Monday, July 18, 2016

Letter #105

Dear Mum and Family (for the last time),

Well I cannot believe that it is here now. This is the last email that I will be sending home to you all before I am able to see all of your big smiling faces. I would share a bit about this week with you but I don't really know what to share. It has been a crazy week with so much to do and little time to do it all. It has gone by so fast as well so I don't remember it all. If you have any questions about my week feel free to ask me when I see you. Haha that is so weird to say. 

I really loved all of the wonderful emails you have sent. I don't have much time to reply to them because we are pretty busy, but I wanted to write a letter to you all. Thanks again for all of the time that you all put in to write me each week. I have really appreciated the support while I have been serving the Lord. 
Well I chose not to do a ponderizing scripture for a reason this week because I thought that it would be a good idea for me to bear my testimony to you all through an email instead before you have to put up with it coming directly out of my mouth. Haha

These past two years have strengthened my testimony of the gospel so much. With all of the amazing experiences that I have had while serving the Lord I couldn't see how my testimony wouldn't be strengthened as much as it has. 
I know with all of my heart that this church is Christ's church. I know that the savior has died for each and everyone of us. In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross he went below it all so that he can truly lift us up and bring us back to our Father in Haven one day. 
I know that we do have a loving Heavenly Father who has a plan for each and everyone of us. He wants us to return to Him and live with Him again. It takes us using our agency to do righteous things, but I know that because of the savior that we can all make it if we turn to Him and apply His atoning sacrifice. 

I know that Joseph Smith truly was called of God to be a prophet. I know with all my heart that he did receive an answer to prayer in the spring of 1820 in what we call now the sacred grove. He was just and ordinary boy who wanted to know that truth and because God loves us Joseph Smith was able to receive an answer to his prays and I know that we can to as well. 

I know that Joseph Smith was directed to an ancient record of scripture called the Book of Mormon. He truly did translate that record into the Book of Mormon that we have now today. I know that it is the most correct of any books and that it truly does bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ as we read it and apply it in our lives. 
I know that we now have a living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. I know that he does receive revelation for the church and that he is called of God. Along side him I know that there are twelve apostles who are also called of God to help in directing the church on the earth of Jesus Christ today. 

This gospel is true and I know that we can know it's true by reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon. I have done it and received an answer many times to know that it is true and that a young boy that had little writing could not have written or translated such a book if it wasn't for the power of God. 
I know the fullness gospel of Jesus Christ is found in the Book of Mormon. As we study both the Bible and the Book of Mormon we can learn what we need to do in order to return to live with him and our families for an eternity. 

I am so grateful for my testimony of this gospel and the peace that it brings to me each and everyday in a world full of confusion and chaos. 
Thanks for letting me share my testimony with you one last time before I leave the mission field. I hope you are all not too excited to see me this week. I would say I am not that excited to see you, but I think that would be a lie. Haha. 
Take care and I will see you in a couple days. 
Elder Peterson
PS. I will send a song for you all to listen to. I think you will love it. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Letter #104

Dear Mum and Family,

Well it has been a pretty crazy week and I cannot believe that this is the last full week of the transfer. This last week has been a lot better since we have recovered from the colds that we got. We have been able to see a few new people this last week which has also been a blessing. It seems like people wanted to talk with us a bit more this week. Haha. That's nice for a change.

We have found a few new people that we have set some return appointments to see this week and we are pretty excited to see them and to teach them. It has been great to see some miracles this past week. I hope that this area continues to get better and better as missionaries continue to work with the wonderful people. I hope we can witness some amazing miracles this last week of the transfer. I am excited to finish strong this next week.

Well I too don't have much more to say other than thanks for all of the wonderful emails that you have all sent with your ponderizing thoughts. It has been great to hear from you all and to learn from your emails. Thanks for taking that time to do so each week. It has been a great blessing to have such a wonderful family there to support me through these past two years.

Well I am planning on sending just one email next week. You can all email if you would like and I will read them, but don't worry if you don't want to. Also I think you can do your own ponderizing scripture if you would like. I want to do something special for my last spiritual thought next week, but you will have to wait to see what it is.

I hope that you are all doing well and that you are enjoying you last week without me. Soon enough I will be back to bug you all once again. Haha. I think I have learned a few more tricks to give you all a harder time here and there. Haha. I hope that you are all prepared. If not you better start preparing. Haha
Well here is my last thought for my ponderizing scripture as a missionary. I hope that you enjoy it. I have really enjoyed all of your thoughts on this scripture this past week.

Spiritual Thought

I have loved this past week and the opportunity to have thought about the scripture in  Ether 12:27. Lots of different things have stuck out to me a d I hope to explain well what I have learned this past week.
Obviously the scripture is Ether 12:27 which reads:
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
There is one word in particular that has stuck out to me the most as I have been pondering this scripture and that word is humble. I think it truly is the main point of this scripture.
At the beginning of this verse the Lord speaks and he says, "if men come unto me I will show unto them their weaknesses."  It is requiring us to act in order for us to know our weaknesses so that we can improve. That takes a great deal of humility.
If we are prideful then we "...put greater trust in oneself than in God or in His servants." (PMG 121)  We are given weaknesses so that we "may be humble."
(Ether 12:27)
So after pondering this scripture I wanted to share a few things about humility and what I have learned about humility throughout the time that I have had to study it.
I believe the greatest definition of humility comes from True to the Faith. It reads:
"To be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord--to understand that you have constant need for His support. Humility is an acknowledgment that your talents and abilities are gifts from God. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that you know where your true strength lies."
The greatest example of any Christ like attribute is obviously the Savior. There are so many examples of humility throughout His earthly ministry that we can learn from. I think the greatest example of humility from the Savior is shown during his suffering in Gethsemane.
As he went to the Garden of Gethsemane he told His three disciples that came with him to wait and to pray. The Savior "...went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matt. 26:39)
There are times in our own lives that we may be suffering in some way or another. Those times happen to us all. It is apart of our earthly experience. It seems during these times of despair we turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer the most. Sometimes after we make it through those hard times we tend to forget about prayer again until we have another trying time.
I want to share one more example of the Savior’s humility that is shown. It is not during a time that he is suffering so it shows that the Savior always recognizes that Heavenly Father is with him and that he is ever grateful for his help. It is found in John 11 when Christ raises Lazarus from the dead.
Lazarus had been laid in a tomb and had been there for four days by the time he got there. (John 11:17)  To make a long story short the Savior went to the tomb and when he got there He asked them to remove the stone that was in front of the tomb. They did so and while they were doing it the Savior says a pray out loud in which he says:
"...Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 11: 41-42)
He then raises Lazarus from the dead and there is much rejoicing I believe.
The Savior praying before raising Lazarus shows great humility. He wasn't praying for power or authority because he had already had it. He was praying to thank Heavenly Father for always listening to Him. The Savior also showed that He and the Father are one in purpose when he said that the Father had sent him there.
In 3 Nephi 12:48 it reads:
"Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect."
We are to strive to become perfect like our Christ and our Father in Heaven. In order to do so we need to progress spiritual and to come unto Christ. He is the only way we can be perfected. (Moroni 10:32) Just as Bruce R. McConkie once said

"All progression in spiritual things is dependent upon the attainment of humility."
I know that as we all strive to obtain humility in our lives then we will start to see those weaknesses that we may have turn into strengths. And with those strengthens we will be able to bless many lives.

