Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Letter #70

Hey everyone!

Good week this week. It is really starting to heat up and the humidity
is back! But, ya know, we survive :) People live here for the winters,
not the summers haha.

We've been teaching virtually nonstop the past couple of weeks. So
many people so close to really starting to progress. But life seems to
get in the way all the time. I have had to quote Sister Reeves from
general conference several times the past few days, where she tells us
that living the gospel and establishing a Christ-focused home is the
exact thing that relieves stress and gives us strength, and we can
move forward knowing we are being led by the Spirit. When we have our
priorities in the right place, everything will work out like it's
supposed to, and we will actually enjoy life--like we're supposed to.
There is a great need for more faith in this world. Which brings me to
a story Dad shared with me this week of a girl in his Sunday School
class who missed church because she had to work on Saturday and do
school on Sunday. Yes, occasionally the ox gets in the mire on the
Sabbath. But if it happens every week, it's time to mend the fence
during the week so the ox stops getting where it ought not to be.
Sabbath observance is a true and eternal principle, and there are
blessings that each of us need and desire that will only come as a
result of living this commandment.

We went to a Manatee County parade on Saturday night. The Young Men in
the ward were having a fundraiser for camp this summer selling BBQ,
and missionaries ate free :) Best dog-gone pulled pork sandwich I have
EVER had. And it was a decently good finding opportunity for us as
well. It was pretty fun.

So this past month has been the Fort Lauderdale Temple open house.
It's out of our mission so we didn't get to go, but there were a lot
of people take their friends to see the temple. It's an exciting time
for Florida, the first temple to be built here in 20 years, the only
other one before that being in Orlando. We will be participating in
the dedication this coming Sunday via satellite, which I am very
excited about. Temple dedications are always very special.

Love you all so much! Have a great week!
Elder Petersen

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Letter #69

Hey everyone!

Well, I almost didn't write this week because it didn't feel like a week worth writing about. It was definitely a good week! But nothing really that special or exciting happened. It's just life as a missionary :) Which I feel like is boring to people who aren't missionaries haha

So we started teaching Caitlyn a couple weeks ago. She is dating a kid in the ward, Joseph. It's been a neat experience. Joseph wasn't really sure about a mission before, but since we started teaching he is wanting to go really bad, and Caitlyn is even encouraging him to go as well.

We taught a lady yesterday, who, well, isn't interested. Like at all. It's always hard when you teach people about the Restoration and then invite them to pray about if it's true. And they respond with something to the effect of "I have enough, I don't need anymore, I don't even want anymore, and so there is no way I'm going to ask God if there is more out there for me."

But we keep going, knowing that there is SOMEONE out there who knows there has to be more out there for them and that they want it. We aren't looking to convert everyone, as wonderful as that would be. We are just looking for those who are honestly seeking after truth. And if we are attentive to the Spirit, God will put them in our paths. And what a wonderful blessing that is!

Elder Petersen

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Letter #68

Hey everyone,

Sometimes, it's really hard being a missionary. I have yet to have
mashed potatoes thrown at me, but it is a hard thing to be called upon
to experience the painful part of discipleship: watching the world
ignore and reject the very things that would bring peace and solace
their lives. I watched again this week Elder Richard J. Maynes's talk
from April 2011, "Establishing a Christ-Centered Home." What a
wonderful address! In there he quotes a poem that talks about the lost
sheep, and how we call for them to come back because they often lead
the lambs astray. As I finished the Book of Mormon the past few days,
I can't help but reflect on what Mormon and Moroni must have felt as
they watched the destruction of their people and how hard they tried
to get them to repent and return to the Lord. But, as we were reminded
by Elder Andersen, the world will not glide calmly to the Second
Coming. But as we center our lives on Christ and make Him our sure
foundation we will have no reason to fear. The scriptures are a
tremendous source of strength.

Hope you all have a great week! Love ya!
Elder Petersen

P.S. Please share the story of Easter!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Letter #67

Dear family and friends,

To start, if you did not have time or take the time to watch General
Conference this weekend, please do so in the coming week. I don't care
if you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
or not. And if you are a member, I don't care about your level of
activity. These men that spoke this weekend are true prophets of God,
and the women that spoke are likewise called of God. And when they
speak, they speak the words of God, just as when Moses spoke to the
children of Israel. Their words should be heard and heeded. Only by
following the living prophets and apostles of Jesus Christ can we
learn of His gospel and how to navigate the challenges of life. Only
by following the living prophets can we find lasting inner peace. They
testify and prophecy of Christ and they lead us to Him. If there is
something in our lives that may seem unfair, study their words, and I
promise you that you will find your answer.

The work of the Lord continues to move forward in the Bradenton area.
Rhonda continues to progress in her study of the scriptures. She wants
so bad for it to be true, and she is finding her answers as she
studies and prays. She is working towards baptism the next couple of
weeks. We also started last week teaching Sam. He is the neighbor of a
member family. We were leaving an appointment with this family,
getting on our bikes, and Sam was checking his mail. He asked if we
were from a school and we told him we were missionaries. We talked
briefly with him about how we can know what truth really is. He has
just found his faith again and is looking for it. He is a very
intelligent kid and loves what we teach. The Lord blessed us so much
in finding this honest seeker of truth.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission. Especially
in the last few months, I have been learning so much. About myself,
about the gospel, about the atonement, and about families. If you find
yourself facing opposition, the best thing to do is to be thankful for
the opportunity to learn. Then seek the Spirit and let is teach. And
don't forget, we seek the Spirit through prayer, studying the writings
of the prophets, and through righteous living.

Hope you all have a great week! Love you all
Elder Petersen