will have to get it for you this week. Sorry it's taking so long. 
This past week has been a good week other than a few struggles that we are having at the moment. We literally have no one to teach at the moment because the people we were teaching have dropped us and don't want the discussions anymore. That all happened this past week, which is really sad. So this week is going to be a lot of finding   A lot more that what we are usually use to doing just because we have nothing else to do because we have no one to teach. I am pretty excited to see what happens though just because I know we will see miracles if we work hard and follow the Spirit. It should be a great week hopefully. 

I was able to get all of the letters this last Thursday which was a great treat. It was great to hear from so many wonderful families and from the ward. You will have to tel them thank you for me. I am going to hopefully get some letters sent sooner or later to say thanks, but with our busy schedule it might not be super soon. I will try my best though. It was funny because we had a zone meeting when I got the letters and everyone was so jealous because they got just a couple of letters and I got stacks of them. I thought it was quite funny and it definitely made my day. 

I can't believe that thanksgiving is already here. What is going on with the time. It seems like it keeps getting faster and faster. We don't have any plans for thanksgiving since they don't celebrate it over here. I guess we will see what happens when it gets closer to that day. Everyone over here is getting ready for Christmas though. To be honest I really hope that I am able to stay in this ward for Christmas. I think it would be an amazing ward to serve in during the Christmas time. One of us has to be moving though just because we both moved in at the same time and to be honest it is highly unlikely that we both stay together for 3 transfers. That just doesn't happen. Either way I am excited for what happens this next transfer. I don't know if you are aware but this is a 5 week transfer so this transfer ends on the 16 of December. It will be here soon enough I am sure of it. The way that time flies I won't be surprised when it gets here. 

Thought of the week

I really enjoy listening to talks and so I usually listen to a talk after planning right before I go to bed and also in the mornings when I am getting ready for the day. There was a talk that really stuck out to me this past week, which was about becoming like a little child. There were a lot of great points that he shared, but one of them stuck out to me in particular which was the zest that children have for life. 
Children are so excited for new experiences in life. Little children love to get up each morning and most of the time when they do get up in the mornings it pretty early. They are just so excited for what the day has in store for them and they are always so excited for the small and simple things in life. When it comes to night they don't want to go to bed, they want to continue living life to its fullest. How many of us complain because we have to get up in the mornings and work when really we should be excited for the things we will learn and experience that day. God wants us to find joy in life. He wants us to do things that we love. Just as parents love to see their children enjoying themselves I am sure that our Heavenly Father loves seeing us enjoying life.  

Our life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect.  We need to live each day to its fullest. There are always those challenges in life that sometimes make us struggle in life and we just want to give up. We all have those type of days and before we came to this earth we were not promised that it would always be easy. We knew we would face challenges because it was apart of the plan to help us learn and progress. We might not be able to choose what challenges we go through, but we can choose the attitude we have towards those different challenges. 

There is a scripture in the New Testament that I have just grown to love for many reasons. The first reason is because it is really short so it is not hard to memories. The second reason I love the scripture is because it really can teach us so much even though it is so short. The scripture is in Luke 17:32 and it says:
 " Remember Lot’s wife."
So what can we learn from this short scripture?  Well first we need to understand more about what happened to Lot's wife and we find that in Genesis 19. 

In that chapter it speaks of Sodom and Gomorrah when it was a very wicked place and the Lord commanded Lot and his family to flee because the cities were about to be destroyed. As we know it was destroyed as it says in vs. 24-25. The theme that I wanted to focus on comes when the Lord commands " look not behind thee" and as we know Lot's wife looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt. 

There are many other topics that we can focus and learn for this scripture and I don't want to focus on many of those. There is one part that goes along with enjoying life no matter what happens. The fact that Lot's wife turned to salt was not just because she was looking back, it was because in her heart she wanted to go back. To quote from Jeffery R. Holland, " In short her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future."  She didn't trust that the Lord was going to bless her with many more great days and memories. 

So what does this scripture have to do with becoming as a little child and loving life. We always have great memories that we wish we could just live over again. That is where we can learn from little children.  The fact that they look forward and love every single day that they are given. No matter how good the days were in the past. Of course we can look at the days behind us and remember the great memories that are made, it's just when we long to go back to those days that's not good. We need to love the days that God gives us and live them to their fullest because to be honest we never know when will be our last day. 

