Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mas Bautizmals! January 25, 2016

Hello Everyone! Wow this week flew by in all that we did! We actually had hardly any time to teach because we were in and out of mission meetings this whole week trying to get things done for the areas. At the first of the week on Tuesday we finally had the baptism for Floricely! After 5 months she was finally baptized and I have never seen her happier than she was when she came up out of the water. You could tell that she finally had a testimony of the importance of all of these things and that she wanted all of this for herself. It took a lot of effort on the part of the Young Womens leader, without her Floricely would have never been baptized, but because of her Floricely found her testimony. On Wednesday we had a worldwide missionary training by the Apostles about how we can help people to find their testimonies. It was so great to be able to hear from the apostles once again and the powerful testimony that they are always carrying with them. Friday and Saturday were really busy days. The mission put on a program here in the 2 areas in Juchitan called El Cristo Es. We were able to have 80 missionaries that sang in a choir, sang in groups, and talked about all the things that we are teaching. I had the assignment to sing in 2 small groups the songs I know that My Redeemer Lives and This is the Christ. In both of them I could see people crying. I dont know if it was because they could feel the spirit or if it was because I was singing. Just kidding the spirit was so strong in these meetings and everyone left the meetings with a stronger testimony, us included that Jesus Really is the Christ and that he lives and that everything is centered in him! Everything that we have here in this life! Yesterday we had a weird experience in the Ward Council. We were sitting in the meeting and the Elders Quorum president came in late. He interrupted everything and started talking to us. He started to say that 2 girls that have been coming to church with their families arent baptized and they were too afraid to tell anyone about it. For 3 months we have had 2 girls in church that we had no clue werent baptized! We went and found them after and they are going to recieve the lessons and prepare for their baptisms soon! We are so excited and we are recieving so many miracles of the Lord. It is to a point now where i will do anything in this work for him because I know that he is always looking out for us and we are here to succeed gloriously! I cant wait to hear from you all next week! Elder Peterson
Floricely's baptism

Monday, January 18, 2016

Fe en Cada Paso (Faith in Every Footstep) - January 18, 2016

Hello Everyone! Wow this week was incredible and with each week it almost feels like the spirit of the mission is renewed and you feel like a new missionary again. Well to start out we were able to do splits this week and I had the opportunity to teach with Elder Echiverria from Ecuador. I learned a lot from him in how we can teach with humility and with a love for the people. We were able to work like crazy and we found 10 people to teach that day! It was so awesome and I was dead tired that night that I didnt even have time to find my blanket to sleep with! Anyways the week went on and on Friday we had a program practice for the missionary program that we are going to do with President Madsen. I was practicing my part and talking to some other missionaries when President Madsen walked up to me. He said "Elder Peterson how are you? I was just wondering if you would like a tag along tonight in your lessons?" I thought that he was talking about having one of his assistants come with us and so I told him Yes of course! Then he said "Perfect I will be in front of your house to teach with you guys tonight at 6 see you then!" And then he walked away! We had the chance to teach with President Madsen that night and it was so awesome to see the way that he taught as well, so boldly yet with a clarity that any child could understand. I was so happy to be able to have the chance to teach with him and so humbled that he would chose our area to see how the work is going in the mission. The next day we were able to have the baptism for Karen! She was super excited to finally be an official member of the Young Womens! The spirit was so strong for her there and it was so awesome to see all the young women come together to support her and to see the strength that she gave to them as well. We finished that night and that same night we started getting Floricelli ready for her baptism tomorrow. Both of these girls have had the goal to go to the temple in 2 weeks. It is so humbling to see the sacrifices that all of these people are making to go to the temple. In ward council yesterday the subject wasnt what people needed help or who we could visit, it was what the youth could sell and make to be able to pay for their 5 hour trip to the temple. It is inspiring to watch the youth make tamales and get on their bikes and go sell them in the streets. It is a testimony to me of just how important temple work is and the spirit the temple can bring if we can do all that we can to be able to go. Each week continues to get better and better. In the baptism Saturday we had another miracle come to us. Im not sure how many of you remember Moises, the friend of Floricelli. He moved a few months ago and we werent able to teach him anymore. Well we got to the baptism Saturday and there was Moises sitting in the seats with a group of Young Men. He told us that he moved back into the ward and that he felt like he needed to ask Floricelli how she was doing. Floricelli invited him to everything and he is super excited to follow in Floricellis footsteps in 3 weeks with his own baptism. I am so humbled at how many blessings we are seeing each and every day. I know that it is because the Lord has a special group of people here in this ward that needs it and I am so blessed to be able to be his instrument to help them to find those blessings where they are. Thank you for all of your support and love!
Karen's baptism

