Monday, August 19, 2013

Letter #43

Dear family and friends,

First off, transfer calls came in on Saturday. Elder Barry and I will both be staying in Venice, so my mailing address hasn't changed. I'm excited because this means I will be here for Pauline's baptism!

Last Monday for p-day, we went golfing. Like, real golf. First time I've ever been before, and I loved it! I'm terrible at it, which is to be expected. Elder Barry played in high school and so he kind of coached me along. He said I did decent for a first-timer. He also laughed at me any time I would swing and miss or hit the ground :P But I was also laughing, so we had a great time.

Lance told us this week that he's not really interested anymore. It was disappointing to hear, but we have to realize that he has to make the choice on his own.

Sean, the man we gave a blessing to last week, is progressing well. In fact, we've already taught him the first two lessons with him and have a date set for baptism with him. September 15th, which is the last Sunday of this transfer. It's soon, but he's absorbing so much and tells us over and over again that he's been on a search for the Lord and His truth. And he really feels like he's found it with us. He was unable to come to church yesterday though. He has a broken neck and woke up in a lot of pain. He was really disappointed that he couldn't make it.

We had another great referral from a member this week! Her name is Debbie. She's older and has lost a lot of family members in the past several years, and her interest was peaked by the idea of eternal families. When we met with her, her first impression was, "what can these two young kids teach me?" But as we talked with her, she felt the peace of the Spirit, and was very excited to come to church with us. And she did make it to church yesterday. She told us afterwards that she could feel the same peace, and she learned a lot that really motivated her to learn more and to make some changes in her life with her kids.

As I've been studying the New Testament again, I've gained a much greater appreciation for what it teaches us about the life and ministry of Christ and His Apostles. I just finished John this morning, and especially love the conversation that Christ has with Peter. I recently re-read Elder Holland's talk, "The First Great Commandment," and so this story has more personal relevance to me now. I also just read an article from the New Era about the 10 commandment. It explained each commandment, but I really liked what it had to say about the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." The article explains that "other gods" include anything that we put first in our lives before God. Sometimes we all get in those ruts of forgetting what's really important, and I've been finding myself in one of those ruts lately. And so, with a new transfer and a new opportunity to make some changes, I'm setting goals to make sure I put the Lord first in everything I do. At zone conference, President Cusick talked about our circle of influence. We can't control the actions and choices of others--as much as we want to sometimes--and so we need to focus on the things that we can control, our own actions and choices. And as we do that, slowly our circle of influence grows so that we can help other people improve their lives.

I think that's about it for this week. I love that I'm able to be on a mission right now and to serve the Lord. The things that I'm learning and the experiences I'm having help me to know just how mindful the Lord is of His children.

Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Petersen

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