Sunday, December 20, 2015
Hello Everyone! Well this week has flown by and we continue to get closer and closer to Christmas day. It is still really hard for me to believe that it is the Christmas season. Juchitan is having more parties than ever in the streets. Actually it has lead to our hardest days yet so far in the mission. On Friday and Saturday it was a huge celebration for the Catholic Church. In each street there was a big tent set up with food and drinks and everything for the people. At 11 Friday night there was a massive parade in front of our house with fireworks and singing and everything, it was a struggle because I would rather sleep than have a parade. Saturday we woke up having had very little sleep, my companion got sick and could hardly talk. Saturday we had 10 people planned to talk to as well as 10 others that we could visit if the others couldnt talk. All but 3 were there to talk to us. So we were left to knocking on doors for the rest of the day. We knocked on doors for 2 whole streets and nobody was there in their houses because they were all out partying. We returned home humbled by the experience but it was awesome to see the faith of my companion Sunday as we got to watch the dedication of the Tijuana Temple. We heard President Uchtdorf speak as well as Elder Oaks, and it was a really spiritual experience. After that the Lord blessed us through our afflictions, as we went out with humility and all of our confidence in him. We found 3 people that we hadnt been able to talk to previously because they were always gone. We talked to them and had some of the most spiritual lessons yet. The first lesson we had we taught with a lady named Diane. In this lesson she had a huge desire to learn and find for herself. We talked with her and I felt prompted to tell her "Diane, I know that if you continue with this same desire you will have an answer that all of this is true in 1 month, I know it and I know you will find it for yourself" She accepted baptism and everything! The second was with another lady named Teresa. By the end of this lesson she was in tears saying that she had never felt anything like this before with any religion. She too accepted baptizm. It goes to show that the Lord will always bless you more abundantly through your afflicitions if you can confront them with faith in him rather than faith in the things of the world. I know that this is possible because Christ conquered all for us, he never took the easy way out, he conquered it all with faith in his father, our perfect example. I hope that in this season you all can remember every aspect of the life of Jesus Christ, without him we are nothing. Everyone have an amazing holiday season!
Monday, December 7, 2015
Hello Everyone! Well the holidays are here and I didnt even realize it. Actually this week has been kind of rough weather wise. After I thought that you could never find a place windier than Wyoming, well I am here to tell you that I have found that place. It is so windy here that my companion lost one of his shirts this morning to the wind, we dont know where it went. I often feel like I am back on trek trecking through the dirt roads with dust blowing in my eyes, but hey it is awesome here. Last night we had the opportunity to watch the Christmas devotional in the stake center. It was such a spirtitual moment to hear the Tabernacle Choir sing Silent Night for their final song. We were asked to sing along with the choir for the final verse and I was surprised to find that the words were still in English on the screen. There are only two American Elders in our Stake here and the members tried to sing at first but they stopped somewhere in the middle. We had investegators sitting next to us and they had all stopped to listen to us. It was one of the most spritual moments of the mission. I absolutely love this time of year. We have been making a huge effort to spread the message of Christ right now in the work. What we have been doing is asking everyone to ponder Why they personally, need a Savior. We can answer with answers found in the scriptures, but the love of Christ is personal for each of us. And for us this Christmas season our goal is to help each person we come in contact with to find that personal love of Jesus Christ for each one of them. In doing this we have had many spiritual experiences with many people. We had a ward activity this past Friday night. We decided to show the new videos of the Church to start this question going in the lives of our ward. The Ward Mission leader asked me to be in charge of the devotional this week, and it was a huge testimony to me in front of our ward that this message needs to be spread because the Spirit put words into my mouth to share with each person that was there that night. We had less active members that hadnt been to church in a year, we had investegators that we had struggled for months to help them participate in Church activities. The Lord blessed me to share what needed to be said about Jesus Christ as our Savior, for each one of us personally. Saturday and Sunday we had Stake conference here. Our mission president was here for the Saturday night adult session. He came to help the members understand their role in missionary work which was a huge blessing for us. But while I was sitting comfortably in my seat enjoying the talks of the Temple President who was also there, and Sister Madsen, I noticed that President Madsen was smiling to himself up on the stand. His first words in his talk were, "Elder Peterson, can you please come up here on the stand with me and help me to explain what the daily teaching goals of missionaries are and what you are trying to work for" I had to explain to the whole stake all of these things for about 5 to 7 minutes and it was pretty scary. We have had some miracles as well this week. Floricelli that had lost interest in learning made a reappearance yesterday in church. Somehow the Young Womens president found her and invited her to a mutual activity. Floricelli loved it and wants to continue learning now. With the help of the Young Womens president. Also Davids dad, who we just baptized, came to church as well for the first time yesterday. With the opposition that we had with him at first you can know that the spirit is working through David to help his Dad. It is truly a time of miracles, all because of our Savior Jesus Christ. Please take time to find who he is to you personally this Christmas season. Sincerely Elder Peterson
Hello Everyone!! Well this week came and went and it was tiring! More so than I have had thus far in the mission. Elder Martinez came into the mission on Tuesday and we immediatly went to work with him. It was weird because he is trying to get used to the mission language of things. We would be contacting a house and they would say something and we would try to reply to it. Afterwards he would ask me "What did that person say?" and I would say "I dont know your the one who speaks Spanish here" haha he is awesome though. It is a huge blessing to have him because he was prepared well before his mission. He came into the field ready to teach and we have taught with power this week. It was definately the most succesful week of the mission thus far. We began the week with trying to find the people that we had given up on a while ago. We found many of them that didnt have the desires to come to church before. We taught them the importance of the Sabbath Day with the lesson that is found in Matthew 26:40. How Jesus Christ in the middle of the performance of the Atonement had to return back to his disciples 3 times and ask if they could simply give him 1 hour. This is the connection to the Sabbath Day. Christ asks us to give him 1 hour each week to stay by him and watch with him through the Sacrament. This lesson proved powerful. We had 6 of these people come to church this past week that we had been teaching for 3 months, and it was all their first time as well. Elder Lee returned to the ward with his parents and so I was translating for his Dad a little and he was translating everything for his mom. It was fun to see him one last time and he finally spoke English with me!! Many people have been asking how was Thanksgiving in Mexico. Sadly enough here the only things that they celebrate are their weddings and birthdays each week. Its not unusual to find big tents in the middle of the streets with boxes of beer stacked 6 high and 6 across. So to be honest, we didnt really celebrate Thanksgiving. It was actually our hardest day that many people didnt accept us. We returned to the apartment and ate some cake that night and went to bed a little early. Yesterday was awesome with celebrations though because Elder Lees parents brought down various Christmas decorations from my family and so we got to "decorate" the apartment today. Elder Martinez thought it was pretty cool the way that Americans celebrate Christmas. It was also weird to walk into the store today from 70 degrees and hear Christmas music. It really doesnt feel like the holiday season without snow. I didnt realize how much I would miss the snow and even the cold (what?!?) but nonetheless Juchitan Oaxaca is beautiful in its own special way for the holiday season. I hope that as this season starts that as everyone feels of the happiness of the season, remember that it is through Christ that this season of happiness and love is only because of him and his love for us. Remember always the happiness in this time and try to connect it with him. Everyone have a safe holiday season. Elder Peterson Thanksgiving dinner -- a cake. Eating a tlayuda They decorated for Christmas with Christmas decorations we sent!
