Sunday, November 5, 2017
Hello Everyone, I cant believe that the time has come to have a letter that is captioned as is this one. This has been an amazing journey, one where I have truly felt as if I have been high on the mountain top, in the presence of the Lord, doing his work. It is something that an email or words cannot describe. More than anything, I am so grateful for this experience to have been able to come closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. In his work, I have not been perfect, just like his disciples of old there have been times that I have waivered but in the end I too, can testify that he is the Son of the Living God, that he lives, and that in him and through him we can recieve the powers of heaven in our lives and be part of those same powers in the life to come. I know that he is my brother, my friend, and that he has helped me to become something greater through the trials that he has led me through. This journey was never easy, but it was worth it because here in the end I can say that I know that my Reedemer lives. Even though this is my last email, there is still one week ahead of me in this work. This past week was a crazy one. We started out with going out to Tequisistlan all day Tuesday to be able to be out there with Anna and Obdulia. Anna was so excited to have us out there and was so excited to be able to prepare for baptism. We taught them and we started preparing the baptism for Anna. We got back to San Blas late that night. On Wednesday we were able to work here in San Blas and start preparing Gisela and Cecilia for baptism this coming week. Gisela has been really busy with final exams in school and it has been really hard to find her. But she continues on with the same excitement. Something that has been crazy is the language barrier again. On Wednesday we went with Hermana Rubi to see a less active family. We got there and they didnt speak any spanish whatsoever. Rubi translated everything for us while we taught but in the end we could understand the powerful testimony that this family had. It was a great experience. On Thursday we went out to Tequis again for Anna and in the afternoon I was able to go to Juchitan to have a farewell dinner with President and Sister Madsen and the group of missionaries that are going home this change. It was so amazing to be with them, to hear their testimonies and their love for us. They are a huge reason why I have been able to come to know the Savior, for their love and example towards us. On Friday we had our final Zone Conference with them for the whole day, and said our last goodbyes to them. We were able to sing "I feel My Saviors love" with an arrangment that I wrote. The spirit was so strong in the conference. On Saturday it was a little rough, we had the baptism for Anna planned but it turns out that she wasnt ready for baptism, and so she will be getting baptized this next Friday! We were able to see her desires to be baptized and follow Christ. On Sunday it was my last time here in San Blas. We were asked to teach the primary and each kid there wrote me a thank you note or drew me a picture. It was the first of many tears that I know will be shed in this coming week. I love these people here, I dont want to leave them, they have had a greater influence on my life than I could ever have on them. I love them. In the end, I want to thank each one of you for the support that you have all given me. Without your emails, and prayers, it would have been a lot more difficult experience. But through your emails and support I have truly been blessed. Thank you all. Taking this opportunity you are all invited to attend my homecoming talk on Sunday July 9th at 11:00 at the Knoll Park Church. I know most if not all of you probably went to my sister Callies farewell, it is going to be in the same church, but if you werent there here is the address. 160 N 460 W. in Salem. I would love to see each of you there if you can. Again thank you again for all of your support and I will be seeing you all soon. Elder Peterson
Hello Everyone, Well in these winding up moments of the mission it seems as if all the powers that are here are coming together to try to impede this work. But just as the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith while he was in Liberty Jail he said in Doctrine and Covenants 121: 33. How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints. At times this week I had to remind myself of this principle and it was awesome to see the way that the people reacted to our dedication at the times when we could leave the house. On Tuesday the Tropical Storm that I assume some of you have heard about hit here in Oaxaca. We are a little further off the coast so it didnt hit us too bad but there was still a ton of rain!! It was crazy and just like the picture that I sent a few weeks ago, thats how it was again. The Assistants, Elder Knapp and Elder Vasquez got trapped here trying to get back to Oaxaca and had to come stay with us for a day. We got to go out and work with them and it was fun to go out in our sandals again. On Wednesday they were able to leave but we realized that the rain was no longer clear, it was a blackish color. People started telling us that the gas refinery had caught on fire and that the rain was toxic, we couldnt go out that whole day because it was a huge hazard to everything. So we just spent the day at home washing our clothes and getting the house clean. On Thursday we were able to go back to Tequisistlan and teach Obdulia and her family. It was another great lesson and it was so fun to be able to be with them. They are making so much progress and Anna especially is excited to be baptized this coming Saturday. The branch is excited because they are going to have baptisms that will help them out a lot with support and strength. On Friday we were able to visit with Gisela again and we were talking to her about her process of repentance unto baptism that she has decided to take. She told us that she was finally ready to be baptized this coming Thursday, the 29th and ready to be somebody different, a light to the nations. It has been amazing to see her patience with everything and her constant desire to make this change. Going back to the scripture at the start that I shared, it has seemed to be a huge theme to me in this final part of my mission, that there will be so many forces that try to halt the work that is going on, the progress that is moving on for other missionaries to continue. And more than anything I have learned this 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; 42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— I have felt power in this work, especially in these past few weeks, I cant wait to see what these final two weeks have to bring. I know that there is power in all that we do here because it is the work of the Lord, and nothing can stop this progress that is rolling forth.
