Saturday, August 27, 2016

Amazing Week - August 27, 2016

Muy Buenas Tardes, Wow this week was so amazing on just how the Lord prepared so many people for us to teach, it was another week where we didnt have a lot of time in our area because we were traveling but the time that we did we were able to see the Lords prepared children that we could serve. It was an amazing experience to be able to go and ask them why they wanted to hear us and they would just say that they wanted to be clean from their sins and start all over. On Sunday we went to church with our investegator Eloy that is going to be baptized in a week. He has gone through the fire but has recieved an amazing testimony of this work through his own repentance process. We have felt such a sense of joy to see his humble desire to be baptized and to see him inviting the ward to his baptism. He is 70 years old and this morning he went to the stake center to clean it and get it ready for the stake conference. I am so humbled to be able to know these types of people. While we were in church a family came that we had never seen before, they told us to come by their house that night so we went by and talked to them. The Mom is a member of the church but the Dad isnt, and has been listening for a long time, the only thing is that he couldnt get his divorce papers on his last marriage to go through so that he could marry the Mom, anyways we stopped by and he said, "Elders the papers are finally going to go through this week, we are going to do all that we can to get married as soon as we can because we need to progress in this church" We were speechless when he told us that because that is so rare here in Oaxaca for this to happen. Afterwards we went out and found a guy named Gil, who is 35 years old and got into some pretty bad stuff with drugs. He had gotten off of them about 2 years ago because his mom got sick and he had to help her. He told us he wanted to start all over and that he was willing to do anything to experience that. We read John 3:5 with him and asked him to be baptized. He said yes that is what he needed to do. On Tuesday we had another chance to work in our area. We couldnt find anyone to teach and we felt like we needed to go to Gils house. We went over there and this time he had his cousin there too and his cousin accepted to be baptized and said that they are both going to come to church with us tomorrow! We experienced so many small and simple miracles this week in the ways that we werent expecting. On Wednesday we had the chance to go back to Huatulco to do splits with the Zone Leaders there. When we got there Elder Allman told me that my convert Omar was planning on coming with us for the whole afternoon to teach with us because he wanted to show me he wanted to prepare for a mission as well. In the morning we got to stop by and talk to Andres and it was so amazing to see everything that he remembers and that he is staying active in the church. In the afternoon it was such a tender mercy to see the testimony of Omar and see the way that he bore it. The time that I had in Huatulco wasnt the easiest. It was a time that we had to plant many seeds, and this chance that we had to go back this week helped us to see the many seeds that we had planted there and to see the Less actives that had gone back to church, the investigators that are getting baptized, and the strength that the branch there has now. It was an opportunity to see the hand of the Lord working next to us, for us, and with us in all things that we put our effort into. I know that he is with us in this work, it would be impossible to see these fruits and find these people without him and his infinate love for his children. I have seen it and I have felt it for myself. I know that he lives. Elder Peterson
Andres and Omars mom
Omar with us for the Day
The Famous Santo Domingo church, some say that it is the most beautiful Cathedral on the American Continent. The inside is nearly pure 24 karat gold leaf, it was quite a sight to see but I like our temples better.

Mission Travels - August 20, 2016

Hello Everyone, Well this week was for sure a very different week for us. It was a week in which we were able to travel around parts of the mission that are further away from the offices to go and train the zone leaders and new missionaries once again. It was such an amazing experience to be able to go and learn from everyone this week. As I was traveling it really dawned on me the great blessing that I have been given with this responsibility. I learned that the greater responsibility that someone has in the work of the Lord, the greater need that they have to learn. I know that it is a commandment of the Lord and I was thinking about that the great scripture from 1 Nephi 3:7 came to my mind. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." I feel like this really applied to this principle of learning, knowing that the Lord expects us to now be a missionary among missionaries as well as among the people of Oaxaca, we have recieved a greater need of learning and growing in the gospel and the way in which we represent the Lord. With this greater need the Lord put forth "the way" for us to be able to learn and grow. It was one of the hardest weeks of my mission, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but the difficulties were overshadowed by these experiences that we recieved to learn from missionaries, members, and others in our trips this week. On Monday we started out bright and early getting things ready for a week long trip down to what is known as the "Itsmo" it is an area that I was in at the start of my mission that has Juchitan there. It is about 5 hours away driving from the offices. We left Monday morning with President and Sister Madsen and just like last time we rode with President I got a little car sick from all of the curves, but we made it safe and sound to Juchitan. We started out our week of splits with Elder Barlow from Huntington Beach and Elder Ibarra from Durango Mexico. We had a member come with us for some of the lessons and he taught us so many ways in which we could be direct and he taught us that if we have 2 minutes to contact then go and bear your testimony. We applied it and it was amazing how the results were. I saw peoples hearts softened to the Lord in just 2 minutes time because of the fast and strong affect of the Holy Ghost. The next day we went with Elder Rayon and Elder Portales both from Mexico. I learned so much in how we can keep a loving and happy attitude in the work. We had a few people try to contend with us and all that Elder Portales did was "I know that Heavenly Father loves you and wants the best for you" It was an amazing example for me to see. On Thursday we traveled to Salina Cruz to go with Elder Tomala from Ecuador and Elder SeaƱez from Chihuahua. Elder Tomala was the assistant here in the mission and the simple principle that he taught me was work by faith through each work that I have. And then he showed me how to do it and it was such a comfort to be able to see that and learn that. On Friday we took a bus back to Oaxaca that was 7 hours long and now we are back here. I am so excited for this next week that we will have the first chances to put all of these teachings into place. The Lord really blessed us with "Talents" this week that he has given us the chance to use and bless the lives of others, and I know that we will be able to see miracles through what he has given us in this past week. I love this work and know that it is true. Elder Peterson
Elder Valenzuela and I in front of the famous Nacho Libre church that was filmed here in Oaxaca
Some steps Nacho Libre ran down