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Hello Everyone!! Well this transfer officially flew by and we are in the last week of my training. I dont know where the time went! It is incredible how much stuff I have learned about everything in the past 12 weeks, and it can all be summed up as this, Our Heavenly Father is involved in everything, and because of this if we turn to him then we can experience the greatest parts of life. There will be hard times and troubles, but these are the times that can bring the greatest success and happiness and for this I am thankful for the hard times that came in this first part of my mission. Because right now I couldnt be any happier to be sharing the gospel each day with everyone around us. This past week we have been overjoyed to finally experience the seasons and climate begin to change. I know that Utah recieved snow this week and a change to the seasons and we recieved a change to! It has been great for the average tempature to drop to 78 degrees this week. We have had to break out the long sleeve shirts and hoodies for the first time which is wierd. The life of Christ program that we had this week was a huge success! We spent the whole week visiting every member, less active, and investegator in our area sharing a small message of Jesus Christ with them. On Friday we spent the whole day in the chapel setting up everything with music and sound and supplies. This activity is an activity where people are blindfolded and we have little things to go in their hands. While we have a narrator telling about a certain point in the life of Christ, there is music playing in the background and we pass out these things. (For example during the part where Jesus is born we pass out a bundle of straw, or during the crusifixion we pass out nails) At the end nobody could stand up. They were sitting in their seats for 3 minutes afterwards. The best part was that we had 52 people that were either less active members or investegators. Another great thing that has happened in the past week is that we had a new teenager move into the ward. He has been in the church for about 1 year and his name is Cesar.Elder Lee knows him from another ward that he served in. The second day that he was in his new house he called us and said that he had talked to his neighbor and shared his testimony about the church and she wanted to listen to us! We made the 4 mile walk out to her house to teach her. Her name is Juleslie and she is 17 years old. The next day Cesar brought her to church and she loved being with the young women there! But the greatest example is Cesar. Each night he rides his bike the 4 miles to the church for seminary. He got called as the 1 assistant in the Priests quorum in his first week and he is constantly looking for people to serve. His family isnt members and he lives in a really rough situation but he always has a smile on his face. He really showed me that no matter what you have to do, put a smile on your face and everything will be better in life. Anyways these are a few of my experiences this week. Thank you for all of your love and support! Elder Peterson We found this giant bear in a members house yesterday and thought it was pretty cool. Today is Elder Lees birthday and so to celebrate we decided to go to a fancy resturant...Burger King!! It was the first hamburger I have had in 3 months and it was awesome!!
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Hello Everyone! Well like I said before, another week has come and gone and here we are again at the start of a new week. The weeks continue to get better and better and it is difficult to explain why. No we may not be baptizing every week and teaching more and more people, but the levels of happiness and gratitude for this opportunity continue to grow and rise. At the beginning of the week we had very few people to teach and we started to try to find ways to invite people to listen to us. We contacted and knocked and did everything we could but had a very hard time trying to find people. We decided to put on a program called The Life of Christ, a program that Elder Lee did for his mutual. We have been inviting people and getting the ward council involved with us and look forward to doing it this week. In fact it has gotten so big that the whole stake is going to be a part of it and we cant wait to see the growth that it is going to bring to the work of our whole zone. One of the bittersweet experiences of the week, we were teaching a new investegator, Belelense, when her neighbor walked up and started talking to us in English. She is from Texas with a deep accent and her husband is Oaxacan. Anyways WE COULD NOT SPEAK IN ENGLISH NO MATTER HOW HARD WE TRIED. It is the weirdest experience ever to think that I have fully converted to Spanish being my number 1 choice of language right now. Its more of a sweet experience but again it was extremely wierd to have this happen. Other than that we have found many more people to begin teaching this week and look forward to finding many more. We have also been happy to have our convert David accompany us to every lesson this week. He doesnt really know how to bear his testimony quite yet and we have had to stop him a few times from giving away pamphlets about different topics to our investegators. (For Example after we taught Karen the Restoration he tried to give her the Law of Chastity pamphlet) But he is awesome and always happy to teach with us. Other than that that has been our week this week. It was greater than ever, happier than ever, and the spirit was strong. I know that God is with us no matter what our trials may be, if we are focused in following his son we will have nothing to worry about with the trials before us. I know this to be true. Thank you for all of your support! Elder Peterson --
Monday, November 2, 2015
Hello Everyone! Well this week was awesome because we had our first baptisms!! David and Tomas were both baptized this past Saturday and it was an awesome experience. At first we were getting scared because David showed up at 5:30 to get ready to start at 6, Tomas showed up at 7:30. We were calling him and trying to figure out where he was and started to think that he wasnt going to come to his baptism. But eventually he came and it was as spiritual as ever. I had the chance to baptize Tomas and was studying the Baptism prayer in Spanish for an hour the night before. The hardest part was the names because people here have 4 names that are very long and hard to remember. At the first of the week we didnt think we would be able to baptize David because he was having a hard time remembering all the things we were teaching him. We were ready to push it back a week or 2. Then Elder Lee decided that we needed to fast for David to remember everything. We fasted and David remembered everything for his interview! What is better is yesterday in Sacrament meeting David bore his testimony for the first time and gave testimony perfectly of everything that we had taught him and worked for weeks to help him remember. Ultimatly it was the Lord that helped him through the Holy Ghost. Tomas is more gruff and was a former Pastor in his church. He used to smoke and the first day we met him he all of a sudden decided to stop smoking. He didnt know why and had no clue about the Word of Wisdom. And here we are with him 6 weeks later. Both stated that it was the best feeling for both of them these past two days and to feel of the true love of God and Christ in its fullest extent for the first time in their lives. It gives us more desire to find more people to share these things with. It makes all the challenges worth it to have the experience to share this much happiness with these people. We have found 2 new people, Karen and Julio. Karen has started to attend seminary and has made friends with all the young women and we are looking forward to being able to baptize her in 2 weeks. She is super excited as well for this and cant wait to be a part of this group of girls. Other than this it has rained each day this week hard! The best thing that I have eaten is the peach cobbler that we tried to teach a Sister in the ward how to make. We didnt have measuring cups so we were eyeballing it. It tasted good but didnt look so good. Other than that it is chicken and tortillas almost every day! Its great here, this is where I need to be and I will eat almost anything to be able to share the experience of happiness with these people. They are the best and I love them. Thank you for your love and support!
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Hello - I don't have very much time to write this email but it has been a week filled with miracles. We are looking forward to our first 2 baptisms this week with David and Tomas. They are awesome and ready to take this step in their lives. As well as this we have recieved support from many outside sources sent from Heavenly Father to our investigators who were struggling. It has been awesome. I had the opportunity to go on splits with a new Elder Guerrero. He was awesome and we led the Zone in lessons taught this day with 11. I know that God directed us with everything that we did this day. We were not affected by the Hurricane in the least bit here which is a huge blessing. My scripture that I would like to share this week with everyone is this. It is 2 Corinthians 8:9. Thank you for all of your support!
