Monday, February 22, 2016

Letter #84

Dear Mum and Family,

This week has been a better week. As you know we have been struggling lately with getting people to listen to us so we can share our message. It hasn't gotten any easier but we have seen some tender mercies of the Lord as we have worked this past week. 

S***** is doing really well. This past week we have been keeping up with him and helping him to see the importance of reading the scriptures and praying daily. He has also been to church the past two weeks, which is great. He is excited for his baptism in the next couple of weeks. There has been some excitement in his life as he has done all he can to receive his answer. It's been great to teach him and help him come closer to Christ and prepare for his baptism. 

We tried to see D**** a couple times this past week but he is so busy with school that he had to keep switching the day to meet and it just never worked out. Hopefully we will be able to see him sometime this week. He is just trying to get things figured out with school and his new job. 
I think the most fun I had this week was going on exchange with Elder Shaw. It felt kind of weird to serve with each other for a day and thinking how a year ago we were together. Time goes so fast. We had a great time teaching and finding people all day. Talking about good memories we had gave us a good laugh. It was a lot of fun. Going on that exchange was definitely a tender mercy. 

The other day we went tracking. Before we went out to tract we were having our dinner and I didn't really want to go out. It was raining and pretty windy. I knew that we needed to though because it was what we were guided to plan in our planning the night before and I knew that God had prepared people for us to see. So we went out and we found some great success. And I got man cave points since we got wet. Haha But anyway we found some really cool people in the little time that we were out that have invited us back to see them. We had a couple great conversations with some people on their doorstep and I am so excited to go and meet with them again sometime. We will be stopping by sometime during this week so hopefully we will find them in and be able to teach them. 

It is good to hear that you are jealous because we were wearing shorts. Haha. That was a pretty nice day I have to admit. It was still a little chilly but I am not complaining. It was definitely not cold enough to receive snow like you are experiencing. Haha. The weather is actually quite nice today also. There are a few clouds in the sky and it's probably not warm enough to wear shorts but it is pretty close. 

Well I guess I will get to the weekly thought since I am a man of few words and I don't know what to write. 

Weekly thought 

I will be honest I didn't take the time to really study out Ezekiel 47 this week. So my thought won't be on that chapter. Sorry about that. As I have been going throughout the week I have focused a lot of the first principle of the Gospel which is Faith in Jesus Christ. I thought I would share a few thoughts with you today.

Let's start off with what is faith. We know the Scripture in Alma 32:21 which says: 
" is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."
In Hebrews 11:1 we read:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
In order for faith to be faith it has to be centered around something that is not known. It has to be something that we cannot see with our physical eyes. "If everything has to be known, if everything has to be explained, if everything has to be certified, then there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it. …" (Boyd K. Packer)
Joseph Smith said that faith is a confidence in 3 things:
1. God exists
2. God has divine attributes and He can do what He says he can do
3. The path you are on is the correct one.
When you know these things to be true then you have faith. When you know these things are true and you know you have faith in God you are able to do things by faith. 
In Hebrews 11 we read about different people who did things by their faith.
Verse 4 "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain..."
Verse 5 "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death..."
Verse 7 "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house..."
Verse 8 "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed..."
It goes on and on but I will stop there because I believe you get the point. 
I want to ask you a question now concerning your personal faith. What have you done by faith today?  
In Mathew 17:20 it says:
"If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you can remove mountains. Well we don't need to remove mountains we just need to have the faith to get out of bed and say our prayers. We need to have faith to have daily scripture study. We need to have faith to follow the Prophet.  Sometimes we make the gospel too complicated when really it is simple. Dieter F. Utchdorf said, "This beautiful gospel is so simple a child can grasp it."  I can guarantee that you have done something that requires faith at some point today. You just need to look with your spiritual eyes. 
So how do we increase our faith. In Preach My Gospel page 116 it says:
"Your faith will increase through diligent study, prayer, dedicated service, and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the commandments."
Earlier I said that they way we use faith is by daily scripture study, praying, following the prophet, following the commandments. From that we learn that by using our faith we increase our faith. I believe the opposite is true too. By not using our faith we lose it or it weakens. 
My challenge for you today is to use your faith more. Do those simple things that will strengthen your faith.  We express our faith through action or through the way we live. Show our Heavenly Father that you have faith in him. I can promise you that as you do so your faith will be strengthened and you will grow close to our Savior and our Heavenly Father. 
Have a great week!!
Elder Peterson
I think it's funny that you think I have a girlfriend to write. Haha keep dreaming. You won't be a mother in law until Lyndsey gets married. With the way she is I don’t  think that will be anytime soon. Haha

