Serving from March 2014 to March 2016

Mission Address: (send everything to this address and they will forward to him daily)

Elder Jared Petersen
Tennessee Knoxville Mission
11320 Station West Dr Ste 101
Farragut, TN 37934

Monday, December 15, 2014

December in Chattanooga

I've always felt like Tennessee would be a great place to be during Christmas. It probably has something to do with the Alabama Christmas Album. "Tender Tennessee Christmas" is one of my favorite, and was before Jared was called. It sings about how love circles around us like the gifts beneath our tree. It creates a magical picture of Christmas for me. I asked Jared to take some pictures during the Christmas season for me so I could see. It's beautiful.......  I think it just needs a little more (some) snow :)

Here's his weekly letter:

This week was really fun. We started it off with going to the hospital at about 11pm to give someone a blessing. He's a member of a nearby ward who is in a hospital close to us. It was good to be able to give him the blessing and we went by yesterday to bring him the sacrament and he was looking a lot better.
I fixed my crankshaft. The guy at the bike shop looked at my broken one and was like "Well if you're going to break something, break it right." It was torn up. But it's nice to have both pedals to bike with now.
Our most progressing investigator has been sick for a while, so we weren't able to meet with her this week, but we called her and checked up on how she's doing so at least we were able to show her that we care about her. 
We also set up a Christmas tree, and used ties as ornaments. It's also a little tall and doesn't have a tree stand so it stays standing because it's wedged between the ceiling and the floor. It's so ghetto, it's great. 
We had half mission conference, Elder Renlund came and talked to us. It was really good. My favorite part was President Griffin's talk though. You know you've got a great mission president when he gives a talk right after a seventy and you enjoy his more. He talked about a story of a young man he helped prepare for a mission when he was a stake president and after this young man did so much to prepare for his mission, President Griffin had to call him and tell him that both his parents had died in a car accident. He talked about Ether 12:27 and how sin is of Satan, but God is the one who gives us weakness. It was all really good. Elder Renlund also talked about how each missionary has a right and a responsibility to know that they are called to serve where they are based off of revelation and we need to seek that confirmation. 
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

His Christmas tie I sent him. You can't see it but it has sparkles **
I just love how I can browse his apartment and see some of the stuff :)

Transfers (Chattanooga)

Jared got to stay in Chattanooga, but he got a new companion E Titus. His mission President gave him a heads up of who it was going to be. He send him an email with the scripture 2 Corinthians 7:6. You will have to look it up if you are interested :)


This week I got Elder Titus, He's from Ogden, Utah, he's about 6'4, he's way cool, and he was 'born' in Morristown, just like me! I actually knew him before I got him and he'd said that we'd be companions, so it's cool that it happened. This is his 2nd area, and he's been out 3 transfers or 4.5 months. Chatt is a big change from Morristown, but he's adapting well. We're going to have a great time together in Chatt.
There's a tradition here in Chatt that every missionary who is leaving can have breakfast at Sister Bridgette's the day before transfers. It was pretty fun, there were a lot of missionaries who got to go. That morning it was warm so we biked there without jackets. Then it rained and I learned a valuable lesson on the way home. Biking has also been an adventure because I jacked up my crankshaft so I pretty much bike everywhere with one foot. Elder Titus calls me Elder hop-a-long haha. 
Transfer meeting was really fun, we got up at 4 to make it there on time and didn't get home until 9:30. It was a long day. It's always fun to see the missionaries who I know though and talk to them. 
We tried to stop by a recent convert's house and found an eviction notice on the door and we had no idea where he'd be. We were freaking out because we don't really have any form of communicating with him other than stopping by his house. We were able to locate him though. 
We found out that WE GET TO WATCH FROZEN FOR CHRISTMAS ZONE CONFERENCE!!!!!! Sister Griffin talked President Griffin into it. She's the best! I'm super excited for it!
On Sunday we were at the church for 12.5 hours total. It was a long day at church, but it was good. We were able to give 2 blessings while at church and we also watched the Christmas devotional. It was so good, the Christmas season is the best.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

 E Titus/ E Petersen

 Traveling to Transfer Meeting

E Petersen/E Houghton
I got the coolest letter this week from E Houghton. He wrote to tell me how good Jared is doing and what an impact he is having on the people he works with. Such a neat letter to receive!
He was one of Jared's trainers.

