Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Gospel Principles of Action - February 18, 2017

Hello Everyone, Wow this week was so amazing. We continue to have and see so many miracles in our area and throughout the mission. This week we continued our really busy schedule of doing splits with the missionaries who are struggling. It was actually a week that pushed me to be a lot more that the Lord needs right now. This week we went on splits with a lot of younger Elders here in the mission but they were all so humble and they were literally taking in everything that they could. I was able to see what these Elders expected of themselves and they just kept asking me what the best way to do these things were. It really humbled me to see the willingness that they had to learn even though they have been in hard circumstances. It makes me grateful that we have those circumstances to help us to learn and grow and be who the Lord would have us be. On Monday after we finished all of our weekly reports we got a call from the Nochixtlan zone leaders that we needed to go up and help two Elders in a small town called Tenango. One of them happened to be Elder Martinez, the one that I trained in Juchitan. Anyways so we cancelled everything that we had and left right away to get up there before 9. On Tuesday I had the chance to work with them and it really taught me the importance of obedience so that we can obtain that light that we need. We talked about with them that they really are a light to this small town, and that many people were depending on them to be disciples of Christ. It was a fun experience because Tenango is a small town of about 500 people, and outside of that there are smaller towns of about 200 people. We went to a town called Correo and we were able to find and teach a mom and her son. The son is battling with cancer and the mom said that she wanted to know why it was happening. I dont know why some people go through greater trials than others, but we were able to teach that it was a sign that God was still watching out for her and her family, and that he was aware of her needs. We taught that through this trial she could experience the blessing of Heavenly Joy that only comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a powerful lesson. On Wednesday we were able to head back to our area and continue on with our work there. We are seeing so many miracles there and are working as hard as we can wherever we are. I know that Heavenly Father truly blessed us for our sacrifice to go and help these missionaries out, because when we got back we went and visited Maria and her family again. We taught them once again about the Restauration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. Her whole family accepted it and they all testified of the truthfulness of it that they had felt in their hearts. On Friday we were able to go back and teach them about the Word of Wisdom. We were worried that they were going to have a problem with it with the coffee part. While we were teaching it we taught about how the Word of Wisdom was a principle of action to change our habits to be able to repent and be baptized. Maria said that she was willing to follow it even before we started teaching what we could and could not partake of. So we taught the commandment and when we finished she said that she was willing to live it because she needed the blessings that come from it. Her faith is so big and is a testimony to me that God continues to work miracles on this earth. We have hardly done anything with her, simply taught her the restored truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and she has gained a testimony along with her family to know that this is true. We are so excited because this Saturday her and her 2 kids have made the decision to be baptized and are literally counting down the days until they can be baptized. I am so thankful for this experience that we have had to see the changes that they have made in their lives. Yesterday I had the chance to do splits with Elder Perez from Chihuahua Mexico. After asking me how much time we get to work in our area and seeing Maria and her family he asked me how we did it. Something that I still remember from the transmission that we had about a month ago is that Elder Bednar taught us that the Gospel is a principle of action. He taught that faith is action, and doubt is inaction. Faith is the principle that leads us to repent and follow the commandments of God to be able to return to his presence, doubt is when we do nothing. Elder Caballero and I have really applied this to our lessons. We have learned that these lessons are not simply us teaching someone to gain more understanding, but it is teaching them and inviting these people to act! We have taught the basic principles and Heavenly Father has helped these people to repent and act so that they could see the divine potential that they truly have in this plan. I am so thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that invites all of us to continually repent so that we may have the strengthening power of Christ and his atonement in our lives. Something that I learned this week is something that the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, that we have been called to teach repentance and invite all to repent. I am thankful that we were able to learn this principle this week.