Monday, October 12, 2015
Hey Everyone! Wow well that flew by extremely fast for me this first transfer. Yeah it was quite possibly the hardest experience of my life and there were times that I felt alone and not able to talk to anyone because of the language barrier but Heavenly Father was always there for me no matter what level of faith I had. It is truly a blessing to have a Father in Heaven who will help you no matter what. Anyways here are some of the numbers and statistics for this first transfer. 300-Miles I have put on my shoes the past 6 weeks 50-Average number of tortillas I eat each week 4-Average number of firework shows each night You are probably all wondering about the religious statistics so Ill get to that now. Unfortunatly all of our baptism dates fell through this week. David is in a tough situation where his father has different ideas about the church. We have been teaching him over the phone the past week and he has been putting analysis of his favorite scriptures in our mail box each night when his Dad will let him out of the house. I pray and I know the Lord will find a way for him. The kids on the Street corner have been progressing very rapidly with the teachings. The parents are encouraging us to teach them so they will stay out of drugs and alchol here. The kids all love the teachings and it has been fun to come up with creative ideas for teaching them the principles of the góspel along with helping them to feel the spirit. We have found many more people to teach. One is Guadalupe, a man who has had a rough life in the past and has the strongest desire to change. He has asked for all the sunday school manuals to learn from and has been Reading those. His wife Lorenza is a member but hasnt been to church for years. Her mom died the day I left the MTC and in the funeral she had a feeling that she needed to return to church but she didnt know how to do so. We knocked on their door a week ago and they have been to every meeting and have been studying the book of Mormon religiously. They are honestly the nicest people I have ever met. Other that it continues to get hotter each and every day. Today I think it has been 95 degrees with humidity. I am still with Elder Lee and together we are working towards helping this área improve. We recieved an awesome comment from a sister in the Ward this week, she said that we have resurrected the spirit in the Ward and she knows the meaning of the church once again because of us. I have a challenge for all of you. Please go read Romans 1:16 and share your testimony with someone you feel needs it. I promise you that it will bring the happiest moment of your week for the both of you if you do and that person needs it just as much as you do. Thank you for all of your love and support! Elder Peterson --
Monday, October 5, 2015
Hello Everyone!! I am sorry for not being able to email you last week, honestly we have had to start scheduling appointments on P Day to be able to work our best and help people progress. I am also sorry if I cannot get back to your emails right away, I promise that I am trying my best and will get back to you as soon as I can! Anyways these past two weeks I can say that I have learned to be lost in the work. A great miracle happened last Tuesday, as I got on my knees Monday night I asked and prayed for help in simply understanding this language. On Tuesday as we went to our first teaching appointment I found that for the first time I was able to understand everything that I had never been able to understand before. As the day went on I found that I was continuing to understand everything as we were faced with difficult investegators. It was such a huge blessing as I was finally able to fully interact and learn to love the members and people here in Mexico. Some things that have happened in the last few weeks. Floricelli our teenage investegator has a ton of friends that all hang out on a street corner every night. We were late for her appointment one night and found her on this corner with about 10 kids. 2 were less active members and we began teaching all of them. To our great surprise the coming Sunday we found all 10 of these kids in Sacrament meeting and the Sunday School youth class had to teach in the chapel because it was so big. 3 new people Moses, Midium, and Melvin all have baptism dates with Floricelli now and we are super excited for all of them. David is progressing great! He attended all 5 sessions of conference with us yesterday and he loved it all and said that he had many questions answered! He is getting baptized next Saturday and has been at our door each night asking what else he needs to do to prepare for his date. Thomas is coming along slowly but surely, he has lots of questions and is a gruff older guy but we have faith that he will continue to grow in this. The best part of the week each week is the Ward Activities that we have each Friday. We usually have about 10 intestegators there each time and everyone loves it. This last activity was done by the relief socitey and there was tamales, oaxaca cheese, quesodillas and tons of other food. Unfortunatly I have somehow put on 10 pounds here and cant seem to work it off...I guess things really do change on missions! Also in these emails I am going to send my Ponderize scripture at the end for you all to go look up, this week it is Jacob 3:1!. Yes I got to watch conference and in English too!! Technology is great and it was a great blessing. My favorite talk was by Elder Bednar, it really hit home for me. THanks for all of your support!! Elder Peterson
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Hey Mom and Dad, I dont have much time because we have somehow let our work slide into our P Days now too and I only have enough time to write you guys this week. My area is Tecnologico, it is by the the College of Technology I dont know what the actual name of it is. But everything on the other side of the Carratera the highway next to it, is our area. Anyways this week has been great! It was hard because my companion started to get really discouraged and it seemed like I turned into the Senior Companion, I had to start making all the decisions about who to teach and where to go because he was just discouraged. I dont understand why really...there were lessons that were falling through but it wasnt that big of a trial for me. David is for sure getting baptized on October 17 and we are super excited about that! Floricelli and Thomas are getting ready to have definitave dates which is great as well. We had 6 investegators in Church yesterday and we had 4 less active members as well. We found a street gang, they arent really a gang but they dont have the greatest home life. Floricelli is in it and it is just a group of friends. Anyways we are now teaching the whole group and some of them are really close to having baptism dates as well. We had a zone wide soccer game today that was really fun and we also got to walk around the downtown central area. It is like a Big Flea Market that was awesome. I didnt have time to buy anything like my hammock still. It sounds like everything is going great at home and I love seeing all the pictures of everything that is going on. The work is so great down here and I am happy and loving it. It couldnt be better and it is weird to think I have a week left of my first transfer! Time has flown!! Thanks for all of the support!! I love you!! Chad
Monday, September 21, 2015
Hello Everyone!! This week was a week filled with so many miracles and blessings of the Lord. As many of you know last week was very very hard. We started off this week by upping our goals and pushing further than last week and we met all of our goals! We have 4 baptisms set for October 17th and life here is just great!! The food this week was out of this world! I have to start out by telling you all of what great food there was. First off I drank a raw turtle egg and it was awesome!! Just kidding it was the worst thing I have ever eaten and the Ladies at the store gave it to me for free to get a good laugh at how bad I would gag...and I didnt know what it was but my companion did and told me to eat it because it was "dulce." I also ate fresh Mango with Chili sauce and suffered 1st degree burns on my hands...literally the chili is so spicy here that it will burn you if you touch it too much. But no the food is great!! The weirdest part of everything here though is that I firmly believe that 80 percent of the people in my area have never seen a blonde hair blue eyed person before. I have old ladies staring into my eyes and telling me that they have never seen blue eyes before...and kids asking to touch my hair and ask if it is real. It was weird at first but if it makes people happy then all the better, that is what the gospel is supposed to bring is happiness. Here is how the week went. Tuesday- We made our goals and headed out to try to find new people to teach and teach others. All the lessons were there and all of our investigators are progressing and learning so much. We have David, Thomas, Floricelli, and Victor who we taught and prepared them for baptism. Wednesday- We did splits again and this time I stayed in the area. I was terrified because I was the senior companion and my spanish still isnt very good. I said a prayer that morning for Heavenly Father to please help me speak and find people. We found 4 new investigators and 2 of them are getting baptized on Halloween!! It was such a great miracle!! Thursday-We continued to help the 4 people listed above progress and work towards baptism while making street contacts and trying to find new people. Friday-To help all the less active teenagers in the ward we did a ward activity with the whole ward. We played water ballon volleyball and we had 10 less active teens come out and they all loved it. The whole ward was there and it was such a fun time! Saturday-We had zone conference for the first time. It was hard to understand a lot of it but we had lots of good practice and it definitely helped us for that afternoon when we found 5 more people who we are teaching. Our schedules are packed throughout the week to the point where we have 10 minutes each day to eat lunch. It is awesome though and I love it!! Sunday-We had our 4 investigators at church and we found out that David has a hidden talent of playing the piano. Next week we will start hymn piano lessons with him and I will get to teach him so after we leave this area they will have a permanent ward pianist. The work is awesome here!! I love it and God has blessed us so much through our sacrifices. The principle of God taking our weaknesses and turning them into his strengths has really been exemplified this week. He answers prayers and if you have time please go read Romans 8, it is a hidden gem in the bible that helped me so much this week. Thanks for all of your support!! Elder Peterson -- Chad and his companion -- Elder Lee from Pleasant Grove
