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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dec 7, 2015 #ASaviorisBorn video

(I'm just a little excited ♥)


This week we met with lots of less active members, a few of them we
met for with the first time this week. And then on Sunday when we were
at church a whole bunch of them showed up, it was so cool. There were
5 less active members and 2 investigators who came to church, they
made up over 10% of the congregation, because our usual attendance is
around 60 people at church. I'm accrediting it to the Christmas
season, it's such a great time of year for sharing the gospel.
We're handing out our cards for A Savior Is Born, and I hope y'all are
spreading the video too. In our district meeting Elder Fifita talked
to us about sharing our cards with everyone we talk to. It was really
good, it helped all of us focus more on sharing the video and talking
with everyone. We went out to lunch right after district meeting and
I'm pretty sure between the 10 missionaries there was a person or 2
who got more than one card.
One guy I gave a card to was just doing his job at Walmart pushing one
of those real long trains of shopping carts, around here they're
buggies, and he made sure to tell us Merry Christmas as we were
walking by and the thought came to my mind that I need to give that
man a card. So I just went up to him and told him that our church has
put out a video of children telling the biblical story of the birth of
Jesus Christ to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. The man
was almost brought to tears, he was so grateful. He told us how
wonderful it was that we are helping people remember the true meaning
of Christmas and how much he appreciates that. It really helped me to
see how hearts are softened around Christmas time, which really makes
it a great time to share the gospel.
As we've been sharing the A Savior Is Born video it's been so cool to
see it bring the spirit into people's hearts. We've been showing the
video to a lot of less actives who we visit and it's awesome how it
brings the spirit. For me right when the kids say, "And His name shall
be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Prince of
Peace..." I get chills every time. Then when we've shown them the
video and they've felt the spirit of it we've asked them to share that
video and several of them have names come to mind right away of
friends or family who they can share it with. It just shows again how
great this time of year is for missionary work.
I got to take Elder Fifita on an exchange here in Brevard, we had a
party. It was right after district meeting, and we gave away probably
7 cards in the one day. I ran out, it was great. We also had some
members take us out to dinner and they are some great people. The wife
is possibly the nicest lady I've ever met. One thing she does is every
time she sees a pregnant woman or a woman with a baby she will get her
name and address and make them a blanket. She is fearless in
approaching them and takes every chance she gets. She's even left our
table when we're out to eat so that she could talk to a pregnant
woman. We talked to them about the A Savior Is Born video and the
cards and when we were about to leave she took one and gave it to the
lady at the cash register.
Love y'all, watch and share A Savior Is Born with everyone!

Elder Jared Petersen

P.S. Please share it all over my Facebook, since I can't do that yet.
We should get Facebook soon though!

Thanksgiving 2015


This week we had thanksgiving! We had 3 dinner appointments, it was
great. We were at meal appointments from noon until 9 o'clock at
night. I was thoroughly filled by the end of it all, people here make
food that's just too good.
We had some good missionary work too, although it was slowed down some
with people being preoccupied with thanksgiving. One of the people who
had us over for dinner was a family of mostly non members, they're
great people. We also visited several new people who are on the branch
roster and got appointments with them.
Last week the branch President asked us to check up on a lady in the
branch and when we went over they were cleaning their porch some so we
got to help out. One of hem said "Oh you don't need to be working in
your Sunday best." So we let her know that we were in our work clothes
and I think she was a little confused haha. They really appreciated
all our help, we got a ton of stuff cleaned up. I felt pretty
There are some less active members who we visited this week and had a
great lesson with them. We read from the Doctrine and Covenants with
them and they really enjoyed it. They were both feeling kinda sick and
asked us for blessings and so we gave them blessings and the spirit
was so strong. It was awesome, they really appreciated it.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

Nov 23, 2015 -- Zone Conference



Selfie with the President
Can you see him? (right beside the girl in the bright blue sweater)