With Elder Martinez and Elder Siufuentes in Tenango
Valentines Day in the offices (Thanks to Sister Madsen)
"Dont you just want to feel a taste of the glory" -Nacho Libre Yes we found the Nacho Libre alleyway today
Correo Oaxaca

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Doing the Work - February 11, 2017

Hey Everyone! Well this week was an excellent week once again. We were able to participate in our own zone conference in Monte Alban and able to learn for ourselves. But the other part that has been crazy about this week is the splits that we have been doing with everyone. Elder Caballero and I were talking this week about what we need to do to continue to help the mission. I love Elder Caballero because we hardly ever talk about anything other than missionary work, and it has helped us to recieve guidance more fully in these past few weeks. While we were talking we really felt like we were here another change because there was something unfinished we needed to be doing or teaching the missionaries. We decided to analize who the missionaries were that we felt needed a boost more than anything in their areas and to be able to go help them so that they were able to more fully learn and grow as missionaries. So we put a rigorous schedule for the next few weeks to do splits nearly every day. There will only be 3 days that I will be able to work with Elder Caballero because he or I will be in a different area according to the needs that those missionaries have. This week we started that after the zone conference and it was hard. I realized that 5 changes in Casa Blanca has me feeling like I am at home and it was hard to have to be going to a different area each day. In each area there were very few investigators to teach so we knocked and knocked on doors trying to find people. The Lord really blessed our efforts in all that we did. We were able to find several new investigators in each area and I think I was able to learn a lot more than I was able to teach. So here is a resume of the week that we had. On Tuesday we were able to go and do splits with Elder Mares from Guatemala and Elder Jimenez from Mexico. I was with Elder Mares in his own area and he pushed me so hard. He has only been here in the mission for 8 weeks and I have never seen a new missionary work so hard. At the end of the night we were both exhausted yet he was so willing to still serve everyone that he could. It was an amazing example of humility in the service of the Lord and he helped me to learn that it was something that I needed to apply. We didnt teach the most lessons but we were sure at the end that we gave it our all and that there was a potential there in that area. On Wednesday we had our Zone Conference, I know that I talked about it last week so I wont spend a lot of time with that, but afterwards I had the chance to go to Casa Blanca with Elder Sosa. We havent been in our area for so long that I found ourselves in the same situation. Very few investigators to teach. So we began looking and the Lord literally prepared people for us to teach. We would literally be walking in the street and people would come out and tell us to come in and teach them a lesson. It was a really neat experience to have. At the end of the night we were able to go visit Maria and her family. It is hard because they are progressing so good yet her landlord wont let us come in. She has to sneak us in sometimes or we need to ask for permission to get in. So Maria is trying to find a different house where we can keep teaching her. But her testimony is growing so strong along with her family and I love seeing the progress that they are making. On Thursday and Friday we did splits with Elder Orrock from Highland and Elder Seanez from Ciudad Juarez. The same thing happened, we ended up contacting for the whole time in their area and it was a huge test of patience and love for the people there. But Elder Orrock helped me to learn that lesson and in the end I feel as if I am coming and trying to be more like our Savior. It is something that we have been stressing here in the mission. To apply the gospel to our lives rather than just teaching it, trying to be like Christ rather than just explaining it. I feel like all of our studies have been focused on being able more than anything to take the Sacrament each week and make it the priority of our week. It is the way that we recieve the Holy Ghost, who can strengthen us and help us to recieve our Heavenly Fathers love. I know that it is something that we all need, and when we make the sacrament the priority of our week then we realize that the Holy Ghost is also working constantly for us to recieve these blessings. This is what our mission is focusing on and I have felt the Holy Ghost in my life and in my testimony. He has strengthened me in this hard schedule, and helped me to go on when I have been emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. I know that comes from the Sacrament and I invite all of you to make each day a preparation for the sacrament this week. It will bless you. I know this work is true and I am more than grateful to be here. These are pictures of our adventure to Tiotitlan, a place that makes handmade rugs and fabrics. Here is what we found!!