Monday, September 14, 2015
Hello Everyone!! Well Ill get started with this right away since I have had lots of emails about this. So I guess this has been all over the news back in Utah so Ill go ahead and address it. This week my mission president got shot in the legs in an armed robbery. It was an accidental shooting as the attacker was fighting someone trying to stop the robbery. The gun went off and the bullets happened to find President. He is doing okay and we were able to talk to his wife the next day and everyone is okay. I was not with him during this but the Subway is 5 minutes from our house, so this was definately a humbling experience. But I also know that we are in the hands of the Lord and that we will always be protected here. Alright so here is how my week went...still lots of struggles with Spanish but slowly and surely it is coming along. This is always a miracle when I learn one new word each lesson and conversation and I am always grateful for it. Tuesday-We made progress with Angelica and Nidia and continued to help them towards baptism. We had great lessons with both of them. Unfortunately we only had these two lessons as the rest fell through. We walked around trying to find contacts and placing the pamphlets and talking about the family. It was a somewhat difficult day Wednesday- We had 2 college students approach us and ask us to do interviews with them in English for one of their classes. These interviews turned into discussions and we were able to refer them to the missionaries in their area. It was fun to talk and teach in English to these people! We also talked to Luis Ruiz, who has been coming to church for 5 weeks but is scared of the water to get baptized. I shared my favorite scripture with him Second Tim 1,7 and he is getting baptized soon!! Thursday- It was another difficult day. We felt prompted to go to a members home to see if she needed help. Her name is Eufracia and she is 87 years old. She had been sitting in a chair all day because her knees hurt too bad to walk. We gave her a blessing and on Sunday when we went back she made us lunch and was doing great!! Friday- We did splits this day. I went with Elder Huaman from Peru. It was in the rich part of town and I am so grateful for the humility of people. It made me so grateful for my area. This area was really really hard as we had doors slammed in our faces. But the food experience he gave me was great. I ate the Nacho Libre Corn with Chili Sauce and Sour Cream, it was great. But the best part was the Tlayudas. It is a quesodilla type thing with beef and Oaxaca cheese and a BBQ Chili Sauce in it. It was AMAZING. Saturday- Another Difficult day in the area. We had several lessons fall through again but we met Mirella, who was the most excited person I have ever met about the Book of Mormon. She had tons of questions and we sat at her house for 2 hours answering them. We meet again with her next week. Sunday-Hardest Day of the Mission. We got to watch the Mexico City Temple dedication which was awesome. We heard from Elder Holland and Pres. Eyring. We had our whole afternoon schedule packed with 2nd and 3rd lessons with everyone. Nidia and Angelica said they didn´t want to hear from us anymore...it was rough. We knocked on 46 doors this day but I know the Lord will provide us a way to bring the gospel into peoples lives. Thank you for all of your prayers, love and support!! Love Chad
Monday, September 7, 2015
Hello Everyone! Well the first week has been completed in the field and it is amazing here!! The people here are the most amazing part of it all, they are the most selfless, charitable people that I have ever met, no matter what circumstances they are in. Ill get to telling some stories about them later. Anyways this week has been probably the hardest week of my life. I haven´t spoken, read, or heard a word of English all week. Spanish was a language that I thought I could understand when I left the MTC but I was wrong, it has been hard to have my comp have to restate a lot of the words but nonetheless, the Spirit speaks to all different kinds of people and languages, and we have found that if I can bear my testimony from the heart that that is the best way to convert people to the gospel, no matter how good or bad my Spanish is. Anyways here is a quick run down of my week this week! Tuesday-We went out after we got settled in to the new area for both of us and started trying to find the members of the ward. We went down to the church building here (There are more LDS chapels here than any other church in the area) and met with the ward leaders. They gave us some names of people to go meet and we planned for the next day. It is so hot here that you can`t sleep with blankets on your bed or else you are at risk of heat stroke, so we each have our own personal fan that hangs over where we sleep. The cool thing is that 95 percent of people here sleep in hammocks. I am waiting for the day where we have time to go buy one for myself. Each day has been above 90 degrees and 50 percent humidity. You don´t stop sweating unless you are in the shower which is cold and comfortable. Wednesday-We went out and contacted the Members of the ward. Each one we went to lives in a one room house that consists of places to hang their hammocks. The kitchen is a stone basin on the outside in a patio and they have outhouses for bathrooms. We quickly found out that we are in the poorest part of Juchitan. But the members have more charity than anyone I have ever met. Each house we went to they got their best chairs out and offered us drinks. They are amazing and all enthusiastic to help everyone find the gospel. Thursday-We went out and contacted the referrrals that we got from the Members. Everyone, and I mean everyone accepted us into their houses because they wanted to hear a message of Jesus Christ and Eternal Families. Jesus Christ is a necessity to everyone down here, without Christ in their lives they have their families and nothing else. The gospel is perfect for everyone and I wish that everyone of you could see how important the gospel is to these people and how much they need it, they are true examples. We got swamped with second lessons for later in the week this day and were really excited for the potential this area had. Friday- We continued to go out and meet with referrals and this day. Everyone once again wanted to hear the message of Jesus Christ. We ran into our first Bible Bashers who wanted to argue with us about the way we understand the Bible. We won the fights because we have second lessons with these people next week! We also went and met with a girl named Nidia, and extended a Baptismal date to her and she accepted! The goal for all our baptisms is October 10 so pray that everyone will come to church so we can baptize them as well! Saturday-Juchitan flooded...literally. It rained for 2 hours and we were walking through 4 inches of water. It was actually kind of fun and a huge relief from the heat. The rain seemed to scare away everyone from their second lessons though. We had to go knock on doors for the first time. We met a young mother, Angelica who is really interested in the gospel as well. I felt prompted to extend a baptismal invite to her and she accepted! We walked past her house yesterday and we saw her reading the Book of Mormon with her husband! It was awesome! Sunday- We went to church in the new ward and I was quickly called as the ward pianist. Everyone was super excited to hear prelude music and have something to sing to! It was awesome to be able to play in church. We are in a ward of about 90 active members and are in a huge reactivation effort right now. Everyone in the ward is just the nicest though. They take turns twice a month to feed us lunch and it is sooooo good!! They sacrifice so much for us and put the best food on the table that they have. It is better than any Mexican food back in the states. Oaxaca cheese is really really good as well. I thought I was used to the spice until Friday when we had Mole Beef. It was extremely spicy, so spicy that the member couldn´t even eat it, but we finished ours off by some small miracle. Now I can say that I am used to the spice. I am so excited to be here. This is where I am supposed to be and this is the blessing that I have recieved. There is no place I would rather be than here! I love you all and love hearing from everyone!! Quidice!! Elder Peterson