Hello Everyone!! Wow this week we were able to have some of the best experiences of my mission just from one family that we were able to find. But it isnt just any type of situation, it was a situation that required a ton of sacrifice on our part and that always requires their sacrifice. So a few weeks ago the area of Jalapa got closed. There wasnt a lot of work that was going on there but President Madsen still left us in charge of it. It is a town that is about 45 minutes away from San Blas. Anyways we got a call a week ago from the branch president there saying that there was a family of investigators there that had been coming to church ever since the missionaries left. He asked us if we were able to come out and visit them and we told him for sure, it sounded like a golden family. So we asked him where they lived and he told us that they lived in Tequisistlan, which is a town about 45 minutes further past Jalapa, making it about an hour and a half traveling. We planned an afternoon to head out there and when we got out there we found an hermana named Obdulia, and her 3 kids Itzel, Cesar, and Rosy, along with her niece Anna. Anyways this whole family has an aunt that felt like she needed to go back to church again and this time take all the family that she could. So she started paying for the trips for her whole family to go to church! The hermanas name is Reina, and she sells Tamales for her job. It is a huge sacrifice on her part but she started taking them to church. When we got there we sang "How Great thou Art" and it brought Obdulia to tears. She said that she was trying to support her family by killing chickens for a meat packer but that she felt all alone and that was what she was looking for. We had a powerful lesson and afterwards they all accepted to be baptized on the 24th of June. The other great story this week is once again the activity that we did called the Life of Christ. We were able to do it here in San Blas and the spirit was so strong in the room where we were doing it. When we finished there wasnt a dry eye in everyone that was participating and no one wanted to leave. It was so sweet to help all of the members feel this sweet spirit. So weather wise, this past week it was completely dry until 10 last night, since then it has rained and it hasnt stopped again. So we are going to break out the sandals again for this week. A sad story this week is that something died this week, after 2 years, over an estimated 3000 miles, 2 countries, 2 states, and over 30 different cities and towns, my good old Johnston and Murphy shoes died, the sole is gone from them and there will be a picture to come next week. These past few weeks of these final stages of my mission have been amazing. They have been anything but easy, yet I have come to learn that Heavenly Father understands us, he knows what we can do, he knows our potential, and he is willing to watch us pass through difficulties and trials so that we can become heirs of his kingdom, and truly be something that has divine power working in their lives. I am so grateful that instead of finishing off easy, I have been given learning experiences, final stages in a refining process that I know has changed me to be someone who Heavenly Father expects me to be. I know that he loves us all and that he lives, and for that he sent his son Jesus Christ to help us, to lift us, and at times to carry us towards the expectations and potential of our Heavenly Father.
