Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Letter # 93

Dear Mum and Family,

Well the transfer calls have come and some exciting things are
happening here in the Earth's Best Mission. I am debating on whether I
should tell you what has happened or if I should just tell you next
week. I am sure you all don't really mind that much if you were to
wait until next week right?  I remember mum said she was working on
patience so this would really be good for her. Haha
Well I better tell you what is going to be happening because I can
already tell that some of you are getting a little anxious and you are
only a paragraph in my letter. So I am leaving Swansea and I think
it's safe to assume that the area I am going will be my last area. I
will be moving to Coventry.  I will be with a missionary named Elder
Stevenson. I know nothing about him so it is going to be fun to get to
know him and the area better. I am pretty excited to work hard and
hopefully do some great things as I work and serve in that area.

Well it has been another great week here in Swansea and it has been
way exciting for the ward again. I was able to do another baptism
interview for the sisters and there investigator was baptized this
Sunday. She has a lot of great friends which are a great help to her.
There will also be another baptism this coming Friday which I think
will be the end of the all, the planned baptisms. It has been a great
experience these last few weeks. I cant wait to hear how it goes for
Swansea the next few transfers.

Well to answer your question about family history. The main thing that
I use the booklet for and my pedigree chart is to stop people on the
street and have something to show them to get the interested in family
history. The church is doing s really big push with missionaries using
family history a lot more and if you can get the young men t catch the
vision it will greatly help them on their missions. It is definitely a
great way to find people to teach the gospel because they may not be
interested in the gospel, but lots of people love their families and
are interested to find more. So you start to teach them about family
history and the. Eventually you get to the plan of salvation and you
start teaching them the gospel.

Also after someone is baptized you focus a lot on getting them to the
temple and doing baptisms for the dead. We also focus on getting the
new members to find their own names to take to the temple. Well I
don't think it is appropriate for us as missionaries to be asking
members to be filling out their family history booklet if we haven't
done it ourselves so that is why I have been filling it out. It is
great to use as an example too.
I hope that answers your question about the family history booklet. I
don't have it all complete yet but it is really close. Thanks for the
information so that I can finish it up a bit more.

Well I don't know what else to say. It was fun to serve in Swansea and
to see many miracles. This will be my last time emailing you from
Swansea area.  After this email you will be receiving them from good
old Coventry.

Well here is my thought from the scripture we ponderized this past
week. Thanks for all your thoughts on the scripture. I am excited to
learn from Mosiah this week. I hope you enjoy the thought

Weekly Thought

I have been thinking a lot about the ponderizing scripture this week
and have learned a lot from it. I have focused a lot on the whole
verse, but there was something that really stuck out to me that I
studied and thought about a little more.   The scripture was 4 Nephi
1:2 which says:

"And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all
converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites
and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among
them, and every man did deal justly one with another."

The part that I want to share my thought on is focused on the word
"converted" and what it means to be truly converted.

It's interesting to think that membership in the church, a testimony,
and conversion are not the same. I know that I personally think about
them as being the same thing sometimes.

A testimony comes to those who want to know the truth and the Holy
Ghost testifies of it which gives us a witness of the truth. Having
that testimony pushes us to repent and to keep the commandments.

Conversion comes from us repenting and obeying the commandments which
is us acting on our testimony.

Membership in the church comes from us being converted and wanting to
be apart of God's kingdom on the earth and wanting to help others
become converted.

It's a process.
1.  Gain testimony of the gospel
2. Become converted by repenting and following the commandments
3. Make covenants with God which makes you apart of His church.

I love how their conversion brought many things that we need to be
striving for today. As it says in 4 Nephi 1:16 "surely there could not
be a happier people among all, the people who had been created by the
hand of God." This happiness was obtained because of the "love of God
which did dwell in the hearts of the people."( 4 Nephi 1: 15)  They
followed the first great commandment which is to love God. When that
commandment is followed then everything else falls into place.  That's
why the people did deal justly with each other and there was no
contention in the land.