This week we had our zone conference, it was pretty good. We learned
about a Christmas initiative for sharing the gospel. Last year it was
#HeIsTheGift this year it's #ASaviorIsBorn. It's a cool video, we're
privileged as missionaries, so we got to see the video before any of
y'all can. But I'll tell you, it's a cool video and y'all need to
watch it on November 29th at I'm really excited
for it. President Griffin also handed to Book of Mormons to all of us
at the beginning of the meeting. During the meeting someone mentioned
likening the scriptures to ourselves and I just had a thought that I
want to read through the Book of Mormon and mark it all up with how
things liken unto me. Then President Griffin gets to talking about the
Book of Mormon's he gave us and how he wants us all to read through it
and liken it unto ourselves and mark it all up. It was so cool to me
that I'd had the thought to do that earlier in the meeting, so I
decided to take his invitation. It's been so cool to read it and write
on the side of the page how certain verses relate to me. I'm at 1
Nephi 14 already. After Zone Conference I got to go on exchange with
Elder Schultz! It was great to relive some glory days. We had a good
We went to visit a less active guy in the branch who's wife is
investigating the church. She wasn't there when we got there and we
shared a video and talked to him and a couple of his friends about the
video. She got home while we were there and she was pretty torn up,
one of her friends had an 18 month old baby pass away. After she told
him about it she turned to us and said that it's a really good time
for us to be there and we might be able to answer her questions. She
asked why God would take away a baby from such a good family. I can
tell you, neither of us were prepared for that question when we went
in there. I thank God for the Spirit though, because as soon as she
asked that question I remembered the story from Alma 14. I told her
how there were 2 men in the Book of Mormon named Alma and Amulek. They
were going around teaching the people of a city the ways of God, and
many people listened to them and were converted to the Lord. But the
majority of the city were opposed to their preachings, and built a
fire and began to burn every person who claimed to believe what Alma
and Amulek had taught them. They made Alma and Amulek watch as they
burnt these people, man, woman and child. Amulek knew that Alma had
the power of God, and told Alma that he should use that power to save
these people. But the Spirit told Alma not to, and Alma explained to
Amulek that these people were being welcomed into the rest of the
Lord, and whatever things that are done wrongly against them will be
justified. Then I explained to her that this life is only a small part
of our existence, and that the baby who passed away was welcomed into
the rest of the Lord. We still feel the pain of losing that baby, but
we can know that baby is not in pain and is cared for by the Lord. She
was still upset about it, but I think it gave her some comfort and I'm
glad I was able to follow the Spirit and know what to share with her.
Another thing that was incredible to me this week was I met an older
couple and the man lived in Aberdeen, Idaho. I asked him if he knew
any Duffin's (They're my great Grandparents) at first he kinda said
no, but then he got to thinking a bit more and asked me if they're
potato farmers. I told them that they are and he said he helped build
a roof for a potato cellar for them! I know that's not a really big
deal, but it was so cool to me that someone all the way out here in
North Carolina has met some of my family.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

Nov 16, 2015

Picture from Transfers

Since we had stake conference last week I hadn't got to meet the
members here for almost 2 weeks! It was kinda strange to be in an area
where I don't know the members, it showed me more of how much the
members matter in an area. I felt like I was in some kind of limbo
almost, just lost between areas, because the members are really the
thing that makes me feel tied to an area.
I found out something really cool about the members here. We taught
the lesson in priesthood and it was about bringing the gospel to the
world. We asked how many of the brothers had served missions and not a
single one raised their hands. So we asked how many were converts and
almost every single man there was a convert. They're all older, so we
asked how many had grandkids who've served missions and quite a few of
them raised their hands. It was cool to me to be in a room full of
first generation Mormons, and to hear a bit about the kind of change
there has been in their family because of their conversion. Our lesson
was also really good, there was a lot of participation and I got some
insight into many of their lives. I was also really glad that I had
the opportunity my first time meeting them to teach a lesson and
hopefully gain some trust because of the lesson we taught.
We also met a family this week who is less active, and hasn't been
visited by missionaries since they've moved here years ago. Our whole
mission has been searching out a group of people who we call the
suspicious. They're the people who are on the rosters, but no one
knows them. So these people were in the suspicious category. They were
really nice, they let us right in and talked to us like they'd been
meeting with missionaries for years. We talked mostly about football,
if anyone is going to serve a mission in the south I'd encourage them
to get to know about football. There's a small college here, and a
high school. The high school mascot is the blue devils, and they got
turf recently. They wanted to get blue turf, but since the college
football team uses the high school football field they couldn't do it
because Boise State has patented the idea of a college with a blue
football field. I thought that was cool, this is the only place I've
heard people talk about the Smurf Turf with envy. I'm looking forward
to meeting with the family more, they have a lot of potential. They
have 2 sons who we didn't meet, but they're like 14 and 17. The mom
told us that she'd been teasing them about having the missionaries
come over to help them get ready to serve a mission. So we'll see how
that goes, I hope we can get them thinking about missions and maybe
they'll decide to serve.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