Buenas Tardes a Todos, Well this week I have never experienced so much rain in my life. On Monday this last week it began to rain as soon as we left the computer lab, and it didnt stop raining here until Friday morning. The streets had water up to my knees and we were constantly soaking wet. By some miracle we didnt get sick but it was a really fun experience for sure to be walking around in a flooded San Blas trying to teach people. On Wednesday we didnt know if there was any hope of the rain stopping so we bought traditional sandals and started teaching in those. I will attach a picture of what we looked like and what it was like. But it was so fun. The good news of the stormy week is that somehow we were able to help Jorge get baptized!! It was hard because he lives at the top of the hill here and to get up there it was as if we were climbing a waterfall. But we got up there and we had plans to postpone his baptism for the next week because of all the rain and the inability to get up to his house. But when we got up there the first thing that he asked us is "Am I still going to get baptized this Saturday?" and we asked him if he wanted to, and he told us that he did no matter what happened with the weather, that he was going to be ready and that he wanted to be a member with Germain and Carlos. He then asked us how he could help his family to be a part of the true church and be baptized. We talked for a long time with him about temple work, and the way that he could invite his brothers and mom to come to church with him. He is going to be a great member of the church and a great missionary now and later. It was a great experience to prepare him this week even with the crazy conditions. Hermano Rogelio continues to do a ton of work right now. I dont know if I have talked about him but everytime we go walking past his house he shouts to us and tells us that he has a new friend that he wants to hear the gospel. Anyways Rogelio came through big this week. About 3 months ago, when we were waiting for President Madsen in the park we started to contact. We contacted an older guy named Hector there, and he told us that he loved reading and that he was a firm Catholic. He told us for about 30 minutes about all of his beliefs and everything that he had done in the church, eventually we had to go and nothing came of it. Anyways on Tuesday Rogelio called us and when I answered it was Hector talking. I didnt remember him or his name but he remembered mine. He said "Hermano Peterson, remember me? I need your help and support!! I want to be baptized in the Mormon Church" I have never had a call like that before in my mission and I thought he was joking. Yesterday we were able to find him for the first time and we taught him. He told us that he had an addiction to drinking and wanted to be done with it. We told him that he needed to have faith in Jesus Christ, and then he asked what more he needed. We proceeded to read Acts 2:38 with him and he asked when he could get baptized. We put a date with him for June 30th and will be visiting him throughout the week. Anyways it was a crazy week but I learned that there is nothing that can stop the work of the Lord. The songs of "Let us All Press On" continued to run through my head and at times I found myself singing the words to it as we waded through the water. We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few When compared with the opposite host in view; But an unseen pow'r will aid me and you In the glorious cause of truth. Fear not, though the enemy deride; Courage, for the Lord is on our side. We will heed not what the wicked may say, But the Lord alone we will obey. This week we did not retreat, although there was very little, an unseen power was literally pushing us along, and we can testify of that in all that we did this week. The Lord prepared the way and put a light into our work even though there were storms around us, we went forth in the cause of truth.
Hello Everyone, Well this week was a great week because we finally got to see Juan get baptized. It was so awesome to see how prepared he was and the baptism service was so awesome because he bore his testimony and thanked us so many times for sometimes fighting him and pushing him to realize all of the blessings that he could recieve. The elder that did his interview talked about how Juan was telling him about his goal to get sealed in the temple in a year and that was the vision that he had. Juan was getting baptized because he was willing to start his road to discipleship with his vision focused on the eternal covenants that are made in temples. It was interesting because for the last lesson with Juan before his interview we had Oscar come with us to teach and he shared the scriputre in Doctrine and Covenants 18 that talks about how the worth of a soul is great. I think about all the time and energy that we put into the lessons with Juan. I remember at the start when we began teaching them the tiredness that we felt as we left those lessons, not physically but emotionally and spiritually. It was an investigator and now convert that I felt like I put all of my heart, might, mind and strength into helping him recognize and recieve the blessings of the eternal love of our Heavenly Father in his life. And as I look back, we put everything in, and yet we still, at times, came up short of being able to help him. There were times that we felt inadequate, or other times where we felt that there were no more answers, but in the end we saw and felt the hand of God be made manifest in the life of Juan, and he was able to recognize it in the end as well. It was a huge blessing to see him finally be baptized on Friday. We continue to be showered with blessings here in San Blas to continue to find new investigators. There were days where we had to contact a lot, and we didnt find anyone. But then we would see a member and they would tell us about a friend or relative that they have that we needed to visit. It is amazing to see the desire of the people here to share the gospel and be willing to invite us into their homes. We continue to try to be blessings to the people rather than look for our blessings. The other great thing that has been happening this week is the progress of Jorge, the last member of the soccer team that has been listening to us. Carlos and Germain have been passing the sacrament these past few weeks, and Jorge has been able to see that. More than anything, we know that Carlos and Germain arent teaching Jorge the gospel, but they are showing it to him and that is what is helping him to progress. We are hoping to see Jorge get baptized this week and see him be able to participate alongside Germain and Carlos. But this story is better. 