Dallin H. Oaks said this is the type of people that we need to work
towards become like. He said
“In those brilliant generations that followed the appearance of the
resurrected Christ in the New World, ‘there were no contentions and
disputations among [the people], and every man did deal justly one
with another’ (4 Nephi 1:2). Fourth Nephi records: ‘Surely there could
not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by
the hand of God’ (1:16). We should be striving to regain that
condition. As modern revelation declares: ‘Zion must increase in
beauty, and in holiness’ (D&C 82:14)”

The way we do so is starting with our own conversion.  As we work to
become "converted" then we will be able to also have the love of God
dwelling in our hearts which will lead to a happier people.

Thanks for your thoughts in your emails. I hope that you all have a
great week. Thanks for all you do!!

Elder Peterson

P.S. I'm just kidding...I'm not being transferred to Conventry.  I'm really going to Stourbridge England.  I just wanted Dad to win the guess. hahahaha

Monday, April 18, 2016

Letter # 92

Dear Mum and Family

I can't believe that the last week of the transfer has already come. This coming Saturday we will be receiving calls to find out what is going to happen during these next moves. I think that I will be moving for one last time, but only time will tell. I have enjoyed serving here in Swansea though. There are lots of great people that I have created great friendships with. I have mixed feeling about moving and staying. I want to stay because I know lots of great people, but on the other hand I want to be able to serve in one last place before the end. We will see. You will have to put in your guesses of what you think will happen.

We have seen some pretty exciting things here in Swansea. This past weekend the Sisters were able to have a baptism which was great and last Tuesday the other Elders ere able to have a baptism. This next Sunday we will hopefully be seeing another baptism from the Sisters investigator. I will be interviewing her on Thursday which I think she will pass with flying colors. So the ward is pretty excited for what is going on. 

I had a really great experience this past Thursday. We had a challenge given to us to give out 3 copies of the Book of Mormon. I took that challenge with excitement to work hard to achieving it. We didn't quite make the challenge, but I had a really cool miracle from it. We decided that for us to have a better chance of accomplishing that challenge we should split find. Of course we are still near each other, but we each talk to different people. That way we talk to more. 

Well after finding for about 30 minutes we hadn't given out a Book of Mormon yet but we had each talked to some great people. As I was walking down the middle of city centre a thought came to my mind to turn around so I did and the first person I saw I talked to. He is a uni student from Northern England originally. He said that he has heard of the church before, but has never had the chance to talk with missionaries before. He has always wanted to though.  Well because we were focusing on handing out the Book of Mormon I asked him a few questions that were related to the Book of Mormon which got him thinking. We had a very nice discussion on the Book of Mormon which he accepted quite quickly. 

After talking for about 15 minutes I got his number and we set a time to meet again. Before he left he said something really amazing. He said that today was his only day off this week and he wasn't planning on coming out of his house. He said that he had no purpose for walking through city centre that day and that he was happy that he was able to meet us missionaries and have a short little discussion.  I know i was meant to talk to him and I am so glad that I listened to the promptings of the Spirit and that I did talk to him. 

