Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Elder Peterson 2/27/13

Hello Family how are you doing? I am sorry but this email might be a little bit shorter. We only have 30 minutes to write and I had to read all of the emails that you sent and so I am trying to write a little bit but it might be shorter than you would like. I recorded myself again and I am sorry but I am not singing. Last P-day we only had about 10 minutes to email because we were cut short on time becasue we were going to be late for dinner and so I was only able to send the recordings.

Alright well everything is wonderful here! I forgot that Hannah was leaving on Tuesday and not today but it was nice to hear from her! I am glad that her talk and party and everything went well. I am hoping that we are able to email each other instead of writing because that is a lot of stamps. But it is totally worth it....:)
This past week was crazy and yet so fast. We had a few appointments that fell through. But Nichole is doing very well. She is finally starting to realize that she needs to READ the Book of Mormon and that is a major step for sure. We have two other investigators Andre and Colleen. They are both doing pretty well too.

I don't have very many stories to tell honestly. Everything is just flowing smooth and I am learning a lot. I am sorry that I don't have much time to write. Next week will be better for sure! Maybe if it is alright if you could not email me so much? It would give me more time to write emails to you. I know that once I get into the hang of it I will be able to go much faster but right now it is a little overwhelming.

Just to answer Mom's questions. I am not cold, Nichole is great. I got Autumn's cookies and they were delicious, I don't need anything much, and I can't give out my address to my apartment. Everything needs to go to the mission office and they forward it to us. I don't know why but we need to follow the rules.

ONE last thing. My razor sucks. It is finally deciding to die out and doesn't shave my face very well. I don't know if you want to have me buy one here or if you want to send me one? Just let me know. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!! and I miss you. I will write more next week I promise.

Elder Peterson

Elder Gremillion, Sis Kenan, JS, Nichole (an investigator) and Me!

 At the Lincoln Memorial

Stunts with Elder Johnson

More stunts with Elder Johnson

The DC Temple at night (obviously)

The Capitol Building

The Washington Monument

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Elder Peterson 2/20/13

So this week's letter came as a digital voice recording.  He sent six 5-minute sound bytes.  I have tried my best to type up what he said.  It doesn't flow as would a normal letter, and I purposefully left out the awkward pauses and the "Um's".  Oh, and I didn't think the word "freakin" was appropriate for a missionary's letter, so I left out those, too!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Taken from the audio recordings sent  via email

Hello Family,
This is Elder Peterson, my companion Elder Gremillion, he's got a digital voice recorder, and he said I could borrow it, and I think it is a good way to communicate and not have to write everything out, because, honestly I just don't like writing very much! Sorry if I sound weird, but I'm sitting outside and it is cold, and I'm too lazy to go back inside and grab my jacket. I'm really excited to get to talk to ya'll! I just don't even know where to start...DC is absolutely amazing! It's just amazing how different it is than AZ. The houses are different, they're like the houses from Full House all lined up next to each other in a giant building. They're not connected, but it's just totally different than the layout of AZ. It's really cool and amazing how kind the people are out here, granted there are a lot of people who are jerks, to put it lightly, but it's really cool. It's just overwhelming and amazing and I don't even know what to think about it! I just thought that I could go into the details about everything...

In my apartment, there are two companionships, Elder Gremillion and I, and Elder Sentano and Elder Johnson. Elder Johnson was in my room in the MTC and it's crazy cool that he's here and will be my roommate for about 12 weeks.  There are 2 bedrooms, they stay in theirs, we have our own and we have bunk beds and I'm on the top, and I don't know if I like it that much, it's pretty annoying to get up and down on the bed, but Elder Gremillion is 6'8'' so he deserves to have the bottom, and I'm getting used to it.  I'm really appreciative of Hannah's blanket, and I don't know what I would do without it, it's so nice to be able to snuggle in every night. 
Alright, so since my roommates aren't here, I'm going into their room, and it's way warmer in here. Anyways, the rooms are pretty cool, and I have my own desk, which is nice, and we just cleaned it so it's not messy.  Elder Gremillion's old companion  left a lot of stuff, but the shoes are not going to fit me, but he left some Crest White Strips, so I think I might use them!