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Elder Peterson
Mumbles Wales
February 15, 2016

Letter #83

Dear Mum and Family,

Well it is going to be another quick email you all again this week. Today for Pday we went on a bike ride along the beach to a place called the mumbles where there is a lighthouse. You can't get to the actual lighthouse but it was still pretty cool. We then stopped by a castle but it was closed so we couldn't go in. We biked about 17 miles today and it was pretty fun. I will try to send some pictures next week. Just so you know a little bit about what we did I will put a picture or two in your email that way you don't get too mad at me. Haha

This week was another struggling week here in Swansea. We have found a lot of people that say they are interested but when we have tried to get in contact with them and they just don't seem to answer our calls or texts. So at the moment we are still back to building our teaching pool.  We are still teaching the same people. 

We were not able to reach D**** this week because he just got a new job and he was busy with work and school. We will be seeing him on Wednesday this week though. He is pretty excited to see us.  To be honest I am pretty excited to see him. I really enjoy meeting with him because he is really interested in religion and he loves learning. It's an enjoyable time. 

We did see our investigator named S***** and we had a great lesson with him this week. Before the lesson we were struggling with helping him to keep commitments but the lesson was so powerful and the spirit was so strong.  By the end of the lesson he really wanted to read everyday and pray and then come to church every week. He came to church yesterday and he really enjoyed it. He is such a great guy and he wants to get baptized we just have to help him receive an answer on the Book of Mormon. He has set March 5th as a goal to work towards for baptism. He is really excited for that date to work towards. He has been taught all the lessons before and he knows the stuff so we are just going over it again with him to refresh his memory. 

Other than that we have just been doing finding like usual. I am having a great time with Elder Lam. He does speak English really well but he still has to do language study everyday which is fine by me because that is an extra hour to get things done in the flat or to have a little extra study myself. Unless I help him with his studies, but it's not too often that he needs help. We are enjoying working in Swansea and trying to do our best to build the area. We have some great plans for the next week that will give us some new things to try in the area and hopefully we see some success from it. 

Well like I said I don't have much time this week. I will definitely read all of your emails. I hope that you all have a great week and that those who are sick get better soon. That's too bad that the flu is going around to everyone. Get better soon!

My spiritual thought this week doesn't really explain more about Eziekel 47 it is just on a part that I really liked. Next week I will try to study it more and learn something and hopefully share it with you. I hope that you all have a great week and I hope that you like the thought. I will give you a heads up its pretty long so if you don't want to read it that's fine. I will never know. Haha

Weekly Thought
As I have been studying Ezekiel 47 like mum has challenged me to do this week I have come across a couple verses in that chapter that have made me ponder a few things. I would like to share one of those things with you today and I hope it will help you.
I want to start off by quoting a few scriptures from Ezekiel. They come from Ezekiel 47: 3-5. 
3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.
4 Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
5 Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
The past couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about scripture reading. We are kind of struggling with getting our investigators to read their scriptures. As I was reading these verses I thought about scripture reading and I compared it to the water in these verses. 
We read in 2 Nephi 31:20 about " feasting upon the word of Christ" or in other words studying the scriptures diligently as we all know. We can compare the scriptures in Ezekiel with how well we are studying the scriptures. 
It talks about 4 different depths of water in these verses. We have ankle deep, knee deep, loin deep, and deep enough that you have to swim so you don't drown. So let's compare these to our scripture study.

When we study do we get "ankle deep" in our studies? Do we just read a couple verses here and there. Maybe for those times when you are asked by someone if you are reading your scripture, no matter who it is, you can answer with a yes.
Do we get "knee deep"? Do we sit down for a few minutes and just read them one page after the other just waiting for our 10 minutes to be up so we can do something else getting. Thinking about other things as your eyes read the words but your mind is in a different place.  You not focused at all on what you are reading. 
What about being "loin deep" when we study? This could be sitting down and reading the scriptures at a set time of the day, but maybe we are just reading it for the history or the stories. We see a few verses that stick out here and there so we highlight them. We find a story or two that we really and we try to think how we can apply it to ourselves, but we forget about it and don't apply it. 