Traveling....Again! February 4, 2017

Hello Everyone! Well yes, this week was our week once again to travel to the Istmo down to Juchitan and Salina Cruz to do our training meetings that we do each change. It has become somewhat of a routine now yet it is still fun to be able to do it and see all of the missionaries. This week we got to see every missionary down there and it was fun to see the progress that is going on. It was also fun to be able to be with President and Sister Madsen each day and to be able to learn about them even more and learn from them and their examples. On Monday we drove down to Salina Cruz, I dont know what is happening but for the first time on that curvy highway we had to stop so that I could get the carsickness out of me. It was weird because I have always grown up on the Peterson Pony Express where on trips we didnt stop for anything, so stopping was a first. I think these highways down here are finally taking a toll on me, I dont know how President and Sister Madsen do it but those roads are crazy, it feels like a 5 hour roller coaster but in the end we made it down without anything happening. On Tuesday we got the chance to train the new missionaries that were assigned down there in the Istmo. It was fun to see their progress and just how prepared they all were before coming out on the mission. Right after we got done training them we went out on splits with the Zone Leaders in Salina Cruz, I had the chance to go with Elder Henrie from Pleasant Grove. We worked hard and we were able to see the fruits that they are harvesting in their labors there. On Wednesday morning we were able to drive over to Juchitan which is about an hour away from Salina Cruz, as we attended the Leadership Council there. It was a lot better this time because President Madsen had his voice back and was able to direct the council. We talked about the new schedule and we were able to put it into action, now we will be getting up at 7 in the morning instead of 6:30 and we will be going out to work at 10 instead of 11, and doing our language and companionship study during the day when we dont have lessons instead of cramming them all into the morning schedule before we leave. We are all pretty excited for the extra hour of sleep that we will be getting and it will help my companion and I too to be able to sleep a lot earlier now instead of really late. The general authorities are really trying to teach us the principle of agency here, helping us to learn how to use our time wisely instead of being forced into a rigorous schedule. I know that these changes will prepare us for the life after the mission now. After the council I went out on splits with Elder Ringle from Logan. It was fun to work with him and I was able to learn a lot from him about how to love the people more than anything. The next morning we went to the Multi-Zone Conference there in Juchitan. President Madsen talked about the obedience, it was powerful and it was something that all of us needed. It has been one of the hardest things to see disobedient missionaries here and I know that it has been harder for President. He taught us the importance to be obedient and he lead me to find and study Doctrine and Covenants 93 and find these two verses that talk about obedience to the commandments of God. 28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things. 39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. This was such a powerful training that he did with us. In the end our obedience determines the glory that we can recieve. The Book of Mormon teaches that the more we keep the commandments of God, the more we can be blessed and prosper in our lives. This is even more important to this missionary work. Because we are always looking and needing Light and Truth, and if we arent obedient then it is taken away by Satan!! President Madsen went on to teach us that more than anything, our obedience should not be out of fear to loosing these blessings, but it should be out of our love for the Savior. It is something that I am trying to learn and trying to improve on so that I can share this love with other people that need it. Now, our week wasnt all just traveling and trainings, but on Sunday night before we went home we were able to finally find Maria, and with her was her daughter Natalie. Anyways we found out that Maria was having a hard time letting us in because the landlord didnt like us coming in through her yard. So we invited Maria to come to the church so that we could teach her. Her daughter tagged along too. Maria has a trouble with reading and it has been hard to be able to teach her, yet she has been so faithful in reading the pamphlets that we give her. When we got there she asked us "What is Revelation?" We started our lesson with that and in the end we somehow ended up on the topic of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. (I know it was through the guidance of the Holy Ghost that we were able to do it though) This whole time Natalie had been quiet and reading in the Bible and when we asked if they wanted to recieve this gift Maria said that she needed it! So we asked if they would be baptized and they both said yes. We asked Natalie to say the closing prayer and her prayer was the most powerful that I have heard. She thanked Heavenly Father for providing her the way in which she could correct her life and get back on the track where she knew that she needed to be. It was hard to leave them for a week but tonight we are going to go back and teach them again. We know that Heavenly Father has been protecting them and we know that they are ready and prepared by Him as well. I know that Heavenly Father is our literal Father in Heaven, and that he is always watching us and preparing the way before us to be able to succeed gloriously.
Dinner with Elder Henrie and Elder Castro in Salina Cruz
Splits with Elder Thomas and Elder Garcia in Juchitan
We found a member in Juchitan who works construction and has his own company. In his construction he has dug up thousands of artifacts, anyways here is a few that he has at his house. He calls it his Lamanite Museum because all of this stuff dates back to their time!!