I know that God has a plan for each one of us. I know that He knows the challenges that we will face and the joys we will have. I hope that I can be more grateful for the days and the experiences that lay ahead, whether they be good or bad. I know that when we do look forward with an eye of faith that the Lord is going to bless us and help us, and that we will have a great future no matter what we are leaving behind.
It seems like my weekly thoughts just keep getting longer and longer. I guess I just have so much to share. Thanks again for all of your lovely letters. I hope that you all have a great week and try not to miss me too much. Haha yeah right!!
Elder Peterson

Monday, November 16, 2015

Elder Peterson
'Looking like a stud in his England clothes'
November 2015

Elder Peterson
November 2015

Elder Peterson just finished fixing his bike and didn't get any oil on his white shirt
November 2015

Letter # 70

Dear Mum and Family,

As you know it were transfers this past week. I am sorry to disappoint you but nothing exciting happened with me. I am still serving in Westcotes with Elder Stokes. I am excited to stay here though because we have started to get things figured out here in this area and we are going to have a great transfer. I don't know how long we will be here and I am pretty positive that one of us will be moving in five weeks time. It's kind of weird that there is a transfer a couple weeks before Christmas and I hope I don't move during that time but I guess I will see what happens when that day comes. We are going to see great things during this transfer that I’m so excited for. 

As you know I was able to meet with Elder Ballard. I was able to shake his hand and to hear some inspired words from him. I felt the Holy Ghost so strongly when I shook his hand and I know that he is and apostle of the Lord. I learned so much from him also. He focused a lot on the spirit and the importance of it in our lives and while we do missionary work. Elder Ballard is actually a pretty humorous guy. He was always finding a way to crack a joke here and there but at the same time he was serious and when we spoke he spoke with power. I learned a lot from that meeting and there is so much that I want to apply to become a better missionary and a better person. 

Looking back this week was full of great things. J***** was also able to get baptized and confirmed which made this last week amazing. He asked our ward mission leader to baptize him which was fantastic. I would rather someone in the ward baptize the investigators than a missionary because there is always that connection in the ward. Once we leave as missionaries it's harder to have that connection with those we baptize, but because J*****was baptized by a member it will be a lot better for them both.  In the beginning of the week we still had a good amount of lessons that we still had to teach him. He is such a smart guy that we were able to teach him 3-4 lessons every single day and he remembered them and committed to live them all. I know that he was definitely prepared for the gospel. The baptism and confirmation went really well and he is excited to be a member of the church. I can see him doing some great things in his life now that he has the gospel in his life. I am so grateful that the Lord blessed Elder Stokes and I by letting us have the wonderful opportunity to teach and baptize J******. 

It has gotten a lot colder here in England. It actually hasn't rained a whole lot this past week and luckily today is a pretty sunny day. It's still pretty cold but there is a blue sky. The coldest day that I have ever felt was on Friday and it was miserable. At the beginning of the day it was sunny but super cold. The ride to the chapel for J****** interview was so cold. Luckily we were in the chapel so we didn't have to be out in it. Then when it came to us biking 3 miles away from our flat to stop by Less Actives and members it started raining. It was so cold I am surprised that the rain wasn't coming down as ice chunks. It rained for about 15 minutes or so and it was no light rain. We got pretty wet and cold even though we were wearing big winter coats. After the rain the sun came out but it didn’t  warm up any. So all day Friday we froze. It was worth the wife points though. Haha

You don't have to worry mum because we didn't play football this past week. We went to see Elder Ballard so we weren’t  able to go and freeze while we played. You don't have to worry when I do play though because I dress nice and warm. I wear a short sleeve shirt and shorts. Pretty warm huh. I would say it keeps me warm. I can't wait to see what the weather will be like this week. I am sure it will be great British weather. 