 I hope that you all have a great week and try your best to hold out one more week without getting into trouble, especially you mum. Hahah
Have a great week and take care.
Elder Peterson

Monday, July 4, 2016

Letter #103

Dear Mum and Family,

Well this week has been a little slow for us. My companion and I caught a cold the beginning of the week and it didn't want to leave us until this week.  So that has really slowed us done a bit this past week. We are doing a lot better now though and should be having a better week this week. It seems like there is something going around with everyone over here. There have been quite a few people sick lately. 

We have been able to do a bit of finding this week and have had a bit of success. We have found some people who will hopefully meeting with us this week, which is always good for us. It is a pretty hard time at the moment for us, but we are doing our best and that is what matters the most. It has been a pretty good week though. It went by so fast though. I don't remember any week going as fast as this one has just gone. 

It sounds like everyone is doing great and is keeping busy and hopefully out of trouble. It seems like there are some exciting things going on and you are all enjoying yourselves. At least you are trying to stay out of trouble. Haha. At least mum is getting older so that means she won't have as much energy so it's easier to keep her out to of trouble. Haha. I am glad that you enjoyed your birthday this week though mum. I hope you didn't get too spoiled on your birthday. 

 It is a pretty big thing about Britain voting out of the EU. There haven't been any changes that I know of.  From what they are saying it is going to be about 3 years before there will be any big changes.  It is a big topic over here though so it is a good conversation starter that's for sure. Everyone over here has mixed opinions. Some like the change and others don't. I think you get that with anything big like that. 

Well I don't have a lot of time because we went to Birmingham today and I bought my second suit for home. That is all the shopping I have to do now. I am so glad because I still am not a big fan of shopping. Haha. It was great to go and see Birmingham again though. I can't believe how much it has changed since the last time I was there which was in my first area. There were a lot of changes. 
So we spent a bit of time there and now we are heading off to a members house for a BBQ for the 4th of July. She is so kind in throwing s little party for us American missionaries. Haha. So we are off to there now since it is a pretty long bus ride for us to get there. Sorry I don't have much time to email. 

Here is the thought for this week and I hope that you have a great week. Thanks for all that you do. 

Weekly Thought
I have really learned a lot from the scriptures that we had to Ponderize this week.  I have to admit that it caught me by surprise when Mum said that I chose the scripture this week. I quickly chose a scripture that I had read recently hoping that it was something that could teach us all something. From reading a few of your responses I have learned a lot and it seems like you have as well. 
As you already know the scripture was found in 2 Nephi 2:16 which reads
"Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other."
It is pretty obvious that we learn that we have agency, or the freedom to chose, what we want. It is given to us before this earth life and it is not taken from us. There are good and bad choices thrown at us everyday. It is left to us to chose which path we want to take.  With each path there are consequences and by the choices we make will determine the consequences we receive. 
The thing that has hit me the most ask have been thinking of this verse comes from a parable that the Savior teaches. It is the Parable of the Sower. I am sure that you all know of this parable. 
The parable is found in Mathew 13:3-8. 

3 "And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."

As we learn from the  parable, the soil is our individual selves. The seed is the gospel of Jesus Christ and it is either able to grow in our lives because we have "good soil" or not able to grow because we have bad soil. The choices that we make determine what type of soil the gospel is planted into our lives. 
For example we might have not made the best of choices and we could have a few weeds that are springing up in our lives.  These things "choke" that gospel seed and it is not able to grow.  We need to do our part to repent so that those weeds can be plucked up and the good seed can grow. 
We may not have the gospel deeply planted in our lives because there are stones that are keeping the roots from growing deeper. We need to work to get those stones removed so that the gospel can be deeply rooted. Then when we face trials the gospel is able to be firmly planted and our faith won't be shaken. 
Maybe our hearts are a little hard towards different things in the gospel.  We need to work to soften up the ground, to humble ourselves, so that the soil will be ready for the seed. 
Maybe we do have seeds planted in good soil. We need to remember that weeds still like to grow in good soil and that the soil does start to get hard at times.  We need to make sure that we continually are plucking weeds out and taking good care that the soil doesn't go bad. We all know individually what things our soil needs to be able to produce a good harvest. 
Dallin H. Oaks said:

"It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful."
We have been given our agency to choose what we want. We can chose to let our soil get out of hand by not weeding it, plowing it, giving it the nutrients that it needs etc. Or we can chose to do things in our lives that will keep the soil good so that the gospel can continue to grow and be strengthened in our own lives. 
It all comes down to the choices that we make each and everyday. I know that when we do take care our "soil" in our lives then eventually we will be able to gather the fruit at the harvest. That fruit is explained in Lehi's dream as something that is "desirable to make one happy..." and " it fills our soul with exceedingly great joy."
(1 Nephi 8: 10, 12)
The fruit that is spoken of is eternal life with our families and our Father in Heaven. That is "the greatest of all the gifts of God."  (D&C 14:7)  That gift is obtained through our obedience to the commandments of God and through how well we endure to the end of this life. 

I love this verse in the hymn "True to the Faith"
We will strive to be found worthy
Of the kingdom of our Lord,
With the faithful ones redeemed
Who have loved and kept his word. Yes!
( Hymn #254)

I know that as we do "strive to be found worthy" to live in the kingdom of God we will be making the right choices that will keep our soil good. I hope we can all have living in God's kingdom as our end goal in life and that we can strive to obtain it.
I am grateful for all of your wonderful letters and I hope that you continue to have a wonderful summer break. 
Thanks for all your love and support. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Letter # 102

Dear Mum and Family,

Happy Birthday Mum!!  I know that it is not your birthday today, but obviously I can't email you on Tuesday so I thought I would just tell you Happy Birthday today. I also sent your letter quite a while ago so I don't know why it is taking so long for it to get there. I hope that it gets to you before your birthday. If not I guess you will have to be patient and wait just a bit longer. 

It sounds like it has been a really eventful week for you all. I bet you are looking forward to a week to relax a bit because you have been all over the place. I am glad that Caden is keeping mum and dad young because someone needs to. Mum is turning the big 50 this week so someone needs to keep her younger. Haha   I hope that you still go on those bike rides with me even though you will be older. Haha

We have been trying our best to stay busy. We have been doing a lot of finding like I said that we were going to be doing. We have been able to contact a few people that are interested to see us again this week. I hope that they do actually see us and don't cancel on us. That is what we have had to deal with for quite some time now and it is pretty annoying. That is the joys of the mission though. Can't do much about people having the freedom to choose. 