First 6 Weeks in Chatt Town

6th Week in Chattanooga: Thanksgiving Week highlights

Thanksgiving Week

I went on exchanges with E Goldsberry this week, he came to bike around Chatt town with me. It was really fun, we didn't really have anything set to do so we just started biking and talking to people as we went along. We ended up biking all the way to Georgia! We came across a guy who was really nice as we were going, he offered us to come inside his store and get a drink of water. Then he was out of water and he was like, "Is Mountain Dew ok?" So we got some Mountain Dew and talk to him quite a bit. He told us he really likes stories and stuff that different religions have, so we gave him a Book of Mormon and told him about it. He seemed really interested and told us to stop by whenever we were passing by.
We taught S Maddox the next day and she was having a hard time, so we offered to give her a blessing. It was super powerful, she felt the spirit and felt a lot better afterwards.
We learned about the He is The Gift Initiative and it is huge! I'm way excited for it, there's going to be a lot of good stuff coming from it.
For Thanksgiving we went to our YSA Branch Presidents house and ate with all the YSA's. It was really good. Then we went to Elder Tucker's Aunt Sherree's house and ate again, and that was really good too, but I didn't have much room to eat. Then we went to Sister Bridgette's (our Chattanooga Momma) and we got some left overs. It was all really fun! 

I got a flat tire in the ghetto, I ran over a shard of broken beer bottle, and then a member called us and was really sick. So we made a lot of phone calls and finally found some people who weren't out of town for Thanksgiving and got over to her house to give her a blessing. 
We got transfer calls and Elder Tucker will be leaving. A lot of Branch members are sad to see him go, but I think he's going to get another great area that he'll love so it'll all be for the best. I'm also excited to get another companion, especially since I have a pretty good idea of who I'll get and he's really cool.
We spent a whole entire day helping a family move, it was a lot of work, but they fed us so it was good. I also didn't get tired at all from moving them #bikeareaperks haha. They're also still in our area, so that's good too.
In church on Sunday I gave a talk on the general conference talk, Free Forever to Act for Themselves. It was good, even though I did a lot of winging it.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

5th Week in Chattanooga: (highlights)

This week was pretty fun, but transfer news is Saturday and transfers are next Wednesday, so we're getting ready for some changes.
We had a lesson with one of our investigators who was a referral this week and it was great! We taught her a lot about the atonement and asked her to be baptized on January 3rd. 

In district meeting we had a role play that was using listening and questions to find investigators concerns. It was really good! It was cool to see how to use questions and listening to get so much farther in a lesson than you can by just teaching.
We had a turkey bowl with the branch this week, me and Elder Tucker went hard and killed our legs. Which was a bad idea because right after that we had to bike across town to Ceric and Camari's house because they both had speaking assignments in church. We helped them a lot and it was really good.
It was so great to see Ceric and Camari talk in church, it was really powerful and the spirit was strong. I was sitting by Ceric just before he had to go up and he was holding onto my arm and saying that he didn't want to go up. After he came back and sat down he said that he didn't cover what he'd written down and I told him that's how it's supposed to go.
I'll have transfer news for youns next week.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

4th Week in Chattanooga: (highlights from letter)

So the highlight of this whole week has to be that Ceric, a 14 year old boy who has been being taught for a long time, got baptized by his older brother!
As soon as Ceric came up out of the water he jumped onto Camari and hugged him. It was so awesome! 
Another experience we had was a member, Sister Bennett (she's my super hero) gave us a referral. A little background on her, she gives hundreds of referrals to missionaries and she's only been a member for 2 years. We taught this lady who she referred with her and did kind of a restoration/Book of Mormon lesson. It was great! At the end we asked her if she'd get baptized if she came to know that what we said was true and she said yes. She was also really anxious to start reading the Book of Mormon, so much so that she couldn't seem to wait for us to leave so that she could start reading it! We're going to see her again tomorrow.

Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

3rd Week in Chattanooga:

This week was pretty good, we've had Chick Fil A twice just this week, so I'm a happy camper!
We had a fun experience OYMing a girl this week (OYM means open your mouth and it's basically when missionaries talk to random people) We biked past her and Elder Tucker was like "I dare you to OYM her" so I took him up on it and we started talking to her and after we had asked her for her number and address we realized she probably thought we were trying to flirt with her #awkwardmissionarymoments haha but we're going to try to teach her.
We also had dinner with this family who recently came back into activity this week. We'd done some service for her last week and when we finished we played on a BMX bike they had, I showed off my skills of riding it backwards, and she took pictures and when we visited her she asked us if she could post the pictures on facebook, so if you come across them that's the story behind it haha. 
We had Zone Training meeting this week which was really good, my favorite part of it was our zone leaders training. They said that we are supposed to 'work effectively' and they emphasized that it didn't say work hard, because you can work hard and not get anything done. So I decided to try to focus my work on effectiveness, rather than just working hard.
We also had stake conference and our investigator, Ceric, was there for all of it. His older brother will be baptizing him this weekend, we're so excited for it! He is a great kid, and has more of a desire to do the right thing and more love for others than I've seen in anyone else his age.
At stake conference there was quite a few really good talks. One thing that President Griffin shared was a story where he learned that 'It's not all about you.' He explained that in the church we don't gain much from trying to get all we can out of it. When we decide that it's not all about us and turn our hearts to the Lord and our actions to our brothers and sisters, that's when we truly benefit. He also talked about how we, as missionaries, can't fulfill our calling without the members help. It's true worldwide, missionaries need members who are willing to do their own missionary work, because the work of salvation can't be hastened if members and missionaries don't work together. You may have noticed that I talked about this same thing last week, but that's because it's extremely important and it's an area where we all need improvement. 
Love Y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

2nd Week letter from Chattanooga:

This week was fun, I've been feeling better and my sinus infection seems to be gone so that's good. We were doing service this week and while we were there we started talking to this guy about lots of gospel stuff and really getting into how it was important and he was agreeing with everything we told him. Then before we left he asked if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was seventh day Adventists (He asked because I had my hat on) And we were like "No no, have you ever heard of Mormons?" then he was like "What?? You guys aren't Mormon!! I don't like Mormons!!" But we were able to change his views about Mormons and it was really good. The next day we did more service and we ate with them after. It was a bad idea to eat, because there's this lady who feeds us every Wednesday and she piles the food high and expects us to eat it all. She's a super nice southern lady. So I ate as much as I possibly could, but I couldn't do it. Elder Tucker made me stop after I lost some of it. I was trying too hard to eat it all. After that we talked to this lady who was selling candied apples and we said something about how she might wonder why she should be interested in what we were telling her and she was like "Well, I am interested in it, otherwise I would've asked why I should be." It was really cool, we're going to try to teach her. We also helped another lady in the ward with some service, we cleaned up her whole garage and fixed her garage door opened and looked at her sink that had busted pipes and did a lot for them. They also had a BMX bike, so I got to show off my skills of riding a bike backwards haha. It was really good, we also talked to them about doing missionary work, it was good. We also shared a message in church yesterday about missionary work. We came across a talk by Elder Bednar that was in the May 2008 Ensign and in it he talks about how missionaries are full time teachers and members are full time finders. He also says in there that members should not be praying for missionaries to do their work by praying that missionaries will find people to teach. It's the responsibility of the members to lead the missionaries to the people who they know who need to hear about the gospel. It's something that is very overlooked by members and more members need to find people to be taught about the gospel.
Love y'all,
Elder Petersen

Here's E Tucker
He is from IF. 
We know his family. Brian worked with his family's
business when we were in SE Idaho. 

Hello Chattanooga (Chatt Town)

He's in Chattanooga! I just love his enthusiasm for the work! Here's his first letter from Chatt town:

So this week I got transferred to the Chattanooga Branch and I'm with Elder Tucker! I like it here, we're in the city even more than I was in grove park, and it's really cool. Our church building is a civil war mansion, it's really cool. And there are tons of black people because we're really far south. We go into Georgia a little, but we aren't the furthest south the mission goes.
So this week was interesting, on Monday night we met with an investigator so I could say bye, and by the end of it my throat was killing me, so we went over to Walgreens and had the sisters pick us up and take us home. So I prayed that I'd feel good enough the next day to at least be able to go around saying bye to people, and the next day I was able to say goodbye to everyone who I wanted to. It was hard to leave Grove Park though. Then we had transfers and while President was reading who was going where I leaned over to Elder Rayburn and I was like, "I really wish I didn't want a car as bad as I do." So then when President called me he said I'd be serving in Chatt Branch with Elder Tucker in a bike area. So I'll be on a bike for a while longer. It's not too bad though, I'm just going to assume it's because I'm in better shape than all the Elders in cars. 
When we got to my new area Elder Tuckers Aunt picked us up, she lives in a ward nearby. It's cool because Elder Tucker was serving in the Sierra Leone Mission in West Africa and was evacuated to the TKM which happens to be the mission his Aunt lives in. She's really cool and helps us out. 
So the down side to this week is that I've been sick most all of it. I got a dual sinus infection and I've been getting bloody noses a bit and coughing a lot. It sucks to be sick as a missionary, because you really don't want to stop going, but when I tried to keep going I ended up getting a bloody nose at a members house and bleeding all over the place, I felt bad. But I'm getting to feeling better, so this next week I might be healthy again.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