Mum will be happy to know that this past week I had an amazing family history experience. We have this investigator that is 70 years old that has been taught by missionaries for quite some time. A couple visits ago she asked us why our church is so big into family history. Obviously we explained the plan of salvation with her and we talked about baptisms for the dead. While visiting with her for some time she explained to us that she has never known her mum because she passed away when she was really young and that she didn't have the best connection with her father when she was growing up. So she really didn't know anything about her family and she wanted to learn more about them. We told her that we could bring a member over to her house and they could help her start her family history. So this past Friday we took Brother Mann who is amazing at family history to her house and we had a great experience. Brother Mann was finding loads of information for our investigator.  You could tell that the spirit of Elijah was felt by our investigator because she had tears in her eyes as something new was found about her family. I could definitely feel the spirit strongly during that lesson and it made me more excited to do family history. I hope that this experience really helps to strengthen her testimony of the gospel because I know that it has strengthened mine. 

It's actually kind of interesting how the thought of the week comes about. As you know I was sharing lots of different quotes and things at the beginning of my mission and as I thought about them I decided that I could do a lot better than just sharing a quote. I decided that instead I could think about it and share a spiritual thought that could hopefully help others. So I thought of different ways that I could improve the thought. So now each Sunday night after I do the District Leader stuff that I need to do and before I go to bed I just sit and ponder about what has been with me in my mind all week. I usually can find some sort of gospel principle that has been on my mind all week and that I have pondered a lot about. That is usually the thing that I share. On Monday mornings is when I prepare the weekly thought. I like to do it during my personal study. I like to start with a prayer because I have noticed that the spirit guides me in the things that I say each week. I then just follow the promptings and do my best to prepare the thought. I know that the message I share won't be for everyone, but as long as it touches at least one person that is all I care about. 

Now that you have all my deep dark secrets out of me I guess it is time for the weekly spiritual thought. Haha

Thought of the week

There is one thing that was said during the meeting with Elder Ballard that we were challenged to do and I thought it would be a good idea to send it in my weekly letter because I have been told that others read the things I write each week. I hope that the things I share with you today will change the minds of others and will make them think.  This thought is for those who are not sure if they want to go on a mission.

I am sure that you can remember the historical event of the mission age change and there was so many missionaries going out and there was a lot of excitement for missionary work.  It changed the number of missionaries in the field a lot. Well it was said on Saturday, and I believe it is true, that the excitement to serve has dropped over time. The excitement level to serve a mission has gone down and there are less missionaries coming out. That needs to change and go the other way. The excitement level needs to keep going up and there needs to be more and more missionaries going out.  Every mission president is asking for more and more missionaries and here is why.

We are in a hurry!!  We are in a hurry to spread the gospel to the entire world.  This is the last dispensation before the coming of Christ. We do not have much time before the savior comes. I want you to really think about that for a moment. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be coming soon. He will be coming sooner than you think. Before he comes the Gospel needs to be preached to every nation and as members of this church it is our responsibility to spread it. The church is not a resting place for the righteous. We need to be building Gods kingdom every single day. We need to be reactivating those who have gone astray, we need to be sharing the gospel to those who have never heard it, and we need to be helping those new members to strengthen their testimony so that they stay strong in the church. 

As a missionary I feel like I need to be encouraging every able young man and young women to serve a mission. Why do I feel this way?  Because the mission has changed my life along with others.  You have no idea how much I have changed because of my mission. I have learned things that will help me through the rest of my life. I only wish you could truly see the type of person I have become because of my mission.

Looking back at my life there was no pivotal moment that I gained my testimony from. My testimony of the gospel has taken a lot of work and it has come line upon line, precept upon precept. It came a little here and a little there. I believe that I would not have gained the testimony that I have now if it wasn’t  for my mission. I know I would not
have gained the knowledge that I have of the gospel as fast as I have if I didn't  serve a mission. 

I have truly grown to love my Savior. I have truly come to know the power of the Book of Mormon and how it can change lives. Not only have I seen it change others but also I know it has changed mine. I look forward to waking up every single morning so that I can read from its pages. I wish that I could study it all day, but at the same time I am so happy to go out and share the great things that are so precious to me with others. I am much more happier than before my mission. I feel the Spirit a lot stronger in my life and I know he is guiding me every single day.  I have a greater testimony of this gospel because of my mission. I understand the plan that our Heavenly Father has for each and everyone one of us. I know why we are here on the earth and what we need to do to return to God. I know that God loves us enough to send His son to die for us. Jesus Christ did come to this earth and He did do everything that He was sent here to do. I love my Savior with all my heart. I cannot wait for the day when I can wash His feet with my tears for I truly love Him for what he has done for me. I know that because God loves us he has called a prophet who guides Christ's church today. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. He holds all the priesthood keys on the earth to guide this living church. I could go on and on with my testimony if I just had enough time. I hope that you get the point that I truly do love my mission and the person it has helped me become. I am not perfect, in fact I am far from perfect, but God doesn't expect you or I to be perfect right now. He just expects us to do our best. 

