Monday, November 30, 2015

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

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