I am sure you all know where this is going now. We have the last one which is how we should make our studies if we haven't already. Do we swim in our studies? Do we set aside time every single day to study the scriptures?  Do we begin and end with a pray asking Heavenly Father to teach us through the power of the Holy Ghost things that we need to do or improve on in our lives? Do we keep a study journal for our reading?  By taking notes and writing down our feelings while reading we show God that we love the scriptures and we really are grateful for the impressions we have during studies. Do we learn and think of ways to apply the scriptures to our lives and then do all we can to apply them?
These are just a few things that I have thought of that I know I can do better on so that I can make sure I am swimming in my studies.  You can add what you would like to each section to better help you understand what you personally can do better during your study time. I want to share one more scripture that has also stuck out to me this week. It is found in Mosiah 1:5

"I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct."
Have you ever thought of how important the scriptures are in your life? In this verse King Benjamin is talking to his sons about the importance of the scriptures. I think it is interesting how he talks about his ancestors. He tells his sons that if his ancestors didn't study the scriptures then him and his sons could be like the Lamanites whose ancestors did not study the scriptures. They would be following all of these incorrect traditions. 
I believe that King Benjamin fully understood the effect that his personal study would have on his descendants and others who he might come in contact with.  He knew that his studies affected everyone around him, especially his family. That is why he understood that taking that time to "swim" in his studies of the scriptures was very important. Not just to his own life but to many others. 
I know that studying the scriptures is so important in my life. I can definitely feel a difference in my day when I don't "swim" in my scripture study. My studies are not perfect and that is why I am grateful that I was able to read these scriptures this week and ponder them. They have shown me that I can do better at studying my scriptures. I hope you too have thought of things as well. 
I want to end with part of a scripture in Mosiah 1:7 which says:
"And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby"

In order to profit we need to invest. I know that as we invest our time and efforts into our studies we will definitely profit from the scriptures. 
Sorry it was super long today. If there is anything anyone wants me to study and share a thought on let me know and I would love to study, learn and share with you what I learned. 

Have a great week!!!
Elder Peterson

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Elder Peterson in Swansea Wales

Elder Peterson
Swansea Wales February 2016
February 2016

February 2016

February 2016

Castle in Swansea
February 2016 
Castle in Swansea
February 2016

Letter #82

Dear Mum and Family,

We have had transfers as you all know and a few things have changed. I am still in the wettest city in the UK so that's the same, but I have a new companion. Elder Vaitoa has moved to Nottingham and my new companion is Elder Lam from Hong Kong. He is a pretty cool guy and we get a long pretty well. He has been out just over a year now. 
Another change that has happened in the Swansea area is super exciting. Elder Shaw is on his last transfer and he has been moved to Swansea. So we are in the same District and we are having a blast together. Well I assume he is having a blast because I am. Haha. We see each other quite often and we have some fun talking about the good old days of serving in Llanelli together. 

This week has been a pretty hard week to be honest. Things just don't seem to be moving forward. We have lost some of our investigators because they don't want to learn and the people we have found during the past couple of weeks don't want to meet with us. It is pretty hard because I don't know what more I can do. Everything that I have been doing just doesn't seem to work. Hopefully we can see some miracles this next week because we are going to need them to help this area. 

Mum that's great that you had a wonderful experience at your meeting in Salt Lake. It sounds like it was a spiritual experience. I will make sure I take time to read the scripture that you shared. Maybe I will make a weekly thought on it. I am glad you are more excited to do family history because of it. Maybe you will get the family to start doing it.  It might be kind of hard though. 

D***** is doing pretty well. He was busy with school this past week so he wasn't able to meet with us but he said he has time this week to meet. I don't know when we will be seeing him yet but we will get a hold of him today to see when we can meet. He loves meeting with us and talking about religion because he is pretty religious. 