Another Week of Changes Again - January 28, 2017

Hello Everyone, Wow I cant believe that I just finished my 5th week of changes here in the offices. It was a crazy week once again of trying to get everyone organized and everything to work smoothly. Thankfully this time we didnt have to go to the bus station at 2 in the morning or there werent any road blocks so everything worked out great. So anyways on Monday we were able to receive the new missionaries here, there were 8 of them and 3 of them came from the United States. On Monday we did the normal routine of training them and giving them their orientation on the mission. But we did something on Monday night that we had never done before, we decided to take them out contacting for a few hours and make sure that they knew what they were getting into. We took them to one of the hardest areas of the city here and we started to contact, and these guys were awesome!! They are so prepared and it brought such a peace to me that everything was going to work out this change because they had come prepared and ready to serve the Lord. They were so positive and were participating with their broken Spanish and truly they are a huge blessing to the mission. On Tuesday we took them to the bus station and sent them off to the Itsmo and the Coast. Then afterwards we had to go and move all of the furniture out of the houses that got closed this last change. When Elder Moore and I got back from doing that, my companion and Elder Vasquez had been working on the things here in the office. Elder Vasquez had a lot to do and so Elder Moore and I went out and worked in his area for the night. We were able to meet some great people and it was a great opportunity to see some of the work that is going on under the zone leaders. We were both able to learn a lot of things that we need to apply and things that we need to work on and improve and it was great to be able to have those few hours to work with him. On Wednesday we said goodbye to the group of missionaries that finished their missions. Most of them had been my companions or had been in my districts so it was really hard to see them go. But they all have plans to go to BYU in the fall so I know that I will be able to see them there. But they were all great examples to me in everything and helped me to grow as a missionary. The part that really hit me was that they are the last group of missionaries that are American to leave until my group goes home in July. We are officially the oldest Americans in the mission now!! After we went to the airport early that morning at 4, we came back to the office and took a 1 hour nap to prepare for the special broadcast that we were going to have. Last year at this time we had one about teaching the power of repentance where we watched the General Authorities talk about ways and the importance of why we need to do it. This year it was a lot different. The General Authorities are so aware of our needs because they basically put up a camera in their board room for the missionary department and the Head of the Missionary department asked them the questions that had surfaced for this past year. And they just sat there answering the questions right there on the spot and building off of each other. I found that as it went on, I had at some point asked those same questions and I was dealing with a few at this time as well. One really hit me hard and impacted me. Elder Bednar was asked a question, I dont remember what it was but I am going to summarize his answer. I know that his answers were directly meant for me. He began by sharing a scripture in Alma 26:22 which says, 22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance. He stressed the importance of the word "giveth" in this scripture. Notice here that after we do all that we do, the Lord will give unto us that which is best for us. He said that success as a missionary comes when the missionary stops worrying and thinking about his success. He said that is comes when we are willing to do all that we can do regardless if we are given more or less than another missionary. He said that success is when we stop looking to be approved or applauded and look to get out of the way of the Holy Ghost. He told us that we need to be as good as we can be, and afterwards we will be magnified. And last, that "Fear is inaction, Faith is the principle of action" It all sounds so simple but it is what I needed to hear specifically and I know that the prophets and apostles are inspired of God. After the transmission we finally got to go to our area after about 5 days of not being there. It was hard. When we got there we immediately got out and started looking for those investigators that we had had before and we couldn't find any of them. So we started contacting and we contacted until we got home, not finding one single person that we could go back and teach. It was so humbling because it made me think to myself what do I lack to be able to recieve the blessing that I need from Heavenly Father, for him to give it unto us. On Thursday we had our training meeting for the new missionaries here in the city. It went great once again and we were able to make sure that they had the tools that they needed to prepare themselves to be successful missionaries. Afterwards we went back to our area and again went to look for our investigators. We couldnt find any of them once again. We contacted and contacted and we couldnt find any one. We walked miles and miles that day looking for everyone possible and no one was home once again. But it was interesting, that experience helped me to know that everything was going to work out for us, that God would provide us with at least one person eventually that would be ready to be baptized. On Friday we had our leadership council to decide what we need to do to be able to implement the new time schedule each day and we created a vision for our mission. President Madsen lost his voice so he asked me to present it and direct the Leadership council for him. I was so humbled and we were directed to do what the Lord wants us to do here in the mission. Afterwards we had to go to the office to prepare everything to share with the mission. Overall, this week we couldn't find one single investigator, it was quite possibly the hardest week of my mission, but I know the Lord is aware of it, and it is a call to humble myself and await his blessings as I do all that I can do. I am thankful for weeks like this, because they are the trial of our faith in order for us to receive miracles. Our area is in need of a miracle, and I know that it will be coming soon, big or small, Heavenly Father is watching over us.

