Monday, January 7, 2013

Letter #15

Hello! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

This is one of those times I wish my mission language was something other than English so I could say all those things in a different language :P

Anyway. My holiday season has been fantastic! The holidays are definitely MUCH different as a missionary. It was nice though to not have to focus on the hustle and bustle and get stressed out with the festivities. The work never stopped for us, and we just kept visiting and teaching people, even with their busy schedules. I'm actually excited that the holidays are over, since we've had a few people postpone meeting with us until after the new year and their schedules return to normal. So our teaching pool should fill up quite a bit this week.

Colleen is being a little difficult. She was supposed to get baptized this last Saturday, but isn't ready to make some of the changes we've asked her to make. She's also not sure about the Book of Mormon, and didn't like how it seemed that we were replacing the Bible with it. So we had a really good lesson with her about how we use the Bible and the Book of Mormon to support each other and prove to the world that both are the word of God. We already know she believes the Bible and accept it as holy scripture. So we're helping her to do the same with the Book of Mormon. It made me realized how sometimes in the Church, we ignore the Bible, and sometimes don't use and teach from it enough. We don't just need the Book of Mormon, just like the rest of Christianity doesn't need just the Bible. We all need them both, and equally, to know and understand God's plan for His children and of the gospel of Jesus Christ more fully.

Harley is doing really well, and is willing to read the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony of it. She's been coming to church the past few weeks and is really enjoying it. Every time we ask her how she liked church that week, her response is always, "Well, I really liked it. I'm just learning so much that I never really knew before."
Whenever I'm able to see others grow and progress as they learn in the gospel, my testimony grows. I realize that they're learning so much is because they feel the Spirit (although they don't always recognize it as such), and He is able to help them understand truth so they can know for themselves.

Krystle is doing way awesome! When the missionaries first started meeting the Edgard, she wanted nothing to do with all of this. Now that they are married and Edgard is baptized, their family is so much happier. And Krystle is actually wanting to take the steps towards baptism! She straight up asked Elder Willard and me if we could review all the lessons for her so she could make sure she understands it all. She's unsure of some things, but wants to give it all a shot and see if it's worth if for her. I'm so excited for her!

For about a couple months now, I have been reading the Bible all the way through, something I've never done before. I started in Matthew, since I wanted to learn about the life of Christ and have it correlate with my reading of Jesus the Christ. I'm almost done with John, and am SO excited to read of the ministry of the Apostles! Our Sunday School teacher here gave a couple of good pointers for reading the Bible. He said to never read an epistle in the New Testament without first turning to the Bible Dictionary and reading about it to understand why it was written, and then it will make so much more sense. The second tip he gave was to read the prophets in the Old Testament with the understanding that they all have the same message: Israel is wicked, will get scattered, Christ will come to save them, and in the last days they will be gathered again to receive their Lord. So I'm also really excited to read the Old Testament (although I've heard that Exodus-Deuteronomy is like the driest literature known to mankind). But we'll see :P I'm most excited to read Isaiah. The Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon is what everybody just seems to plow through just to get through it. But I think it's my favorite part now. It's never been so obvious than in the past month or so to me that we are definitely living in the time that he prophesied of, and it's so exciting! So it'll be fun to study the rest of His writings in the Bible.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and a great New Years! Thank you for all the love, support, and prayers.

Elder Petersen

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