Weekly thought 
We have an investigator who is kind of struggling at the moment with the purpose to this life. We have been trying to help him understand it he just doesn't quite get it as simple as it may be. This past week I have taken the time to study the purpose to this life specifically what we are to do. I have learned some great things as I have studied that I would like to share with you this week. 
If we are to begin at the beginning of the Plan of Salvation we know that we lived with our Heavenly Father before this life. (D&C 93:29) We really wanted to be like our Heavenly Father and in order to do that we need to gain a body and come to the earth to learn. 
While on the earth you could say there is a gap between God and us and in order for us to return to God that gap needs to be filled. So how do we fill that gap?  Well we actually don't fill that gap because we can't. Jesus Christ was sent to this earth to fill that gap. Because it was filled we will all be resurrected and we will be able to be back in God's presence again. So you might now say the gap is filled so we don't have to do anything to live with God again. Sorry we are still required to do things. 
There are three things that are left to be determined.  What kind of body we plan on being resurrected into, how comfortable we will be in God's presence, and how long we plan to stay there. 

There are a set of requirement that we have to meet in order to have a perfect body and to live in God's presence forever. "Our Master lived a perfect, sinless life and therefore was free from the demands of justice." (Richard G. Scott)  Justice requires immediate perfection or when we fall it requires an immediate punishment. Because Christ took that punishment upon Himself he can set His own requirements that we can follow to help us to become perfect. He can help us to reach that goal. 
So what are the requirements that Christ has set for us to meet. We all know it.  We need to gain faith in Christ, we need to repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. This is what we call the gospel of Jesus Christ or as the Book of Mormon Prophet Nephi calls it the "doctrine of Christ". (2 Nephi 31:2)
The gospels of Jesus Christ transforms us into the type of person that will have a perfect body so that we can live with God again and be comfortable in His presence.  "If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. If Christ did not require endurance to the end then there would be no internalization of those changes over time." (Brad Wilcox)
We learn from Alma 40:26 that "no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God..." but to be honest I don't think any unclean thing will want to dwell with God. I like to compare it to a person who has muddy shoes and clothes. If you were to invite them into a nice clean room that has pure white carpet, furniture, walls, etc. they would not feel comfortable in that room. If we don't apply the gospel of Jesus Christ into our lives we won't be able to change or transform into the type of person who would be comfortable in God's kingdom. 

We all have learned about the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout our lives. We have learned it through reading scripture, through attending church, by listening to the Prophet and Apostles of God and many other ways. I hope we now can realize the importance of these requirements that have been set by our Savior Jesus Christ so that we can return to live with Him again. So that we can feel comfortable in their presence when we stand before them. 
Have a great week!!
Elder Peterson

Elder Shaw says hi and he loves you and one day he will come visit. It may be a while though before he comes. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Letter #81

Dear Mum and family,

I have some bad news for you. I had prepared a weekly thought for you that was pretty great. When I was going to paste it on the email I accidentally deleted it. So sorry but you will have to wait until next week to get a thought because I don't have enough to time to type it up again. Sorry about that I feel bad. I will try to get photos in drop box for you this week. We were really busy today so we don’t  have much time because we are going to a members for dinner soon. 

I have some pretty cool news for you though. If you think back a year ago to when I was in Llanelli. I know that it’s going to be hard for you because you are all getting old and you don't have the best memories. Some of you are worse then others but I won't mention who because you know who I am talking about Caden. Whoops it slipped sorry. Well if you remember S***** P***** which was the lady who was baptized when I was with Elder Shaw. She has been baptized for a year now and she is doing really well. In the next couple of weeks she will be going through the temple to receive her endowments. It is pretty exciting. I am so excited for her.  It is nice being so close to Llanelli because I get to talk to the elders when I see them and find out how the area is doing. 

Also if you can remember R****** in  Llanelli. She was the one that was about to get baptized but she postponed it so she could go to America to see her Boyfriend and his family. Well when she came back about a month after she left she continued meeting with the missionaries and she got baptized shortly after. So biking up that huge hill to get to her house was so worth it. I am so glad I got to hear all of these cool things. 

Well I don't know what is going to happen with transfers tonight. My companion could leave but I am not sure if he will or not. Anything could happen. I am pretty positive that I will be staying here though. I am loving it here. We are starting to get things moving here which is great. 

They do spell Saviour different over here. That's how they spell it. 
I will be starting the D&C countdown in February. I can't remember the actual date so I will let you know next week. I know it is near the end of February.  

Well I am sorry that I have to go. We don't have much time left.  Also I didn't have enough time to reply to all your emails again this week. Sorry about that. I feel bad that I wasn't able to do that and send you a weekly thought. I will try to make a great one for next week to make it up to you. 
Hope you all have a great week and I will talk to you next week. 

Elder Peterson