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Hey Mom, Well I finally made it to my area and it is amazing down here! Just ask to read Dads email about the scenery because I am running out of time and we have contacts to go make tonight. Sorry!! Anyways we live in an upstairs apartment in the middle of the city of Juchitan. It is a city about the size of Provo, Spanish Fork, I don´t know I haven´t gaged how big it is yet. It is hot down here, I am sweating like crazy!! Super Humid and super hot! Lots of the people wear their traditional clothing around on the streets, they look like the dancers you see in the church museam. Well actually it is mostly just the women that do it but I did see a few guys in the mariachi pants today. I want you and Dad to come down when I am done and see everything down here. I am not in the tourist area. The pyramids are by Oaxaca City and all the tourists go to the beach at Puerto Angel for the most part. It takes forever to drive around the state because there are so many mountains here and the roads are windy and curvy, they are actually probably worse than those ones in Montana! And we did it in a bus and the bus driver never slowed down to take any of those curves. We ride around in those little motocabs that you see on the Amazing Race, the 3 wheel motorcycle things with canvas over the top, they are fun to ride in!! We had Dominos pizza for Dinner last night, they had a member come cook lunch, it was chicken, rice, and beans and it was so good!! I am used to the spicy now and I really actually love spicy foods surprisingly! We had French Toast that Sister Madsen cooked for us yesterday. Everything is amazing down here and I love it!! It is safe, and beautiful and there is nothing to worry about! I love you Love Chad
Hello Everyone!! Wow so much has happened in the last 2 days I don´t even know where to begin to start! First off Oaxaca is BEAUTIFUL! The people, culture, food, everything is just amazing. We got down here yesterday and went to the Presidents house to have breakfast. We met our President, President Madsen and his wife and they are the best. We had training all day yesterday and then we stayed the night in the Mission Office. I just got to my area, Juchitan (Hu-chi-tan) and it is amazing here as well. We had a 6 hour bus ride this morning and it was the first time that I have ever been car sick, the road was a windy and narrow road the whole way going through the mountains but I made it here alive so everything is good! I got here and met my companion, Elder Lee from Pleasant Grove and the first thing that he said to me was ¨This is the only English you are going to hear from me for 6 weeks, we aren´t speaking English from here on out¨ I am so grateful for that! I am picking up the Spanish slowly but surely and eventually it will get there. We went shopping just barely in Walmart so I think I can survive here. The climate and scenery here is like Southern Utah Millard County, and I am so grateful for that! I stepped off the plane and for a second I thought that I was in Kanosh! Haha but it is so green, there are palm trees, mountains, rivers, lots and lots of different colors of plants. You would have to be here to know the full effect of it. The people are dressed in traditional Mexican clothing on the side of the streets, we ride around in the little Motocabs that you see on the Amazing Race. I think I am going to love it here. Thank you for all of your support and I will talk to you all next week with an update on the first week!! Love Elder Chad Peterson
Hello there!! I made it to Oaxaca and it is so beautiful here!! The city is in the middle of the mountains and it looks like the Mountains around Kanosh and the valleys around it! I love it here! We got picked up this morning by our president and had breakfast at his house, French Toast and Sausage. Then we walked to the Mission offices past the temple and everything and we have been in orientation meetings all day. I am so excited to get out here. The city is about the size of Provo...maybe a little smaller. It is green and it was 70 degress all day here. The APs showed us lots of pictures of the state and told us about the people. I just got assigned my Zone and companion. I havent met my comp though because he is a 7 hour bus ride away from me tomorrow morning. I am serving in the area of Juchitan, it is in the South West corner of the state if you want to go look at it. Everyone says that it never gets below 85 there in temperature and humidity and that I am going to sweat off a ton of weight. Anyways I was just supposed to email you to tell you that I am okay and I will be emailing you next monday or possibly more later tonight. I love you so much! Love Chad
"We took this picture this morning and the squad is reunited at last! It was so good to get Kendrick down here! Parker and I have been trying to show him the ropes and he is going to love it down here! Sad that we have to leave him in a few days but it is great to all be together for a little bit! They all send their love to all of you!" L to R Parker Barton, Kendrick Spencer, Chad
Hello Everyone! Well here is my last email from the MTC. It has been a great experience here and I wouldn't change anything about it. On Monday morning at 3am I will be on a bus headed to the airport for a 7am flight to Oaxaca. We were able to receive our travel plans on Thursday and the whole district has been packing up and getting ready to head out soon. This last week has been the best by far of the MTC. Although the language we have been learning is the hardest by far, and the lessons we have had to teach have been the most difficult, I have found that in the times of the greatest difficulty are the times where God will strengthen you the most and in those times, you can receive the spirit stronger than you ever could any other time. Alright so here are the highlights of the week, it has truly been amazing! Yesterday, Elder D. Todd Christofferson came down to our MTC and spoke to us along with his wife. The main message that he wanted to share with us could be summed up into a simple quote that he shared with us, "Everyone is born with a desire to serve other people, and a desire to want to bless people in ways that are in ways, unworldly. Yet, they don't know how to act on this desire. We, a lucky few have the knowledge and opportunity to be able to do this for our fellow men. Although it may seem like it is a burden, in the end it will always be a blessing for both parties." This just hit me so hard! We are so lucky to be able to have a knowledge of the Savior and a knowledge of how to bless the lives of people around us through the knowledge that we have! He then opened up to 5 questions from the audience, and it is amazing how each question specifically helped me even though it had not previously been on my mind. The last question that someone asked was about the Savior. And he said this, "No one can say, I can't do this, when he did it all alone, when he was begging to the father, "Why hast thou forsaken me." We are never alone because he went through it all. If your answers aren't coming when you want them to, remember that Christ plead 3 times to the father to remove the cup from him, but in the end, he was willing to always submit to his fathers will." What a strong testimony from a prophet of the Lord! It was one of the best experiences that I have ever had in my life! Him and his wife are the most humble people that I have ever witnessed, he kept saying over and over how the MTC presidency could teach us better, and how they were far better than he was in the gospel. If there is one word to describe Elder Christofferson it would be "humble." Afterwards we had to head to our service activity of helping to escort the new Elders in to the MTC. My district was out there waiting for the busses to come and all of a sudden here came Sister Christofferson walking down the sidewalk. She was waiting for Elder Christofferson to get out of meetings and she said she wanted to come talk to us! So our district talked to her for a while, then the busses got there and she greeted some of the new Elders. When we had finished unloading the first van, I turned around and here was Elder Christofferson walking down the sidewalk to us. He shook my hand first and said "Nice to meet your Elder Peterson" Then he greeted the rest of my district. When his bodyguards were ready to go they started walking away and I said "Thank you Elder Christofferson" and he turned around, looked right at me and said "No thank you for your service Elder" I have never been so humbled in my life! It was amazing! The other thing that has been hard this week is having to say goodbye to all of the volunteer member investigators here. Last night we talked with Llores one last time. She was telling us about the open house of the Mexico MTC temple. She said that last Sunday alone, they had 9,000 people come through, and she was there ushering until 11:30 that night. It is amazing how much the people down here love the Church. It is their greatest pride, joy and happiness in their life and they would do anything to sacrifice for it. Llores stood in a hallway of the temple for 12 hours on Sunday, working overtime by 4 hours. This is sacrifice and a huge example to us. That is really all that has happened this week! It has been the same schedule each day of 3 hours of class in the morning, gym, computer classes, and study in the afternoons, and 3 more hours of class each night. I truly am in a Garden of Eden as Elder Christofferson said. It is beautiful to watch the green parrots fly by, all the palm trees, 72 degrees and sunny. Everyone that we have talked to about Oaxaca has said that we are going to get fat from the food and we are going to sweat to death from the heat. I don't know we will see if that really happens! Anyways I would love to hear from you with questions or happenings in your lives! Thank you for all the support! Elder Peterson --
"This morning we got to go to the open house of the Mexico City Temple. They have been renovating for a few years and they are getting ready to open it back up in September. It is so beautiful and it is amazing to see the love that the people have for it down here. The next closest temple to them is the Oaxaca temple, 300 miles away and 6 hours of driving. The temple is a necessity of the lives of the members down here."