Last Pday we were together as a district. We went to a place called merry hill shopping centre because a few missionaries needed to get a few things. So while we were there I got a few things as well because there were some nice sales of things that I wanted. All I have to get now is a suit and I am finally done with all the shopping. So yeah we spend a good chunk of the day there. We had lunch at Pizza Hut which was an all you can eat which was pretty nice. Not as good as America Pizza Hut though. Haha

I don't have much more to say. Everything is going pretty well over here. Hopefully we have a good week this week. It will be a great week if people will actually meet with us. That would be a blessing. Haha

Well I guess I will share my thought on the ponderizing scripture this week. I have tried to avoid what you wanted me to talk about. Haha. Nice try mum. You can't fool me. 

 Weekly Thought
As I have been thinking of this scripture a bit I have focused a bit more on the things that aren't really plainly talked about in these verses. The main point that sticks out is marriage, which is easy to read. Because I know mom chose this and wanted me to talk about that I decided to think of other things that we need to do to inherit the celestial kingdom. For some of us marriage might be a ways in the future, like me for example, and it might have past for others. 
There is more than just being married in order to live with our Heavenly Father in the celestial kingdom. As I was thinking about this I came across some scriptures found in D&C 76: 50-70 that stuck out to me. In this section of scriptures it is talking about those who have will "come forth in the resurrection of the just". 
When the savior comes there will be two major resurrections. There will be the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust. Joseph Fielding Smith explained a little bit about the resurrection of the just in which he states. 
"In modern revelation given to the Church, the Lord has made known more in relation to this glorious event. There shall be at least two classes which shall have the privilege of the resurrection at this time: ‘First, those who shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever’; and second, honorable men, those who belong to the terrestrial kingdom as well as those of the celestial kingdom."
Every single person will be resurrected on this earth. That is a gift that was given to everyone because of the Savior’s sacrifice and because Heavenly Father loves us. What we do in this life will determine where we go as a resurrected being after this life and when we will be resurrected. 

I love verse 51 in D&C 76. It talks about the first step we need to take in order to live with our Father in Heaven on the celestial kingdom. It reads

"They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given"

This is the first commandment that we are given to follow. We need to gain a testimony of the Savior by exercising faith and repenting of our sins and the be baptized by immersion just like the Saviour. (Mathew 3:13-17) 

Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve we too are mortal and we make mistakes. Our loving Heavenly Father has prepared a way that we can be cleansed and eventually live with him in the Celestial kingdom and that is through the Savior Jesus Christ. 
When we are baptized we are cleansed from all impurities. Because we all sin we all need to continually repent. We are able to do this through the sacrament each week. As we partake of the sacrament each week we are witnessing to the Father that we remember Christ and are willing to follow His commandments. 

We are given many commandments and when we chose to be baptized we are showing that we will follow the commandments that have been given us. By following these commandments we are able to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord in which we can eventually enter into the celestial kingdom. It takes a lot of effort and guidance from our loving Heavenly Father. He is there to help us, but when we turn away from Him we can't receive His guidance. He will not force us to listen to Him. 
Throughout my mission I have grown to love the scripture found in D&C 58: 27-28. It reads 
"27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward."
We are given agency, or the freedom to choose.  We need to make sure that we do righteous things with that agency that we have been given. Like I said the Lord will not command us to do everything.  He trusts us that we will do righteous things and when we are stuck He will help us. 

I am so grateful for Heavenly Father and His plan for all of us. I know that he does have a plan for us. Many around us think that that this life is a waste of time and that there really isn't a purpose to life. Because if the Gospel of Jesus Christ being restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and because we have a living Prophet today, I know that there is a purpose to this life. 

Just like Alma 34:32 says:
"32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors."
Our purpose in life is to prepare to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the celestial kingdom. I know that as we follow the commandments given to us we can truly accomplish that. 

I hope that we all can have living together as families in the celestial kingdom as a goal and that we are doing what we can as individuals to meet that goal. I love the gospel and I know that trough it this is all possible. 
I hope that you all have a great week. Thanks for all you do. 
Elder Peterson

Monday, June 20, 2016

Letter # 101

Dear Mum and Family,

I just want to say Happy Father's Day to my most favorite dad. Haha. I hope that you were treated like a king on your special day. If it was up to me I think this whole week should be Father's Week and you should be treated like a king all week. I don't know how well that will go down, but it's worth a shot. Haha

It sounds like you are all enjoying the summer break. I think you are not having enough fun though. Maybe you should spend a bit more of your free time doing fun things. Haha. I am messing with you. It sounds like you are having a blast with all the different activities that you are all up to. I hope that it doesn't get old too fast. I wouldn't want you to want to be back in school. Haha yeah right!!  I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Well it has been a pretty good week for us here in Stourbridge. It has been a challenge in a few ways, but we have pushed through it and have made it to another Pday. It is always nice to have a Pday to take a bit of a break. 
One of my favorite experiences this past week was when I went to Woodsetton on exchange with another missionary. His name is Elder Nicotra and he is from Italy. He is a great guy and I enjoyed the day I was able to spend with him and to learn from him. 
While on exchange we went to an investigators house to teach them. It is a part member family that has been taught for a good amount of time by the missionaries. The father is a member and the mom is not. The kids are too young to be baptized just yet. 

As we were walking to their house we didn't know what to really teach them because like I said they have been taught for a while and have been taught all the lessons. So we started to think about what they might need. Elder Nicotra told me a bit about them, but I have never met them before so I didn't know what to really talk about. We came to the conclusion that we should talk about the spirit and receiving and answer to our prayers. That is something that she was kind of struggling with at the moment. 

We got there and had a great time getting to know them. They are such a nice couple and it was fun speaking with them. We then got to the follow up questions like, how is your Book of Mormon reading?  How is your praying?  This type of questions. We kept talking about that for some time and then I had the prompting to ask about baptism. 
I asked if she has spoke about baptism with the missionaries. She said she had and there was nothing she had against being baptized. Her husband wanted her to be baptized obviously because he is a member. I felt the spirit come into the room as we talked a bit about it. I then felt like we needed to discuss a date for her baptism that she could work towards. We talked about it and we decided to let her and her husband talk about it after we left. They said they would text us with a date after they discussed it together. 

Well they have set a date for August 6th. I felt so much joy as I heard that was the date they had decided to work towards. It was s great experience for me and I know that she is going to make that date. She knows and understands all of the gospel. There are a few habits that she needs to quit and that date will give her plenty of time to work at those. I am so exited for the Elders in Woodsetton for that exciting time. 
One thing I am so grateful for is the experiences that I have had with the spirit while on my mission. If there is one thing I have learned is how the spirit works with me personally in so many ways. It is definitely something that will be a benefit to me for the rest of my life. That has definitely been a great blessing to me for the rest of my life. Yeah I had spiritual experience before my mission. I wouldn't have had these same experiences if I didn't come on my mission and they have taught me so much. 
I am in so much debt to my Heavenly Father. He blesses me so much and there is no way I will ever be able to repay Him. I am also so grateful for the testimony that I have about my Heavenly Father and how much He loves me personally and for the love He has for everyone. I am positive we don't recognize all He does for us. There is just so much that happens that goes unnoticed sometimes. 

