Monday, September 30, 2013

Letter #49

Dear family and friends,

What a week it's been! The past couple of weeks I've learned and grown so much. My appreciation for the scriptures expands every day. I just finished studying the New Testament again this morning. I love the first epistles of Peter and John. I learned so much from them about how to be a missionary and how to seek out the light of God and His love, and then how to share that with others.

Zone conference with Elder Teh was incredible! I don't know how to explain everything I learned from that meeting. I guess the best way to wrap it all up is that my testimony of this work is impenetrable! He talked a lot about how we were trained in the MTC to perform at a high standard of excellence and how we need to rise back up that level of performance to hasten the work.

The Acosta family, one of the families we are teaching, are doing so great! We had a couple of really good lessons with them this week. Really, they are our only progressing investigators, and so it's so great to go over there because they are so anxious to learn. We're still only on the 1st lesson with them, but they love the Book of Mormon and reading from it every day. One of the times we went over, we had a really good talk about focusing on how we feel when we read rather than understanding the story line. The mom of the family especially identified with this, as she recognizes that this book is leading her down a different, much better path. They face a lot of struggles as a family and love the peace and comfort we bring with us into their home. I love bringing the gospel to people and seeing the change it brings into their lives. The atonement brings so much hope into our lives, and it's the only way our lives can improve, so why wouldn't we share it with others and find joy as we watch it change their lives?

Well, I think that's about it for this week. Love you all!
Elder Petersen

PS Just to make sure you all get it, I forgot to include my mailing address last week

921 E Main St
Haines City, FL 33844 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Letter #48

Dear family and friends,

Well, I'm back in Polk County!  I got transferred from Venice to the Lake Hamilton area. I'm literally on the eastern border of the mission. It's weird to be back in this part of the state. But good. We had stake conference this weekend, so I got to see a ton of people that I know from the Highlands Ward, which was really good.

I'm excited for the coming weeks. We have a lot of work to be done here in the Lake Hamilton ward. There's not a lot happening here with the work, so there's a lot of potential work just waiting for us to find it and do it!

We have zone conference this week. Elder Teh from the First Quorum of the Seventy will be here to train us. I'm really excited to hear what he has to say and everything I will learn to help me in my work.

My top learning experience this week was with a member as we were going to stake conference. We talked about the atonement the whole time. He made a really good point that has stuck with me and affected how I listened to the talks in conference and what I look for as I study each morning. He mentioned something that President Packer said once, that as we teach a principle of the gospel, unless we tie it back into the Atonement of Christ, then it's pointless to talk about and there's no real power in it. Because the atonement is central to the entire gospel. Without the atonement there is no gospel, there is no plan of salvation, there are no eternal families. And none of us can make improvement or change in our lives without the enabling power of the atonement.  It's what brings us hope in this life and joy in the life to come.

Love you all, hope you have a great week.
Elder Petersen
Well, I forgot to include my mailing address

921 E Main St
Haines City, FL 33844 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Letter #47

Dear family and friends,
Well, transfer calls came Saturday morning. After 5 months, I will be leaving Venice. It's bitter-sweet for sure. Getting transferred is always hard, especially when you love the people so much. I have learned so much in this area about Christ-like charity and love, how we can love people unconditionally, but still be upset and disappointed when they make wrong choices. The disappointment comes because the wrong choice hurts that person, and since we love them so much, it hurts us to see them hurt. But the other side of the coin is how much we rejoice with that person when they make the right choices and are happy. Venice and the people here will always have a place in my heart.
I don't know where I'm being transferred, so I don't have an address for ya'll yet. I will find out tomorrow when we go to Tampa for the transfer meeting. There I will receive my new assignment and find out who my new companion is. I'll let you know next week when I email again. As much as I love Venice, I'm excited to transfer, especially with all the new changes happening in the mission with where we're putting our focus on. I need a new group of members and less-actives to work with haha. I'm really looking forward to all the wonderful people I will meet and all the experiences the Lord has prepared for me in my new area with a new companion. As President Summerhays would say, "It's a beautiful thing."
I could not have asked for a better last week in Venice! It was a week of true miracles and tender mercies. Our teaching pool increased exponentially in the last week and a half. And most of the new people we're teaching are solid new investigators. The most rewarding thing on this earth is to teach someone the gospel and then watch in awe as the Spirit speaks to them and the light comes on in their eyes. The events of this week have caused me to deeply reflect on the hand of the Lord in my life. There is no doubt in my mind or my heart that my Heavenly Father loves me. And while blessings are dependent on our obedience, they first and forever come to us simply because He loves us. And because He loves us, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. The Savior's Atonement is real. It cleanses us from sin. It heals the wounded soul and binds the broken heart. And one day, we will all rise from the grave with perfect, immortal bodies. "O how great the plan of our God!"
I love you all. Have a wonderful week!
Elder Petersen
P.S. As promised, I've attached some pictures from Pauline's baptism. Finally! :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Letter #46

Dear family and friends,
This is the last week of the transfer, so please hold mail until further notice.
This week has been incredibly busy! We went on two exchanges, which always throws the schedule off. But they were very good, productive exchanges. I love being the district leader and being in a position to help my missionaries reach their potential as servants of the Lord.
We've had some miracles with less-active members. We had one family that just started coming back to church if we would come over every week and have family home evening with them to help them get back into all their good habits as we teach the lesson. Um, yeah! We can do that! We were also just made aware of a new rescue effort coming straight from the First Presidency to help the individual units keep updated member records. That is going to be our only focus for the next 3 months. We're all very excited about that, since it will for sure keep us busy and help us find a lot more people to teach.
Well, my time on the computer is almost up so I need to get going. Love you all!
Elder Petersen

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Letter #45

Dear family and friends,

Firstly, I'm going to refer to him as Peanut Meehan for the next week, because that's all I know about him :)

Secondly. Pauline's baptism was so wonderful. And not only because Elder Barry and I got to go into the Gulf to be the witnesses. I've never met anyone as prepared to receive the covenant as Pauline was. She truly had humbled herself and repented so that she could be numbered among Christ's people. I've come to really love this family, and to see Joe come home from his mission and baptize his mom right after he got home was so incredible. And then her husband confirmed her on Sunday in church. It was a Spirit-filled weekend for everyone who was involved. I forgot my camera this week, so pictures will be coming next week.

Well, that was pretty much the highlight of the week, so much so in fact that I can't think of what else happened this week. All I know is that it was a good week and miracles are happening every day in the Venice ward.

Love you all!
Elder Petersen