This is why I want others to serve missions. As you serve others and change their lives your own life is changed in the process. If you are at the age of serving a mission and you are not sure whether you want to or not I challenge you to kneel down and ask God what He wants you to do. He has a plan for you and sometimes we just need to take a step into the unknown with an act of faith that He knows what He is doing.  His work will go forward whether you choose to serve a mission or not. This work needs to go forward because we are in a hurry!

I love this gospel with all my heart. I know that the work I am doing is the Lord's work.  We are in a hurry because our Savior is coming soon and I cannot wait for that glorious day. I love you all and I hope that you will think of the importance of missionary work and why the gospel needs to be spread. I hope that you will take the steps in your life to help others to see the joy that they can have because of the gospel. 

I hope you all have a great week!


Elder Peterson

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Letter #69

Dear Mum and Family,

Because you are wondering about J**** I guess that means I have to tell you more of what went on this past week. He is a solid investigator and it's amazing because it is so hard to find the type of people like him that are so prepared to hear the gospel message that they do everything that they need to and they gain that testimony of the gospel so fast.  There are people out there that are prepared and it's just a matter of following the promptings of the spirit and we are led to them. I have no doubt that without the Spirit guiding us as missionaries we would not be able to do this work. It is just not possible. 

The lessons with J***** are going great. We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ this last week and before we started I asked him how his reading of the Book of Mormon and his praying is going. He said that he is doing really well with them both. I then asked him what feelings he had felt when he was reading and praying and when he answered it I felt the spirit so strongly testify to me that what he was saying was true. When I asked him he sat there for a minute thinking of how he was going to say it. He started by saying that it is really hard to explain, but he feels a very powerful warm feeling that touches his heart every time he reads. When he prays he feels very happy and relaxed and he feels like he is really talking to someone.  Of course we pointed out that he was feeling the power of the Holy Ghost testifying to him that what he was reading was true. He had the biggest smile on his face when we said that. He knows it's true. It's amazing to see how these things he said came from someone who before we started teaching knew little about Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Now he is starting to gain a testimony and form a relationship with our Heavenly Father. 
We had set his date for baptism on this Friday. Because of the lessons we still have to teach it is going to be pushing it to make that day. He is expecting to be baptized this Friday, in fact when he came to FHE with the YSA this past week and introduced himself to them he said "My name is Jeremy and I am not a member but I will be baptized on the 13 of November." It was amazing to hear that from him. When we talked to him today after church we explained what we still have to do in order for him to be baptized and when we mentioned that we might have to delay his baptism if we weren't able to make it he was pretty devastated. Of course we comforted him by saying that we are still going to shoot and work for Friday which made him happy.  So as you can tell he is doing really well and is moving along quite well. Teaching him has strengthened my testimony so much and I am so grateful for it. I know if the Lord wants a baptism this weekend then He will help us make it. 

Something that we are kind of struggling with in this area at the moment is our teaching pool is really low. The investigators that the other Elders were teaching before they left are not so ready for the gospel I guess. There are a couple that we have seen and visited with but they don't seem to keep their commitments and they don't want to learn. So we are still doing a lot of finding and trying to build the pool of people that we have to teach. While talking to the Zone Leaders this yesterday they gave us a challenge which they are also going to be doing. This week they want us to pass out 20 copies of the Book of Mormon. That is going to be a challenge that will push us a bit, but we will accomplish that goal. Something I have learned about myself on the mission is the love I have for a challenge. I am just so pumped for this week to work so hard to accomplish that goal and to be accountable for the efforts that I put in. It's going to be a great week already. 