I have just finished reading section 110 this morning. I hope that you are able to be keeping up because it is going fast and the sections have been pretty long recently. It is crazy how much you can learn for them though. There is just too much to take in all at once. It is good though and I am enjoying it. 
Well I think my letter is getting too long. I haven't even shared my thought for you all this week. I better get to that before I bore you all. I will try to keep it short for you this week. I know you struggle to stay awake sometimes through my thoughts. Good thing you have all week to read them. Haha

Weekly Thought 
This week’s scripture has taught me so much.  I am thankful for the thoughts you gave on this scripture. They have also taught me many things. I have really grown to love ponderizing as we have learned and shared together things we have learned.  
The scripture this week was pretty short, but there is so much to learn from it. 
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come."
It is interesting that Luke is the only Gospel writer to have written about Christ calling seventy to assist in the work they the twelve does. To preach and prepare the way for the savior to come again. 
The savior called apostles and seventy then and he does the same now, for " he is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  (1 Nephi 10:18). We are so blessed to have them on the earth to proclaim the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and to help strengthen us all. 
As I have been reading about the seventy and the roles they play in preparing others for the second coming, I couldn't help think of something more important than that of a Seventy. "The family is the fundamental unit in the church, and home is the most important place for gospel learning. No other organization can take the place of the family." (True to the faith p.34)
While there are lots of callings to help strengthen each other in our wards, we have an important role as part of a family to help those in our families. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings us together. As it says in the Family Proclamation to the World:  
"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
These things are what brings a family together and helps them to all obtain the celestial kingdom one day and to live together forever. In many of our homes there is the saying "our family can be together forever".  Whether that happens or not depends on the choices that each individual family member makes. 
We are blessed to have a living Prophet and Apostles, a long with seventy, who are called to prepare the world for the second coming of the Savior. As we listen to their words and apply them in our lives as individuals, and as a family, we will be able to live together forever after this life.  What a great blessing that is. We know and are so blessed to have a knowledge of our loving Heavenly Fathers plan for us and our families. I hope we can all look at ourselves individually and ask "What am I doing to bless my family?"  
I know with all my heart that the Savior lives and because of Him we will continue to live.  As it says in the Book of Mormon :
 "...there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ."  (Mosiah 16:8)
I know that to be true. I know that our Heavenly Father has a plan for us. He wants us to be with our families forever. He wants us to return to Him and feel of that wonderful joy and peace. The Savior has made it possible for that all to happen. 
Heavenly Father does love us tremendously and I know that through many blessings that he has given to me. How blessed I am for the gospel in my life and the peace it brings to my heart amongst all the confusion and chaos in the world today. 
I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for taking the time to write an email this week to your favorite brother and son. I hope you are blessed for taking that time.  It is a blessing to me to know that I have an amazing family that loves me and I hope that you all feel my love for you. 
Have a great week. Try to stay out of trouble. Haha
Elder Peterson

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

Letter #100

Dear Mum and Family,

Well it has been a pretty eventful week. I have a little video that I will send to you to show you how eventful it was. We woke up on Tuesday morning like usual and found that the cold water pipe under our sink had broke over night, which flooded our kitchen. The water was starting to run into our study room, which was not good because we have carpet in the study room.  

To shut off, the water we had to really look hard for the valve, which took a lot of time, and the water was coming out pretty fast. While Elder Stephenson was running around looking for the valve to shut it off, I was using pans to scoop out the water and throw it out the window so it didn't get the carpet too wet. We eventually got it all turned off and cleaned up. A plumber came and fixed it before noon that day so we weren't too long to get our water back. 

That event started in the morning at 6:30 when we woke up and by the time we shut off the water and got it all cleaned up it was about 8:00. It was a crazy morning for us. Luckily everything is back to normal now so there is no need to worry. 
Other than that not much else happened. We have just been doing the usual of missionary work all day everyday. We are still struggling to find new people to teach at the moment, but we have been working with a few less actives and a couple investigators that have been meeting with missionaries for a while now. It is going pretty well with them. I think they are starting to make a little progress here and there. 

The weather has turned to rainy this past week. It is not horrible rain though because it is way too warm to be putting any type of jacket on, but at the same time it is raining. So we have had to use umbrellas to keep us dry so that we aren't getting too warm with a jacket on. Luckily someone was smart enough to invent such a wonderful thing.  We would be soaked without it over here in the UK. 

Well to answer your question about my camera it is working fine. I just take a lot of photos on my iPad because it is a lot easier because I always have it with me and it is easier to get out.  The photos may not be as good, but hey I’m all about the easiest way you know what I am saying. 

Oh yeah before I forget. I sent a letter to you for your birthday mum but you cannot open it until your birthday. I also sent one to dad for Father's Day. I just sent them at the same time because it was easier. Don't worry I know that your birthday is not until the end of this month. I told dad that he has to make sure that you don't open it. So make sure you don't or you will be in big trouble. 

It is good to hear that everyone is doing well. It sounds like you are all keeping busy with lots of different things. Thanks for the wonderful photos of the sunset and the bike with Brent. The bike with Brent sound like it was a great event and that you all had a great time. 
Well I think that I don't have much more to say. I will get on with my spiritual thought. I hope you enjoy. 

Spiritual Thought
Well I have been thinking about this scripture a little bit and have enjoyed pondering it because it has been a bit of a challenge for me. It has still been pretty hard to think about and learn as much as I wanted to from these verses of scripture. I hope that the Spirit can guide my thoughts so I can share theses things with you in a way that you can understand it and learn from it as I have. 

There are many points in these verses that I have liked, but there is a little bit in particular that has stuck out to me the most as I have read them. It is the part which reads:
"... Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw..."

I think there are two different ways we can be blind. We have the physical blindness and I believe we can be spiritually blind as well.
There are many examples in the Book of Mormon of people who were spiritually blind and they gained their sight. The one I have chose to focus on is Enos. I want to compare his experience with those who are physically blind that the Savior heals throughout the scriptures. I hope that I can do it in a clear way so that you can understand. 
The thing that blinded Enos was his sins. In verse 2 of Enos, he says that he wants to "receive a remission of (his) sin." ( vs. 2)  We may be like Enos in where we are blinded by our sins, or it may be other things. In order for us to regain out sight it requires us to act. 