On the plane ride from New York to DC, I sat next to this guy named Ivan, that I was able to just talk to.  It was really scary to start out, but I just decided that I needed to talk to him, and I found out that his sister is a member of the church, and he's been to church a couple of times, so I got to talk to him about his experience with the church, and what he knows about it, and I was able to give him a Book of Mormon pass along card, and bear my testimony to him, which was pretty much my first real mission experience.  I encouraged him to meet with the missionaries, and I told him it would help him out in his life.  Hopefully he listens, and takes things to heart and we will see how it goes. 
After the flight, we went to the mission home which is ginormous, it's huge, and it has a basement.  President and Sister Matsumori are just amazing, and I was so impressed, and they are so loving and I'm just grateful they are so kind and loving and they accepted all of us with open arms, and I love them to death already and was so good to be in their home. Sis Matsumori is an amazing cook, by the way, she is just amazing.  But I guess I didn't exactly eat very good at the MTC, so I don't know if that had anything to do with it.  We just had great food and she is a miraculous woman, she and President Matsumori just love serving a lot and it's really cool.  They would always ask, "What do you need help with, let me take your bag...etc." And I was like "No, I can do this." But they were just insistent. It was great to get to know them and talk with them.  I actually have my 2nd interview with him tomorrow, the 21st. My first interview was pretty amazing.  It was one of the most intense interviews I've ever been in.  President Matsumori encouraged me to be perfectly obedient and that he is counting on me to be an example to everyone.  He straight up told me that he was planning on me being one of the future leaders of the mission and that I needed to get my act together and just be the best missionary I can be.  It really hit me and I realized that I have a lot to work on and a lot of things to do to become a better missionary.  I've been trying my best honestly, and I still make some mistakes, but I strive to be obedient, I really do, and I mean I haven't done anything bad, but the little things, like going to bed right at 10:30 and starting my personal study on time. I'm just really excited to serve and be the best missionary I can be.  That's pretty much it about the mission home, it was really cool and fun.

After the mission home, we went straight to meet our new companions, I honestly had no idea, there were 13 of us and 13 new trainers. I was the 2nd to last one, so I got to narrow it down, and I knew it was going to be him at that moment, and it was cool to see Elder Gremillion, he came up and gave me a really big hug and said "This is going to be awesome." He's a great missionary, he came from a not so great background, he made some mistakes and he didn't really know why he wanted to serve a mission, but he decided to serve and he came out, and hearing what he was like before and how he is now, it's amazing how much he has changed. He knows so much about the scriptures and a lot of just the  doctrine.  I'm actually pretty jealous.  I thought I knew a lot, but I really don't and I'm going to work harder  to try to be like him. We've had some pretty spiritual experiences and during our companionship studies, we've had some really great talks.  He's not a perfect person, and he's pretty blunt about things and calls me out and tries to have me do things his way, and so I talked to him about that...he just wants me to be the best missionary I can be.
Elder Gremillion is a really great guy and I'm excited to work with him for the next few weeks.  We've met some pretty interesting people, I've met plenty of drunk people and they are hilarious.  I've never really seen a drunk person before, so it's pretty eye opening, and I've never smelled alcohol before, and that's pretty eye opening too. It's awesome.  I thought I would be OK just walking up to people on the street and talking to them, but the first time I went to "GQ" someone....which stands for "Golden Questioning" or "General Questioning," I  rode up to a person and said "Hey, how's it going?" And then I just kept going cuz I got really scared. And I've definitely done that a few times already, it's really hard to talk to people on the street. I'm getting better at it, and I actually had a conversation just last night actually, and it's pretty cool to just go up to people and see if they are interested and I mean, they have their agency and they can listen to us, or not, and we just have to deal with it.