2 months ago we got word that the San Blas Branch was getting ready to close and the new alignment had already been made to split it and join it to the other wards here. Following the baptism of Germain a few weeks ago, we got word that that had been cancelled, and that San Blas was now going to become a ward in July! They said that with these baptisms and the growth that had come through it then it was reason enough to create a ward here instead. Not only are Carlos and Germain doing all that they can to progress, they are helping the kingdom of God to progress too. It is amazing to see these teenage boys make the work progress so much for their desire to do more and be more. This week has been a week that has helped me to look to try to become more like the Savior. I have seen the examples of these converts and to see what they are doing has inspired me. They are teaching me far more than I could teach them. Their desire to become like the Savior and follow in his footsteps is helping others to do the same. They are being a light to the world. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. The light that all of these people have shown is simply through their good works that they have shown, and I hope that more than anything, who I am and what I do inspires others to be more and do more. I have learned that this is what discipleship means, to become more like the Savior each and every day and demonstrate it each day. I am so happy to be able to teach this amazing message to the people of San Blas each day. I hope that you all have a great week. Elder Peterson
Hello Everyone, Well this week was a little rough for us yet with a lot of hope for the next weeks to come. So as I wrote last week we were hoping for the baptisms of Juan and Gisela this past weekend. Unfortunatly both of them were unprepared and were unable to be baptized this past week. It was hard for us to see, but the blessing of it all was seeing how hard it was for THEM to not be able to get baptized. It was a tender mercy, that although many may say that they failed in their preparation, they have gained huge success and blessing in it, because now they will be able to fully experience the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the light and joy that comes when all of their sins are gone and they are able to say that they have begun a new life. We are so excited for them to be able to recieve these blessings. Juan actually told the Elder that did his interview to come back in a week to interview him again and he told him that he would be ready as ever to be baptized. So this week, we know that Juan will be able to experience those blessings in his life. Apart from those two who we were able to have an interesting week. On Tuesday Elder Henrie came to San Blas to do splits with me and Elder Fuentes went to Salina Cruz. We worked hard and the greatest part of it was being able to find Ivette at the end of the split. Ivette is a lady who has 3 kids. The first week that I got here she was set to get baptized but she aparently was trying to do it secretly because her husband was against it. Anyways he found out about it and got really mad at her for trying to get baptized here and told her to not even think about seeing us again. After that we havent seen her. But we found her the other night and she told us that now her husband was encouraging her to go to church because he wanted his sons to learn the gospel principles. We taught her and she told us that she wanted to get baptized in June, as long as we talked to her husband and asked if it was going to be alright. We were so excited and we are hoping to see her progress here soon. Another great blessing that happened is that we found a less active here named Rogelio. He came to church by himself last week and we met him. Along with him he brought a friend that was interested. We taught them on Wednesday and his friends name is Eliseo. He is about 40 years old and has been in drugs and alcohol his whole life. He told us that he wanted to change and so we taught him the principles of repentance and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a blessing that was literally given to us. On Saturday we continued to build the house for the hermana that her house fell down. This time we had to carry 110 pound bags of cement up the hill and then we had to mix it with shovels on the ground. They dont have cement mixers here, it is all by hand. Trust me that was some hard work and I am still in shock at how easy they make it look. This week a scripture has been running through my head, a principle that Elder Bednar taught us in January. He shared a scripture with us that is in Alma 26:22 22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance. He told us that the theme here and the key word here is "given" if we do all that we can in the end it is the Lord who will give unto us. Right now we are doing all that we can to bring these souls unto Christ, we as missionaries are repenting, exercizing faith, and doing all that we can, yet we are also learing the same principle of hope and patience. We know that it will be given, we dont know how much, or when, but what we need and what the Lord needs, will always be the best and that is what will be given. We cannot control everything on faith alone, but on our hope and patience and that is what we have learned. Although Juan and Gisela and many other investigators are amazing and ready to learn and progress, it is the Lord that decides when he is ready to give these blessings unto them. I know that he gives unto us when we need it and it is for our happiness. The work continues here in San Blas, and it is directed always by the Lord.