When the Savior heals those who are physically blind He asks them to do something. The blind man in John 9 is told " Go, wash in the pool of Siloam". (vs. 7) The man went and washed " and came seeing". (vs. 7) 
In Mark 10 we read of a blind man named Bartimaeus. He was sitting along a road "begging". (vs. 46)  When he heard that Christ was passing by he started to call out for him.  Jesus was a little ways off, but instead of going to the man Jesus calls Bartimaeus to come to Him. So he "rose, and came to Jesus". (vs.50)  Jesus asked the man what he wanted in which he replied that he wants his sight.  "Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus." (vs. 52)

Now these two men were healed from physical blindness. There are many of us who don't suffer from that, but we might suffer from spiritual blindness. I personally think that Enos was spiritually blind in which he recognised and wanted healing from.  He went before the Lord and cried unto him in "mighty prayer and supplication". (vs. 4) Enos had prayed all day and throughout the night. He had "prayed and laboured with all diligence". (vs.12)

Enos definitely did his part and he received his "sight". He heard a voice which said: "Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee..." (vs.5)  So for Enos, along with those in the New Testament, it required some effort on their part to receive their sight. Whether it was spiritual or physical sight. 

When I think of applying this to myself I think of things that may make me spiritually blind. I think it is when I get a little to relaxed in certain things like my scripture study, my Sabbath day observance, repenting of my sins, not saying as heart felt prayers, etc. It is these little things that cause me to start to lose my spiritual sight.

Just like in Kings 6 I need to recognize these things and ask the Lord. "Lord, I pray thee, open (my) eyes, that (I) may see."  I know that when I ask and then I act on the promptings, which I receive from the Lord on how I can gain my "sight", He will open my eyes and I will be able to see again. I know that he will not only do this for me, but He will do it for all as we ask and act.  It requires something from ourselves. 
I am so grateful that I was able to learn so much from this wonderful scripture this week. Like I said there is just so many things that you can pick out and learn from these two verses. Thanks for the challenge this week Chelsey.  I am sure it was easier for you guys because you are just so smart. 

Thanks again for all you do. I hope you have a great week. 
Elder Peterson 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Letter # 99

Dear Mum and Family.

I would change the beginning of the letter, but the last time I did mum wasn't very happy with me so I guess I will have to keep it. Sorry. Haha
Well it's been a pretty great week. It ended amazing that's for sure. As I told you we were able to go and learn from and Apostle of the Lord yesterday and it was amazing. Elder Oaks is an amazing apostle. The spirit was so strong in that meeting and there was a lot to learn. I will share some of it in my thought with you today since it has to do with the Sabbath day. 

I was able to see lots of people I knew from past areas that I serve in at that conference which was definitely a tender mercy. Most of the people I saw were from the Tamworth area, mostly because they seemed to gather in a big group. So once I saw one then I saw them all. Haha. It was great to chat a little bit with them and to see how they were doing. It seems like not much has changed in the area, but the members are as strong as ever. I was not able to see the Stilgers though. I tried to look for them but had no luck. There were just too many people there. 

One person I was most excited to see there was J***** M*****. If you don't remember he is the one that Elder Fullmer and I baptized when we served in Tamworth. It was great to see him and hear what he thought of the meeting. It's crazy to think that he will be hitting his year mark since his baptism soon. Time has gone so fast I can't believe it. 
Well I was told about the camping trip from everyone and from the sounds of it you like to lie mum. Apparently dad caught the biggest fish and you are just saying that you did because you want to feel like you are the best fisher. I think you need to repent of you fibbing acts and tell the truth next week in your letter. Haha

The work is going pretty well. We have been doing our best to get things all picked up for the sisters leaving the area. We found out that there will be new sisters back into the area in two weeks. Then we will have our area back to ourselves and we won't have to worry about all their investigators. Obviously we will have to help them get into the swing of things, but I am sure they will be fine. 

Other than that not much has changed or been really that exciting. Just doing what we can to help the area and to strengthen the members. It is going pretty well and the members really like us I think. At least they make it seem like they like us. Haha. 
I think this week will be a better week now that we have everything more organized and ready for the work. Luckily it didn't take us too long to get everything organized I have to say that the sisters weren't very organized with their area book. That was a surprise. You can learn slot about missionaries from their area books that's for sure. Haha

Well I better get to my thought since I am already boring you with everything else. If you endure the thought well I will leave you with some jokes afterwards. Haha that will motivate you to actually finish it this week. Haha. By the way if I missed any of your questions that's my fault. You will have to ask me again if you really want them answered. Haha
Weekly Thought
Well I have another spiritual thought for you all today and am pretty excited to share a few things with you that I have come to learn this past week about the Sabbath day. As I told you I was blessed, along with many others in the stakes, to go and listen to an Apostle of the Lord speak to us. It was a amazing experience as I said earlier in my letter. 
Interestingly enough he spoke about the Sabbath a bit which is perfect for this weeks ponderizing scripture and I hope that I can share some of the things he said in a way that you will be able to understand it and learn from it as much as I did.

Quite a few months ago the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency gathered together to discuss some things about the church and how it is progressing. The looked at the church as a whole and they looked at the progression of the church in ten-year periods. As an example Elder Oaks said that in his home ward in Utah, when he was a younger boy, the church attendance for his ward was at 15% and he looked at it through time to where it is now at 50% attendance. 

So they did something like that to the whole of the church.  Again they looked at in in ten year periods. They noticed that the past ten years or so it hasn't really changed much. Elder Oaks said we have hit a plateau as a church.  The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve looked at this and discussed what they thought could help this.
They didn't come up with any answers straight away, but they put lots and lots of time into studying and pondering about this topic. It was a big thing for them at the time to receive guidance on what they can do to help us as a church get out of that plateau. After much praying, fasting, studying, pondering, and everything else that they did they met up another time to discuss what they have received. They came to the conclusion that focusing on the Sabbath day and how we can make it a more holy and special than we are was the solution. 

I am sure that you have recognized lately in the church the big push for Sabbath day observance. The church has been coming out with loads of things of how we can improve our own Sabbath Day. If you go onto there is loads of things just on the front page. Well it's because the brethren have received inspiration that this is what needs to be focused on to help us as a church to Come Unto Christ more fully. 
The other day I was chatting with someone about the Sabbath day. He was a more seasoned member of the church you could say so he has watched the world and its Sabbath day observance change through out his life. He said that when he was younger it use to be called the Holy Sabbath, then it went to the Sabbath, then eventually people called it Sunday, and now days it's just a weekend. Sunday is not really that special day to worship, which is sad. 

Moses 3: 2-3 were the scriptures that we ponderized this past week. 
2 And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good;
3 And I, God, blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it I had rested from all my work which I, God, had created and made.
The Lord created this wonderful earth in six days and he, himself, set the seventh day aside to rest from His labors. As it says in verse three he sanctified the seventh day or in other words He made the seventh day a Holy Day. As with everything the Lord set the example for us to follow. 

I am positive that you are all making the Sabbath day a special day as you worship the Lord. I know that we all can improve just a little more though. I know I can definitely do something just a little better to improve my Sabbath day observance. I don't know what you can improve on, but I am sure you know and if you are not sure I know for a fact that your Heavenly Father knows. It is probably little simple things that we can change a little to make it more special and centered on the Savior. 
I hope we can all ponder, study, and pray to our Heavenly Father asking Him "What lack I yet?"  By making His day more Holy he will bless us so much more. He has blessing that he wants to shower down on us, but we are preventing them from coming because we are doing, or are not doing, something on His Holy day. 
Thanks for enduring through another one of my thoughts this week. I hope you didn't fall asleep at the computer. 

