Sunday, November 5, 2017
Hello Everyone, I cant believe that the time has come to have a letter that is captioned as is this one. This has been an amazing journey, one where I have truly felt as if I have been high on the mountain top, in the presence of the Lord, doing his work. It is something that an email or words cannot describe. More than anything, I am so grateful for this experience to have been able to come closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. In his work, I have not been perfect, just like his disciples of old there have been times that I have waivered but in the end I too, can testify that he is the Son of the Living God, that he lives, and that in him and through him we can recieve the powers of heaven in our lives and be part of those same powers in the life to come. I know that he is my brother, my friend, and that he has helped me to become something greater through the trials that he has led me through. This journey was never easy, but it was worth it because here in the end I can say that I know that my Reedemer lives. Even though this is my last email, there is still one week ahead of me in this work. This past week was a crazy one. We started out with going out to Tequisistlan all day Tuesday to be able to be out there with Anna and Obdulia. Anna was so excited to have us out there and was so excited to be able to prepare for baptism. We taught them and we started preparing the baptism for Anna. We got back to San Blas late that night. On Wednesday we were able to work here in San Blas and start preparing Gisela and Cecilia for baptism this coming week. Gisela has been really busy with final exams in school and it has been really hard to find her. But she continues on with the same excitement. Something that has been crazy is the language barrier again. On Wednesday we went with Hermana Rubi to see a less active family. We got there and they didnt speak any spanish whatsoever. Rubi translated everything for us while we taught but in the end we could understand the powerful testimony that this family had. It was a great experience. On Thursday we went out to Tequis again for Anna and in the afternoon I was able to go to Juchitan to have a farewell dinner with President and Sister Madsen and the group of missionaries that are going home this change. It was so amazing to be with them, to hear their testimonies and their love for us. They are a huge reason why I have been able to come to know the Savior, for their love and example towards us. On Friday we had our final Zone Conference with them for the whole day, and said our last goodbyes to them. We were able to sing "I feel My Saviors love" with an arrangment that I wrote. The spirit was so strong in the conference. On Saturday it was a little rough, we had the baptism for Anna planned but it turns out that she wasnt ready for baptism, and so she will be getting baptized this next Friday! We were able to see her desires to be baptized and follow Christ. On Sunday it was my last time here in San Blas. We were asked to teach the primary and each kid there wrote me a thank you note or drew me a picture. It was the first of many tears that I know will be shed in this coming week. I love these people here, I dont want to leave them, they have had a greater influence on my life than I could ever have on them. I love them. In the end, I want to thank each one of you for the support that you have all given me. Without your emails, and prayers, it would have been a lot more difficult experience. But through your emails and support I have truly been blessed. Thank you all. Taking this opportunity you are all invited to attend my homecoming talk on Sunday July 9th at 11:00 at the Knoll Park Church. I know most if not all of you probably went to my sister Callies farewell, it is going to be in the same church, but if you werent there here is the address. 160 N 460 W. in Salem. I would love to see each of you there if you can. Again thank you again for all of your support and I will be seeing you all soon. Elder Peterson
Hello Everyone, Well in these winding up moments of the mission it seems as if all the powers that are here are coming together to try to impede this work. But just as the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith while he was in Liberty Jail he said in Doctrine and Covenants 121: 33. How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints. At times this week I had to remind myself of this principle and it was awesome to see the way that the people reacted to our dedication at the times when we could leave the house. On Tuesday the Tropical Storm that I assume some of you have heard about hit here in Oaxaca. We are a little further off the coast so it didnt hit us too bad but there was still a ton of rain!! It was crazy and just like the picture that I sent a few weeks ago, thats how it was again. The Assistants, Elder Knapp and Elder Vasquez got trapped here trying to get back to Oaxaca and had to come stay with us for a day. We got to go out and work with them and it was fun to go out in our sandals again. On Wednesday they were able to leave but we realized that the rain was no longer clear, it was a blackish color. People started telling us that the gas refinery had caught on fire and that the rain was toxic, we couldnt go out that whole day because it was a huge hazard to everything. So we just spent the day at home washing our clothes and getting the house clean. On Thursday we were able to go back to Tequisistlan and teach Obdulia and her family. It was another great lesson and it was so fun to be able to be with them. They are making so much progress and Anna especially is excited to be baptized this coming Saturday. The branch is excited because they are going to have baptisms that will help them out a lot with support and strength. On Friday we were able to visit with Gisela again and we were talking to her about her process of repentance unto baptism that she has decided to take. She told us that she was finally ready to be baptized this coming Thursday, the 29th and ready to be somebody different, a light to the nations. It has been amazing to see her patience with everything and her constant desire to make this change. Going back to the scripture at the start that I shared, it has seemed to be a huge theme to me in this final part of my mission, that there will be so many forces that try to halt the work that is going on, the progress that is moving on for other missionaries to continue. And more than anything I have learned this 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; 42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— I have felt power in this work, especially in these past few weeks, I cant wait to see what these final two weeks have to bring. I know that there is power in all that we do here because it is the work of the Lord, and nothing can stop this progress that is rolling forth.