Hello Everyone, Well this week we were able to learn a very important principle that still comes very hard to me and that I have been trying to work on throughout my mission, and that principle is patience. On Tuesday I had the opportunity to go to Jalapa de Marquez and do divisions with Elder Gonzalez. It was hard to see the difficulties that they are going through out there reopening the area but we were each able to learn several important things for the work. While I was there my companion went by to prepare the soccer team for their baptism. When he got there 3 of them said that they didnt want to be baptized anymore. My poor companion didnt know what to do and called me. I told him that tomorrow we would go back with them and to just help the 1 that wanted to be baptized. When I got back to San Blas the next day we went running up the hill to teach these kids and sure enough, for the first time in the 3 months we have taught them, most of them didnt want to get baptized. All of them had recieved the spirit of fear that they would fail God if they were baptized. We read scriptures with them, shared our testimonies with them, but in the end it was only Carlos that was willing to take the step to baptism. We invited all of them to go to the baptism on Friday night. When we went none of them were home to go to the baptism so we went alone with Carlos and his family. Yet when we got to the church, we found Germain there, one of the members of this soccer team with Raul, Carlos' little brother. We went ahead with the baptism and it was a simple yet powerful service that we had. Carlos had invited his neighbor who has been less active in the church for several years. The branch president challenged her to be a support to Carlos, to help him go to church each week. And on Sunday she was there along with her family and Carlos. Yet the greatest thing that came from this was Germain, at the end of the service, Germain, who is 14 years old yet the same height I am sure as Cambrie my little sister, told me that he wanted to talk to me. So I went with him and he told him that during the baptism Heavenly Father had told him that he needed to be baptized this Friday. He asked me if we could say a prayer and in his prayer he said in the humility that only a boy could have, said "Heavenly Father, I promise you that I will no longer have fear to do what you want me to do, and that I will be baptized on Friday" It was so sweet to feel the spirit so strong in that prayer, and it helped me to strengthen my testimony in this great work. These boys may be young, yet they are some of the few that are willing to listen to the promptings of the spirit. Just as Joseph Smith nearly 150 years ago, and today, these youth are powerful, and humble, and have a bright future in front of them. This was our week this week, working with these kids to help them to see that God listens to them and that we need to be patient with God because he works in his own time for our personal benifit. On Saturday we had a Branch MTC here with a lot of the members. It was fun because when they all got here we gave them nametags and told them that they were missionaries. They all got excited and we taught them how to teach the lessons and they practiced teaching. At the end we had them watch missionary videos and they wrote down someone that needed the gospel. We challenged these members to go out and teach these people and to have us come on the second visit. They are all so willing to act upon the invitations of the gospel, and something that has been a huge example to me here in San Blas. It is quite possibly one of the poorest parts of Oaxaca, and the sacrifice to get to church is enormous for them, yet when the Lord commands them to act, they do it and they do it in happiness. It is something that I hope to apply now and later on and something that I hope each one of you can do too, to act in happiness and upon the first invitation that comes from God. He will bless you with far greater things in his own due time. This work is true!!
Hello Everyone, Well this week the theme is easily something that has stuck out this week. In the Book of Mosiah when King Benjamin is speaking to his people. When he states "When you are in the service of your fellow men you are only in the service of your God." This week it has been a week of nearly pure service. Last Sunday when we were in church Hermana Margarita got a call saying that a Sister in the ward had her house collapse. Here most of the houses are made out of reeds and grass and they dont even use nails to hold the wooden posts together. It is amazing that they are able to hold up for so long. Anyways after church we all went running over to her house to try to help her have decent living conditions again. We cleaned up all the rubble and afterwards we made sure that there was a place for her to sleep. 3 nights this week we have gone over along with a lot of other people in the ward to go dig the trenches for the cement foundation and to start building the house. Something that was hard was that I had learned all of the building terms in spanish, but this all threw me off because all of a sudden all of hermanos were speaking in Zapoteco. So we just worked were we thought we were needed trying to pick up a little bit of what they were saying. But it has been a fun expience to be building this house for her. Also this week, Hermano Oscar has been remodeling his house a little bit and had two dump truck loads of dirt dumped on his property. This week we have been helping him get the dirt scattered all over his property. All of this is just helping my hands get back in farm shape, yes I still have blisters but my hands are getting back to where they were 2 years ago. It was tiring and I thought that I could keep up with just about anyone working like that but these guys here dont stop!! It is hard to keep up with them. For example on Saturday we were digging holes to put the cement posts down for this one house. My companion and I had 1 done and the other guys had like 3 done!! It was crazy. But it has been fun getting back into "farm shape" this week. As for our teaching. This week we had a really special experience with Gisela again. She told us that a few years ago one of her sisters died in a car accident. It was really hard for the whole family to have that happen. This week she has been