Here is a joke for you guys to wake you up a bit. 
How many relief society women does it take to change a light bulb?
Four. One to change the light bulb, one to bring the table cloth, one to bring the centre piece, and one to bring the refreshments. 
How many High Priests does it take to change a light bulb?
Three.  One to change the light bulb and two to hold the wheelchair. 
How many Bishops does it take to change a light bulb?
None. He calls together a ward counsel and gets the Elders to do it. 
How many Elder does it take to change a light bulb.
Four. One to change the light bulb and three to not show up. 

I hope you all have a great week. Keep smiling!!  You can make someone's day by simply smiling. There isn't much of that in the world today. Plus we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives so why shouldn't we be smiling. We are so blessed. Let's help others feel that same joy. 
Elder Peterson 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Letter #98

Dear Mum and Family,

Well the transfer calls came yesterday and I am staying here in Stourbridge for my lady transfer which isn't much of a surprise. Elder Stephenson will also be here. There were sisters here in Stourbridge to, but they lose their area down this transfer so Elder Stephenson and I are taking over the whole area. That is going to require a lot of work for us this week as we try to organize everything and figure out what we need to be doing. Good thing I like organizing things huh. Hopefully my OCD doesn't get to out of hand. Haha

Other than that not much has really changed. We have been having a great time. This week went pretty slow because the people we were suppose to be seeing this week didn't show up or they weren't in so we didn't see them. That was pretty disappointing. Oh well those weeks happen and there is much we can do about it. Just got to keep going and have faith that there will be people that we meet that want to hear. 

We had a couple of those experiences this past weekend when we did the family history stand. I didn't get any pictures on my Ipad because one of the Elders had a nice camera so he took a lot of photos and will get them out to us soon.  When I get them I will send them to you. 

Anyway we met some really awesome people that were interests in the gospel. Lots of people actually do family history over here so they know quite a bit. It's also crazy how many people we talked to and they already use the churches websites for family history. That's definitely a great way to help people know about the church. We actually taught some people about the gospel just beside they already do family history and they just wanted to know why we were so big into family history. To be honest I would rather talk to people about the gospel than family history because I know very little about family history. Haha

Well from the sounds of it you guys are having some fun camping. I bet you have some more trips all planned out for this summer now that school is out. I hope that the weather starts to dry up for you guys so that you don't have to be wet all the time. Haha. At least you get a bit of what it feels like to be in England. I think it is good for you guys to experience. At least you guys have a car so that you can stay dry when you travel.   So it can't be that bad. 

Well I don't have much more to say. Thanks for all your emails and the thoughts on the ponderizing scripture. I really enjoyed reading them. Here is my thought for the week on the scripture. 

Weekly Thought
I want to start of this weeks thought with a different scripture that has stuck out to me as I have been thinking a little bit about D&C 100. The scripture I want to share is found in D&C 88:81 which reads
"Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor."
Obviously this is talking about us as members of the church who have a testimony of the gospel and the truthfulness of Christ's church and how we need to help others to gain that same testimony. 
"Members who share the gospel experience joy and have the spirit of the Lord more abundantly. As we share the gospel, we appreciate how precious and meaningful it is to us, and feel a greater love for God and others." (PMG 84)
What a wonderful promise that is for us who share the gospel. I know it is easy to be scared to talk to others about the gospel. It can be awkward at times because we don't really know what to say, even though we want share the gospel with others. That's where D&C 100:5-6 comes in
"5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
6 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say."
We have been commanded by God to "warn our neighbor" and he has given us a promise in D&C 100 that if we do "lift up our voices" then we will "not be confounded".  Things will come to our hearts and mind, through the Holy Ghost, of what we need to say to them. 
I love what President Spencer W. Kimball says about missionary work and not being scared to do it. He says
"If missionary work is indeed the Lord’s work, which it is, and if it is to go forth by His power, which it will, then why should we, as Latter-day Saints, fear or hesitate in taking the gospel to others?"
The Lord will do His own work, but he needs us as His instruments so that He can do His work. We just need to have faith that He will be there beside us as we talk about His gospel for all of us. We are all brothers and sisters of a loving Father in Heaven. 
Some of us have the gospel and are experiencing so much joy in our lives because of it. But there are lots of our eternal Brothers and Sisters that are experiencing sadness and sorrow for whatever reason. Maybe a loved one passed away and they think it's the end and they won't see them. Maybe they have an illness and need to know that God is there and does love them. Maybe they are confused and need guidance on a struggle they are going through at the moment. All of these things, and many others, can be helped with a testimony of the gospel and we have that power to help them. We have been give a wonderful gift, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it will be with us as we teach others and it will guide us. 
I just want to share a quick story of member missionary work that I found in an ensign. 
"A beauty operator, a member, asked her new client if she would like to read a Church tract while waiting and placed it in her client’s hand. The answer was “No.” Then she offered a copy of the Book of Mormon and again the answer was “No.” Not giving up, the member picked up a Church magazine from another table as though it were a commercial magazine and gave that to her client to read. Quickly thumbing through the pages the client readily realized it was also Church material, but as she moved to lay it down, she noticed an article entitled, “Love at Home.” Having some serious troubles with her husband, she decided to read the article. Then during the rest of the visit a lengthy conversation developed around Mormon home life. The result was a visit arranged immediately with the missionaries. The husband wasn’t present at the first visit, but the wife gave him an ultimatum: “Listen to these missionaries or the children and I may leave.” He listened. They were baptized as a family. He is a high councilor today."
Sometimes we think that in order to share the gospel we need to go and knock on doors or talk to people in the street. But that's not the case. We are around different people all day long who are not members. There are always simple things we can do that will help them realize that the gospel can bless their lives. 
I know from experiences that when we spread the gospel the Lord doesn't leave us hanging. He truly does keep His side of the promise and does guide us. He wants us to teach others the gospel because he does want all of His children to return to Him. He wants us all to experience eternal life with our families and we as members of the church know how that is possible. Let us bless others with the testimonies that we have. 
I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for your thoughts this week. They were amazing. 
Elder Peterson
PS you need to send me another scripture to Ponderize this week. We can't miss a week. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Letter #97

Dear Mum and Family,

Well it's been another great week here in Stourbridge.  I can't believe we are to another P-day and I am having to hurry and write you before you get too impatient with me. Haha. I am glad that I have been able to teach you one thing in two years and that is hopefully patience. 

Another thing that I hope to teach you is that it is not good to lie. I hope that because you and Caden lied to me that the weather keeps raining on you guys. That will be the curse for not telling the truth. Haha

Well like I said it's been great week. We have been doing a lot of work and trying to help the area to grow, which is normally what we Missionaries try to do in each area. We have been doing a lot of finding like usual, but have seen some cool miracles as we have been doing finding. 

