Monday, March 28, 2016

Letter #89

Dear Mum and Family,

It has been a very busy week but it has also been a very fun and eventful week full of baptisms. S***** had his interview on Wednesday which went really well, and he was baptized on Saturday. The baptism service was amazing. He really had a great experience and had the biggest smile on his face when he came out of the water. 
After his service I interviewed one of the other Elders investigator for baptism which was a great experience. He was so ready to be baptized. Right after church on Sunday the Bishops daughter was baptized and confirmed and then the other Elders investigator was baptized Sunday evening. So this weekend has been full of baptisms. It has brought a lot of excitement to the ward.  It's been a long while since this ward had seen a baptism and just this weekend it saw three. How blessed we have been. 

I don't remember much of the week because it went so fast as we took a lot of time to prepare for the baptism. We did a lot of service this week though which was nice for a change. We have done lots of painting, this past week which has been quite fun. 
So on Thursday we traveled to Merthyr Tydfil for a meeting with President Leppard which was really good. The focus was on member missionary work and how we can get the members more involved with doing missionary work. It was a great meeting. If I remember right we have some ancestors that lived in Merthyr Tydfil. You must be jealous Mum that I was able to visit the place our ancestors are from. Haha

To be honest I didn't do very well at ponderizing this last week. I though about it a bit but didn't really take the time to think of anything. I would say that I would try better this week but I am not sure if I want to Ponderize this scripture. I think mum picked this one on purpose. It's not April Fools yet mum so no jokes. I will have to think if I want to do it or not. Haha. Thanks for the thoughts you have given this week though. I really enjoyed reading them.  Maybe one day the others will give some thoughts. 

I don't know what else to say other than I have had a great week and I am excited to see what miracles will happen this week. I hope you all have a great week. I will share an Easter focused thought for you before I go. 

Weekly thought
I have been thinking of what I could share with you all this week.  Because of the Easter weekend I really wanted to share something with you related to this wonderful time of the year that we have to celebrate the crucifixion and more importantly the resurrection of our Savior. To be honest it has been a crazy week and I want to keep this thought simple so I thought I would share my testimony with you on the Savior. 

This past month I have made it a goal to focus on the savior and his entire life.  It has been an amazing experience as I have studied the miracles he performed, the things he taught, the example he was, and most importantly the sacrifice he made along with His resurrection. I have gained a greater understanding and love for my savior these past weeks. I know with all the sincerity of my heart that He lives. I know He is the Son of God who came down with a purpose to pay a price and to be resurrected so that we too could return to our Father in Heaven.  
My favorite scripture on the atonement comes From the whole chapter of Isaiah 53.  I have studied these chapters and have found greater meaning of the Atonement. I love verse 10 of Isaiah 53 when it says, "he shall see his seed".  I love the cross reference to Mosiah 15: 11 which explains who his seed is. 
"... all those who have hearkened unto their ( the prophets) words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God."
I know that through Christ we can be cleansed from sin and we can return to live with our Savior and our Father in Heaven someday. I know the live. I know they love each and everyone of us and that they want us to return to them. The Savior is calling, "Come follow me".  Let's take that phrase and follow in the footsteps of our Savior.  That's what He wants. 
I hope you have another amazing week. Keep being amazing. 
Elder Peterson

Monday, March 21, 2016

Letter #88

Hey Mum and Family,

Another week in Swansea has come and gone and it definitely has not been any slower. The weather has also been really nice which helps a lot I think. Mum you said you are wearing shorts for a day to enjoy before the cold. Well I could wear shorts everyday if I was allowed. That how nice and warm it is here. Haha don't be jealous mum. 

To me it seems like the days go faster because we are enjoying them just a bit more. It's amazing how the weather can affect so much. 

S***** is doing really well and he should be hopefully baptized this next Saturday. He will be having his baptism interview on Wednesday. I think it should go well and he will be ready. The lessons have been great the past couple week and he said he is ready for baptism.  It has been cool to see him change as he has become more committed to baptism. I am really excited and it is probably going to be a busy week this week to prepare everything.  The ward is pretty excited too because it's been a few months since there has been a baptism in this ward. 