telling us that more than ever she has felt the presence of her sister in her life. She asked why she was feeling that because the common belief here is that after 40 days the spirit of the person goes away and never comes back. WE taught her the eternal truths of the plan of salvation and the blessings of the temple. The experiences that Gisela is having are really sacred, this is what I can share while keeping the sacredness of the experiences that she has shared with us this week. Our little soccer team continues to progress. They are undefeated still and they say that it is because they have been keeping the word of wisdom. This Friday they will be getting baptized and we are so excited for them!! They have been some of the best investigators in learning and understanding to see progress. They are going to be powerful priesthood holders and are going to bring so many people into the gospel. This has been our week this week. Elder Fuentes has been awesome at being ready to share the gospel and continues with a great attitude towards everything. These weeks have been far from easy, actually possibly some of the most difficult that I have had in my mission. Yet this experience has been a temple experience for me. I love a talk "Lessons From Liberty Jail" by Jefferey R. Holland, that explains when we are in the turmoil of life, we can have temple experiences that draw us closer to God to see miracles. This experience here has been such an amazing experience to help me draw closer to Christ and feel his power and influence. For that I know that he guides this work. I hope that you all have a good week!! Elder Peterson
Buenas Tardes a Todos, Well we finished the first week of this transfer doing everything that we can to continue to preach this gospel with all of our hearts, mights, minds, and strengths. On Tuesday I was able to recieve Elder Fuentes and he came ready to work and so prepared to do this work. I felt bad for him because I had scheduled lessons at every hour on Tuesday afternoon. The curves in the highways here didnt help him a lot and as he got off the bus I asked him if he had had to get off and had gotten wet in some rain. He said that he was throwing up the whole way here because he was so car sick (poor guy). I told him that I was sorry, there wasnt any time to rest because we had 5 appointments that we had to get to right then. There wasnt any time to eat or anything and we got right to work. It has been an interesting week. Last night as we were meeting with Oscar our ward mission leader he was asking me if I had ever cried in my mission. And I asked him why he was asking me that. He then asked me if I had come to love the people enough that when they dont want to be baptized that I cry. It was very interesting for me to think that. I have felt at times throughout my mission as if I have wanted to but it was a great lesson for me to learn and to learn more than anything the way that God feels when we dont complete with our "commitments" and use our agency to choose what is truly best for us. I hope that my emails dont sound too somber, I truly love this work yet I have felt myself come to love each person that accepts to listen to us and have felt a desire for them to recieve these eternal blessings that Heavenly Father has for us. So, this week we have seen some awesome progress. First off with Gisela. Yesterday she came to church but this time she brought all of her nephews that live in front of her house. What was even greater was to hear that after we taught her the lesson of Joseph Smith and the Restoration, she went to school the next day and shared the same lesson with all of her friends!! I dont know how she shared it because all of her friends afterwards told her that she needed to be baptized there because it sounded so special. It was awesome to see this special experience with her. With Juan, well we have been battling a ton with him. We have had lessons with him of 2 hours several times this week. It has been hard to see just how hard he is struggling to get rid of these temptations in his life of coffee and alcohol. On Saturday we had a lesson with him and we read Alma 42 with him. He told us that he had gone 3 days without drinking coffee, which is the most he has done this whole time. Yet after the lesson his brother came by and convinced him to go to a fiesta here. Juan thought he would be able to resist the temptation of the beer there, but it turns out his brother took him to see if he would fall into that temptation and he did. It was sad yet it will be a great opportunity for him to recieve a testimony of the power of the Atonement. The last experience is with a soccer team that we contacted about a month ago. After a constant battle with them to stop drinking coffee as well, we read with them the story of Daniel in the bible. We gave them the challenge to not drink coffee for 10 days and see what happens. After the 5th day yesterday they told us they were ready to be baptized this saturday!! So we are hoping and praying for them. They are now known as the "Mormon Team" here in San Blas and in their league and they love it. It has been awesome to teach them and see their progress. Honestly here we have so many reasons to be grateful. We are seeing the power of the gospel work in the lives of many people here. The field is truly white here, it might take longer to mature and be ready for the harvest but the seeds have been planted here by the Hand of God. I am thankful to be here in this work, I love it and I know that it is HIS work, that being Jesus Christ himself. I hope that you all have a great week and are able to create your own gospel experiences. Elder Peterson