On Thursday we had district meeting and then we had tracking planned for after. It was kind of rainy which put a damper on things since we have been enjoying some nice weather lately. But we decided to follow the plans anyway and go knock on some doors. Luckily it wasn't down pouring on us so we didn't get soaked. 
We had felt to go to a place near the chapel to do some knocking so we didn't ignore the prompting and that's where we went and we started knocking. Knocking these doors went pretty well because we talked to some really nice people. In the end they didn't want to learn more but they listened and talked a bit. We didn't get very far before we found someone who was interested. 

We knocked on the door and a younger bloke answered the door. He was home with his son while his wife was at work or something. Well he let us in to have a really quick
chat with him. We briefly got to know him and shared a bit about the Plan of Salvation. 
He doesn't have a strong belief in God, but he is open to learning. He has family that are members of the church in South England. He is pretty close to those family members so he knows a bit about the church. We have set a time to see him and his family tomorrow.  We are both excited for that. 

Well mum I thought that you would like to know that this next Saturday we are going to be having a big family history finding day. We are going to meet up with the other missionaries in this area and a few members and we are going to set up a stand in the city centre just outside our area. We are hopefully going to be getting people interested in family history. I will let you know how it goes once we do it. I hope it goes well because I don't know much about family history. We shall see. 

The mission is going pretty well. We have been witnessing lots of cool miracles and it seems, I am learning a lot everyday, which I am so grateful for. Even though I don't know much I hope that I can continue to learn more and more throughout my life. There is just too much there to learn.
The area is doing pretty well. We have gained a great relationship with the hem members. They really enjoy our company when we visit and are asking us to do service for them, which shows they trust us. At least we think that they trust us. Maybe they are just faking it. Haha

Elder Stephenson and I are having a great time together. We get a long really well, which is keeping the area going I think. When there is contention in a missionary companionship it seems to have an affect on the ward. I think that is so true. So this ward is doing well because we are getting along really well. It's been fun to serve with him.

This transfer is a 5 week transfer so this week is the last full week. We will get transfer calls on Sunday night to see what happens. We both think we will be staying together which would be great, but I guess we just have to wait to find out. 

We don't play any sports in this area which is pretty sad because I miss playing every week with the ward. There just isn't anyone in the ward that wants to play or that can play any sports so it just doesn't happen. That's okay though. I can be patient and wait to get back into playing sports. I still have no doubt that I will be able to beat everyone anyways. Haha

Well I hope that I answered all your questions in this email. I always seem to miss out a few, but that's probably because I am too lazy to read through your letter more than once. Haha. I will just share a weekly thought and I will just hope an angry email doesn't come from you shortly saying that I didn't answer all the questions. Haha

Weekly Thought 
Well as we all know the scripture for this week was D&C 64: 9-11. Again this eek I didn't think about it as much as I wanted to. I hope that a few thoughts that I share with you will be of benefit in some way. 
In D&C 64: 9-11 it states:
9 "Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
11 And ye ought to say in your hearts--let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds."

As I was studying this morning I came across a scripture in D&C 82:1 which I think goes along really well with this scripture. 
".... inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you."
I was asked to give a talk in sacrament yesterday along with another missionary in this ward. The topics were focused around the parables given in Luke 15. The parables in those chapters include 
1. The parable of the lost sheep
2. The parable of the lost coin 
3. The parable of the prodigal son
Each is so powerful and has something important to learn from as we study them. As we understand so much about things we need to do about members, but also we learn so much about the atonement and that the savior is there to find us and to forgive us.
The one that I wanted to share a bit of because I think it goes well with the scripture in D&C 64 is the parable of the prodigal son. The parable is found in Luke 15: 11-32. I won't share it all, but I will pull a few things from it here and there. Maybe on your own time you can read it and learn more from it. 
It's starts off by saying that there as a man with two sons. The younger of the sons was a little rebellious and he wanted his father to give him "the portion of goods" that he would inherit after his father's death. In the Savior’s time to ask for your inheritance before the death of your father is a huge offence. He is a rejection of your family, rejecting the instructions and treatment your given as you were raised from your childhood, and rejecting your whole community. 
Well the father divided his inheritance unto the sons. The youngest decided to to gather all of his things and travel "into a far country" where he "wasted" his inheritance that he was given with "riotous living". 
The prodigal son had used up all his inheritance and then there came a great famine in the land and he needed a way to survive. So what did he do?  He went to a man who lived in that country and he was sent into " the fields to feed swine".  
As we learn in Leviticus 11:7, pigs are considered "unclean" so this goes to show how far the prodigal son had fallen. This would have been another sign of dishonor. It was during the time that he was feeding the swine and was surviving himself off the "husks" that the pigs were eating that he was humbled and "he came to himself" and decided to return to his home. 
We now turn to the father and this is the part that I wanted to get to because it really shows how we should forgive everyone no matter what they have done that may hurt us greatly. 
I want to share verse 20 of Luke 15 because it has so much power and love in it. 
"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
In this verse the father saw his son before he got back to the home. This shows that the father was continually watching for the day that the son would return. He was patient and knew that one day he would return. When his son was coming he was ready and he ran to him and embraced him. 
It is interesting to know that those who had done the type of things that the prodigal had done would have been brought before the public and would have been considered worthless.  Everything he did was a great offence to everyone during the time of the savior, but the prodigal son was not treated in that way. He returned to his family and his father forgave him straight away. There was no hard feelings between the father and his son. 
There is so much to that we can learn and apply for this amazing and powerful parable. I just wanted to share it to show the forgiveness. Even though the father of the prodigal son wouldn't have had the Doctrine and Covenants, the Savior in this parable teaches that  of each of us "it is required to forgive all men".  
I know that as we don't hold grudges towards those who may have offended us and we freely forgive them as does the father in the parable of the prodigal son does, we too will be forgiven from our Father in Heaven. 
The atonement was paid for all men. We can all repent and we can all be forgiven. Let's not make it harder on those who are seeking forgiveness and let us freely forgive the straight away and leave the final judgment with our loving Savior and Heavenly Father. They are the only ones who truly understand our circumstances and what we are going through. 

Thanks for the wonderful scripture Lyndsey. I really enjoyed learning from it even though I wish I would have studied it a bit more. I hope to do better this week. 
I hope you all have a great week!!
Elder Peterson 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Elder Peterson Cleaning his Flat
May 2016

Elder Peterson's Dinner him and his companion made.
May 2016

Letter #96

Dear Mum and Family,

It sounds like a very eventful week for the Peterson family. Haha. There has been so much going on and it seems like the common theme this week was injuries. Haha. It has been funny to read the stories of everyone getting hurt.  Luckily no one is seriously injured which is a plus. I guess that will teach you not to do anything on Friday the 13th. Haha. I am glad that everyone is okay and from the sounds of it Doctor Chelsey is making sure everyone recovers from their injuries.   What would you all be doing without her?