 It took me a little while to figure this one out. Here's a hint: missionaries aren't allowed to back up without someone outside the car. :)

Here is their church building
Civil War Mansion 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Goodbye Knoxville - Grove Park

This has been a really hard week. It is hard to hear the sadness in Jared's email about leaving Grove Park. He said it has become a home away from home. He has a good attitude about transferring, but my heart can't help but hurt for him. He has met some really great people on his mission and I can't imagine having to leave them behind every few months. There are many people whom I would love to meet when we go get him. I can't wait! I hope to have pictures of some of them at the bottom of this post. 
I can't wait to hear where he got transferred and who his new companion is.

Oct 20 2014 -- email from Jared -- Goodbye Grove Park

This week we had transfer calls and I'm being transferred out of Grove Park. I'm not excited to leave because I've loved it here, but I guess I'm needed somewhere else.
So this week we also had a lot of rain, and we had to bike in a lot of rain, it was so cold!! The rain here is liquid nitrogen, I swear. We were able to have some really good lessons though, so it was good. There's one couple who has been inactive for years and recently moved here, and we happened to come across them even though their records aren't here. They were excited to see us and we got to know them and they've had some seriously hard times, but they have a lot of drive to improve their situation and they want to get back into church, so I'm excited for them. Another family we met with is a part member family who recently started coming back and it's almost the same thing, they have a lot of drive to get back into church and the members of the family who aren't members of the church are really interested and show a lot of promise.
We also had zone training this week and there was one really good training. One of the sisters told a story about 6 people who went on a journey and their destination was this super great city with mansions for everyone. A boy and a girl found each other early on in the journey and started going with each other, then they came across 4 youngins who they took in and helped along the journey. The youngins grew up and one by one decided to go off on their own on this journey. Eventually the boy and girl got to the city and waited for the rest. Over some time 3 of the 4 showed up at the city gates and came in. After a while they had a homecoming feast prepared for them, and when they went to the feast and all sat down they noticed that there was 6 chairs, but only 5 people. The empty chair overtook all of their thoughts and they couldn't eat knowing that this chair was empty. So they decided to go back and try to find the last one, but they learned that once you're in the city you can't get out, so they'd have to just hope and pray that another person who was still on their journey would come across the last one and help them along the way. The whole time she was telling the story the room was completely silent, and the spirit was very strong. She then explained that we are those travelers who they're relying on who are still on our journey and the only way those people will be with their loved ones again is if we go and find them and help them. She also gave us a kind of motto, it's "No empty chairs"
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

Silly E Rayburn

Oct 13, 2014 -- email from E Petersen

We helped out at the bishop's storehouse again this week, it was really fun to help out and see all the people who go. I saw Elder Smith there, one of my MTC companions, and I got to talk to him and talk about all of our experiences. We hit 7 months yesterday!Time is going by so fast it doesn't even make sense. We also got to see the Meet The Mormons movie, it was so good! If you haven't seen it, go see it and take a friend. The people on there have amazing stories. A sister missionary in our ward had her birthday also, so a member took all the missionaries in the ward to O'Charley's, which is a nice southern restaurant, that was fun. We had another lesson with the family who we're teaching who is progressing really well, we taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we committed them to be baptized on November 8th. They don't really have any holdbacks except coffee and tea and when they were talking about giving them up they were saying when, not if, so we were excited about that. They also really want to know that it's the true church before they decide to be baptized for sure so we were excited about that because they are asking really sincerely. An 8 year old boy in our ward was baptized on Saturday also. It was really cool because his parents had us go over the lessons with him before he was baptized, so we got to teach him and get to know him before he was baptized.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

 Group at O'Charley's

 He got stung by a bee that was stuck in his shirt. OUCH!