Yesterday we also had a great experience visiting a less active that we didn't know about and neither did the ward. Brother Roberts came up to me before church and said that he had received a call from a less active member who wants some to come visit him. We all tried to find him on the ward records and couldn't find him anywhere. Nevertheless we went by after church and sure enough he was there and welcomed us right in. 
About 15 years ago he had a stroke that had paralyzed his left side. He doesn't get out much at all and has people come to take care of him. He still has a strong testimony of the gospel he just can't make it to church which he really wants to. We had a really nice visit with him which I could tell that he really appreciated. I don't think he gets much visits from anyone so I am so grateful that we were able to go by. I love visiting those who can't come to church for whatever reason and having the opportunity to hopefully brighten their day in some way. We have a few things that we are going to help him with and to help the ward get a bit more involved in helping him too. He is a great guy and I can't wait to see him a few times this week. 
Weekly thought. 
Well I have had a good time thinking about this wonderful scripture this part week. It's kind of funny how these past couple of weeks I have been focused about family history and then you gave me a scripture that talks about family history. I don't have too much to share but there are a few things that I have thought about that I want to share. 
I want to start by sharing the scripture that was ponderized this past week. It was D&C 27:9 which reads 
"And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse;"
I am sure that we all know that this is talking about family history. In Malachi 4:5 it says that Elijah will be sent to the earth before the second coming of the Lord, and he will turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children. The prophet Joseph Smith commented on the word "turn" in this scripture. He said:
"“Now, the word turn here should be translated bind, or seal. But what is the object of this important mission? or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion.”
Because Elijah has come and brought those keys to the earth we are able to be bound to our families for all eternity. Have you ever thought about how wonderful that truly is?  Jeffrey R.  Holland said, " Heaven without your family just wouldn't be heaven."  The keys that can bind us to our families have been brought back to the earth and we can be sealed to our families and we can live with them for eternity. 
When it comes to doing family history it all focuses on the heart. We need to have a change of heart. Let's turn to Ether 3:6 which reads:
"And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear."
We all know about this experience that the Brother of Jared had. We have read about it many times. In John 8:12 it says, " I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." 
I want you to think about this question. Was it more important that the Lord put the light in the stones or the light was put into the Brother of Jared?
As we turn our hearts toward the Savior and we come to understand more of our Heavenly Fathers plan and that we are able to live with our families forever, we will receive the light of Christ in our own lives. When we receive that light we will have a greater desire to do family history work, and we will do it more effectively. It takes work though. 
As taught in the True to the Faith we have three basic responsibilities when it comes to family history. 
1. Receive the temple ordinances for yourself and help immediate family members to receive them. 
2. Hold a current temple recommend and attend the temple frequently as circumstances allow.
3. Gather family history information so you can help your ancestors receive the blessings of the temple. 
I know that as we first receive our own temple ordinances we will start to have a desire to do it for those who have passed in and haven't had the opportunity to receive this special ordinances. There are ancestors that are waiting for you and me to do their work. We just need to turn our hearts towards them and do all we can to assist them in those sacred ordinances. 
I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for all the letters. 
Elder Peterson

Monday, April 11, 2016

Letter #91

Dear Mum and Family,

I think it is funny that you said you didn't have much to I say.  I think you are getting a little sick mum. Do you need me to help you and tell you how to feel better!  Just take your vitamins. Haha

We have had a really good week I would say. As I said last Monday we were going to be focused a lot on members and it was fun getting to know them a bit more and helping them to get more involved with missionary work. 
We also made some cookies for some of the members.  There were a few birthdays this past week of a few members so we decided to make them a few cookies. They said they really enjoyed them, but it's not surprising seeing how they are the best cookies ever. And I made them out of love because I had to use my own strength since we have nothing to mix it for us. Good thing I am strong.  

 I will attach some pictures of the cookies we made. They look good and they taste amazing.  I guess you will have to take my word for it since you can't taste them. Haha

We did have a pretty cool miracle this past week though. We also stopped by many homes of  investigators in areas that we haven't done too much work in and we found a guy who is pretty interested. He stopped meeting with missionaries because he was just so busy and couldn't find time to meet. 
When we stopped by he invited us back over the next day. We had a great lesson with him on the Restoration and he remembers quite a bit from the discussions with the past missionaries. He said that he doesn't agree with some things they do in the church he goes to now and has been interested in our church. He even said that the Book of Mormon he was given is right next to his bed, which made me so happy to hear. I am excited to see him this next week, hopefully. He is getting ready to go on holiday to America soon so we will see if he has time this week. 

The weather has been nice so we have taken advantage by walking around and visiting lots of people we haven't visited before. There are a few people who we will stop by again this week because they seem pretty promising. A few less actives that we can hopefully help rekindle their faith. So we have a few things that are looking good this next week. 
In the district we are planning on having two baptisms this week. One from the sisters and one from the other Elders. It is getting the ward very excited for missionary work.  It is great to see them more involved and willing to help us with those we are teaching. I think we as missionaries have got really good relationships with the members here in this ward too.  

Well thanks for the thought you gave on ponderizing. Maybe one day some others will participate and we can get more responses. As for now though I will share mine for this week. 