It was good to hear that you were being very friendly to the Elders when you saw them. I can imagine how grateful they were for your wonderful service. I have never had anyone offer me a ride so they are so lucky to have members that see them and are willing to give them rides. I am always going to give missionaries rides throughout the rest of my life. 

We have had a very nice week with some great service opportunities. Something very crazy is there is an investigator named N****** who lives here in Stourbridge. The crazy thing is I taught her when I served in Sheldon and she has moved here and the sisters are teaching her. We did some service for her this past week and she was so happy to see me. She is a great lady. It was fun to see her again. 

We have had some other great service projects this past week that have been enjoyable. We also have also just been doing normal missionary work. Knocking on doors, visiting members, and teaching a few people here and there. I am really enjoying this area and best part is the weather has been super nice for us. Hasn't rained in quite a few days, which I won't complain about. It's been way warm too. Not to make you jealous or anything mother. Haha

Well I don't know what else to say.  That is really our week and it seems like it's the same every week so I don't want to bore you with the same things each week. 
I guess I will share my ponderizing scripture since no one else did, except for mum of course. I guess she is the only one that receives the blessings. Haha

Weekly thought
Well to be honest I haven't done as much ponderizing on the scripture this week that I have wanted to. I have been studying a lot of other things so I hope that a few things that I share with you will be of benefit to you in some way. 

The scripture was obviously Omni 1:1 which you have all read and know. Just for a reminder it says. 
"Behold, it came to pass that I, Omni, being commanded by my father, Jarom, that I should write somewhat upon these plates, to preserve our genealogy"
The first time I read it I thought about the last part talking about genealogy and the importance of them keeping records. As I looked at it more I focused a lot more on the part where Omni says that he is commanded by his father to write in the Book of Mormon. 
I then looked through the whole book of Omni, which is not long, and I read all the accounts of different people that wrote in this book. They didn't write much, but they were commanded to write in them for a reason. The more I think about it the more I realize how precious this amazing book of scripture is and how blessed we are to have it.  Just think of the Book of Mormon and how it has blessed your life.

The scripture are there for our benefit. They testify of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and what we need to do to become like him so we are ready for his second coming. It is getting closer each day. Obviously we don't know when it will be, but we need to "live today as if you will meet Jesus this evening, but plan your life as though you will live to be 100 years old. (Richard Neitzel Holzapfel)

So how can we prepare and be ready for the second coming of the Savior?
President Howard W. Hunter said
"We ought to have a Church full of women and men who know the scriptures thoroughly, who cross-reference and mark them, who develop lessons and talks from the Topical Guide, and who have mastered the maps, the Bible Dictionary, and the other helps that are contained in this wonderful set of standard works. There is obviously more there than we can master quickly. Certainly the scriptural field is “white already to harvest”
A scripture came to my mind on how we can study the scriptures. It's 2 Nephi 4:15

"And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children."

This scripture shows 3 ways that we need to read the scriptures. 
1. We need to delight in them
2. We need to ponder them
3. We need to write them into our lives or in other words apply them. 

As we search the scriptures diligently we will profit from them. (Mosiah 1:7). We just need to put in the time and effort which can be pretty hard. Everyone in the world is so busy with so many different things that need to be done. We have been blessed greatly though. How easy is it for us to access scriptures today?  It is way to easy. You don't have to carry around your triple combination everywhere in order to have your scriptures with you. Everyone has some sort of technological device where they can have easy access to the scriptures. 

As I have been studying the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, throughout my mission I have come to understand the importance of everything that is written for us to study and learn from. There were so many amazing prophets that went through so much so that we could have the scriptures today. I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are given to us by a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to read them, ponder them, and apply them to our lives. 

I have been greatly blessed as I have studied them each day and I know that you to can be blessed as you set aside time each day to study the scriptures.
I hope that it wasn't too long for you this week and that it made sense.
I hope that all goes well this week. Have a good one!!
Elder Peterson

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

Letter #95

Hey Mum and family,

Well sorry the Skype ended at the wrong time yesterday. The internet crashed in the area where I was yesterday and we couldn't get it back until about 6:45. By that time I let Elder Stephenson Skype his family and I thought you wouldn't care much since you will be able to see me in a few months.  I guess this is another one of those times that can teach you patience. 

I hope that mum enjoyed her Mother's Day yesterday. I am sure she was treated well and that she wishes it could last the rest of the week. Haha. I have been slow on sending a letter, but it looks like I already wrote a card for you Haha.  I will send a letter to you soon since I always do. Hopefully I don't forget to do it with my old age. 

One thing that I can't believe is the length of your email Mum. Because we just talked only a few hours ago. I guess you always have to keep me doing  things like answering loads of questions. haha

We didn't really get any snow it was hail. It melted instantly because it is so wet so I don't know how much we really got. It wasn't enough to say it snowed.  No one was expecting that kind of weather so it was a shock to everyone.  There was also a lot of thunder and lightning which is crazy because that is the first time I have heard thunder since I have been in the UK. 
There were too many people that said hi so just tell every single person that you meet that I said hi. That will make it easier for us both, especially you so you don't have to remember everyone. We know how your memory is getting. 

I hope that I answered them all. If not I guess I am in big trouble.  I thought that I would share the spiritual thought since we didn't finish it yesterday. 

Weekly Thought 
So we started in Moroni 10 and we started to read in Verse 3, which states
"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts."

At the end it says we need to ponder in our hearts how merciful the Lord has been to the children of men since Adam was alive. We need to think of how blessed we are from our Heavenly Father. When we realize how much we are dependent on God then we start to soften our heart and turn to our Heavenly Father. That prepares us to receive answers to any question that we might have. 

Verses 4 and 5 read. 
"4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
When we have humbled ourselves then we need to ask God questions that we have. When we ask Him with a sincere heart and with real intent, meaning that we will follow the answer that we receive, then our Heavenly Father will answer us through the power of the Holy Ghost. 
In Galations 5: 22 it talks about some of the feelings that the Spirit produces when we our prayers are answered. 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

These are some of the things we will feel when the Holy Ghost is speaking to us. These are some of the feelings that we need to be looking for and recognizing in our lives.  

I love how it says in verse 23 of Galations 5 that "against such there is no law". This means that there is nothing that can stop the Spirit from doing his work for those who are obedient followers of the Savior Jesus Christ. That gives me so much comfort to know that when we do ask God anything we can know the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost. 

I know that we can receive answers to our prayers because I have received many answers in which I am so grateful for. Our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. He is there to help us through this life. There are many challenges that we face during this part of the Lords plan, but I know that we are not to walk it alone and we can't walk it alone. We need our Heavenly Fathers help if we are to return to Him one day. 

We are dependent on our Father in Heaven and I know that as we come to recognize more how he works with us individually we will find more peace in a life full of chaos. 
Thanks for the wonderful Skype yesterday. I hope that you guys have a great week. 
Elder Peterson