Nov 9, 2015 Transferred to Brevard, North Carolina

Here is the picture we received the week of transfers before we get the email to tell us where he is, He usually sends us a hint. This was our "hint" this time.
The two Jared's :)


This week I got Elder Jared Smith (we have the same first name) and he introduced me to Brevard! It rains a lot here. Another cool thing is that The Hunger Games was filmed in part of our area! So we might get to go hiking to where it was filmed sometime. We have a little branch here. I've only met a few people, but the people I've met are incredibly nice people. The first member I met got us breakfast and then went with us to visit a less active lady. It was like he was trained, he told her several of his life experiences that built his testimony and also asked her to come to church. Afterwards he apologized to us for talking so much and I told him that he did great and was really helpful because he was building a friendship with her and he'll be here after we both leave,
so it's better for him to be friends with her than us. We had stake conference this weekend, so I didn't get to go to church and meet many members, but it was a good conference. It was my 3rd
stake conference this year. We rode with another member for that and he was a great guy. He sees things kinda like I do, so it was fun to talk to him. We talked about what works and what doesn't work when you're trying to help people come back to church and stuff. He also kinda evaluated the talks with us afterwards and asked us why they're emphasizing this, or if they should have mentioned that. He's a smart man, I hope I get to learn more from him. I'm also in a district with Elder Schultz! We're going to have a good time. Elder Titus just left, so if he would have stayed he would have been my district leader. I think President knew that we would have too much of a party if that happened though, so it's probably for the best. Our district is good though. In district meeting Elder Fifita talked to us about teaching people, not lessons, and he read part of
the story of Ammon to show how Ammon taught King Lamoni. I liked it, he talked about how it must have been awkward for him, but he listened to the spirit and was able to teach King Lamoni.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

Oct 26, 2015 Zone Meeting

Letter from Elder Petersen:

This week we had Zone Meeting, and we had some great lessons. We've got transfer calls coming up on Halloween, so I could be going to another area next week. I'd like to stay, but that's usually an accurate indicator that I'm going to be leaving. 
President Griffin told us something in Zone meeting that I really liked. He told us the story of Matthew 20. There was a man who owned a vineyard and he needed to hire people to work for him. He had a 12 hour day of work ahead, so he found some men and told them that he'd
pay them 1 penny for a 12 hour day of work. They agreed and began to work. Throughout the day the man kept hiring. When there was 9 hours of work left, he hired more men on with the agreement to pay the whatever was right. And he hired men with 6 hours of work left, and
with 3 hours left with the agreement to pay them what was right. And he even hired men when there was only an hour left, telling them that he'd pay them whatsoever is right. So the day came to a finish and he gave each man a penny, from the man who worked the full 12 hours to
the man who worked only 1. So the men who had worked the full 12 hours began to complain, saying that it wasn't fair that the master gave them the same payment as the men who only worked one hour. But the master reminded him that he'd agreed to work the full day for 1 penny,
and that it was not wrong to give him the amount he'd agreed to work for. So the question that I ask at that point is, how is that fair? It kinda leaves a feeling to me that the master just outsmarted the man who worked and left him with an unequal payment. But in the story, the Master represents Jesus, so it has to be fair. One thing I was taught in Chatt is that every parable breaks down somewhere. There is a point where the parable can no longer apply, and sometimes the Savior used this to give some hidden meaning. The point where this parable breaks down is when you ask how that is truly fair, and you can't find the answer through the parable itself. You have to follow how it compares to life, and that's how you can see what makes it truly fair. So what makes it fair is that, in President Griffin's words, working in the vineyard is awesome. Doing the Lord's work gives us reward as we go. It's a privilege to work in the vineyard, and we are more blessed the longer we work in the vineyard. So if anyone is less privileged, it's the men who only got to work in the vineyard for one hour. So we should look at our responsibilities in the gospel as a privilege, rather than a burden. I think missionary work is a great example of that, missionaries are some of the hardest workers in the vineyard, but they always love their missions. 

