Sunday, May 29, 2016

Continuing in the Faith - May 23, 2016

Hello Everyone! Well this week was a week that went by super fast in everything that we were able to do. We have been experiencing some problems and trials with the branch that we have been serving in. Each week that we have come to church the attendance has gone down little by little. It has been hard to see. Eventually the Branch President came to us and simply told us that he was putting his trust in us to help everyone out and to get the branch going again. It has been a week that has been a huge blessing, a trial that is sent from Heavenly Father to recieve the support of the members here that we have been praying for for months. We started out the week by planning a Ward Activity that we are going to be doing every friday night to help everyone grow together in unity. We were able to have our first activity on Friday and we had an awesome attendance! EVeryone was super excited and happy and it was a happiness that we were able to feel for the first time with the members. On Sunday the spirit was so strong in all of the meetings and we could feel a greater love coming from everyone through the spirit. It was so great to be able to hear about the way that we could have an effect on members in 2 branches too. In Coyul, after having an assitance of 18 for the past year, had their Conference. We went there again last Saturday to find investegators and visit with all the members. In their conference yesterday they had 55 members and investegators come to church. It was the most that they have had in church in more than 3 years! It was so awesome to see how happy all of the district leaders were to have that great of success there and to see the strength that it gave to everyone here in Huatulco to hear about that. WE continue to work with Andres and Omar, there have been many challenges in trying to find a day for them to be baptized and it seems as if the adversary is working extra hard to prevent it but all 4 of us have given a greater effort to make sure that it happens. The 2 of them continue to read the Book of Mormon and everytime we stop by Omar can tell us everything that happened in the last chapter and he is only 14 years old!! Andres is accepting everything and loves to be able to study all that we can give him. It has been so great to be able to develop the Christlike attributes that are so necessary for conversion. I have found my own conversion in seeing the effect that these attributes can have on others. I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve and grow in this gospel through the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know that he lives and that he is our Savior and Reedeemer and that I am in his only true work upon the Earth today. I hope that you all have a great week and can come to know him personally through his teachings. Elder Peterson.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Become As A Little Child - May 16, 2016

Hello Everyone! Well transfers came this week and I am continuing here in Huatulco for another 6 weeks! I am super excited because things have started to open up here and there is a lot of potential that we are beginning to find. I am so blessed to be able to serve in this area and for the time that the Lord has given me to be so blessed here. Anyways this week was awesome! We got to do so many cool things and have so many great experiences! On Tuesday we were talking to a guy in our branch and he was telling us about a town called Coyul. It is a town that the missionaries got pulled out of because there wasnt anything going on there. Anyways it has been a part of our area but we have never gone and the church is thinking about closing the branch there. And so we were talking with him and he told us lets go! And so the next morning we left and we got to a part in the road that was blocked off. He told us that the only other option was a 3 hour drive through the jungle to get there and that we would only have 1 hour to visit there. We didnt know what to do and so we just prayed and we all got a strong confirmation that we should go. So we drove on a dirt road through the jungle for 3 hours to get there. When we got there we met up with the branch president and he took us to some of the members. It was so amazing to see the way that they lit up when we visited with them. We had 15 minutes with 4 families and each one was amazing to visit with. They were all so humble in recieving the messages and with being willing to go back to church. Today we heard that the attendance there yesterday went up by 20 people and it was the most they have had in a year. It was awesome to see the fruits of what little time we had there. The second awesome experience that we had this week is that we had a baptism! This baptism taught me more than I could have taught our convert. Her name is Jenifer, and she is 8 years old. We got to know her through her Mom who is working on getting baptized. Jenifer has been the force for her Mom of coming to church and helping her keep going. Irene the Mom has been listening to the missionaries for a year now and a month ago told us that it is going to be longer for her to be baptized but that she wanted Jenifer to be baptized so that she could have a member in her family. Jenifer wakes up each Sunday at 7 to make sure that her Mom and brother are ready to go to church. We had to teach so simply and basic but as I heard Jenifer answer her questions in her interview, I have never heard answers so pure and sweet. It taught me a powerful lesson that it doesnt matter how much we know, but how pure it rests in our hearts. It was a lesson of Christ as he always taught to become as a Child. Jenifer taught me the way that I could do that. It was amazing to see her come up out of the water giggling and smiling. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my mission to see that. I know that we can develop our testimonies through trying to become as a child, submissive, meek, humble. And with that our lives will be blessed with happiness in the gospel. I am so grateful for this opportunity and for the opportunity I have to see these experiences. I hope that you all have a great week. Elder Peterson
The baptism of Jenifer
The church in Coyul. It is a converted house. It was an awesome experience to be here!

Happy Mother's Day - May 9, 2016

Hello Everyone! Well we had some technical difficulties with computers and my companion has been having difficulties talking with his family by Skype and so I only have pictures to send this week and I will give a better update for the next week! I hope that everything is good and that you all remember that who you are in the kingdom of God. It is a special knowledge that we have to know that we are childeren of God. The church is true and I know that I am in the greatest work in the world.
Eating Cow Stomach Soup