Hello Everyone and Happy Easter, First off, today was changes and it was time to say goodbye to Elder Clark, shoutout to him as he goes to Zimatlan. As for me, I am waiting until tomorrow to recieve my new companion to be able to train for these last 2 changes of my mission. I am more than excited for this chance to be able to do so. Next week Ill let you know who he is and where he is from but until then here is what happened this past week. Well this week we experienced in full blast the traditions here in San Blas. With it being a small town here in Oaxaca everyone has established traditions as a town and these have been here for hundereds of years. We started out this week super strong and progressing a ton. We were able to have a lesson with Juan, who we are battling with and trying to help. Juan is working to get baptized but he has a strong addiction to coffee and has had a hard time leaving it behind. Each week that he hasnt been able to get baptized he has been sad yet determined to continue on. We were able to give him a blessing this week of strength and courage to leave these habits behind so that he can begin his path to eternity and marriage in the temple. Also at the beginning of the week we stopped by Giselas house. It turns out that the day before a different church had come by and talked to her brother about what they felt about Christ's suffering. She said that she didnt feel the spirit when they were explaining it and asked us to teach her about what Christ's suffering really was. It was a powerful lesson that we were able to have. We understood clearly the doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that understanding came through the Holy Ghost that was given to us in that lesson and that testified about this powerful doctrine and truth. At the end we were able to commit her to baptism. On Sunday she came to church by herself, and there she said that she was able to recieve answers to her prayers that she had been asking for a very long time. This week I have told many people, but it was us against the world. I truly felt the strength of the events that transpired 2000 years ago this week. Sadly, we were not able to testify and clarify these sacred events to everyone in San Blas, but there were a small few that were able to feel the special spirit through the understanding of the Atonement and the Resurrection. On Saturday, the whole town (I am not joking literally the whole town) went to the beach in Salina Cruz and was there partying all day Saturday. We only found 3 people that day, 2 teenage brothers, and Miguel, a recent convert's dad who has felt the need to joing with his sons in the church. Once again, we did all that we could to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ to their lives so that they could recieve the power of peace through him that is the Prince of Peace. We would have done all that we could to testify and teach these principles to all of those who decided that the things of the world were more important than the things of God, yet God put these choice people in our path to be able to direct them to the peace that they need. I am so thankful for this opportunity this week that I have had to study the final days of our Savior Jesus Christ, to see his suffering, his death, and his resurrection. I know that he lives. I am a witness of it and his atoning power is present upon the Earth today.
Hello Everyone, Well this week was a huge battle against the adversary. It has been so sad to see the traditions here having to do with Easter and this coming week. Yet, it has strengthened us and helped us to become better and be better people and instruments of the Lord. So this week we started out really strong, finding a ton of new investigators and really teaching and trying to minister to them. But as the week went on the whole town here became focused 100 percent on the traditions that they have of celebrating the dead each Friday leading up to Easter. This week literally everyone gathered to the cemetary to celebrate the dead and to put flowers on the graves. But along with that everyone brings speakers, music, food, and games and they do all of that around the graves of their family members. So on Thursday everyone was down at the cemetary and there wasnt anyone to teach. On Friday the parties didnt stop, they simply moved them out into the streets and everyone continued to drink and dance. Yet we found a few pèople that had the desire to listen to us. It was hard work but all throughout this week the story of Alma and the sons of Mosiah has been on my mind. When it was Thursday night we were out of plans because everyone had left, but then Elder Clark recieved inspiration and said "Well if we go knock on doors we will find everyone that is against the partying and drinking and they will be more ready to listen to us" And it was true, we got as far away as we could from the party and the first door that we knocked on was a guy named Ollie. He is 25 years old and is a doctor that just graduated. Anyways he asked us, "Why are we here, all I see is people that work hard just to go have a good time" so we began teaching him the restored truths of the Plan of Salvation, why he was here and where he is going. It was a great lesson with him. On Wednesday we found a girl named Gisela, we were out on the outer edges of San Blas and we knocked on this sweet grass hut. She came out and we asked her if she had peace in her life. She said no and that she needed it. We shared with her the truths of the Atonement and how they could help her to have a better hope for a better world. On Friday when we went back, her Dad was drunk and ran us off their property, we could see that is was hard for Gisela, even though it was a little scary we went back the next morning to find that she had read the whole pamphlet because of the fear that she had had the night before. We assured that it was fine to continue to talk to her and we continue to teach her too about the Plan of Salvation. The last experience is with Juan. We were at Margaritas house on Saturday night and we began to prepare Juan for his baptism by teaching him the Word of Wisdom. About halfway through the lesson Margaritas husband came in drunk and out of his mind. He began shouting at everyone and it was so sad to see. We ended up not being able to finish the lesson but it was a perfect example of why we have commandments from God. They are for our happiness and protection, so that we can truly feel his love. Like I said before, this week one scripture has been flowing through my mind over and over seeing what the situation is like here and being so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father. It is Alma 13:12 12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God. Now, this week I am so grateful for the opportunity that we have to celebrate Easter, with a greater knowledge and love of why we are doing so. I am so thankful for Jesus Christ, who lives and loves us, and through him we can be made pure again. Through him we are able to recieve the perfect love of God.