Weekly Thought
As I have been ponderizing these past few weeks the scriptures you have given me I have noticed that I focus in the scripture that you give me, but I also ponder about the whole chapter too. By doing that I have learned a lot more about the scripture that you give me to ponderize.  I loved the scripture that you gave this past week because it has a lot we can learn from it. 
The Savior feeds the five thousand in this chapter and after He feeds them He tells His disciples to get in a boat and to cross the sea to the other side to the land Gennesart.  So the disciple are in a boat crossing the sea and Jesus goes up to a mountain to pray alone. The disciples are now sailed out into the sea and there is storm which is tossing the ship about with its mighty winds and waves.
Then Jesus comes unto them walking on water " in the fourth watch" as it says. His disciples see Him and at first they don't think it is him, but then they recognize Him and Peter wants to walk out to Him on the water. We know he does and before he gets to the savior He looks away and starts to sink and then the savior saves him and they both go back to the boat. 
Now I want to apply this to us and I want to know focus a bit more on Mathew 14:31 which is the scripture that was ponderized this past week. 

We all have our own personal storms that are going on around us. Those storms may be temptations, they may be fears we have, it may be things in the world that cause us stress, it may be things we are struggling with physically or spiritually, or many other things. We all have "storms" going on around us just like the disciples were experiencing. 

When it says that the savior came into them in the fourth watch it means that it was between the times 3:00 and 6:00 a.m.  That's pretty early in the morning. So the disciples had been tossed by this storm all night and into the morning. I am sure they were exhausted. We may have things that we are struggling with and we have been fighting against them for quite some time just like the disciples. We need to be patient like the disciples and have trust that we will receive His help. The Lord went straight to the disciples. He knew where they were and what was happening to them. It is the same with us. He knows where we are and what we are going through and he does come unto us. 
When Christ comes and Peter walks out to Him Peter forgets about the storm because He is focused on Christ. The storm didn't stop straight away, but Peter had a different focus and that was the Savior, not the storm. Then Peter started to focus on the storm and not the Savior and that is when he started to sink. When we focus on our struggles or challenges then we start to sink in many different ways. But what does Peter do.  He focuses back on the Savior and says, "Lord, save me". And immediately Christ stretched forth His hand and caught him. We too can and will be saved and helped, but we have turn our focus to the Lord just as Peter did.  He is there and He will immediately help us as we turn to Him. 

At the end of verse 31 the savior says, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Obviously the opposite of Faith is doubt.  When we focus on the Savior and we have faith in him then there is no reason to doubt. 
It took faith for Peter to get out of the boat and walk on water. Our faith is strengthened by exercising our faith. (Alma 32: 41)  As we face different "storms" in life and we show faith to focus on and walk towards Christ then our faith is strengthened. As our faith is strengthened, then during those moments we won't take our focus off the Savior. 

I love the teachings of King Benjamin. I especially love when he talks about the atonement of the Savior. Part of a verse I want to share comes from Mosiah 3: 7 which says:
"And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death..."
The Savior knows how we all feel and because He knows those things He truly can help us when we are "sinking". Let us turn to and focus on the Savior at all times.  I know that as we do so there will be no storm that we cannot handle. 

Hope it wasn't too long for you. I feel like I rambled on quite a bit. Hope you all have a great week!!
Elder Peterson
April 2016 Elder Peterson's cookies he made

Monday, April 4, 2016

Elder Peterson
Swansea Wales March 2016 
Swansea Wales
March 2016

Letter #90

Dear Mum and Family,

I don't know about you but conference this past week was definitely the highlight of the week. We went to the chapel on Saturday evening to watch the Saturday morning session and then we stayed at the chapel all day Sunday to watch the rest, except for Sunday afternoon. We took our own food and just chilled with the members with the hour break between each session. It was a great time. There were some amazing talks and it was amazing to feel the power of the spirit as I listened to those who spoke. I hoped you all enjoyed it as much as I did. 

A great tender mercy that I was able to receive was yesterday after watching one of the sessions of conference. As we were going to make some lunch I noticed someone sitting on the back row of the chapel that I recognized. It was a lady who lives in the Sheldon ward which was my first area if you don't remember. I talked with her for a bit and she gave me the update of the ward and it is doing really well. 

One person I specifically wanted to know about was I****. He was Less Active that came up to my companion and I as we were walking to the library one day and said he wanted to come back to church and he wanted us to teach him. I don't know if you remember that or not. Well I found out that he has now gone through the temple and is married and super active in the church. I am so grateful that I was able to hear that. It brought so much happiness to me. 