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Prestos Todos Prestos - January 11, 2016

Hello Everyone! I know that every letter starts out this way but it is so true that in the mission field every week is filled with miracles. You get to a point here that you can see the hand of the Lord in every single little thing that you do, after that there is a desire to want it even more. As some of you know, last week I came down with a really bad fever on New Years day. It was the hardest day of the mission. Every single person was sleeping through the day and we only found 2 people to teach the whole entire day. That night we were fortunate enough to find our area "Grandparents" that have been in the church for years. We stopped by there house and Brother SantibaƱez gave me a blessing. The next day I woke up weak but I didnt have the fever anymore. We headed out to work that day as well but still couldnt find hardly anyone to teach. We worked hard but with very little return up until Thursday. I was so frustrated that I was trying to push so hard and that my companion was pushing right along with me and we werent finding the success that we had usually had here in the area. On Thursday we finally recieved the conference edition of the Liahona. On the back there was the Memoriam for Elder Scott, and they had a quote printed by him that said "God did not send us here to fail, but to succeed Gloriously." It was just what I needed for that time. I went into the bedroom that morning and told Heavenly Father I would do anything for him that I needed to for this area. The answer didnt come right then and we started our studies for the day. That day we had our weekly planning session and the overwhelming feeling came over me to prepare with all our heart might and strength 4 people for baptism, Karen, Floricelli, Luis, and Diego. For an hour in our weekly planning session we set plans for each one in what we were going to do day by day with each person. That day we went and met with Luis Ruiz to begin our plan with him. He is our investegator who has a crazy fear of water. He has been in the font 3 times and was never baptized. We told him about what we felt inspired to do with him. We taught a powerful lesson with his mom and him there, afterwards we asked if he would accept, he told then for the first time his mom began to encourage him and say yes you can I believe in you and I want you to be in our eternal family. He then accepted and said that he would do all that he could as long as we pushed him along with his mom. The same happened with Floricelli, we stopped by that night and she told us straight up that she didnt want to be baptized and that we shouldnt stop by anymore to talk to her. We said alright and see you later and headed out because this has happened many times in the past few months. We had a ward mutual activity this week and brought a few investegators to that. When we got there we were surprised to see Floricelli there. She was afraid to talk to us but she made a bunch of new friends and she was with them there. The next day we had church and we got there to see Floricelli waititng there in the chapel with the Young Womens leader. In the ward council that day we talked about Floricelli. She had found out about the temple trip On January 30 and said that she wanted more than anything to be able to enter the temple and that she wanted to be baptized as soon as possible to be able to go and be worthy for this. We got to visit with her that afternoon and we are going to baptize her in 1 week, with Karen (finally) this Saturday. It was a testament that the Lord really does send us to succeed Gloriously. I cant wait to write you all about the end to each of these miracles. Thank you all for all of your love and support! Elder Peterson
The Cheescake that I got in a Christmas package, it was soooo yummy!
Our Security Guard in front of our house.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Viva Juchitan!! January 4, 2016