One More Change! January 23, 2017

Good Evening everyone, Well it has been a crazy week this week getting ready for everything with changes. Last week I was told that there was a possibility of me staying here in the offices for a 5th change but that he would confirm that with me on Wednesday. Anyways so we got to Presidents house on Wednesday to pick up all of the changes and Elder Caballero and I will for sure be staying one more change here. At first it was a little hard to accept that I would be staying another change but then I realized that the Lord still has people prepared for us in Casa Blanca more than anything. With the very little time that we had to work there last change I feel like he is giving us our time to actually be able to work there now and find the people that he has prepared for us at this time. My testimony has grown because I have been able to see his hand in all of this work. It has been an extremely stressful 6 months but I am so thankful for it, because it has brought me closer to my Heavenly Father, it has taught me to depend on him more, and it has helped me to realize that he is watching over me, my companion, and this mission at all times. More so when we are in the pit of trial is when he is carrying us, and when we rise to the top he is always cheering us on and encouraging us to do more and achieve more with the capacity that he has given us. For that I am so thankful to be here one more change to help me see this relationship I have with him. Anyways so getting to what happened in our week. On Monday of this week we started out really excited because we had all of our investigators come to church on Sunday. So we decided to put all of our focus on them to help them try to progress. When we got to our area on Monday we went and we were looking all afternoon for them and couldn't find one single one. It was hard to have that happen after a week filled with so many miracles of seeing the people begin to come forth and progress. On Tuesday it was the same story. We looked and looked and looked and we couldn't find anyone. We ended up having to try to look for people to teach, contacting and trying to get referrals from the members but nothing seemed to be working. On Wednesday after we recieved the changes we finally found Belen and Jorge, the couple that we are trying to help get married. They were so excited to see us and they had been waiting for us to find them all week. Anyways we talked to them and we were able to make a little headway on getting their paperwork for their wedding. On Thursday Sister Madsen called me saying that we needed to start getting ready for the program that we were going to do here in the city. So on Thursday we did the same drill that we had done the last week, except Sister Madsen listened and corrected and I just played for about 4 hours working with all of the missionaries and their special parts that they were singing. On top of that Sister Madsen also told me about parts that I would be singing in as well. It was so fun to be able to sing with all the missionaries but also to help Sister Madsen prepare everything. On Friday we had a huge practice with all the missionaries. It was long but it was fun to be able to participate in all of that and see all the missionaries here in the city. That night we had a big ward activity to have a BBQ and do Family History. It was so cool because our 5 investigators showed up and we were able to teach them and help them start their own family history. It was a great experience to be able to see them get excited about all of that and it also helped them to realize the great importance of getting baptized themselves. All of the ward members did so good to include them in everything and in the end it was as if everyone was a part of the ward. Something that was a little sad was that the Stake President heard about Madai and how she didnt get permission to get baptized. So he came with us to talk to her Mom to try to help her understand, but when we got there the mom got scared and left before we could talk to her. Madai felt so bad about it and we felt bad too because everyone had made such a huge effort to talk to the mom. We know that there will be another time for her to receive a full testimony. On Saturday we had another huge practice and then right after that we had a BBQ with President at his house to say goodbye to Elder Ardon the finance secretary. It was fun to finally be able to relax a little and see the President relax a little too. We ate hamburgers and hot dogs, had pasta salad, with ice cream, and all in January!! It was pretty fun to have. After wards we went out in the street and played frisbee with everyone and President has a hidden talent for that!! But then the fun ended and we went off to go to the program in one of the stakes here in Oaxaca to do the program. There werent a lot of people that showed up that night and it was hard to really perform really good for them. It was sad to see all of that hard work be to perform for so little people. On Sunday we went to church and it was a hard day there. We had commited everyone to come to church but no one showed up from our investigators. After church we went to the program to prepare to perform in our own stake. 