Friday, August 19, 2016

Unexpected Changes - August 13, 2016

Hello Everyone, I am sorry in advance that I was not able to get a group email out last week. It has been a crazy past week and there has been so much that has happened that it feels like everything is going in one big blur. Anyways so last week in Nochixtlan was awesome. We had so many experiences that really showed us that the Lord was working with us once again. One of the greatest experiences that we had was one were we were walking down the street trying to hurry to meet a member to go to a lesson with us. All of a sudden we began to hear weird yelling noises but we kept on walking. Eventually we had to turn around and see what the noises were and we saw a girl in her early 20s running down trying to catch us. We walked up to her and we immediatly realized that she was deaf and couldnt talk. Neither me or my companion knew sign language but we did the best that we could to try to communicate with her. She eventually showed us her house and we communicated by writing to her. She said that she wanted to learn and that she would accept any pamphelts that we had. We put an appointment with her it was amazing to think that Heavenly Father prepares all his children to recieve the gospel, no matter what difficulty that they have. Afterwards we had a lesson and we showed up with a guy named Fernando. He has had a lot of questions and doubts with us and when we got there he asked us why the world was a sad place with lots of problems. We told him it was because they didnt keep the Sabbath Day holy and that if they did that then there would be peace in our individual lives and in the world. We were lead completely by the spirit and as Nephi said, we were lead "not knowing the things which we should do." It was one of the most spiritual days of my mission and one where the spirit was so strong in everything that we did. That night we got home and began to report. I found out that my convert Omar was coming out to Oaxaca to go to the temple for the first time. So I called President Madsen to ask him permission to go to the temple. While I was on the phone with him he told me that I had to pack all of my stuff because I had also recieved a transfer to an area in the city called Casa Blanca. He told me that I had also recieved a new assignment to become his assistant for the next 6 months. I didnt know what to say and asked if I would accept or not. Anyways I was up until 2 that morning packing my bags, we got up at 4 to go to the temple with Omar. Omar was so happy to be there and it was so amazing to see the conversion that he has had in the past 6 weeks. He told me that he had been going out with the missionaries to teach and that he was involved in all of the youth activities. That made me so happy to hear all of that!! Afterwards I reported to the offices and we began working on all of the logistics of the changes and getting trained by Elder Madera the old assistant. It was really overwhelming to hear all that we will have to do during this time. During my first 4 days here we didnt have a chance to go to our real house, we were living in the offices the whole time trying to get everything finished that we had to do. But the Lord blessed us once again by preparing people for our diligent efforts that we were able to put forth. When we finally got back to the area we had an investegator waiting named Eloy. He is 70 years old and has gone through a ton of trials. He has been really accepting of everything and has come to have a strong testimony of the repentance. Afterwards he understood the importance of baptism and told us that he wanted to be baptized in 3 weeks. We were so excited and afterwards we taught him the restoration and there has not been a moment with him where the spirit wasnt present with him. Tonight we have plans to teach him in the temple waiting room, we are excited for that and know that we will be blessed once again and more importantly he will recieve the blessing of the spirit in his life. The Lord has strengthened all of us that are serving right now and recieving his love. My joy is full for this one soul that has influenced our lives this week. I know that this is the work of the Lord and that he lives. Elder Peterson
Elder Sosa and I cooking
Office Lunch today with my companion Elder Valenzuela (on my right) Elder Sosa (far end) and Elder Ardon, the secretaries.
The Oaxaca Temple
Omar in Oaxaca with me

Sunday, August 7, 2016

We Can - August 1, 2016

Hola Todos! Well this week was one of the greatest weeks of learning that I have had in the mission and it is one where it made me thankful for all of the difficulties that we have had for the past 2 weeks. It is so amazing to think that we have a Father in Heaven that is willing to watch us go through what we do only so we can be happier and learn so much more. This is what happened with us this past week. At the start of the week we continued to struggle just to find lessons and to have the investegators progress and learn. We were literally doing all that we could to help everyone and it felt like we were climbing up a cliff and hanging on by our fingertips just to keep going. I had the chance on Tuesday to teach in our district meeting and it taught me a lot of things about how I could continue to improve and grow as a missionary and how I could connect myself with the powers of heaven as it talks about in D & C 121:45-46. We continued throughout the week trying to apply the principles of love and charity to all even though we experienced a lot of rejection or others not really putting the effort in to learn even though we were giving everything. On Friday we went to Huajuapan to do a baptism interview and as we were traveling I had a lot of feelings of jealousy for the Elders that were having their baptism. I got home that night feeling down and I began to pray. I dont know how long I was on my knees but I recieved a prompting that simply told me "Stop saying we cant" I realized that it had become a regular part of our vocabulary and that I needed to change everything to We Can. I starting thinking and pondering and reading in the scriptures and it dawned on me that everytime as missionaries that we say "We", we arent reffering to just you and your companion, it is referring to your companion and the Savior himself. Nothing is impossible for him and we changed that on Saturday. On Saturday we went into the day and we didnt have one single lesson fall through. When we got there each investegator had a spiritual soul searching question for us that they wanted us to answer. We testified of everything that is in Preach my Gospel, and we applied the gospel to each of their lives to the effect that I felt the spirit with us each step of the way. We dont remember what we said all we know that the presence of the spirit was there and that the investegators were listing to the words of Christ in those lessons. It was a day that changed my mission around for me to remember that each We" is the Savior and I. I know that he is with us in this work.
This week we moved to a different house that is a lot bigger with peach trees and we put Christmas lights up on it because we found a plug for them ;)
The "tamale" that the kids made for us
Farms in Nochixtlan