That family I said we were going to stop by last week wasn't able to meet us. We had set up a time to see them on Friday and when we went by they weren't in. We will try  this week and hopefully we can find them in and be able to teach them. They seemed excited to meet and learn but I guess they aren't as interested as I thought. That happens quite often though. 

We did find someone a couple weeks ago that we were able to meet with this past week. He is interested in meeting again this week which is a blessing. We taught the restoration and it was a great discussion. He has a few disagreements because of the beliefs he has but I know that we just have to take it slow with him and really help him understand and he will get past a few concerns that he has. I am excited to see him this next week. 

We also have another guy that wants to meet with us this week so if we are able to see him it will be a pretty exciting week. This guy is very religious too, but he loves speaking and learning about other religions so he was pretty exciting to meet. 
The Swansea area seems to be picking up a bit more which makes the work a lot more exciting to do. I am grateful for the hand of the Lord that is guiding this work and for the many blessing we have received. The small tender mercies add up and make a big difference. 

We did play some football with lots of people including Brother Roberts. It was a lot of fun this week. It has been a lot drier so we were not sliding around everywhere this week. We don't play American football because no one knows how to play really. Oh well I will save it for back home. I love playing in the nice weather though no matter what sport it is.  It's nice to play in the sun with a nice breeze coming from the ocean blowing through your hair. You can only imagine mum. Sorry! 

Well I will get on to the weekly thought I guess since I don't know what else to say. 
Weekly Thought

I think I am just going to share what I have learned from the scripture that I ponderized this past week. I love ponderizing the scriptures because I learn so much from them so thank you for sharing the scriptures. Also thanks for the thoughts that you share. It helps me learn more which I really love. You can never learn too much especially when it comes to the scriptures. 
Obviously this weeks scripture was D&C 4:3. This was an easier one to Ponderize because I didn't have to keep reading it because it is short and I already memorized it. Pondering about it has taught me a lot from this scripture. 

The main thing that I have come to learn from this scripture is simply that we are all missionaries even if we don't wear the name badge or are called and set apart. If we truly want to serve God and his children we are called to do it. 
I love the scripture in Helaman 5:6 which is what Helaman said to his son Nephi and Lehi. He said starting in the middle of the verse:
"...Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good."

Helaman is telling his sons that he named them after there ancestors so that when they think of their names they think of their ancestors and all the good that they did so that they to can follow their examples. Well we can apply this to ourselves. We take upon us Christ name each week as we partake of the sacrament and we promise to always remember him. We promise to follow His example which was to teach, bless, and serve others 

Spencer W. Kimball once said
“When you look in the dictionary for the most important word, do you know what it is? It could be remember. Because all of you have made covenants--you know what to do and you know how to do it--our greatest need is to remember. That is why everyone goes to sacrament meeting every Sabbath day--to take the sacrament and listen to the priests pray that they ‘may always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them.’ Nobody should ever forget to go to sacrament meeting. Remember is the word. Remember is the program”

We too need to be like the sons of Helaman and remember.  We need t remember that we have taken upon ourselves the name of Christ and he wants us to serve his children and talk  to them about the gospel. Nephi and Lehi, the sons of Helaman, were also great examples of devoting themselves to preaching the gospel. I know they had "desires to serve God". Because they had those desires they were "called to the work". They taught and I know that the Lord was with them as they taught.
I know that we all have those desires to serve God. We just need to remember that we will have the help needed to do so. Just like Spencer W. Kimball said, we know what we need to do its just a matter of remembering to do it. 

I hope and pray that we can remember that it is our responsibility as members of Christ's church to teach others and to help them come to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth once more. I know this to be true and I know this is the Lord's work that we are doing. I am grateful for your wonderful examples of blessing the lives of others though your actions and examples.