A week later after the sting. He thinks it makes his arm look "buff" =)
I just love the look on his face..... this was the look I would get if he was annoyed.
Boy, I even miss this look!

 Jared volunteers at a library and found this.
Us girls thought it was HILARIOUS!
Dad didn't. 

Aiden enjoying the "tie trick"
Evidently you can ask any RM and they can show you.

Email updates Sept 29 - Oct 3 2014

Jared's email -- Oct. 3, 2014

This week has been a blast, and we've done a ton of biking. We started off the week going mountain biking on p day with one of our favorite members and it was really fun, he told us "To brake is to admit defeat" So I ended up going off the trail a time or two, but it was really fun. 
Then on Tuesday we biked down to Magnolia (the ghetto that's far away from our house) and on the way this lady was like "HEY MORMONS!!" So we stopped and talked to her and she's a nonmember who loves missionaries and likes to feed them, so we were happy to come across her. We had our dinner appointment that night in Magnolia and it got dark earlier than we expected, so we had to bike home from Magnolia after dark. We biked really hard because we're strongly advised not to be in Magnolia after dark, so we made a bike ride that usually lasts at least 45 minutes into a 30 minute ride. On the way back this guy on a bullet bike passed us and as he flew by he was moving his foot in circles like he was pedaling, it was the funniest thing ever.
On Wednesday we had district meeting and exchanges. Elder Froelick (a missionary in Chilhowee ward) came to Grove Park with me and we biked down to Magnolia again and then while we were trying to find an address we ended up in downtown Knoxville, so we went around just talking to people which was pretty fun. Luckily our dinner appointment gave us a ride home from there, so we didn't have as much biking.
On Thursday we had a lesson with an investigator family which went super well, we taught them the plan of salvation and they really seemed to like it and had quite a few questions that were good. Then we had to bike as fast as we could because we were going to be late to another appointment, which was a challenge because of how tired our legs were, but we made it.
A member in our ward owns a mattress store and I had been talking to him about getting a memory foam mattress from him because he offered them to us at his cost. So we'd been talking about this and this weekend he came over with 2 memory foam mattresses for me and Elder Rayburn and he just gave them to us! He also gave 2 to the sisters! He is an awesome guy, so now missionary work in our ward is going to pick up even more because we sleep a billion times better.
I also really liked conference, it's so great to watch as a missionary. My favorite talk was Elder Bednar's talk directed to non members, I loved how he explained that we want to share what is most precious to us with everyone and also that we didn't want to force anything on them, just share what we know. I also really enjoyed Elder Holland's talk and President Uchtdorf's talk.
Love Y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

Jared enjoying his new mattresses? Crazy missionaries.

Letter from Sept 29, 2014

This week has been so fun! We've had a ton of referrals to contact, so our schedule has been packed! We've contacted a lot of them, and quite a few of them told us to stop by later so we're thinking we'll get some more good investigators out of the deal. We've also been talking to a lot of people as we're going places. Since President Griffin has challenged us to spend 2 hours a day finding new people to teach we've been doing a lot of finding. Our favorite way to find people is to just go places and start talking to people. Most of the people who we've found are people who are just out in their garage or lawn and we'll ask if we can help them with anything. It works really well because you get to help them and then they want to hear what you have to say. We also had another lesson with the same family as last week and it was super powerful. They came to church, which was super exciting, and then we were able to meet with them that evening. They had a lot of questions about church and stuff and the whole lesson was mostly answering questions. She asked us about how to forgive people who you haven't been able to forgive for a long time and Elder Rayburn started talking to her about the atonement and how much we can benefit from it. It was super powerful and it was absolutely silent other than him talking. She even started tearing up, so there's no doubt that they felt the power of the spirit and it's only a matter of time before they'll want  to be baptized and join the church.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

E Petersen always takes pictures of funny things ....

 He says you can put a noun in front of the words "Baptist Church" and you will find it.

"The South" according to E Petersen

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 17th He Had a Birthday!

 ♥  Happy 19th Birthday Jared!!!! ♥

This was a hard day for mom, but it was a GREAT one for Jared! 
He loved all the packages he received in the mail. 

Jared was excited to get some homemade jam. I thought this story was funny.

