Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Letter #37

Dear family and friends,
I cannot believe how fast time is going! This past Friday was 10 months. Already?! No way! It just keeps me motivated to work hard and effectively every day to make sure I'm not wasting the Lord's time.
This past week went really well. In fact, we taught more lessons last week than any other week this past transfer. Pauline is doing really well. We went over to teach her lesson 4, the commandments, and as we were preparing the lesson, we realized that she already knew it all. But we still had a really good discussion about obedience, prayer, and studying the scriptures.
All of our other lessons last week were with members. And that's exactly what we want. We're really getting the ball rolling with the bishopric and ward council to have members take the missionary lessons. And the members love it too! Most of them really don't have a strong foundation in the gospel, and so the lessons help them to gain a clearer understanding of gospel principles, particularly the atonement and repentance. And in turn, we're already starting to get so many more referrals than we've ever gotten before! The members are excited and they are starting to get the courage to share the gospel with other people in their lives.
Transfer calls were this past Saturday. Elder Barry and I will both be staying in Venice. We knew that was going to happen since we're still in the process of training. But, our area just doubled in size. We had previously been sharing the ward with a companionship of sisters. We covered the northern half of the ward, they covered the southern half. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough going on with the work in their area to justify keeping it open. So they closed their area today, and they are being transferred to a neighboring ward that really actually needs a second set of missionaries. So, Elder Barry and I are a little overwhelmed with the new area now. It'll be good because we are going to be so busy now, but this ward is so BIG in terms of physical area, and it's kind of daunting. It's going to be good though, because there are some changes being made in the ward with regards to missionary work, so we're going to have a lot of support from the leaders and ward missionaries to make sure everything gets taken care of and that no one gets forgotten or left behind. Because that's my biggest worry is that we will get too busy and start to forget about people.
We met President and Sister Cusick on Friday. They are incredible! Very, very different from the Summerhays's. President Summerhays was very informal and laid-back. President Cusick was a corporate executive before coming to the mission. He's really young, only 49. I'm really excited for interviews coming up so we can actually get to know each other. He announced some other big changes that happened world-wide that we didn't know about. The dress code for missionaries has changed a little bit. Backpacks are no longer allowed, so I had to go out and buy a messanger bag. And we are now allowed to wear light-colored slacks, and yes, that includes khakis. It's really cool actually.
So, I know that this is coming on Tuesday instead of Monday. Yesterday was a crazy fun P-day! Our ward mission leader, who's only 23, works at a marina on an island called Boca Grande. It's a really, really, really nice island and houses there start at a couple million. It's a fun tourist place as well, with some fun shops and good places to eat and come nice sights. But, I forgot my camera. Well, yesterday was his day off, so he rented a couple of golf carts from his work and took us out for the day. But we had to start earlier in the morning before it got too hot, so we didn't get to do much of anything else yesterday.
Well, I think that's about if for this week. It's just such a blessing to be out here, to be a part of the Lord's work, and to see the miracles that He performs for those who have faith in Him. I love reading the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. I'm almost done with it for the 3rd time on my mission, and it's incredible how much I learn and am reminded of each time I read it.
Hope you all have a wonderful week!
Elder Petersen

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