We played some soccer again this week.  I have never been so wet playing soccer than I was today. We got pretty wet just on the bike ride to the field let alone getting wet from all the rain during the game. It was raining off and on but when it would rain it was pouring down sheets of rain. Luckily it was a pretty warm rain so it wasn't that cold while playing. The thing I like about this ward and playing soccer is they play all year round no matter the weather. I think it's great because usually the wards stop playing about now because they are afraid of getting a little wet.  I never understood the people who live in England and are afraid to get wet because it is always raining here.  We have a lot of fun playing together in the rain or shine. 

The weather here has not been too bad. It is starting to feel like autumn now with the leaves pretty much all off the trees and it's starting to feel like autumn. I have heard that this area might see some snow this winter but as of now we are just getting a lot of rain and wind. It is definitely starting to feel a lot more like the end of the year. 

I had an interview with President this past week which went pretty well. I was talking with Sister Leppard while my companion was getting interviewed and I was talking to her about the Christmas initiative. We will be getting the training on it really soon and we will be talking to people about it by the end of this month. I am really excited for this Christmas because it is my last Christmas here and I love being s missionary during Christmas. 

Well I don't have much more that I have to share. I guess i will just end by sharing a spiritual thought which I hope you all enjoy.

I wanted to share with you something that has stuck out to me this past week and has been on my mind throughout the week. As I have been pondering about a scripture in 1 Nephi I have really come to understand more of the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us and especially about the judgement.

The scripture is in 1 Nephi 15:33. I want to focus on just part of this scripture.  
" .....and if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God...."
You might ask what is in this part of the scripture that I could possibly be thinking about all week. If I was to narrow it down to one word it would be the word that I underlined and bolded and that is the word "be".
In this chapter Nephi is explaining to his brothers, Laman and Lemuel, about the vision of the tree of life. His brothers ask him what the meaning of the river is and he explains that it is a representation of a gulf that separates the wicked from the tree of life. So in other words it is separating those who do wicked things and those who do righteously and gain eternal life. Laman and Lemuel then ask him if it's a representation of temporal things or spiritual things and he goes on to explain the judgement and how we will be judged. 

This is where verse 33 comes in. In verse 33 it explains how the wicked will not be able to live in the kingdom of God because they would have become filthy because they have done filthy things. 
This is what I was thinking a lot about this past week. When we meet our maker we will not be judged on the things that we did we will be judged on what we have become and that is because the things we do shape us into the person we become. In verse 33 it tells us that when our works are filthy then we become filthy. You could change it and say when our works are righteous then we become righteous.

Yes our actions do matter because those actions are shaping us into something, but it is what we are becoming that God is judging us on not what we did.  When God sees us he is looking at what we have become or what we could become. It is our choice whether we want to make the right choices to become that person that God wants us to be.

You might ask what does he expect us to become. Well the answer is in the scriptures which we can find in Mathew 5:48 which reads:
" Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Did you notice what the very first word is?  Our Heavenly Father wants us to be like him. How do we become like him? Well 1 Nephi 15:33 show that our actions shape us into what we need to become so in order to become perfect we need to do the things that a perfect person would do. Well I hope I don't surprise you when I say that we do not live in a perfect world and we are imperfect people. So how do we become perfect?  It is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can become perfect. While on earth we need to do our best to follow Gods commandments and because we have a loving Heavenly Father we can become perfect through His son who is our Savior. 
I know that Jesus Christ did die for each and every one of us and that because of him we can become perfect like our Heavenly Father.  In fact it is because of Him and only because of him that we will ever have that chance of being perfect. I am so grateful for my Savior who loves me enough to go through what he went through. 
I hope that the thoughts that I share with you don't bore you because they are a little long because I love preparing and sharing them.  It strengthens my testimony of the gospel when I share them.  If the thought I share touches just one person then I consider it a success because that is all I am trying to do.
Have a great week. I am excited to see what things I learn this week that I can share with you next week. 
Love you all and Go Colts!! 
Elder Peterson

Monday, November 2, 2015

Letter # 68

Hello Peterson Fam and Mum,

The beginning of that letter makes it look like mum is not part of the
Peterson family but I am going to leave it because I am too lazy to
change it haha.