A couple other missionaries tried to talk me into giving them one of the jars and I was like "This jam is worth more than gold, I'll let you have like a pb&j with it, but there's no way you're gonna get a whole jar"

Here is the email after his birthday on Sept 22nd 2014:

This week has been packed! My birthday was great! Thanks everyone for the packages and cards! On my birthday we had zone training, and it was really good. It was focused on finding more people to teach and we were challenged to spend 2 hours every day looking for people to teach. We can find them however we want, so the method we like most is called 'OYMing' for Open Your Mouth. Basically you just go around talking to everyone you see and try to bring up the gospel, it's super simple. We met a few people on Saturday in the park who we're going to try to teach so it should go well. We'd also had the Knox county fair last week and we've started getting a ton of referrals from it. The first one we contacted, I went on a split with a member to contact them and she was really excited to have us in and hear what we had to say. I taught her the Restoration and she stared me down the whole time, she was just soaking in everything I was saying and when I finished she asked quite a few questions. The member who I was with answered a lot of her questions and spent a lot of time bearing testimony to her. He told her how the gospel has blessed his life so much and what he wanted most was to help her to have the same feelings and blessings that the gospel brought to him. We visited her again yesterday with her husband and taught the restoration again and they both were super receptive and you could see in their eyes that they could feel the spirit and they asked quite a few really good questions. The member who we brought was able to share his testimony and answer some of the questions also. They said that they wanted to really know that the church was true before they'd want to be baptized, which was a really good sign, and they also said they liked how we explained that all churches are trying to do good and how they have some truth and we have the full truth.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

Here are the selfies he promised along with the new ties!

Sept Transfers/New Apartment/New Companion/Same Area

 Jared's letter 9/15/2014

This week we had transfers, my new companion is Elder Rayburn, he's awesome! He's from salt lake city, all my companions so far have been from Utah, it's ridiculous haha. We get along great and have a lot of fun though. Elder Bills went to brainerd, which is in Chattanooga and it's a bike area. I told him he was going to a bike area in chatt before transfers so he was not happy that I was right. We also had stake conference this weekend and it was really good, President Griffin spoke and at one point he had all the missionaries come up to the front to show the stake what kind of efforts were going on in their stake. There was over 40 missionaries. It was so cool, they also showed us the preview for a movie called "meet the Mormons" and when they showed the preview President looked at me and Elder Rayburn (we were on the front row) and he could tell we were wondering if it was approved and he just smiled and nodded his head, we're super excited for it! The members who have met Elder Rayburn so far have loved him too, they like being able to joke around a little and have fun, but still be able to talk about the gospel. It's been great!
Love all y'all,   Elder Petersen

Pictures of  E. Petersen and E. Rayburn, and the group picture is of his new district. 
(Missionaries are organized into districts and zones.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sept 3rd 2014

Ambur, Jared's cousin, sent him a package which included a tie. 
Jared will send a picture, selfie, to anyone who sends him a tie. This one was for Ambur.
Ambur you are AWESOME!! It means as much to me as it does to him!

I find that I am not good at updating this blog if I don't have a picture to post. I love pictures! Pictures are worth a 1000+ words. Anyway, Jared had some great stories in his last couple of emails. It is awesome to read the impact that he has on those he teaches.

Email from Sept 2nd 2014:

This week has been pretty great. It started out with one of our investigators almost being evicted from his apartment, and he turned to us for help which was cool to see that he trusted us that much. The situation all got figured out though and he wont be evicted which is really good.
 One of our recent converts had us over for lunch and he had come across some anti Mormon stuff, so he was asking us about some of it. We were able to explain it to him and he said that most of the things he'd already assumed were made up or twisted, so it was cool that his testimony has gotten strong enough that he trusts what he knows more than what he hears. At church he was also answering a lot of questions in gospel principals and getting all the answers right, so me and Elder Bills were pretty proud that he knows his stuff.
 Elder Bright got emergency transferred because there's been a few missionaries who've had to go home sick so president has had to switch things up. Elder Bright was in our district and he was awesome so I wasn't happy to hear that he was gone, but he was replaced by Elder Froelick who is pretty cool too.
 Our investigator took us to Litton's and it was so good! They give you a ton of food though that's all really good so I stuffed my face and ate until I couldn't swallow another bite, it was great! While we were at dinner with him his son called and he told his son "I'm chilling here at Litton's with my new brothers. They're Mormons. They're from Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! They're my homies." (he's black by the way) So after talking with this guy 4 or 5 times we're homies. He also asked us quite a few questions about our beliefs and he was really receptive of our answers. His questions covered a lot of the stuff in the first 3 lessons, so that'll make teaching him go well.
 We helped install a new wood floor for our ward mission leader and we got almost all of it done. He's still recovering from donating his kidney, so we did most all the work since we didn't want him to push himself to much (which he ended up doing anyways) but it looked really good and it was fun to get it done for him.
 All the wards that meet in our building hosted a blood drive and a lot of people donated, Elder Bills was one of them. A few ward members were trying to convince us to donate and Elder Bills caved, but I stood my ground and didn't give into peer pressure. One of the members was really trying to convince me to do it though, but there was no way I was about to get poked. I'm saving souls, so I figure someone else can do the saving lives. A lot of missionaries donated though, so that was cool.

