Monday, December 17, 2012

Letter #14

Hey everyone!

Well, to start off, Elder Willard and I will both be staying here in Highlands! Thank goodness! So, this transfer is the beginning of growing from the recent age change for missionaries. Several new areas around the mission are opening and our zone is splitting. This transfer will bring in 5 new companionships and the next several transfers will bring even more than that.

We had a mission-wide Christmas conference this past week, and it was really good! I love the Christmas season, and I especially love Christmas music! At the conference we had a Christmas program where excerpts from Elder McConkie's "The Mortal Messiah" were shared. He talked about the wise men, and though we don't know who they were, they still play a vital part in our Christmas traditions with the importance of giving gifts. I love the Christmas story from the Book of Mormon. Nephi is worried about his people because those who believe will soon be killed for believing in the coming of Christ and the prophecies about His birth. 
12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. 14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given. 15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
How wonderful and comforting that is! I've also spent some time watching videos on, and there are a lot of really awesome ones on there, especially sharing Christmas messages. You can watch some of them here:
My favorite videos on there are "The Coat" and "Kids and Christmas." I really like what President Monson said in his Christmas address about the Christmas Spirit. It's just another name for the Spirit and Light of Christ that we feel when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Have a wonderful Christmas season this year and the time with family and loved ones! Love you all!

Elder Petersen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letter #13

Hello and good day!

This has been a pretty good week. We set a baptism date with Colleen! She says that stopping smoking would be easy, but giving up coffee will be her biggest challenge. We had a really good lesson with her last night though about making sacrifices and leaning on the Lord for support. She's supposed to get baptized the 29th of this month but we may push it back a couple weeks depending on how she's feeling with everything.

We had a mission-wide conference call on Thursday discussing some of the changes that will be happening in the mission as a result of the age change. President said that we will be possibly opening up 3 new areas in the next transfer, which is next week, and more areas with each transfer through the spring. There's going to be a dramatic increase in the need for more trainers and more missionaries will be training sooner in their mission than normal. Needless to say, I'm really hoping that I won't have to train this next transfer, because I am NOT ready for it! And, Elder Willard and I are starting to really figure out how to work together and get things done effectively. But I like something Joseph Smith once said. "The Lord calls us in our weakness, but He qualifies us for His work." I've been thinking about that a lot lately, that if He needs me to do something then He will help me do it. And most likely, I've already been gotten ready for the assignment without even knowing it. But we'll see. I'm hoping that we both just stay here for at least another transfer.

Last night we started teaching Ron and Darcy. They're an older couple that live in our neighborhood that we met while knocking doors last week. We had given them a Joy to the World DVD and we went back last night to talk about it and answer any questions. We talked about The Book of Mormon pretty much the whole time, just answering questions and reading the introduction, etc. We'll be going over again on Thursday to teach the full 1st lesson to them. I've noticed as I've been out here that The Book of Mormon doesn't make sense to anyone if they don't first understand prophets, the Great Apostasy, and the Restoration. But, they're willing to read some of it and keep learning about the Church.

My list of interesting responses I get when I knock on someone's door is growing. "Are you Jehovah's Witnesses?!" "No ma'am." "What are you?!" "We're missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." "Mormons?! Just as bad, with the knocking on people's doors!" I do have to say, I'm getting kind of sick of people telling us "We're not interested, but we sure are sorry that Romney didn't win." We seriously get that at least 5 times a week. But, as has been told us many times by President Summerhays, we aren't out to convert the whole world. We're here to gather Israel and the elect of God. And that has always been a minority in this world.

Have a great week and enjoy your Christmas season!

Elder Petersen

Monday, December 3, 2012

Letter #12

Well, another week over. And what a week it was! Monday night on our way to our last appointment of the day I got in a bike accident. We were riding down a hill really fast on the sidewalk and at the bottom was a drainage ditch. Well I didn't see the sidewalk go to the left and over the bridge and I went straight into the muddy ditch. I hit my head pretty good, but came out with just a scratch. And my bike came out just fine, which is such a blessing, because we didn't have the car this week. But I was just really sore and tired all week because of it.

This was kind of a rough week. I don't feel like we got anything done, and it seemed like the whole world was working against us. But yesterday was wonderful! Well, Edgar and Krystle got married on Saturday, and then Edgar got baptized Sunday after church. Both were wonderful events to go to. Edgar's dad came down from NY to baptize him, which was really neat to see. 

Sunday night was the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. It was SUCH a wonderful way to start off my Christmas season! If you didn't have a chance to watch it Sunday night, get on and watch it RIGHT NOW! Also, before we left, Elder Willard and I went knocking on some doors in our neighborhood while waiting for our ride. What an interesting experience that was. One old lady told us that she was a practicing, active Christian and was not interested in hearing a message about Jesus Christ. It's a common response here, and it will never cease to baffle me. We also knocked on a door where an old man yelled through the door without opening it that it was Sunday evening and there was no soliciting. Have a good evening, sir. But, we were definitely there in that neighborhood for a reason because we met Darcy and Ron, an older couple (it must have been a retirement apartment complex?) who's door was open and invited us right in before we even started talking. We gave them a Joy to the World DVD, which is a movie about the birth of Christ. Darcy was reading her Bible so we talked just briefly about it. And then we knelt and offered a blessing on the home. They told us we don't need to come back because they already feel so blessed, but were willing to let us come back and teach them anyway. I have a feeling that, either with them or someone we already know, or with someone we will meet this week, something big and awesome is going to happen! We have set a goal as a mission for each companionship to have one baptism and confirmation in the month of December as a gift to our Savior in celebration of His birth. And it's going to happen! I just started reading in 2 Nephi in the chapters that are quoted from Isaiah. Everything that he prophesied has or is happening, or will shortly happen! Like Nephi said, one of the easiest ways to understand Isaiah is to live in the time of the fulfillment. And WOW! The last days are here and the Lord is gathering his people Israel! And what a blessing it is to be a part of such a work!

So, quick funny story for the week. I almost got yelled at by some ladies, one of which was the Relief Society president, in the ward because of my ignorance towards Southern ways. Apparently, mashed potatoes and gravy don't go with smoked turkey? But cheesy potatoes do? Not that I don't love cheesy potatoes, but still. How can anyone say no to mashed potatoes and gravy? They go with everything! Anyway, apparently it made all the sense in the world to them when one asked where I was born and I said Missouri. "Ah, the show-me state!" "Yup! And I LOVE it!" Geez haha!

Alright. Have a wonderful week everyone! Thank you for the love, letters, and prayers.

Elder Petersen

Aftermath of my bike accident


 Yes, Elder Willard wore brown cowboy boots with his black suit to Edgar and Krystle's wedding

 Elder Whaley, Elder Langi, Elder Willard, and me after the wedding

 I left my camera sitting around and Elder Langi found it. :)

 The missionaries with the new couple and their friend/neighbor Colleen, who we are also teaching.