I asked Chad some questions about where he was staying and what he was eating....Mom stuff. This is his reply. Hi Mom! We didn't get sick but yeah there has been several epidemics going around since I got here, all that has happened to me is that I had an ingrown toenail, it got infected, and I was at the Doctor for an hour on Saturday while they numbed my toe and cut out the infected toenail on the side, don't worry its all better now and actually my health has never been better! I didn't even realize that they were starting school this week! That is so crazy to think about! I'm sure that it will be a great year for all of them though and I am excited to hear all the updates about how everything is going. I should be fine without all that stuff, as soon as I get to Oaxaca Ill be able to go to Walmart or something to get it. So we live in a house that has 5 bedrooms with 4 beds in each room. We sleep on bunkbeds so there are 4 people to a room. There are bathrooms in each room and they are nice bathrooms with hot water and two sinks. We have a laundry room in each house and we each have an assigned day to do laundry. We usually play soccer or basketball on P-Day, go take a nap, and do our laundry. There is a store here on the MTC campus where we buy our laundry supplies and snacks and stuff. We get 100 pesos of credit each week to spend in there. I also just bought me a sweet leather scripture case with Moroni on the front of it. For breakfast it depends on the day, they always have the drinkable yogurt, toast, and fruit loops and frosted flakes. But then some days they will have pancakes, or french toast, and other days they will have chicken tamales. They tricked me one day when I saw crepes on the counter, I got one and it was filled with beans and I don't know if Ill be able to eat a crepe again ;) But it is like the cannon center where there is always fresh fruit and salad stuff. Lunch and Dinner depend too, some days it will be American food like Hamburgers or Corn Dogs or Pizza every Tuesday. They always have corn tortillas and some kind of meat to put on them along with rice and beans. I haven't had diarrhea yet but some of my companions have. My language is coming good and my teachers have told me that they are really impressed with how fast I am picking it up. I can speak it pretty good now and get my points across but there is always more to learn. I was telling Dad that we were talking to a Teacher from Oaxaca who said everyones first language there is Mexotecan, and so we will be learning that soon. This MTC is like the Provo one where they have volunteers come in to take the discussions. Some people like Clarissa are referred here. Unfortunately she got turned over to the Mexico City Missionaries but we heard that she is still taking the discussions so that is good! I get my travel plans on Monday, and there is a possibility that Ill be able to call you from the Airport, so Ill let you know when Ill be flying out and what the plan is for that! I love you Love, Chad
Hello Everyone! Wow this week has flown by and I can't believe its already Thursday again! Well I am here at the end of my 5th week in the MTC, I can't believe it has gone by so fast and in 10 Days I will be on a plane to Oaxaca! On Monday we are getting our flight plans to see when we will be flying out, and we hope it is a flight plan because the other option is a 6 hour bus ride! But this experience has already been the best experience of my life. Sunday was good as always, we got a new member in our Branch Presidency, Presidente Ramos. He is 65 years old and has lived in Mexico City his whole life. It is amazing to see the tender mercies of the Lord working through him. He has battled physical health problems his whole life, and he told our Branch President that he expected to die in this calling. Then in his setting apart blessing he was promised to have a renewal of his body, it was a testament that through God everything really is possible. On Sunday we were able to have our Priesthood lesson by him, and in his broken English, he bore such a strong testimony, and he is a living testimony of the words of Paul "When I am weak, I am strong." As we have gone throughout the week the theme of the Character of Christ has really continued to stick out. It was the topic of Priesthood, and the Sunday Devotional that night. We were reminded by President Ramos that we are commanded to be like Christ. This is a hard standard to live by right? He said that we need to set goals to think and act like Christ for 5 seconds a day, when we have that down, do 10 seconds where you are striving to be like Christ as much as possible. And keep progressing till you are to 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, and eventually one lifetime. It is a simple principle that can bring us so many blessings. Later that night, we had our devotional, and it was the one by Elder Bednar that we watched in our first week. At first we were kind of disappointed but I told myself that there was another message to be had from it. I don't know if any of you remember but this was about the Character of Christ is turning outward away from the natural man. And as I had been trying to do this in the past weeks I had been doing it to seek blessings. Yes there are blessings that will come from it but Elder Bednar said this, "The primary reason for turning outward should not be the blessings we receive, the reason for this should be to learn of Christ, and because you need Christ in your life." The best way to have Christ in your life is to strive to be like him, and to take the challenge of seeking for 5 seconds of the Character of Christ each day. While the MTC has been truly changing me spiritually, it has been changing me athletically too...I have a new favorite sport that I now would prefer over basketball, football, or any American sport. I didn't know that a person could change this much in the MTC in so many different aspects. I have grown to fall in love with the sport of Futból. Last week the other district in our zone challenged our district to a game. We only had one person that played soccer past 7th grade and we figured we would take a beating. Well the two big tall white guys in the group (Me and Elder Thompson) combined to score 5 goals in the victory. The next day we decided that we really liked it so we were out just kicking around when a Hispanic Zone walked up in their cleats and jerseys and said that they had watched us play and they wanted to play us. I haven't been that nervous for an athletic event since State Football playoffs. We played them and the outcome was 4-3, for Team USA! I could hear the voice of Al Michaels screaming in the background "Do you believe in Miracles?!?" I don't know where all this soccer love and talent is coming from but I love it and we have played it each day as different districts have come to challenge us and we have remained undefeated. Hopefully I don't encounter a humbling experience in Oaxaca with the little kids playing soccer, I guess we will see in a few days! Finally, me and my companion Elder Thomas have made a new friend. Her name is Llardes and she has come in every Tuesday night to help us practice our discussions with her. Her testimony is so strong and it has been so uplifting to hear her testimony, her stories, her troubles, her favorite scriptures, and so forth. She is a bus driver in Mexico City and every Tuesday she makes sure she is here to help us. We will both miss her when we head out to Oaxaca but there are more missionaries that need to be impacted by her testimony. One more thing that was great about this week, this morning we got to go to the open house of the Mexico City Temple. They have been renovating for a few years and they are getting ready to open it back up in September. It is so beautiful and it is amazing to see the love that the people have for it down here. The next closest temple to them is the Oaxaca temple, 300 miles away and 6 hours of driving. The temple is a necessity of the lives of the members down here. In the opening video the homesickness came on as the temple that they showed in the opening video was the Payson Utah Temple. As they kept showing the temple and the surrounding area I was almost positive that I could see my house in the video. It is pretty remarkable that 2000 miles away in a different country, that the temple that was chosen to be the example of temples worldwide is the temple that is 5 minutes from my house. It is truly an amazing temple. Again, thank you for all of your support, I will be emailing you all again with 4 days left in the MTC and getting ready to head to Oaxaca! I am more than excited and even though I am not quite prepared, through the Lord I can do all things! Thank you all so much! Elder Peterson