That's most of the highlights for this week, another great week as a missionary.

Email from August 11th:

I decided to do what a lot of missionaries do and just send out a mass email about my week because apparently it's easier that way. So this week Me and Elder Bills lead the district by teaching the most lessons which is awesome because we have 4 sets of really good missionaries in our district, so we're pretty proud of that. I also learned this week why I've been told by so many missionaries not to drink soda before you bike, it really is a bad idea, the heat and exercise have some kind of reaction to the soda that just hurts for a while. It goes away after a while though, and now I've decided I'm never going to do that again. We also had zone conference this week and President Griffin is awesome! He told us some of what he expects and how he's going to make sure we reach our full potential. He also talked about rules and when he was going over the music section of the white handbook he had someone start playing journey in the background. Then after a minute he turned it off and asked us how well we could focus and feel the spirit while the music was going and told us that's how we can determine if a song is ok to listen to or not. It was a really cool way to show us how to follow the spirit of the law, which he explained is actually harder than following the letter of the law. I also gained a bit more faith about prayer this week. A couple weeks ago we were struggling for investigators and so I prayed for about 2 days in a row for people to teach and then we found 2 or 3 people in 1 day who we could teach. Then this week we needed more investigators again and so for about 2 days in a row I prayed for investigators and in 1 day we found 2 people who we set times that we could come back to teach them at, and 3 more people said we could just stop by whenever and they'd talk to us. It wasn't until the second time that I realized how quickly God had answered my prayers both times, but it was amazing to see how it had worked.

♥ my missionary

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28th Petersen/Bills

First off, E Petersen was not affected by the tornadoes going through Tennessee this week. He told us that he was at a missionary fireside at the church, so therefore he was safe :)

It's kind of funny that some weeks I feel like there isn't much too share, but this week there is a lot....

It is so amazing to watch the growth of a missionary. I often wonder if it is as visible to them as it is to us as their family, friends, and neighbors. I feel like my son has gained so much from serving the Lord already that I can only imagine what another 20 months will do. I miss him soo much that some days I just want to fly off to Tennessee and be a fly on the wall, just to watch him. Okay, honestly there is no way I could just watch him and not give him a huge hug =)  I am so proud of all that he is doing and who he is becoming. His spirit has always been huge. When he was little he would prepare his own talks for primary (age 5-9) and would amaze everyone with his simple testimony and words. He typically chose to talk about David and Goliath, that was his favorite. He still does an amazing job at speaking and has no fear of doing it, that definitely didn't come from me. Here is what I assume is a talk he gave recently. (I will correct if I am wrong). I love that is in his own handwriting, sorry if it is hard to read.

(If any of this was too hard for you to read... Please feel free to ask and I would be glad to interpret.)

Here is an excerpt from his letter this week:

"I'd say the way I've grown spiritually the most is just through helping people learn about the gospel and sharing my testimony that it's true. It's helped me to look at why I believe in the church and how it's blessed me in my life. 

I had a guy just the other day say to me "At 18 what can you really say that God has done for you in your life to people that will make them want to hear what you have to say?" And I told him that He's helped me by sending me to a family who already knew and believed in the gospel and that I haven't had to look far to find the truth, like a lot of people have. I also told him that He's given me a lot of opportunities to help people who need it, and He's given me the ability to help them. When I answered him I didn't even have to think through what I was going to say, it was kinda just coming out of my mouth as it came into my head."

I just LOVE my missionary!!
Have a GREAT day!