Hello Everyone! I hope that you all had a safe, fun, and exciting holiday season with everyone. Mine was definately awesome here as well. For sure the hottest Christmas season that I have ever had. The New Years here is actually bigger than Christmas and so this week everyone pulled out their tents and put them in the streets to have their big New Years Celebration. One thing that they do here is they make scarecrows and fill them with explosives to burn off at Midnight of New Years. We had a fun time seeing all of the scarecrows that everyone made as well as a few missionary scarecrows by the members. I dont know if it is a good thing or bad thing if you are getting your likeness burned up and blown up haha. But this night we did not sleep one bit. We heard all of the explosions at midnight, the fireworks at 1 in the morning up until 4 in the morning. It was a bit rough as well because the whole city was sleeping the next day including the members. It was for sure the hardest day of the mission so far to find people to teach. Anyways I know that some of you are wondering about the transfers. I am going to be staying here for one more transfer with Elder Martinez to finish out his training. I am super excited because we hope that with all the potential that we have built up this transfer that we can cap it all off with the waters of baptism. This week we had an unusual experience that lead us to find a new family to teach. In our area there is some train tracks that I know a few of you have seen in some pictures. On one side of the train tracks there is a giant wall, but on this wall people have started to build houses made of pallets and cardboard, very very humble. We have one family that is out there that we have been trying to help but they have not been progressing. We went out there yesterday and me and my companion had been asking for 2 or 3 weeks why we have been continuing to head out there to teach this family. We went out yesterday and the family wasnt home, but there was a new "house" next to them. We felt the spirit really strong in that we needed to head over to this house to try to teach them. When we were walking along the tracks we heard the guy saying "The brothers are coming the brothers are coming" we stopped in front of his house and he told us to enter immediately. We sat down and he started speaking to us in English. My companion didnt know what was going on and I didnt either because it has been so long since I have talked face to face in English. He started explaining that he used to live in Los Angeles and owned a trucking company. While he was there the missionaries found him and began to teach him. He read the whole Book of Mormon, knew that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that everything that these missionaries were saying was true. Unfortunaly his company went under and he moved to Colombia to try something different, things didnt work out there for him as well so he started traveling through Mexico making statues (Like my Ralph Moody books) and last night we found him. He told us that he had been hoping that he would be able to find the Book of Mormon again to be able to read it. He felt so comfortable with me because he doesnt have confidence in spanish or english, and so he could talk freely with me. I was able to bear him my testimony in English. It was so awesome to see the way that the Lord prepares people for us to teach. This was the highlight of my week. We hope to be able to baptize Karen in 2 weeks after many obstacles with work and with her family. The other awesome thing is that Tomas, our recent convert, had his son move in with him. The first night he was there Tomas came and found us and told us that we had to come and teach his son right then and there about the church that has all of the authority and truthfullness of Jesus Christ and can help his son to find where his life really is. The Lord is preparing so many people for us I wish I had time to explain all of them. I hope that you all have a great week returning to work and school. Thank you all for all that you do! Elder Peterson
My own personal explosive scarecrow.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