Wow Conference was amazing this time around. Every single talk was directed specifically to everyone and I loved how we were shown who we really are in this grand plan that Heavenly Father has for us. I loved how every apostle and prophet showed that and afterwards they all told us that we can live up to the potential that we have by simply saying our prayers, keeping our covenants and studying the Book of Mormon. I loved Elder Nelson's challenge to read every scripture of Christ from the Topical Guide and highlight it. That night I took a soft bound blue book of Mormon and began marking each scripture. It has helped me to see and come closer to my Savior and I invite each of you to do the same. But each talk was so inspired and straightforward and I am so thankful for the Prophets and Apostles whom we have to guide us. I am especially grateful for President Monson and his straightforward direction to us to READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. If you arent reading it, then begin doing so now. If you arent reading it as a family, then begin doing so now. It is the single greatest protection that we have against the adversarys attack against families. So this week was so awesome!! We started out this week with our activity at the beach, one which we burned to death and were suffering sun burns for the rest of the week but it was still fun. That afternoon as I was writing you all, President Madsen called us and said that he was going to be coming with us to teach that night. For that we went running out to get ready to have him with us. But then as some of you saw, he got caught in a road block and he couldnt get here. On Tuesday we had our zone conference. The work is truly hastening. In the past few weeks we have recieved several letters from area authorities about how it is time for the Book of Mormon promises for this area to come forth and that we needed to be the instruments to be able to carry those promises forth. We recieved several new area goals that we were expected to meet and it has been a huge challenge to our faith. In that zone conference President Madsen told us that we had stopped relying on the Lord and had just been relying on our own personal talents to do a sacred work. He told us that it was time for us to humble ourselves and ask the Lord what he needed us to do, because it was him who gave those promises and it is him who will bring them forth to those who are willing to humble themselves and be instruments in his hands. That night, we went home and I went up to our bedroom and I knelt down and asked for forgiveness for my pride to not do his will. I asked for his guidance. Yet the answer did not come. That next morning, as we woke up I once again knelt down and said the same prayer, and that is when we heard a shout "Elders, Elders" it was our Ward Mission leader Oscar. He had in his hand a missionary plan for San Blas to be carried out for the next 3 months. He said that he had to go to work but that we should read it and see what we needed to add or take away from that plan. He said that he had felt inspired to do it the day before and that is what he had felt like should be inclueded. I read through it, and the inspiration was so strong in what we needed to do. This week, the focus has been doing what the Lord wants us to do and keeping his commandments to continue to recieve his inspiration. On Wednesday, we had President Madsen come with us to teach afterall. It was a great experience to be able to teach and testify alongside him. We went and visited Juan, and saw that they were going through a lot of sickness and despair. We were able to testify of the power of prayer, and our willingness to follow through with what the Lord wants us to do. Another experience has been teaching a teenager named Carlos, who is 17 years old. He has been super shy in teaching him but the other day we were able to share with him Matthew 11:28-29. We helped teach him that if he had a desire to change, he had to do it alongside Jesus Christ, using the power that is in Christ by taking up his yoke with Christ and not alone. Carlos opened up and said that he was willing to do what it took to change. It was a great experience and lesson. San Blas has been changing a lot for me. At first, it was hard and difficult but now I am seeing the hand of the Lord in his work here. I am thankful for the opportunity to be here. I hope that you all take what you learned from conference and apply it now! You will be blessed and protected. Elder Peterson As for pictures, I am sorry to say that for the rest of my mission I will not be able to send pictures. The only "safe" computers here in San Blas are ones that have a lot of viruses on them. Last week I plugged my card in to send pictures and when I got home to look at more pictures all of them were gone. Thankfully I had a backup of everything up until the San Blas stage and right now President Madsen is trying to recuperate them as he has for a lot of missionaries. But, I wont be sending pictures for these last 3 months just to keep my pictures safe.