I am excited to Ponderize another scripture this week. And to hear your thoughts on the scriptures too. It's amazing all we can learn from just a single verse of scripture  
Hope you have a great week. Love you all!!
Elder Peterson 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Letter #87

Dear Mum and Family,

We did receive what is going to be happening this next transfer last Saturday so I know exactly what is happening. Because you are use to waiting a week before getting it I thought that I will let you know next week so I don't mess you up. So in the email next week I will let you know. 
This week was a lot better compared to the last couple weeks. We are still teaching S**** and he is now on a date to be baptized.  He is going to be working towards the 26 of March. He seems more willing to make this date so we are thinking this will be the one. I really hope he makes it because he is ready I think. Who knows maybe I will see it happen or not. I guess you will have to wait until next week to know if I will be in Swansea to see it or not. Haha

We did quite a bit of finding this past week and it was really nice. The weather has been amazing this past week. We haven't had to wear any coats it was that nice and warm and sunny. I think it only rained once this past week. 
We didn't see as many less actives as we wanted to because the member that was going to go out with us wasn't able to do it. We talked to him on Sunday and he said that he will get back to us soon to tell us if we can go out with him this week or not. There really needs to be a lot of work done with the less actives though because there is a ton of them. 

While finding this past week we found some pretty cool people that I am hoping will be able to be taught by the missionaries because we really need new investigators. The one I am most excited about is a young family that Elder Shaw and I stopped in town on Thursday.  At first they weren't too interested because they are not interested in religion. After talking with them for a bit and getting to know them they invited us over to their house and gave us their address. We are hopefully going to be able to stop by tonight and I hope we can find them in. It would be great to see a family be baptized. 

I am hoping that things goes well and start picking up in Swansea. The nicer weather is making it a lot nicer to go out and speak to people. They are more receptive when it's not pouring down rain all day long. 
Brother Roberts is a way great guy. We play football with him and lots of other people every week.  On Sunday he showed me the comments that you had made on Facebook. And then right there he said he was going to send you a friend request. It sounds like you have accepted it. Haha he is a great guy. 

Mum You should have read section 12 in the D&C today so I think you are still a little behind. Tomorrow I will be reading section 13 and then the next day section 14 and the next day section 15 and then just keep going. Does that make sense?  I hope you are not confused. 

Well I don't have much time because we went to the beach to play some sports since it was Elder Shaw's last Pday. It was pretty fun and the weather was super nice. I will end with my thought and I will be on my way. 
Weekly Thought
 I had a thought prepared for you this week that I was excited to share, but after a wonderful sacrament meeting yesterday I have decided to switch it. The scripture that, you asked me to Ponderize this past week was Moroni 1:3. I was just going to share what I learned from it at the end of the letter, but I learned so much especially as I pondered it yesterday that I want to share it with you today. 

The scripture says:
"And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life."
Many different things came to my mind on this scripture.  Moroni is sought after by
 the Lamanites because he will not deny Christ. Moroni is writing because he knows that in the future the things he writes could be a benefit to the Lamanites.  His enemies want to kill him and he wants to bless them.  I would say that is a great example of applying the scripture in Mathew 5:44  "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;". I firmly believe Moroni loved his enemies. 

President Abraham Lincoln was once criticized for his attitude towards his enemies. 
" Why do you try to make friends of them?" asked an associate. "You should try to destroy them."
" Am I not destroying my enemies," Lincoln gently replied " when I make them my friends?"
I would like to challenge if there is anyone who you make not get along with very well to "do good" to them. Show them the type of love that the savior would. 
I don't have enough time to share everything I learned from this amazing scripture, but I want to share one last thing. 

I love when Moroni says that he will not deny Christ even though he will be killed by the Lamanites for not denying Christ. We all know the scriptures in D&C 20: 77&79.  We hear them every single week as we listen to the Priest bless the bread and water which is the sacrament. In that prayer we promise that we "are willing to take upon" ourselves the name of Christ. 

From the scripture in Moroni I know that Moroni had promised God that he would take upon his name and he would do all he could to follow the commandments that he was given.  I know he would do anything to no deny Christ and to not deny the testimony that he had received by the power of the Holy Ghost. 
Have we taken upon ourselves the name of Christ? Are we willing to stand up for the things that we believe in? It is easy to partake of the sacrament every week and not think much about it. Sometimes it can be a routine and we do it because we are use t doing every week. I know that I can do better to really listen to those sacred words of that prayer and to better to take upon myself the name of Christ. 
A chapter in the Book of Mormon just came to my mind that goes well with taking Christ name upon us. It is Mosiah 5. If you have time this week I would encourage you to read that chapter. I love how it talks about the Chang elf heart of those who listened to and followed King Benjamin. 
Thanks for the wonderful scripture to Ponderize this past week. I learned a lot. 
Hope you have a great week and I love you all!!
Elder Peterson

PS I am still in Swansea with Elder Lam. Haha I made you go through the whole letter thinking you had to wait until next week.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Letter #86

Dear Mum and Family,

Happy British Mothers Day Mum!!!

