Monday, June 3, 2013

Letter #32

Dear family and friends,
What a crazy past couple of weeks! Last Monday was Memorial Day so the library was closed and we were WAY to busy the rest of the week to do anything about it. The only thing that I remember right now from 2 weeks ago is that transfer calls came Saturday morning. Elder Leavitt got transferred to Lakeland to be a zone leader. And then President told me that I was to be in Tampa on Tuesday to pick up my trainee. That's right, I'm training! I was so excited when I got the news, I had been waiting for this opportunity for a while! And then when Tuesday morning came my nervousness way surpassed my excitement. But we're all good now :)
Elder Barry is from Orem, although his family only moved there less than a year ago. He's lived most of his life in NY and Illinois. I'm so glad that he and I get to serve together and that I have the oppurtunity to train him. It's definitely strengthened me in my missionary work, since I have to set the example for him. Our assignment to serve together was definitely inspired of God. We get along really well and are able to talk with each other pretty well. Training is definitely not easy. In fact, it's one of the most difficult and important assignments that a missionary can be given. I think the most wonderful part of being a trainer is helping your trainee learn about the enabling power of the Atonement to help them move past the little things in life that weigh us down and give us the strength to press forward and do the Lord's work. The next several weeks are going to be awesome.
Camille is coming along really well. She came to church yesterday for the first time and absolutely loved it! It was testimony meeting, and almost every testimony focused on the Restoration and how we were all right where we needed to be. The Spirit was very strong, and it helped to hit everything home for Camille. We only have a couple of more lessons for her and then she will be getting baptized on the 22nd of this month. We had to push it back because it was a little too soon and too fast for her. But she's still just as excited as when we first started teaching her. And the coolest thing is that she's excited to invite her friends and family that live here to her baptism.
Lance has been to church the past two Sundays. We weren't able to meet with him at all last week but we are going over tomorrow to finally teach him the first lesson and invite him to baptism. SO excited! It will be Elder Barry's first opportunity to really teach a first lesson and commit someone to baptism. It's pretty much what we're all about, and when we do it the right way, with the right intentions, the Spirit is so strong!
We haven't had a lot of teaching opportunites this week, but we're working hard with the ward. There's a lot of really good stuff that's going to happen though. We just got a new ward mission leader a few weeks ago, and he is a recent returned missionary. So he's super excited about the work and understands what all it entails. He's also really dedicated to working with the members to have us in their homes. It's great to have leaders in the ward who work just as hard as you do. Not much is going to happen immediately, but it's not too far off.
The stake president down here just moved into our ward and he was in ward council yesterday. After the missionary portion of the meeting and us stressing how much help we need from the ward, he had a few comments. He said that he had set apart 15 or so missionaries and the past few years and had at least that many to go in the coming months. But never, in any of these setting aparts, had he blessed them and set them apart to knock on doors. I think it really hit home the point to the ward leaders the importance of their role in this divine work.
Another really exciting thing! Our Elders quorum president's wife is not a member, and their son is on a mission in Chile. She has been coming to church every week ever since he left, and he gets home at the end of the summer, so she's been coming for at least a year and a half. Well, she has decided that she is getting baptized and that her son will be the one to do it when he gets home. SO exciting! She already knows everything and lives all the commandments, but we still need to teach her the lessons. And we're also going to probably make reading the Book of Mormon a big focus with her, since it's still a few months away and we should get through the lessons pretty quick.
So, that's what's been going on here in Venice. Summer is here. It's hot and very extremely uncomfortably humid. And we still are on bikes every other week. And with summer down here comes the rain. We've had a lot of rain the past several days. Thursday afternoon/evening it downpoured for like 3 or 4 hours, which is unusual. And then it did it again this morning. Rain here usually comes in the afternoon and lasts for only about an hour.
We're struggling finding new people to teach, and it's not like we have that many anyways. So that is our focus for the next couple of weeks, especially in helping members learn how to share the Gospel in simple ways and then invite their friends and family to meet the missionaries.
Hope all is going well wherever you may be. Love you all and so thankful for the prayers and support.
Elder Petersen

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