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