15 minutes before it started everyone started pooring in. By the time we were singing the first song it was filled up all the way to the back stage as if it was stake conference there. Geez that made me so nervous. For the program I had been assigned to play the piano as an accompaniment for Oh Holy Night, and then sing I am a Child of God in a acappela quartet, and then a duet/solo with a Hermana as the final song. It made me so nervous to sing for that many people and I think my voice was shaking so bad but in the end I think it turned out. Anyways it was a busy week, but I dont think I have been happier before. I did things that I had never done before, and I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for helping me to do those things. I still have a strong testimony that he strengthens us and takes us beyond our capacity. It was a hard week in finding our investigators, but I feel as if it was a week in which I could strengthen my own testimony in a way that has always been powerful to me, through the music. I had several confirmations that this work and this church is true through the power of the sacred music that we have. I am so thankful for the opportunity to perform it and have it in my life. I know that if someone ever has a doubt, that through music that doubt will always go away because it is the most powerful way that the Holy Ghost bears witness of the truthfulness of all that Heavenly Father has done for us. I am thankful for these opportunities that we have had here in the mission and I am thankful to be here. Thank you all for always supporting me and for all of your letters each week. I hope you all have a great week! Elder Peterson
Showing Maria how to do her Family History work
I cut Elder Ardon's hair but I messed it up too...
Elder Sosa, Me and Elder Jimenez

Our First Normal Week in a Long Time! January 14, 2017

Hello Everyone! Well yes this was our first "normal" week in a really long time. At the start of the week it was really hard not to be stressing about how we were going to get the work in our area progressing again. Elder Caballero my companion struggled with it the most and it was hard to see him go through that. But something that I have learned here in my mission, especially in my first area that stress is a lack of faith. This week was a chance for us to increase our faith more than anything in going back to work and trying to find people to get progressing again. That first day in the area was really hard. We walked all over trying to find new investigators to teach and the ones that we had been teaching while we were gone werent home. That night we went over to our ward mission leaders house, and we found him so excited for us. He asked us why we hadnt been at church that Sunday and we told him that we had been in Huatulco with President Madsen. He told us "Elders you wont believe who all came to church, Belen and her husband came on their own and they were so excited to be there, and then Jose and Lulu were there too" It was a tender mercy because we hadnt been in our area for so long, and the Sundays that we had been there we hadnt had investigators come to church. And now we had complete families coming?? It was a testimony that this is the Lords work, he does the work and we are simply his instruments. It was also a testimony that he is aware what we are doing, what our circumstances are, and what our capabilities are. He realized that we couldnt do anything about the work this past week, so he did it for us. When we are there he allows us to do our part and he does the rest. It is just a huge testimony of his love for us. So after we got this great news from our Mission Leader we put plans the next day to go see these families. With Belen and her husband Angel, we found them yesterday at their store in the market. When we got there we just found her husband and we started talking to him and found that he had a huge need and desire to repent of everything. He had a lot of guilt for things that he had done in the past and told us that he was willing to do anything that was possible to be able to get rid of the guilt that he has. So we told him about the blessings and covenants of baptism, the promises that were involved in baptism and he asked us "what do I have to do to prepare myself for this it is exactly what I need" so we told him that he had to work to be able to live the commandments of God and learn the basics of the gospel. We also had to explain to him that in order for him and his wife to be baptized they needed to get married. He told us that he had wanted for a long time to get married but there were always things that got in their way. We told them that God would provide the way for them to not only get married but have a happy relationship that would last eternally. He told us that these were two things that he needed, to be married and to be rid of all the guilt that he has. He told us to keep a secret from his wife because it was something that she wanted too but he wanted to make it a surprise for her. Hermano Gil (Our Ward Mission leader) is going to help us in this process to get them married and they have a goal to be baptized on the 11th of February. Speaking of weddings and marriages and stuff, Jose and Lulu finally figured out what is going on with their process. The judge that is passing all of the paperwork lost the paperwork but was too afraid to tell them. This past week they found