Hello Everyone! It is so good to be able to talk to all of you again and I am so excited to share the experiences that I have had this week! The MTC continues to get better, although it is never easy here and the days consist of 6 hours of Language study, teaching 2 lessons a day, and 6 hours of classes, it is all so worth it. The experiences that have come into my path this week all testify of the importance of the strenuous schedule. My district has continued to practice teach with our teachers here, as well as teach investigators that don't know how to contact missionaries so they come here to learn instead. We have had two great devotionals that have both had Elder Holland giving recorded messages in, and the Spanish continues to come slowly but surely. I know that through it all this is the best experience I could be having in my life right now. It is amazing here and I wish all of you could experience the beauty, peace, and comfort that comes from this beautiful campus here in the middle of Mexico City. Unfortunately most of you can't so I will share the most touching experiences that have happened this week and I hope that you can all draw on principles to help you in your every day lives and gain a better understanding that Heavenly Father loves you. 1. We have continued our new night classes with our former investigator turned teacher, Hermano Carranza. He has told us that he has his own personal struggles in life, as does everyone else, but that is what makes his lessons so special to us. He takes his personal struggles and turns them into learning opportunities for all of us to learn from. This week he showed us a Mormon Message video that is called "The Hope of God's Light." I had seen this message before so I watched it kind of casually, but we ended up watching this three times within 3 nights of each other. I knew that there was a message to be had from it, so each time I watched it more carefully, and the third time, I found just what I had needed for the week. The main person in the video, who had struggled to find where God was in his life, said the following line, "Don't wait for someone to come flip the switch of Christ's light for you, Make an act of faith to light it for yourself." We have each been sent here and are in the situations we are now because we have been tasked to carry the responsibilities of the Lord. Yes we may know the gospel, and we may have a testimony of it, but what are you going to do about it? God needs you on his side TODAY! We may have trials in our lives that make us want to step back, but through another experience I had, this is not what we need to do. Following a struggling practice discussion with our teacher, he pulled me aside and just told me that I need more faith. He said "Elder you know everything that you need to know to have the spirit in your life and in your discussions, but you need to go against the faith and allow God to challenge you, to humble you, and through this you will become great." This hit me hard, and I went to God and asked him to challenge me, and help me strengthen my faith to that I could carry the responsibility that he gave to me. The following night we taught Hermano Carranza again, and through the Spirit of God we taught with power and authority, he cried through most of the lesson, and said that he had been looking for those exact things in his life and that we were angels sent to him to deliver that message to him. It was one of the happiest moments of my life to be able to bring that message to him. 2. Last night we were able to teach the real investigators that had come into the MTC. The first lesson that we taught was with a girl named Clarissa. She is 21 years old and has stated all her life that she would never become involved with any sort of church. This coming week she is taking an exam to be able to get into college. She told us that she didn't feel like she could do it on her own and she needed to know if she could have God help her in her life. We taught her about prayer, about the comforting peaceful feeling that comes from it if we pray with a sincere heart and a love towards God. The spirit was felt so strongly and at the end of the lesson she asked if we would teach her how to pray, so that she could receive that feeling for herself. She gave the most heartfelt prayer that I have ever heard, and through us she was able to taste of the sweet goodness of the spirit and love of God. If there is one thing that you can know, its that God truly does love you, even though you may have fought him, denied him, and claimed you would never go back to him, he always wants you, and he will always answer your prayers in the times and places that will be best for you. This is testified through the story of Clarissa. 3. I have loved being able to gain a better understanding of the Spanish language because I have finally been able to communicate with all the workers who work at the MTC here. There are countless Janitors, Landscapers, Cooks, Bus Drivers, and so forth. These people are the best people that I have ever met before. They are here at 6 every morning to make sure that we have the best experience possible here. Every single one of them are so grateful for the jobs they have, you will never fail to see them smiling while they are cleaning, mowing, or cooking. They are all so outgoing and will always tell you Buenas Dias Elder, each time you see them. In conditions and types of jobs that would be hated in the United States, these people see it as their greatest blessings. They are humbled that they are able to work here, no matter what it is, and it is what makes them the happiest people that I have ever seen. They ride busses to work that are hour long rides, but they don't sit comfortably in seats they stand. But it isn't standing in an aisle, its standing with the doors of the bus wide open while you stand in the stairwell hanging out of the bus. Yet every single one is the happiest they can be. And I can truly say that I love each one of them. The last thing that I have learned this week is this, I am not capable of doing what this mission expects and needs of me, but with God I can become more than capable. When I am weak I am my strongest. But only through God. Through the trials and shortcomings we are made stronger through God. I am simply an inadequate instrument in the Hands of God, with a unbearable responsibility upon my back, but I know that through what strength God gives to me, I cannot boast of it, but if I boast in the strength of the Almighty God whom we can call our Father in Heaven, I will receive the strength to do all things, and in this case it is to bring souls unto Christ and help them learn of their eternal potential of living with God once again in eternal happiness. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers in my behalf, I know that this is the right and the gospel is true and that through it we can experience a happiness unlike any other. May God bless you in the coming week. Elder Peterson
L to R Elder Thomas (Chad's companion), Elder Peterson, Elder Baker from Mesa Arizona and Elder Allman from Orem. These 4 are roommates at the MTC.