Hello Everyone!! Wow this week we were able to have some of the best experiences of my mission just from one family that we were able to find. But it isnt just any type of situation, it was a situation that required a ton of sacrifice on our part and that always requires their sacrifice. So a few weeks ago the area of Jalapa got closed. There wasnt a lot of work that was going on there but President Madsen still left us in charge of it. It is a town that is about 45 minutes away from San Blas. Anyways we got a call a week ago from the branch president there saying that there was a family of investigators there that had been coming to church ever since the missionaries left. He asked us if we were able to come out and visit them and we told him for sure, it sounded like a golden family. So we asked him where they lived and he told us that they lived in Tequisistlan, which is a town about 45 minutes further past Jalapa, making it about an hour and a half traveling. We planned an afternoon to head out there and when we got out there we found an hermana named Obdulia, and her 3 kids Itzel, Cesar, and Rosy, along with her niece Anna. Anyways this whole family has an aunt that felt like she needed to go back to church again and this time take all the family that she could. So she started paying for the trips for her whole family to go to church! The hermanas name is Reina, and she sells Tamales for her job. It is a huge sacrifice on her part but she started taking them to church. When we got there we sang "How Great thou Art" and it brought Obdulia to tears. She said that she was trying to support her family by killing chickens for a meat packer but that she felt all alone and that was what she was looking for. We had a powerful lesson and afterwards they all accepted to be baptized on the 24th of June. The other great story this week is once again the activity that we did called the Life of Christ. We were able to do it here in San Blas and the spirit was so strong in the room where we were doing it. When we finished there wasnt a dry eye in everyone that was participating and no one wanted to leave. It was so sweet to help all of the members feel this sweet spirit. So weather wise, this past week it was completely dry until 10 last night, since then it has rained and it hasnt stopped again. So we are going to break out the sandals again for this week. A sad story this week is that something died this week, after 2 years, over an estimated 3000 miles, 2 countries, 2 states, and over 30 different cities and towns, my good old Johnston and Murphy shoes died, the sole is gone from them and there will be a picture to come next week. These past few weeks of these final stages of my mission have been amazing. They have been anything but easy, yet I have come to learn that Heavenly Father understands us, he knows what we can do, he knows our potential, and he is willing to watch us pass through difficulties and trials so that we can become heirs of his kingdom, and truly be something that has divine power working in their lives. I am so grateful that instead of finishing off easy, I have been given learning experiences, final stages in a refining process that I know has changed me to be someone who Heavenly Father expects me to be. I know that he loves us all and that he lives, and for that he sent his son Jesus Christ to help us, to lift us, and at times to carry us towards the expectations and potential of our Heavenly Father.
Buenas Tardes a Todos, Well this week I have never experienced so much rain in my life. On Monday this last week it began to rain as soon as we left the computer lab, and it didnt stop raining here until Friday morning. The streets had water up to my knees and we were constantly soaking wet. By some miracle we didnt get sick but it was a really fun experience for sure to be walking around in a flooded San Blas trying to teach people. On Wednesday we didnt know if there was any hope of the rain stopping so we bought traditional sandals and started teaching in those. I will attach a picture of what we looked like and what it was like. But it was so fun. The good news of the stormy week is that somehow we were able to help Jorge get baptized!! It was hard because he lives at the top of the hill here and to get up there it was as if we were climbing a waterfall. But we got up there and we had plans to postpone his baptism for the next week because of all the rain and the inability to get up to his house. But when we got up there the first thing that he asked us is "Am I still going to get baptized this Saturday?" and we asked him if he wanted to, and he told us that he did no matter what happened with the weather, that he was going to be ready and that he wanted to be a member with Germain and Carlos. He then asked us how he could help his family to be a part of the true church and be baptized. We talked for a long time with him about temple work, and the way that he could invite his brothers and mom to come to church with him. He is going to be a great member of the church and a great missionary now and later. It was a great experience to prepare him this week even with the crazy conditions. Hermano Rogelio continues to do a ton of work right now. I dont know if I have talked about him but everytime we go walking past his house he shouts to us and tells us that he has a new friend that he wants to hear the gospel. Anyways Rogelio came through big this week. About 3 months ago, when we were waiting for President Madsen in the park we started to contact. We contacted an older guy named Hector there, and he told us that he loved reading and that he was a firm Catholic. He told us for about 30 minutes about all of his beliefs and everything that he had done in the church, eventually we had to go and nothing came of it. Anyways on Tuesday Rogelio called us and when I answered it was Hector talking. I didnt remember him or his name but he remembered mine. He said "Hermano Peterson, remember me? I need your help and support!! I want to be baptized in the Mormon Church" I have never had a call like that before in my mission and I thought he was joking. Yesterday we were able to find him for the first time and we taught him. He told us that he had an addiction to drinking and wanted to be done with it. We told him that he needed to have faith in Jesus Christ, and then he asked what more he needed. We proceeded to read Acts 2:38 with him and he asked when he could get baptized. We put a date with him for June 30th and will be visiting him throughout the week. Anyways it was a crazy week but I learned that there is nothing that can stop the work of the Lord. The songs of "Let us All Press On" continued to run through my head and at times I found myself singing the words to it as we waded through the water. We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few When compared with the opposite host in view; But an unseen pow'r will aid me and you In the glorious cause of truth. Fear not, though the enemy deride; Courage, for the Lord is on our side. We will heed not what the wicked may say, But the Lord alone we will obey. This week we did not retreat, although there was very little, an unseen power was literally pushing us along, and we can testify of that in all that we did this week. The Lord prepared the way and put a light into our work even though there were storms around us, we went forth in the cause of truth.