the paperwork again and when Jose went to the office to see what is going on she told him and Jose said that she has 10 days to pass the papers or he will file complaints against all the office there. So we are holding out hope and praying that the judge will remember to do all the paperwork and get Jose passed so that we can get them married in the next few weeks. Jose is super excited because we know it is so close, Lulu is feeling a little down because of all the time that was wasted thinking that it was close. But we know that it will all work out. We know that the Lord is working in our area. It is a test of patience and faith. Everyone is so close, they each have one little thing that is keeping them from making these sacred promises with the Lord. But we made it through the trial of our faith, and we are beginning to see the fruit develop in the work in our area. This week we have been preparing to do the Missionary program here in the city. There are 4 different stakes where we are going to be doing it and 4 different sets of missionaries that will be putting the program on. But after these last transfers I became the only one here in the city that could play the music on the piano and so it has been a busy week helping Sister Madsen prepare all of the musical numbers. Many missionaries here have never seen music before and have never learned to listen to music and learn by it. So it has been a process of not only teaching them a song, but how to learn to sing the song. In the church where we have been practicing there are 2 pianos. Sister Madsen works with the big group of missionaries, the choir, and then I work with the separate groups helping them to learn their parts. It is something that I have never done before but I watched my mom do it for years. It is not easy but it has also been fun to be able to teach them. I will be playing the piano for 3 of these programs and it has really stretched me because it is music that I have never been able to play before and with the assignment there is no time to practice. So the practice comes when everyone is singing to it. I feel like I am learning during this time what my capacities are and how to depend on the Lord to take me past what my capacities really can be. I am so thankful to him for helping us as missionaries to be more than what we expect of ourselves and what others expect of us. It is the beauty of this work, people and missionaries become more and they become what God sees of them. I am so thankful to be a part of this work here in Oaxaca. I hope that each of you have a great week this week! Elder Peterson

Travels with President and Sister Madsen - January 9, 2017

Well this week was a really fun week that we got to be out and travel with President and Sister Madsen all over the mission to do training meetings with them and finish off with the music program in the coast. It was such a great experience to be with President and to be able to get to know him and Sister Madsen better. Everytime we are with them my love and respect for them grows, they are such amazing people that are willing to make huge sacrifices to make sure that we are loved and supported. On Monday we started out by driving down to Salina Cruz to get ready for the new missionary training in the Itsmo. It is about a 5 hour drive down with all curves and luckily none of us got car sick this time. Anyways we got down there and stayed the night with the zone leaders in Salina Cruz and on Tuesday morning we got up and went to the training meeting. We keep trying to emphasize the importance of the legacy that the trainers and the missionaries will leave behind on the missionaries, members, and investigators here in Oaxaca. The theme has seemed to be the promise that Elder Miron from the 70 has promised us that "Our legacy will stretch across generations and one day we will look back and be able to see the influence that one simple baptism has had on the outcome of thousands of people" And it is so true. At the end of the week when we were in Huatulco we were able to go to church there. Since the time that I was there the Branch has doubled in size, with nearly 130 people there every week. What was even more amazing to me was to see the influence that the investigators that we found while I was there almost a year ago are starting to have. One investigator that we found in my last week there was recently baptized. She stood up yesterday in church to give her testimony and she said "I am so thankful for Elder Peterson and Elder Mora who made the effort to find me, and to Elder Allman and Elder SaldaƱa who never gave up" It was such a sweet experience to see her bear her testimony and her desire to share that with her family now. That experience really made me realize that my influence on the people wont only be just through baptisms, but simply the effort that I give will be an effort that can change a community. And it can be the same with everyone, the effort that we give in the gospel and to follow the commandments will be enough to change a world that needs changing. Our effort will be a legacy for generations to come. After this meeting we were able to go eat with an awesome member in Salina Cruz. He went on his mission to Monterrey and wanted to show us the best food in Salina Cruz, so he took us down to a little grass hut down on the