It's really cold! The first day I was OK with just wearing my suit coat, but then the weather just dropped this past week and it's been really cold just riding around and there's been a lot of wind. I've been wearing my ear things and gloves. It's really cold at night, and it's not fun riding around on a bike. But I'm really glad to be able to talk to people and to help them out. There are a lot of black people that I've met.  There are some hilarious ladies in our ward.  There are a few people that actually come all the time, but for the most part, there are some pretty less active people in our ward, so we go by and visit them. 
One lady in her 50's, named Betty, she's got that's so cool to talk to her. I try not to laugh at her when she talks, because she isn't trying to be funny, but we went to talk to her.  She's a little more active than most, but she lives with her mom who is going to die pretty soon, so she has to stay home with her a lot. She tries to make it out to church when she can, she has a strong testimony. She's really good at cooking and she made us homemade macaroni and cheese and fried chicken when we went to visit her at lunch time. She had homemade coleslaw, I'm not a huge fan, but it was pretty good, and then she had some apple pie that she got at Safeway, and I thought I was going to throw up because we ate so much there.  That is one lady we visited, and I'm not sure why I told you that story, but I did.

This other lady named Bernita Jackson, just joined the church about 6 months ago, we got to go visit with her. We went with this man in our ward named "JS" (Jay Simmons Armstrong is his name).  She used to do really hard drugs, she met with the missionaries and she actually had a stroke (not sure how long ago) but it has left her physically impaired.  She has to use a cane, and she can't walk really fast, but she is hilarious, and I just wish that you could meet her. She's quick with the "Don't you be talking to me that way" (in his best black impersonation, which he said doesn't sound very good).  She just says things that make me laugh really hard.  She's been struggling knowing if God was really there. We got teach her about prayer, and she didn't know that you are allowed to thank him in your prayers, so that was really cool to be able to teach her about that. Those are my 2 stories about visiting the less active.
The last 2 things I want to talk to you about, the first is JS, a white man probably in his 70's who joined the church about 40 years ago when he was in college.  He is an amazing person. I'm going to be sending a picture from the temple.  He's the old man in the picture and the lady with short hair is our investigator named Nicole, and Sis. Keenen is a less active sister in the ward who is trying to come back.  JS has basically dedicated his whole life to help the missionaries.  He took us out to lunch to Ruby Tuesdays. It's pretty expensive and really good food, it doesn't really phase him, but he's an attorney who's never been married, he lives all by himself, so it doesn't really phase him. I can't even express how awesome he is.  He drives us places, and he always comes to appointments when we need him to,  and I don't really know what we would do without him, because he really helps us out a lot.

The second thing I wanted to talk about is our investigator Nicole. She is hilarious too.  She has a great sense of humor.  She's starting to understand, and I know she will be baptized, she definitely is really strong.  She has some things to work on, she believes in God, she prays, and I know she will learn that this is the true church.  We are helping her to know the truth and we pray she will come around.
It's really amazing to be a missionary.  I'm getting into the scheme of things. It's amazing to be serving the Lord full time.  I'm pretty tired every day! I wake up at 6:30 (it comes around pretty quick), but this is the Lord's work, and there is no place I would rather be than out here serving the Lord. I can meet new people and help them to convert to the gospel. I'm just so grateful for this opportunity to serve. I'm just so excited. I really miss you all, and I love you all very much.  I just want to say thank you, and I'm sure I will have more stories to share next week. Don't worry, I am writing letters, they will be coming soon. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Elder Peterson 2/13/13

Dear Family,

I made it safely!! The plane ride was really long and annoying but it was enjoyable at the same time. We had the lay-over in New York and on the plane from there I sat next to a man named Ivan. He lives in Maryland and his sister is a member of the Church. He was born in Peru and is a really nice man. I got to talk to him a lot about our religion and what he believes. He has been to church a few times and said that he enjoyed it, but hasn't been there for about 3 years. He has also read the Book of Mormon a little bit. It is really exciting. I gave him a pass along card and bore my testimony to him about how the Book of Mormon and the Church can and will bless his life. I also encouraged him to talk to his sister about having missionary discussions.

I was really tired all day yesterday. We arrived to DC about 9:00 their time and Pres. and Sister Matsumori were there to pick us up. They are the nicest people that i have ever met. They immediately came and Pres. Matsumori gave us big hugs, and Sis. Matsumori shook our hands (if she could hug us she would've). I am so happy that they are our Mission Presidents.