Hello Everyone! Well week 2 at the Mexico MTC has been nothing short of amazing! The Spirit is growing ever stronger and the hand of God is more present with each passing day. Every day is basically the same with the language learning and teaching lessons about teaching investigators. There is so much we have learned concerning the language and mostly building upon our testimonies of the work that we have to do here. At the beginning of the week we got a new teacher to be our night teacher. His name is Hermano Carlos Carranza and he served his mission in the Provo Utah South Mission! It is such a small world! But his desire to teach and his enthusiasm for us to learn and grow in the gospel is truly remarkable. It makes me more excited each day I learn from him to go serve the people of Oaxaca! We have watched videos and read experiences about how the gospel has changed peoples lives, and looking back on this week it has changed mine. I want to share some experiences that I have learned from this week from various places. 1. On Sunday we got to watch a rerun of an MTC devotional that Elder Bednar did a few years ago. It was a talk that hit me so hard and had one of the greatest impacts on me. The theme that seemed to be a common occurrence was the spirit and the Holy Ghost. Elder Bednar talked about feeling the Holy Ghost in the service we are able to do to other people. He stated points that have inspired me to rededicate myself and things that will help me to be a better person and missionary as the servant of the Lord. I hope these points can help all of you as well. He said that we need to find the Character of Christ through our study and prayer. Begin a pursuit NOW of learning of him instead of learning about him. We need to pay the price to obtain our own light of Christ instead of borrowing off of the light of others. The way that we can do this is to turn outwards like Christ did instead of turning inwards just as the natural man would. When Christ was in the hands of his captives in the Garden the night after he had suffered unbearable pain, when the ear of the captor was sliced off he wasn't worried about defending himself, he was worried about healing the man who was seeking to take his life. "Dedication and desire to obtaining the Character of Christ will bring us answers to our questions and bring blessings upon our heads." 2. On Tuesday we were able to watch a live broadcast from Provo that President Nelson spoke at. He called us missionaries "Epistles of the Lord." He challenged us to engrave the initials of Christ upon our hearts and turn to him in our times of need. He challenged us to never let the atonement go without use, that Christ will never be disappointed in us when we come with full purpose of heart to him no matter what has happened or is happening in our lives. It has been so special to be able to hear two prophets of God speak to us this week and it has felt as if they were speaking directly to me. 3. Today we had the opportunity to go to downtown Mexico City, and it is a beautiful and remarkable city! Just watching the people out the bus window made me appreciate them even more and the humility that they all have. I love to see the way the people live, the special culture that they all share, and the love that they have towards everyone. Our Branch President told us this week that if you were to say "I like your shoes" to any of them, that they would take them off and give them to you. I firmly believe that after seeing the Mexican people today. I am looking forward to immersing myself in the Oaxacan Culture and loving those people as much as I do the people of Mexico City. We drove down the main plaza with all the memorials, I ate a cow tounge taco from off the side of the road, and I have nothing more to say than I love Mexico and this is where I want to be. But better yet, this is where God has prepared for me and where he has sent me to shape me and help me become a true disciple of Christ. I wouldn't change any of this for the world! Thank you for all of your prayers and support. Sister Nelson said that if I were ever feeling down, to think of the 15 million members praying specifically for me. It is truly humbling to be receiving those. 4. Last point that is the greatest blessing and miracle of the week. So we started teaching real investigators on Tuesday night. We only taught one this week but it was the best experience that I have had thus far. This lady came in to the MTC and asked if she could talk to some missionaries. The Lord blessed my companion and I with the opportunity to talk to her. She used to be a member of the church but a few years ago she was involved in a car accident. It completely wiped out her memory and she couldn't even remember her own name. She said she forgot her testimony and if the church was true. She went off the wrong path and didn't know where her happiness was, and then she realized that it was in Heavenly Father. We shared a scripture with her, Romans 8:39 and she started crying over it and said that this was exactly what she had been looking for. None of us remember anything else, all that we know is that we were both able to bear our testimonies and speak through the spirit in complete and fluent spanish. It changed all of our lives in that room that night. Again, thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts, I look forward to sending back more stories next week. May God bless you all and may you feel of his loving kindness in your lives. He loves you and he wants the best for you. Elder Peterson
Day 1: So I got to the airport around 8 that morning and went through all the airport security and everything. Me and Parker were sitting in the terminal and this guy from Mexico that worked in Utah was flying home to see his family for the week. They live in Mexico City. He asked me if I had a picture of the Salt Lake Temple and I couldn't find one that wasn't blurry so I got to show him the pictures of the Payson and St. George temples. He wasnt LDS but I still bore my testimony to him about eternal families. Then Parker all of a sudden showed up again and he had a Strength of Youth that had the temple on it. His eyes lit up and he took the pamphlet and said he was going to go show the picture to all his neighbors. It was awesome. We got on the flight and it was about 4 hours. The flight had 70 missionaries on it! We got to the airport and got on busses and took an hour bus drive to the MTC. Mexico City is amazing! The traffic was crazy and there were people walking down the middle of the road selling chips, candy, and other things. But the city is colorful and the way people live here is really really cool. I loved the people from the moment that I saw them all. We got to the MTC and went through all the orientations and went to our houses. Then we met our district and there are 7 of us all going to Oaxaca so it is great to get to know all of them now. We then went to the cafeteria and ate dinner. The food here is good...the refried beans and rice that they give us every meal (literally breakfast, lunch, and dinner) will get you. But they try to get American foods in there but if they do they either have corn, rice, or spicy stuff in them. But the food is good and I can get used to it. Then after we ate we had more meetings about rules and stuff then we went to bed. Day 2. We got up and got ready. The night was a little rough because there are sirens going all night and dogs barking. But we were all so tired we managed to get to sleep. This day was the hardest because we couldn't really work and all we had to do was sit through meetings and more orientations all day. But we had our first language classes and we learned how to pray and bear testimony in Spanish. All the teachers here are bilingual but their english is pretty broken, it feels like you are drowning in Spanish but we are picking it up quickly. We got our study schedules and we study language and doctrine for about 6 hours a day. Here I have learned to rely heavily on the Holy Ghost to help me feel what I am supposed to be feeling. Although the language is different on the outside, the language of the holy ghost is always one that you can understand. We went to bed again and the longest day was over. Day 3. Just when I thought there wasn't anything else that could keep me up, the Mexican people decided they wanted to celebrate pioneer day or something...so they did fireworks starting at 11 and going till 6 the next morning. We got to our classes and they told us that we would be teaching our investigator that night...in complete spanish. I have a companion, Elder Thomas from Albuquerque New Mexico that is nearly fluent so it was a huge blessing. We prepared all day and relied on the dictionary that we were given. We taught about the love of God and the plan of happiness and we could feel the spirit. I didnt know what I was saying but I could tell that it touched him and the spirit was strong. It was such a great experience. Day 4. Just like all the other days, classroom and study work but we got one additional thing added to our schedule...GYM TIME. The MTC used to be a High School down here so they have a weight room, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and a full basketball gym with bleachers and everything. Our district is a tall district too, we have 3 of us, Elder Thompson from Cedar City and Elder Belliston from Idaho Falls that are all 6,3. We got challenged to a game by two elders who were both 6,6. One is going to UC Irvine to play basketball on a scholarship and the other is on the BYU Practice team hoping to be able to walk on when he gets home. They dunked on us...we tried to dunk on them, and thankfully in the MTC everything always ends in a tie. This was for sure the highlight of the week. Sunday. This was the best Sunday I have ever had. Sacrament meetings are conducted in Spanish. There is no spirit that is stronger than being able to sing Hymns with 500 elders and sisters in Spanish. We went to priesthood and we had a great lesson about being faithful to God and showing obedience to him. We had a devotional that night and Elder Mills, the director of all the international MTC's spoke to us, showing us all the pictures of all 18 MTC's around the world. The Mexico MTC is definitely the luckiest. Here there are palm trees everywhere, green parrots flying around, it hasn't been above 80 degrees and there is a rain storm at 5pm everynight to clear the air out. It is a paradise inside of chaos outside. After the devotional we got to watch Meet the Mormons and then we went to bed. Monday-Thursday. Pretty much the same stuff. Our district is all really close together and all best friends now. Yesterday there was one of the biggest bees in our classroom flying around. One of the Elders decided he would try to smash it with one of his books. The bee flew to the window and the Elder took a swing and broke the window...it was really funny but he felt bad about it. The bee was literally the size of a moth and was completely black. I could see the stinger from across the room where I was sitting and I was scared haha. Overall the food is good, it is beautiful down here, we have fireworks shows every night that beat the stadium of fire any day. Our branch president said it was catholics worshipping and celebrating Mary and Jesus. But I feel safe down here, there are 15 foot walls surrounding us with security everywhere. It is a great experience and I can't wait to head out to Oaxaca! One last thing! On Tuesday we had a devotional by Elder Miron of the 70. In his talk he talked about Oaxaca specifically and said the people down there need the gospel. That got our district really excited about it and afterwards we got to go talk to him about it. We also sang Hope of Israel in the Choir...again in Spanish, but the spirit is always strong no matter what the language is. I would love to hear from everyone! There is a site that if you want to send letters down here you can go to it. It is http://www.mtcmexicocarepackage.com/ and it will be delivered the next day. Unfortunately normal letters take 3 weeks at the least to get here so this way is the way to go if you want to go that route. Emails are also great too! The church is true and Ill talk to you all soon! Elder Peterson