December 28, 2015

Hello Everyone! Well this week was awesome, one of the best weeks by far of the mission. It was amazing to see the focus that was put in to help everyone realize the true meaning of Christmas this year. This week we had the stake Christmas musical program that I was asked to help with in regards to the piano. It was somewhat of a miracle that it was able to be put on. The Sunday before the choir didnt have a pianist. That is when the Young Mens president found me and asked me to help. We practiced for 2 hours Sunday afternoon trying to get songs down. We practiced 5 songs from the hymn book and came up with arrangements for them. On Tuesday we had another practice (the night before) and the Young Mens president came up to me and said that there were 3 more songs that we were going to do, the problem was that there wasnt any piano music or arrangement for them and that I needed to find the music for it then and there. We went into the family history center and began to look everywhere to try to find this music. Eventually we found the arrangements that would work but the problem was that I had never practiced the songs before. For another 2 hours Tuesday night we practiced and practiced these three songs of Carol of the Bells, White Christmas, and the Little Drummer Boy. I could not seem to get them down and was super stressed out that I would ruin the program. The next day we got there an hour early and everything just seemed to click, the songs became easier to play and everything with the choir sounded amazing. We put on the program and I felt a spirit there that I have only felt in very few places in the mission. It is so hard to describe the happiness that I saw with each member and investegator afterwards and to hear that the music inspired them to remember Christ more this season. It was one of the best experiences of my whole mission to be able to play the piano and see the miracles for this program. And one of the best Christmas presents I could recieve. For Christmas Eve we got to eat with a family here in the ward that night and got to spend a little time with them. We ate enchiladas, chicken and rice with a pasta salad but it was even better to spend it with the Marin Family. The normal Juchitan tradition is to light fireworks for Christmas but we couldnt do that so we just ate dinner with them and headed home for the night. One of the greatest parts of the week was in a lesson with an investegator Diana. We found her through a referral that we recieved from other missionaries. Her Mom is an active member in the church but her husband is part of the Catholic church. When we first met her we extended the baptismal invitation and she accepted but asked how she could know everything was true. I felt inspired to promise her that she would know for a surety in 1 month that all of this was true and that she would have a desire to become a member of the church. That was 3 weeks ago. In the second lesson we gave her The Family a Proclamation to the World to read with her husband and pray about this. She read it with her husband and the part that confirmed everything to her was "Families can be together forever" When she read that she knew that this was a true promise that she could have through the church. She told her husband that she needed to go to church and he told her that he was going to come with her and together they would be part of this. It is such an amazing story in which she recieved an answer in what she specifically needs with Heavenly Father. For this it made talking to my family this week so much better to know that I am part of an eternal family and that all of this is true. I know that through the birth of Jesus Christ I can be part of an eternal family. I hope that you all had a merry Christmas and have a safe New Year! Elder Peterson
Our Ward Caroling Group
The Choir Director with her Fiancee and Alejandro the Ward Mission leader next to me.
The Weather Christmas Day here...95 degrees.

December 22, 2015

Hello Everyone! I am sorry that I wasn't able to send out an email yesterday, we had a big Christmas party with our President and his wife celebrating like one big family. It was fun to eat Roast beef and mashed potatoes, sing songs and play games, it honestly felt like a Family Christmas party. This week has been awesome with the season and the holiday. At the beginning of the week the Young Men/Women decided to do a caroling group and visit each member and less active of the ward to invite them to Ward Conference. They found out after their first practice that it is a little bit hard to stay on key and so they went out and found a keyboard. We received a call that night to help them out and so we went and visited each house while I played the keyboard and my companion sang. We have lots of pictures but....I forgot my camera in my house and so I will send the pictures next week. But it was awesome to visit each person and we had 30 more people there for Ward Conference this week! The chapel was full and less actives that we had been trying to help finally came out and were there in church. We were also excited for this week because we were able to have a ward choir! The bishoprec asked me to arrange 3 songs for the choir to sing. It was amazing to hear them sing. We only had about 10 people singing for this choir but the spirit was so strong and I had goosebumps in the last song of Silent Night while I was playing the piano. After the meeting, the Stake Young Mens president came up to me with tears in his eyes. He told me that I had been an answer to his prayers. I didn't know what was going on in his life but he began to tell me that in the whole stake here, there isn't one single person that can play the piano. There is only one person in the other stake that has been playing for both stakes. This president told me that he recieved the assignment to put on a Christmas program for the stake, but unfortunatly the other guy couldn't play and he had been praying for help to make it happen. He asked if I could quickly learn the songs to put on the program and help him. And I can testify that Heavenly Father is helping me. In songs that I have never been able to play before I am able to play right now in this program as well as learn songs in very little time. I am excited to play the song White Christmas for the program as well, it is my favorite Christmas song and I was so excited when he asked if I could learn the song! We continue to work with many investegators. Floricelli continues to progress and grow and find new desires to learn. She is there at church each sunday and at each mutual activity, she walks to the church alone but she has lots of friends here. We continue to find miracles each day and I know it is because Ha Nacido un Salvador. Because we have a Savior we have no need to worry about anything, because with him he overcame everything for us. So, in this time if you are downtrodden or saddened, remember that A Savior was born to help you through these times, all he asks is for you to keep pushing to the end and he will back you each step of the way. Everyone have a Feliz Navidad! Elder Peterson