Well I can't believe another week has come and gone and it is another month with the transfer almost over again.  They have changed the transfer times so we will find out when we move if we move on Saturdays now and we will move on Tuesday's. This is because of the MTC change to 3 weeks now in the MTC. So this Saturday we will be finding out if I move or not. It could be interesting seeing I have 3 moves left. 

This week has been better for us. We have found some people who seem pretty interested to learn and we should be seeing them this week. We have been still doing a lot of door knocking and talking to people in the streets. That's just how it goes sometimes and all we can do is push through and keep working hard. 

This week we are going to try and focus a lot more on members especially Less Active members. There are a lot in this ward so we thought we would try to bring them back along with asking for referrals from them of people we can teach. It will be good to do something different for a change and see the results that it brings. 

S****** is doing alright.  We were not able to see him this week because he went home to Cardiff this last week because it was British Mothers Day.  He was suppose to be baptized this week but because we didn't teach him we still have a lot to do and we won't be able to see him until Thursday so we will definitely not have enough time. He still wants to be baptized we just have to continue to help him be prepared for that day. We don't know when it will be now but when we see him we will get it sorted out. He is pretty busy with school too so that doesn't make it any easier. 
I am glad that you are doing a bit of ponderizing. I will try to remember to Ponderize the same scripture you are and I will let you know what I get from it. Thanks for keeping me up to date. 
Well I really have nothing else to say.  I will give you the weekly thought and be on my way. Hope you have a great week.

Weekly Thought
The thought that I want to share with you all this week is one like I have shared before I am just going to share it in a different way. I want to share it again because it is so important in helping our testimony to stay strong in the gospel. It is on the importance of doing the simple and basic things of the gospel. 

In my studies of the Book of Mormon I am in the book of Alma. My focus has been on the Zoramites who apostatized. They had been deceived by the anti-Christ named Korihor who taught that there is no Christ. 
We learn in verse 8 of Alma Chapter 31 that the Zormaties have been taught the gospel before. It says
"Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.”

So what caused the Zoramites to apostatize or lose their testimony?  It was the lack of doing the simple things. Verses 9-10 in the same chapter say:"But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses."
"Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation.”

So they didn't follow the commandments of God.  Those commandments could be daily scripture study, weekly attendance at church, the 10 commandments, and so on.  We need to remember that "God gives us commandments for our benefit." (PMG 72). He loves us and wants us to be happy in this life. Once we come to understand that the commandments are strict and not restrictive we come to understand how important they are to follow and how they bring us happiness when they are obeyed.

They didn't pray daily as it says in verse 10.  The word daily in that verse is key because the Zoramites did pray to God they just didn't do it daily and they did it repetitively.  It talks about the Rameumptom where they would gather to pray and they would give the same wrote prayer.  After praying they would leave " never speaking of their God again until they assembled themselves together again to the holy stand." (Alma 31:23)  This is not how God wants us to pray. 

 "The Lord has taught us to kneel and pray in the morning and in the evening, as individuals and with our families." (PMG 73) Saying things from our hearts.  Putting thought into what we really are grateful for and what we need help with before we start to pray.  We need to speak to God like we would speak to a good friend.
There is so much bad around us and so much temptation. President Boyd K. Packer said:

"Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now.  At Sodom and Gomorrah everything was localized, now it's across the world." 
When reading that quote from an Apostle of the Lord it makes me realize the importance of doing the simple things. It helps to keep us away from all the bad that goes on around us. Like the Zoramites we too have those anti-Christ's, or those people or evil things that weaken our testimonies.  By doing the basic things daily they cannot weaken our testimony like it did to the Zoramites. 

I want to end with a quote that puts it all together really well. It is from Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy. 
“Daily fervent prayers seeking forgiveness and special help and direction are essential to our lives and the nourishment of our testimonies. When we become hurried, repetitive, casual, or forgetful in our prayers, we tend to lose the closeness of the Spirit, which is so essential in the continual direction we need to successfully manage the challenges of our everyday lives. Family prayer every morning and night adds additional blessings and power to our individual prayers and to our testimonies.