We have a part member family in the branch who we had dinner with this week. The wife is a member and the husband doesn't want to get baptized. They both come to church every Sunday. I just talked with him about it without pushing him and he told me some things that really helped me understand him. He told me that he is a Catholic and doesn't want to change his religion and he likes coffee and an occasional beer. Usually I would have explained to someone why we don't drink coffee and alcohol if they told me something like that, but I didn't want to preach to him, I wanted to just talk. I asked him what some of the biggest differences he sees between Mormons and Catholics and the first thing he said was that for Mormons it's a lifestyle, not just a Sunday activity. I thought that was really nice, because I know he was completely sincere about it. It was cool how I got a different perspective on him when I just talked with him rather than tried to teach him something. I think some people have enough preachers in their life and they just need friends. We also got to talk and joke with him at church. We just talked about football, but he seemed more comfortable than I think I've ever seen him be in church. I'm thoroughly convinced that college football is a missionary tool. I might see if I can get President to see it that way too. We also met an inactive guy who was really cool. His girlfriend is pregnant, so one thing he told us was that he wants to get his life right with God so that he can raise his kid right. I told them that one of the focus groups for us is people who are expecting a baby or have recently had one, because if we can help them integrate the gospel in their life that will give the baby a life with less pain, more comfort, more love, more support, more direction, and just a better life. At the end of our visit with him he said that it's not often that you can say you love someone who you just met, but that he loves us to death and he really appreciated the feeling we brought to his home. I'm looking forward to working with him more. 

We met with the tough guy who we gave a blessing to a while ago and he had his cancer check up and came up cancer free. He attributes it to the blessing we gave him and he was super grateful. He told us how he made a promise with God a while ago after finding out that he had cancer that he would quit smoking (2 packs a day) if God would restore his health and take away the cancer. He went cold turkey that day and God blessed him to be free of cancer. I told him how inspiring it is to me that he made that promise with God and then trusted in Him enough to give up the cigarettes. Then I talked about how we believe strongly in making promises with God and we call some of them them covenants and explained what that means. I also told him a bit about the promises of baptism and how that promise is there to bless his life, just like the promise he made with God to quit smoking. He said that he's working towards it, he's very optimistic about increasing his spirituality.

We met with Shelly again, we had a great visit with her as usual. She's had some crazy things happen in her life, so I told her how when we try to do something to follow God more in our life, Satan has a "little beeper" go off and he does all he can to drive us away from that good decision. That clicked with her and I'm glad it did, because I'd hate to see her lose interest because situations in her life became difficult. She also saw an anti Mormon post on Twitter and stood up for the church because of her experience with us. We were so excited to hear about that. It's incredible to me how some of the people we meet who aren't even members, will take such a stand to defend the church. So we got to explain polygamy and a couple other things to her, which was good. We also just had a fun conversation and at the end she said she was very grateful that we came to visit because it helped her to unwind from all of the stress in her life recently. I love being able to help people like that. 
I'll have transfer news next week,
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

