Monday, November 16, 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

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