Well it sounds like you all had a great week and a great Halloween. It
looks like Caden is still as weird as he was when I left seeing how he
dressed up as a little girl.  I have to say that it fit him quite
well. Haha. We had to be in by 6 o'clock on Halloween for safety
reasons so we didn't do much during the day. We played soccer in the
morning which was  muddy and dirty fun. It wasn't raining this
week but it had rained a couple days before so it was still pretty
muddy. We did regular missionary work until 6 o'clock and then we
bought a lot of candy since we didn't get any candy from anyone and we
cleaned our flat and did some paper work. It was a pretty good for my last
Halloween here in England. I am pretty excited to celebrate Christmas
this year because it is a lot of fun to be a missionary during Christmas time.

For my birthday it was not Sister Mann that made me a cake but she was
the one that came to me first and asked if it was my birthday. To be
honest I figured you had told her in some way. I thought that I was
going to have a great birthday where I could just do missionary work
without anyone knowing it was my birthday. The family that fed us was
the ward mission leader whose last name is Allison. They are a pretty
great family and they were told by Sister Mann that it was my
birthday. It was a great day though. Elder Shaw emailed me and I gave
him permission to open my packages at the mission home and to tell me
what is inside. Haha I am just kidding.  He said he saw them though
and he said that it looks like something good. I am excited to get it
probably this week.

J**** is doing really well. He came to church this week and come to
find out his friend is not as interested, but Jeremy is super solid he
came to church on Sunday in a nice looking suit. He wants to be
involved with a lot of the ward activities so he is coming to FHE
tonight and he really wants to come to soccer with us also. He is a
way cool guy and I am excited for him to come tonight.

For my Christmas package to be honest I really don't know what I want. So
you can do one of two things. You can just put money in my account and
I will get something or you can just surprise me with whatever you
want. Either way I will have a great Christmas. I would have to say
that I am the easiest person to get stuff for Christmas because I
really don't care if I get anything. That's why I am mums favorite
child. I can't believe it has taken me 20 years to figure out why I am
your favorite. I always knew I was your favorite but now that I know
why it makes it that much better.

Well I don't have much more to say other than I am way excited for the
14 of November because we are going to hear from another Apostle of
the Lord. Elder Ballard will be coming to the mission and I am so
excited for it. Well before I go I will share a spiritual thought for
you all. I hope you like it.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for
his friends." (John 15:13)

 We are taught from this scripture that we show and have the greatest
amount of love when we are able to put others before ourselves. As we
all know the Savior is the perfect example of selfless service.
Thomas S. Monson said "you can never love the Lord until you serve Him
by serving His people."  And the best way we love his people is by
serving them unselfishly. There are many people in this world that
find it easy to serve those that love them. It is easy to serve
someone that you are close friends with and that you know and care
about a lot. The true test of selfless service comes when we serve
those that we might not have the best relationship with or that we
might have bad feelings towards. It talks about this in Matt 5:46 "
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?"

The world we live in is a different world that goes against what we
are taught from prophets and other church leaders. We need to stand
out and be the people that do great things among those who need the
help in this lives. " ......we are called to establish the Lord’s
standards, not to follow the world’s. Elder John A. Widtsoe declared,
“We cannot walk as other men, or talk as other men, or do as other
men, for we have a different destiny, obligation, and responsibility
placed upon us, and we must fit ourselves [to it].” That reality has
current application to every trendy action.... As a wise friend
observed, “You can’t be a life saver if you look like all the other
swimmers on the beach."

Let us be the ones that are the examples to the world and set aside
our selfish actions to help those who stand in need. There are many
simple things that we can do to help others. Sometimes we get so
caught up on out day to day living that we forget to step back and see
those who are less fortunate than us whom we could help if we would
just spare a little bit of our time to do so. Service opportunities
are all around us. The Lord wants us to serve, he wants us to gain
that exact same love that he has and to put others before ourselves.
Sometimes it is not easy to do, but the Lord will give us strength and
he will bless us as we serve those around us.
Let the words of a famous hymn sink deep in your heart and I encourage
you to ponder these precious words.

" Have I done any good in the world today?  Have I helped anyone in
need?  Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?  If not,
I have failed indeed.  Has anyone’s burden been lighter today  Because
I was willing to share?  Have the sick and the weary been helped on
their way?  When they needed my help was I there?"

Have a great week and I am positive you will all go about doing good to others.
Elder Peterson