beach to have us try a lot of different sea food. They brought out a dip at first with a bunch of chips. Mario (The Member) asked us what we thought it was and we didnt know. He told us it was a crocodile dip!! It was so good too. After that they brought out another big plate with more chips and a dip, this time he asked us what we thought it was and we still didnt know. He told us that this was a Tiger Shark dip, and that one was really good too. Then they brought us out a plate for each of us, and on those plates were whole lobsters that had just been caught, filled with a cheese and chipotle dip and those lobsters were better than the ones that I had had before. Then we didnt think we could eat anymore and we saw them bringing out this huge tray, and on it they had a huge fish that is a Northern Red Snapper. It was a sweet fish and I loved it too. It was quite the exotic food run on the beach, I am attaching pictures of each plate so that you can all see better what they are. On Wednesday we were able to do the Mission Leadership Council meeting. Once again like we did in the city here we shared the same insights with the Zone Leaders down there. That we as leaders here in the mission have the huge responsiblity to teach and invite the missionaries that are in our zones and districts. That we need to find out what their struggles are and teach them in the gospel, and invite them to make changes in their lives. The Zone Leaders in the itsmo are awesome. They are having so much success and they are so humble and ready to learn to be able to do anything that is asked of them. We had a powerful meeting and the work continues to spread forth across that part of Oaxaca. On Thursday morning, we took a bus to Huatulco to start practicing for the program there. We were there for about 4 hours practicing for all of the songs that we were going to do with about half of the zone. Sister Madsen had me playing a few songs including "Oh Holy Night" on the piano to accompany the choir and soloists. But for Oh Holy Night the notes were too high for the Elder so Sister Madsen asked me to transpose the song. I was up late that night transposing on an electric keyboard. On Friday we got to go out and teach some lessons with the Zone Leaders. When we tried to stop by Omar and Andres house (My converts there) they werent home. But a guy in his late 20s was there and told us to come in. He said that he was Andres son and that he had questions for "us mormons" This was a guy that had a beard, tatoos, and a backward baseball cap on that talked pretty rough. But as we started talking to him he told us that he lived in Oaxaca in San Martin. I couldnt believe it!!! It was our area that my companion and I are assigned to!! We started teaching him and he said that he was a Christan that had been going to church for a long time and had been baptized there, and that he was trying to become a preacher. He asked us what we believed in and we talked about that through Christ, we need to follow his example, and repent and be baptized. We read a scripture with him that is Acts 2:38 which says 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We asked him if before his baptism he had repented of his sins to be baptized, and he didnt answer us. He responded "I have never seen this scripture before but it is clearly written in the Bible, I feel as if I need to be baptized again but that I also need to repent of all my sins before" He told us that he needed to keep hearing the discussions. He gave us his number and his address and we are going to go find him this week to keep teaching him. It was a huge blessing to see that the Lord put him in our path to be able to teach him. He was only there in Huatulco that weekend and it was the only we were going to find someone that was so prepared. I know that if we prepare the Lord will always put the path before us so that we can follow his commandments and recieve his eternal blessings. On Saturday we had the program, and going back to Oh Holy Night we were practicing and practicing. I felt like a voice coach trying to get this song down. Eventually Sister Madsen said "Alright Elder Peterson you are going to sing this with Elder Fierros and Elder Matheson will play" For any of you that know me it scares me so bad to sing in front of people if I am not singing with at least 20 other people. But I told her I would do it. So we had 2 times to practice and then we had to perform it. But in the end it turned out really good, there were so many people that came up to us and told us how good it was!! I just think it is a miracle that my voice didnt crack in it but it was so fun to sing that and it was so powerful as well. The program turned out awesome, and I am so excited to participate in the city this next week. We are hoping that this week we can work like normal in our area once again, we know that we have been obedient and that the Lord has prepared people for us while we have been gone. He loves us and is always blessing us, and I am so grateful for him.
Beach Baptism in Huatulco that we went to for the Zone Leaders, my best friend out there Eliut was with us.
Ice Cream with the Huatulco Elders and President and Sister Madsen
The Beach Restaurant in Salina Cruz
The Crocodile Dip
The Tiger Shark dip
My Chipotle Lobster
The Red Snapper fish
The Beach hut where we ate