“Personal, sincere involvement in the scriptures produces faith, hope, and solutions to our daily challenges. Frequently reading, pondering, and applying the lessons of the scriptures, combined with prayer, become an irreplaceable part of gaining and sustaining a strong, vibrant testimony”
I know these things to be true for I have seen it in my own life. I know God loves us and wants us to experience true joy.  By doing the simple things of the gospel we can enjoy more and we can truly see the happiness that life has to offer us. 

Have a great week and I love you all!!
Elder Peterson

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Letter # 85

Dear Mum and Family

Well it is good to hear from you all again this week. I haven't read everyone's letters yet so I can't say that everyone has had a great week, but I am sure that you all have enjoyed it. 

Everything is going all right here in Swansea. We have had a pretty nice week weather wise, which is always a good sign. The work is still going a little slow when it comes to finding new investigators, but hopefully we see some miracles as we continue to work and be patient. It seems like the Lord is always testing my patience so it must be something I need to improve. 

S****  is doing pretty well he is still working towards Baptism, but we are still trying to help him keep commitments so that he can make the date. He is really involved with the activities of the church and he has been to church the past 3 weeks and has really enjoyed it. It seems like his commitment level is progressing which is a great sign. The ward is excited to get some people moving toward baptism since it has been a few months since they have had one. 

We have lost contact with D*****  so we haven't seen him this week. We don't know if he doesn't want to learn anymore or if he is just busy with school and work. We will continue to try to get in contact.  

The meeting I had on Wednesday was pretty good. It was a long train ride and the meeting was rather long but there were some great things that I can apply when I get the chance. It was just about applying for school and how we can prepare for jobs and looking for jobs. So obviously I can't apply it at the moment. While in my meeting Elder Lam just spent the whole day in Sutton with another missionary and they just went finding all day. 

Elder Shaw took the picture of me and he took it with his iPad. I am glad that you liked the picture of me. I will send you a picture today of the people at the self-reliance meeting. It will be the whole group that I go home with. I am pretty sure that we are the biggest group in the mission. It is pretty big. I hope you like the photo. 

Well I am going to shoot off and reply to a few more emails. I hope you all have a great week. Sorry for the not so thought out spiritual thought but I will try better next week. 

Weekly Thought
It has been a rough week and I haven't really been focused on a spiritual thought for you guys. So I hope you will forgive me but I thought I would just share a quote with you this week and next week I will do better.
Jeffery R. Holland said: 
"Down through history, poverty has been one of human kinds greatest and most widespread challenges.  Its obvious toll is usually physical, but the Spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating. In any case, the great Redeemer has issued no more persistent call than for us to join Him in lifting this burden from the people."

There are people all around that need our help and could use our help. We pass them every single day. I want to share an experience with you that I had yesterday. I hope you don't think I am boasting because I am not. Yesterday was a pretty rough day for me personally. We had a tough week and all I was thinking about was what needs to be done in this area I am now in. I was thinking a lot about myself. I was being pretty selfish. 
We were out stopping by a few Less Actives and we never found any in which didn't help my frustration. Things just didn't seem to be working. We were walking down a street and in the distance was a little café that had chairs and tables on the outside for people to sit and eat at obviously.  I assume that the café was closing soon because there was a guy outside stacking the chairs.  This guy was in a wheelchair ,he only had one leg, and he was trying to stack the chairs. He was doing quite well but a thought came to my mind to help him. So we asked him and he said we could so we stacked chairs for him and went on our way. 
Now it was a simple thing that we did, but that small act turned into something great for my self. Alma 37:6 brought more meaning to my life. 
"by small and simple things are great things brought to pass"
The great thing that was brought to pass for me was I felt joy as we served and I forgot about the struggles we were having. I am positive that he helped me more than I was able to help him.  I realized that there are people to serve everywhere and by forgetting about ourselves and doing the things that the Spirit prompts us to do we find joy. We find that peace when we help the great Redeemer in lifting those around us. 
So my challenge for you is to look for those who are down trodden. Listen to the Spirit and act on those promptings to help others. They are out there and they are everywhere we just need to look and then act.
Have a great week. Thanks for all you do.
Elder Peterson