Fruits of the Work - May 2, 2016

Hello Everyone! Well this week was awesome. After many weeks of trial and difficulty we are finally seeing the fruits of our work here in Huatulco and in the whole zone. At the start of the week we were able to have our zone meeting here in Huatulco. It was so powerful to hear about the teachings from those Elders who are getting ready to finish their missions in the next few weeks. We gave them the chance to help us and train us a little in the things that they have learned and we learned so much from them. Afterwards we were able to establish a Zone Plan for the coming year after much study and prayer. We focused on changing the culture of this area and changing our thought process about the work here to change the outcomes. Elder Maldonado taught us something important. He used the scripture of 2 Nephi 2:25 and taught us that it is a commandment to have joy. But with all commandments we have a choice whether to follow them or not. I learned that I had to choose whether I wanted to have joy or not. And if I had joy I would have greater protection against the adversary. We started off afterwards just trying to work with joy and we saw so many outcomes. We were able to commit people to be baptized in 2 weeks, and we were able to build a better relationship with the members here. In the end, just for choosing to be happy we were able to share the happiness that comes through following the teachings of Jesus Christ. We were able to promise happiness and joy because we were living those same principles and our investegators were able to see that as well. After a hard past couple of weeks, we were able to finish this week off with those blessings and promises that always come through service to our Heavenly Father, peace, comfort, happiness, and love for everyone, all because we followed the commandment to have joy. Something else that happened this week is that we were able to participate in a theater production entitled "Blanca Nieves". Here in Mexico they celebrate Kids Day, and its a day where all the kids dont go to school and they get toys and stuff. Anyways the Primary president wanted to have a kids day in the afternoon with activities and games and food and stuff and she asked the missionaries if we could do a play. She told us what we would do and we memorized and mostly improvised in the skit. In the end everyone was laughing and it was super fun. If you dont know what the play is Ill tell you that I was a dwarf named Doc ;) Anyways I am loving the mission and loving the work here. I am so blessed to be able to be part of the Lords army with the chance to serve everyone. I hope that you all have a great Mothers Day in the coming week and please remember this quote by Elder Holland "No Love in Mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than that of a selfless devoted mother" Have a great week! Elder Peterson
The Seven Dwarfs
Zone Conference...yes that is my companion in the background being funny
Teaching Eder English

Con Valor Marchemos - April 25, 2016

Hello Everyone! Well another week has come and gone and here I am again really quickly! Well this week has really helped me to learn to appreciate the small blessings in our lives before we can learn to enjoy the miracles and recognize them. This week we had so many small blessings come to us with the progress of our investegators. The same investegators that I talked about in my last email we were able to see small and simple progress with them. We started to push really hard for them to work towards baptism with the same principle of Charity. We would spend more time in their lessons to make sure that they would be able to feel the spirit of the love of Christ in the message that we were sharing. We were able to actually start teaching Omar's Dad named Eliseo. When we stopped by he was really firm with us and said that he would listen but would never be baptized or attend. We did something different with him and shared the story of Joseph Smith with him in the very first lesson and gave him a pamphlet and invited him to read it. He read the whole thing and told us that he would be at church next week with Omar! It was so cool to see the Holy Ghost working in him through our invitaions. With our other two investegators that are getting close to baptism, Eder and Miriam, we made sure that they understood the importance of feeling this same love in the lessons. Eder is now halfway through 1st Nephi in reading the Book of Mormon as well as Miriam is reading and marking her scriptures. We are so blessed to be able to have a knowledge of the Book of Mormon. Lately as I have been reading the book of Mormon it is amazing to see the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and to see the effect it has on people. It is not just a book of a great story or great teachings, it is a book that is our gateway to recieving blessings from Heavenly Father. If we can show our desire to read it, study it, ponder it, and pray about it, we not only will recieve a greater understanding of who our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are, but we will have a greater ability to encounter each challenge that life brings to us. Because the greatest examples are found in the book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, because I am in a situation that I can see it changing peoples lives, not only through knowledge, but in every aspect that they are living in. If you arent reading the Book of Mormon, start now, if it is hard, make a greater effort and trust that God will bless you in every aspect. I love this gospel and know that it is true.

From Juchitan to Huatulco pt. 2 - April 20, 2016

Hey Everyone! I am sorry that I havent been able to write up until now. We had a leadership conference in Juchitan this past week and it was such a great experience to be a part of that. It has been a while since I have wrote and it is hard to remember all that has happened in the last week and a half. But none the less it was another awesome week. Something that we have been stressing a ton in our lessons this past week is how we could have Charity in our lessons and for our investegators. We have had a hard time helping them to progress and make the necessary steps towards baptism in the past few weeks. I was a little frustrated with it and was saying to my companion that it was time for us to find new people to teach. He told me that to have Charity is to have a hope and a faith with a patience for each person that we meet and that it was something that we needed to find and apply in our lessons. We began to put that into practice with an investegator named Mirium this past week. She has been listening to the missionaries for a almost a year now and hasnt made a ton of progress. We got there and just listened to her and we were able to apply many principles to her concerns that she had. When Sunday came she came to church for the first time in 2 months. It was so awesome to see her there and for her to be able to experience Charity through the Holy Ghost. The other experience that we had was with an investegator named Omar. He has been listening for 4 months and had never gone to church before. We applied the same principle with him and he came for the first time ever by himself! It reminds me of this past conference where someone said "Charity really never fails" It is so true and we were able to see that promise really come true. The other great thing that happened this week was that we had District Conference. Me and another Elder Maldonado had an assignment to arrange 10 hymns for this conference. We worked hard on that for a month practicing with all the members. In the conference each leader that was there said that they had never felt a spirit like that before from a choir and that it was the greatest testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel that there was in the conference. Afterwards Sister Madsen came up to me and asked where we got the music and that it sounded like the arrangments from the Tabernacle Choir. We used a lot of their stuff but we figured it out ourselves, playing it and singing it from memory and by ear. I know that it all came from the power of Heavenly Father. I am so thankful for the opporunities that we have to share the gospel in many ways! Not just through our words! I know that this work is true! Elder Peterson
The conference
The bus ride