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