Monday, May 2, 2016

Letter #94

Dear Mum and Family,

Well I’m  now in Stourbridge which is in the Birmingham Stake which is the same stake as my very first area of Sheldon. I can't believe that I came into the mission and served in Birmingham Stake and now I will most likely be going home from the Birmingham stake. How crazy is that?

This is a great area though. The weather has been way crazy since I have gotten here. I left beautiful weather in Swansea and now we are experiencing everything from rain to sunshine to snow. The funny thing is that it really isn't cold which doesn't make sense while it is snowing. We have been wearing light jackets and have stayed really warm.  The weather is very interesting here in the UK. 

Elder Stephenson is my new companion and he is way cool. He has been out for 6 months now and is a fantastic missionary. He is from Colorado from a place called Grand Junction I believe it is. I could be wrong though. Haha. We get along so well though. We have quite a lot in common which is always nice in a companionship. We both have OCD so you can just imagine how nice our flat is. I will attach some pictures so you can see for yourself.  So yeah we are doing really well. 

The Stourbridge ward is crazy small. This Sunday I counted 30 total people at church and that is pretty much the ward. Not many people were out of town. It is definitely the smallest ward I have served in, but I really love it here. The members are so kind towards each other and missionaries so it's going to be a great couple transfers here. 

We have to do lots of tracking to find people in this area because the city centre is govern small and not the best place for finding. We had a really cool experience this past week tracking. We were going to visit a member and we went down a road that we thought would cut through to the street where the member lived. Well it didn't and while we were there we thought why not tract a few doors while we are here. 

So we knocked on the first door. A really nice guy answered and chatted for a short time on his step, but wasn't interested in meeting with us missionaries. So we went to the next door where another guy answered the door and invited us in. He has a lovely family and we were able to have a wonderful chat with them all for a little over an hour. They had so many questions that we were able to help them find answers to. It was a very great spiritual experience and we are so grateful for it. We are excited to hopefully see them again this next week. 

 I have a feeling that we are going to have some amazing experiences here in Stourbridge these next couple of months. It seems like a great area already with a lot of great potential. I am positive that we will have some great experience this coming week as well and if I remember them I will let you know. Most times the weeks go so fast that I forget about the experiences. Good thing I keep a journal though. Haha

Well I don't have much more to say to you guys. All is well. I hope you enjoy the thought I have for Mosiah 18:19. I am exited for the scripture this week. 

Weekly Thought 
I hope my thought isn't too long. I don't want you to fall asleep as you read it. 

As I have been thinking of this scripture in Mosiah 18:19 I have learned a lot about our responsibility as members. In this chapter Alma the eldest has been preaching to people about Jesus Christ and baptizing them after they have repented and have had that desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ. 
After he baptized them he called different priests to go around and to teach the people and to continue strengthening their testimonies. Thinking about that I linked it to Home and Visiting Teaching specifically, but really all callings in the church require us to help others in many ways. 
Different callings and responsibilities are to help everyone to strengthen their testimony of the gospel. Mosiah 18:19  talks about how the priests who were ordained to teach the things that the prophets have spell about. Isn't it interesting that we go over the first presidency message every time we visit someone we are assigned. That's why I think it goes well with home and visiting teaching. 
As I thought more about this scripture another scripture came to my mind. Moroni 7:8. Part of it says
"... If a man … giveth a gift … grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God."
I thought of this scripture and related it to not only how we fulfill our callings, but why we fulfill our callings. The why is so important because God knows our thoughts and our intents so it is so important that we do things in the church with the right intent. 
A Stake President once told me that there are 3 main reasons why we fulfill our callings in the church. 
1. We serve out of Fear
- Fear that we have to report to someone and be accountable. Fear that we will be judged for what we did or didn't do. And many different reasons. 
2. We serve out of sense of duty
- We do it because we know it's what we need to be doing. We know we have been called to do that responsibility for a reason and we know we are suppose to fulfill that calling. 
3. We serve because of love
- We do it because we truly love those whom we serve and want to help them in anyway possible. We also truly love the Lord and want to follow His example of service and we want to "serve our fellow beings" (Mosiah 2:17)
If we are to serve out of fear and/or duty we are still performing our responsibilities. We are doing the things that we are suppose to be doing. But when we serve out of love we are able to do what Mosiah 18:19 says more effectively. We are better able to help others more spiritually and physically. 
This is one of my favorite quotes.  
" People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
When we serve others because of charity we will be able to bless so many lives. Others will see that we care for them and want to help them. We will be able to enjoy the work and the callings that we are asked to do from the Lord. We will be able to feel the joy spoken of in D&C 18 when we help bring others unto Christ. 

I am grateful for the wonderful scripture that Caden had picked this last week to ponder about. There is always so much to share and I never have enough time to share it all with you. I am excited for the scripture this week. I hope you all are as excited as I am. 
Have an amazing week!!
Elder Peterson

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