Oct 12, 2015 Ambur's Wedding Letter

Ambur & Andrew's Wedding Reception (Most of the Petersen cousins)

Jared's response to this picture was priceless!
"Yeah I saw something odd, I barely recognize half of them and there's a couple I don't even recognize. And I'm not talking to the ones who have been added to the family since I've been gone.  And 2 other things, where the heck is Braden, and there's this kid in the pictures who's taller than everyone else, and has flippy hair like I did. He looks kinda like Briggs, but I know Briggs can't be that tall. Who is it?  Haha Oh I almost forgot to mention, I love how I'm in there and I'm 2 times as big as everyone else hahaha. "

More from his letter on Oct 12:

We visited a guy who was baptized in 2007 and probably hasn't been visited since shortly after that. He was really nice, and welcoming. President Starkey asked him about his conversion story, and he talked about the incredible feelings he had at the time. He also brought up that those feelings are still in him, but they're buried. So I pulled out a Book of Mormon and handed it to him and said, "You know what this is? It's a shovel." He wants to meet with us more and he's
interested in getting back into church and helping his family learn more if they're willing. It was so cool to see how quickly his interest in the gospel came back. One of our investigators has been going through cancer recently, and he has a check up coming up soon. We visited him and his wife, and they just like to talk a lot. Sometimes they like to talk about the gospel, and sometimes they talk about everything else. It was an interesting visit, we were going back and forth a bit from the gospel and other topics and it was getting close to when we had to leave, so
we asked him if he'd like a blessing before we left. He said yes, and we gave him one of the most powerful blessings I've ever given. It wasn't like he was suddenly healed, or like I spoke incredibly
powerfully, in fact I got a little confused and mentioned his upcoming surgery that had actually already happened. The spirit still filled the room though, and when I finished this big strong man was choking on his tears while he thanked us. His wife only said, 'That was incredible.' And we both followed a prompting to talk about the priesthood more, without saying anything about it to each other. We told them how that feeling they had was the spirit and it was testifying to them about the power of the priesthood. The priesthood can only be explained so far by words, but the feelings it brings gives understanding that can't be expressed. We told them how they
could use that feeling to know about the truth of the gospel we preach. I thought of an analogy that really clicked with him. I told him that reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it can change his life, if he lets it. Reading the Book of Mormon, listening to the missionaries, and learning about the gospel is like having a car revved and ready to go, but a car doesn't move when it's revving. You have to drop the clutch and when you pray, with the intention to
follow whatever God tells you, is the moment your life will change. That is how you drop the clutch, and get the tires spinning. I could tell that he really got it, and his wife also followed what I was saying. So we asked them to do that, to read the Book of Mormon and to pray about it and to pay attention to the feelings they had, because if they felt the same thing they did during the blessing that means God is telling them that what we teach is true, and that their lives can change. It was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever taught.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sept 28, 2015 Letter from Marion, VA

I got E Langsmith this week. (From Alabama) I knew him in the beginning of my mission so it's cool to be his comp now. It's also cool to see how much we've both grown on our missions. I lost Elder Schultz this week, but he went to a better place. He's with Elder Titus now, they're both super tall and legit. Yesterday at church someone slipped 10 bucks into both me and Elder Langsmith's inside suit pockets. That was a great surprise. It was a great welcoming for Elder Langsmith to the branch. I'm also excited for conference, it's so cool that we get to hear from our Prophet and the leadership of the church this weekend. Sorry it's short this week, love y'all, Elder Jared Petersen

Favorites from my MOM letter:

"I'm excited for conference too! It seems like I get more excited for every general conference. I bore my testimony in church about how incredible it is that we have a prophet and we get to listen to him and the rest of the leadership of the church in conference. It's really such a great opportunity to find ways to become more committed to the gospel."

"So at church someone slipped 10 bucks into both me and E Langsmiths suits. We have no idea how, they got it in the inside pocket, so someone was really smooth. They pulled a fast one on the branch magician haha." (He loves doing magic tricks for the youth and investigators and even finds a way to tie it into the lessons. Funny kid!)