After the airport we went straight to the Temple to take pictures and have a "Sacred Grove" moment. During my sacred grove experience I basically told Heavenly Father that I am dedicating myself to him and I would need His help to be a successful missionary. I know that he was listening to me and that he will be with me every step of the way. The temple is the single most beautiful thing in the entire world. I could feel the spiit very strongly while I was there. I am sending some pictures of the temple and everything just to let you know.

We went to IHOP for breakfast and boy was it awesome. That was one of the first normal meals afte the MTC. I stuffed myself with pancakes. After IHOP we went to the Mission Home and took a nap. A 3 hour long nap at that. It was amazing. Then we got up and had some training and tips for our missions. During the training Pres. Matsumori conducted our personal interviews. He told me that he is expecting great things from me and that I cannot let him down. It was a very powerful experience and I am very impressed of how loving and caring he is.

Alright I don't have much time but I want to get into today. I met my companion. His name is Elder Gremillion and he is from Roy, Utah. And he is 6'8". He has a very powerful testimony of the Gospel and has a great story of how he was converted to the Gospel. I am very excited to be his companion and he is being very patient about everything cause I am a major struggle for sure. And guess what also? The senior couple that is in my ward is Elder and Sister Porter! they are very nice and it was really cool to meet them.

I am just very overwhelmed about the whole experience. I can't believe that it is actually here! I am a missionary!! I am so excited to do the Lord's work and be an instrument in His hands. I am very blessed and I will write more things in my letter to you. I love you all and I miss you very much. And thanks for the valentine cards and everything else that was sent.

Once again I love you all very much and I will make you proud!

- Elder Peterson

 A view of the DC Temple from the freeway
A group shot with all the new missionaries

Elder Peterson with President and Sister Matsumori
The Washington DC North Mission Home
Elder Peterson and Elder Peterson!!

Elder Peterson and his first companion Elder Gremillion

Elder Peterson 2/11/13

Thanks for the update on everything. It did make me miss you a bit but I am a big boy. I am sorry that my letters haven't been very long I really am but it is hard to compile my thoughts. But I am going to try to better today.
Well, first off I want to start out with a story. This Saturday one of our Zone Teeachers came in and started to scold us about how we were wasting the Lord's time. He peeked in on us and saw that we weren't studying as a district and he talked about how we need to be more focused. It really hit me honestly. I started to contemplate about my focus here on my mission. Was I really out here for the right reasons? How were my studies going? I realized that I needed to change. I realized that I needed to better myself because I wasn't as focused as a could've been. I really want to be the best missionary i can be and if I want to get there I need to change. It was a really neat experience.
Alright you sent me two Word documents and I cannot view them on the computers. I won't be able to view them unless you copy and paste them on the computer. The computers are EXTREMELY limited here.
ALright another story. Yesterday for our "Movie" night, we watched a talk by Tad R. Callister about the Great Apostasy. It was awesome! I learned a lot. While teaching the lessons, the Great Apostasy has been one of my hardest Doctrines to teach. After this talk I feel really confident in teaching the Great Apostasy.

Well a couple things to update on. I am wanting to call you tonight around 10:00 instead of tomorrow morning. Turns out we are allowed to call you while we are waiting for our plane so PLEASE be ready for me to call around 10:00 tonight. I bought a Phone card and will be limited to my minutes so it will be a max of a 30 minute conversation. I can't wait to talk to all of you!

I am sorry I am trying to write a lot but there is so much people and I am trying to hurry. And I am not doing spell check so don't judge. The MTC has been an amazing experience. I am amazed about how much I have grown in the past few weeks. I feel like a new man and I say that because I am a man. :) I feel so much closer the the Lord. I have grown to appreciate the Atonement so much more while I have been here. Well, I will write longer emails next week I promise. But I want to spend the next few minutes by sending pictures and I will try to put captions.