Apparently the area is doing a lot better and has had quite a few baptism lately. One of the missionaries there at the moment is Elder Jarvis which is the Elder I served with when I first went to Tamworth. He is a great missionary and I am sure that he is going to do some amazing things in that area. The Stilger family is doing great too which was also good to hear. 

So my week has been pretty good as you can probably tell by now. Because S**** was baptized we don't really have many more people to work with at the moment. This week we are going to be focusing a lot on member missionary work and getting the members more involved in helping their friends to learn about the gospel. I am pretty excited to see what success that will bring to us this next week. 

We have been experiencing some nice weather. Compared to the weather you are having we have some amazing weather. Haha sorry to make you jealous mum.  It's a bit cloudy today but everyone is wearing light jackets and every once in a while the sun pokes out from the clouds. The grass is green and beautiful to look at. I don't see any white stuff outside so everything is very colorful. 

I can't believe that you asked if I was eating well. What kind of question is that? Of course I am eating well. You know how much I love my food. The main reason I miss your cooking is because you are the one that makes it and all I have to do is eat it. I don't like taking the time to make the food I just want to eat it. That's another big reason I am excited to make a nice man cave in the basement of your house. There will always be food for me. 

Well I hope that I answered all your questions. If not I guess I will hear about it next week. Haha. Here is your weekly thought you have been waiting all week for. Beware its not that good.

Weekly thought
Well I don't want to get on mums bad side so I guess I will have to share something’s about the scripture that was ponderized this past week. As you know the scripture was 4 Nephi 1:11 which talks about marriage. Don't worry mum my views haven't changed. Even with what was said in conference. 

 ( I love causing you stress)  The scripture says. 
"And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them."
When I started to think about this scripture I started to compare the whole 4th Book of Nephi to today's world and the differences between the people at that time and the world now and also some similarities.  I want to list off a few of those differences. 
* All the people in the land were "converted unto the Lord". (4 Nephi 1:2)

* "They had all things common among them".  (4 Nephi 1:3) and along with that there were no -ites.  They were all one and equal to each other.  (4 Nephi 1:17)
* They witnessed many miracles by the disciples which would be because of their obedience to God. (4 Nephi 1:5)
* "There was no contention in the land because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people." (4 Nephi 1:15)

That is just a few things I picked out that is hard to find in the world today outside of the church. As I imagined what the people were like in the beginning of the book, I could see that they were the type of people who truly wanted to be like Christ and they wanted to follow His commandments. In verse 7 it says that "the Lord did prosper them exceedingly in the land." This shows that they did follow the commandments and they were blessed for their obedience to God.

This takes me to 4 Nephi 1:11.  I think a reason this verse was written was to show the importance of marriage and families and that the Lord blesses families. Not only are we commanded to have families, but we are commanded to raise our families in righteousness.  "God has established families to bring happiness to His children, allow them to learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and prepare them for eternal life." (PMG 32)

The Lord shows the importance of families when he visits the people in the Book of Mormon. He takes the little children and blesses them. Showing the importance of little children and how they need to be guided in the right ways. Children are best guided through life when they have parents that are married and follow the commandments of God. I believe the people of Nephi understood that "heaven is a continuation of the ideal home". (PMG 85)  And that we need to establish our families in the right way, which is marriage in the temple of the Lord which we know and need to follow today. 

Later in 4 Nephi the people start to fall away from Christ's church and what happened to the families? They did teach their children not to believe in Christ and the gospel that He taught. ( 4 Nephi 1: 38-39). Obviously tis hurts the family and it destroys the foundation that is builder on Christ, which is a sure foundation. The foundation is now built on sand and is now starting to crumble. As you see in the remaining part of the chapter the people start to harden their hearts and become prideful. There is hate and contention in the land which causes lots of problems among the people. 

We need to start now to prepare to be married in the temple to make this promises with God and to raise families in righteousness. If we are already married we need to continue to raise our families as we are taught by the Prophets and Apostles. There was great counsel given in this last conference in how to raise families in righteousness. We need to follow their counsel. We need to establish our homes and families on the foundation of Christ. I know that as we do so we will be blessed and protected just as it says in Helamen 5:12:

"when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men (and families) build they cannot fall."

Thanks for all you guys do and for your love and support. Keep being amazing!! Love you all!!
Elder Peterson