Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Letter home #1

Hello family and friends!

Well, today is my first preparation day, and I'm doing laundry right now. This place is crazy. So many people trying to get everything done before our time is up.

My first week in the Missionary Training Center has been amazing! On the first day we did some group teaching to investigators. The first couple were really hard because we had a hard time understanding their needs and understanding, as well as what they wanted out of life. But the third and last person we taught as a big group (like 40 new missionaries) was a man from Italy, whose wife had died several years ago, and they had a son who died at 2 days. It was an incredible experience to share with him my own personal testimony of eternal families and the plan of salvation.

Every minute of every day is planned out for us, and we're always doing something. Besides P-day and Sunday, we're in class for 6 hours, and tons of study time. We've spent a lot of time in class talking about our purpose of missionaries, which is to "invite others to Christ by inviting them to receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." It was pointed out to us that this is exactly in line with God's purpose (Moses 1:39), and that by fulfilling our purpose we help God fulfill His.

We have 3 investigators already, all role plays obviously, but they are all doing well. Our first is Semo. He's a huge Samoan guy who lives with his less active girlfriend. That's how we found him actually. He has a strong belief in God and Christ already, so we're working on showing him how the Book of Mormon and the gospel will bless him and bring him closer to God than he already is. Akiyo is a 17-year-old kid from Japan who, previous to meeting us, had no belief or understanding of God. So, for our first visit we taught him about the nature of God and then taught him how to pray. Hearing a child of God, who had no previous understanding, earnestly seek out his Father in Heaven in prayer is a touching thing, and it brought me to tears. Even though it was just my teacher acting as an investigator, the Spirit was so strong, and I understand now more fully the love that God has for all of His children, and his desire for all of them to return to Him.

Life here in the MTC is crazy. The first week is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. They give you so much information and revelation from the Spirit is almost nonstop. It's hard to remember everything that happened at the end of the day. Days pass like weeks, and weeks pass like days. Last night was the first time I got a decent night's sleep. I've just been exhausted all day every day, and the stress is ridiculous. But I also love it! :D

For those who are interested, I've seen Elders Day, Rasmussen, Lewis, Hawkes, and Collins so far. I also have seen my cousin Elder Jones a couple of times. It's so great to see friends who love this work and are devoted to it just as much as I am! Oh, and for those of you who are reading from the 111, someone find Chief and tell him that what he said to me about why I'll be a great missionary was absolutely right!

I need to get on with p-day stuff, but you all are more than welcome to write me a letter! While I'm here at the MTC you can use dearelder.com for free and they will deliver same day. I can only write letters on P-day though, so apologies if it takes me a while to respond.

I love you all so much and am grateful for your support in me serving a full-time mission. I know that this gospel is true, that Heavenly Father loves all His children and wants us to return to Him, and that if we study and pray about the Book of Mormon, we can come to love and understand Christ and all he did for us.

Elder Jarom Petersen

Elder Jarom Petersen, Elder Dallen Powers and Elder Chase Lewis
P-Day with guys from 2200 Merrill Hall, BYU

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