I love you and miss you,

Elder Peterson

Elder Peterson 2/4/13

Hello Everyone,

I am still alive. Recovering from a cold but I am alright. How is everyone doing? This past week went by very fast. I have learned a lot and I have grown a lot. I did get all the packages and I don't know how I am going to be able to eat everything. It is a good thing that I have roommates. This past Tuesday we had a devotional and it was great! I don't remember who spoke honestly and I don't have my journal with me but I remember that it was good. I have some good news. My district thinks that I am funny! I don't know why but it makes me feel good about myself. They say that I am the jokester of the bunch and this is the first time that I have had that title. Elder Rios also left this past week. It was great to see him for the last time. I also saw Elder Leavitt and Mission Conference and at the Temple walk on Sunday. Congrats Rebekah! I am very proud of you.
I am just very overwhelmed by the spirit that I have felt here. I had a great experience with reading the scriptures this past week. 2nd Nephi 31 is a very powerful chapter and I love it very much. And my district is getting so close! One of the elders in my district Elder Tavana has a motto from his dad that we are living by. "Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles." It is very hard to be exactly obedient. I catch myself EVERY DAY singing songs that are not mission appropriate. I am trying very hard to stop but it will take a while.
My companion Elder LaVecchia and I are getting really close. It is cool to see how much the spirit is helping us in our lessons. He is a convert to the church and he has been a member for a year and a half. He still struggles a bit with the doctrine but his testimony is very powerful. My room buddies are really cool too. There names are Elder Farley and Elder Johnson. They are also our Zone Leaders.We are all getting very close.
Yesterday was fast Sunday, just in case you didn't know. I wasn't hungry at all and I was pretty proud of myself. We had Mission Conference and a Fireside that were both very powerful. I learned about my testimony and the best way to strengthen it is through sharing it.

 I just have a quick favor to ask. In the next package you send, can you send me some family pictures? I miss you beautiful faces. And can you send me the testimony card from Grandma and Grandpa P? OH and mom I am still working on those letters. Actually I haven't started on them but I will try to get them done...I am getting a calling card and I will call you. I leave at 11:33 Monday night! :( it is going to be a long plane ride. We are supposed to land in Washington DC at 8:30 in the morning. I will try and call you then. It would be 6:30 AZ time just to let you know.

Lastly there won't be any pictures this time. I am planning on buying another memory card and sending my memory card in the mail. I will also write you the names of all of my district so you can know who is who.

I love you all and I miss you all. I will see you sooner than later.

-Elder Peterson

Elder Peterson 1/28/13

I am writing to let you know that I am alive and well. How are you doing without me? :) The MTC is a pretty crazy experience. I am not going to lie, I was really scared out of my pants to be here. And guess what? On my arrival I was told that I am to be learning Spanish! It is pretty overwhelming. Alright I am just kidding about the Spanish thing, but I am learning about the Gospel a ton! I  never thought that I could grow so much as a person in 4 days. I don't have much time to write you but I would like to share a few things. First thing is that my companion is awesome! His name is Elder LaVecchia and he is from Littleton Colorado. It took us a couple days to get to know each other but now I don't know what I would do without him. Also, I have one of the greatest districts in the whole world! We have grown so close together in the short time we have been here. I don't think that we can get any closer, but I know that as the weeks go on that we will keep growing as Elders and Brothers in the gospel. I just have to say that being at the MTC is an amazing experience. I haven't seen so many Mormons in my whole life! And yes Elder Leavitt was my escort. I have run into him multiple times throughout the past few days. Also, Elder Rios is in my Zone!!! He is actually one door down in our Residence Hall. I have a few pictures that I will be attaching of us. I know that this email is a little jumbled and I am sorry. There is just so much that I want to tell you. And also, the food isn't half bad. And I wish that I would've done laundry more cause I was kind of confused when I came to do laundry. I love being a momma's boy but it has its downsides. Well, I need to hurry cause people are waiting for the computer. But a couple of favors. One, could you PLEASE send me snacks?? I am hungry. Two, I am allowed to have a hoodie on P-Days and I am freezing my butt off. I love you very much and feel free to send this to anyone you want to. I am so grateful to have such a loving family and parents who have raised me in the gospel. I am writing paper letters so don't worry I will write more. Love you guys!

Elder Peterson

Elder Peterson and his district in the MTC

Elder Peterson, Elder Rios and Elder Leavitt

Elder Peterson at the Provo Temple...brrr...he is freezing!!