September 21, 2015 Marion, VA

(Highlights/favorite part from MOM)

This week I'm pretty proud to tell y'all about a prank I pulled on our mission president. We had dinner with a member on Friday and I did a couple magic tricks and related them to the gospel for the kids. One of the kids got really excited and asked his mom if he could show me his magic trick. I was ready to pretend to be entertained by his magic trick, but then he blew my mind. He had this white powder and he put a little of it into water and the water instantly turned to slush! It
was crazy! Then they offered me a small bag of the white powder!  We had a zone meeting the next day, and I plotted out how I was going to prank President with it. It was like mission

First off, I had to figure out how I was going to avoid the consequences. I know that President always has a diet coke, so I stopped at a gas station on the way and got him a diet coke to replace
the one I was about to ruin. Second, I didn't want President to drink this powder stuff, because it can't be good for you, so I brought a pin and poke holes in his straw so it wouldn't work and when his straw wouldn't work he'd look in his drink to see what was up and then he'd see it's slush. The hard part was that I couldn't plan how to get his drink and put the stuff in it. So when we were in there before the meeting, President walked out for a minute and I made a beeline for his drink. I grabbed it and took it out of the room and put the stuff in it. It was like diffusing a bomb. I got it done pretty quick and on my way back into the room I saw President just down the hallway. I
went in one door and he went in another, so we were both in the room and I still had to get his drink back to it's original location. I was successful. I'm now considering a career in special forces. After I got his drink back I just had to sit back and watch and let the adrenaline wear off. There was about 10 seconds between when I put his drink back and when he went to take a drink, but luckily I was able to start videoing just in time. As soon as he figured out what was up he blamed the zone leaders for it, I didn't even take the fall for it.

But then I gave him his replacement diet coke and he knew it was me, but I totally could have gone unknown if I wanted to. We also had transfer calls, and I found out that Elder Schultz is
going to be leaving. We figured he would, but we were both hoping he might be able to stay. Transfer calls were really cool, we had stake conference just before them and President was there for it, so he had all the missionaries that were there sit in live for the transfer call.

My birthday was great, I got 55 emails on my birthday! It was fantastic. I really appreciated all the birthday wishes, and hearing from some people who I haven't heard from much. (If you feel guilty
when you read that, it's ok, just repent and change haha) All y'all made my birthday great though. We also had some awesome members feed us lunch and dinner. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant, and the members told them it was my birthday so they sang happy birthday and
brought out a desert. Then our waitress fed me some of my desert while they sang happy birthday. It felt like breaking some kind of rule, I don't know if I should repent of that or not... It was a fun day though, we also found a new person to teach on my birthday. 

Zone meeting was really good, President showed us how much we've improved as a mission in the last year and it's phenomenal. In some categories we are leading the United States missions, which is pretty incredible to me. I also learned a lot from our meeting, President read from Luke chapter 5 to us, and explained it. The way he explains scriptures is incredible to me, every time I've put in the effort to try to listen and learn from him I have. He explained how in Luke 5, Simon Peter meets Jesus. Jesus was basically being chased by a crowd of people who wanted Him to teach them, and he got to a sea. There were a couple boats that had just came in after a long time of
unsuccessful fishing. Jesus walked onto one of these boats, it was Simon Peter's, and asked him to push the boat out a little. With the boat pushed out a little Jesus could see the whole crowd and he preached to them from the boat. After he preached he asked Simon Peter to push the boat out farther, presumably to fish, and Simon Peter was reluctant because he had been fishing likely his whole life and knew that it wasn't a good time to fish. He said that he'd do it nevertheless, or even though he wasn't fond of the idea, and when they put in the nets they were so full that the nets broke. This was a great blessing to Simon Peter. It was after they returned to shore that Jesus asked them to follow him and be fishers of men. President talked about how it was when their nets were full, that Christ asked them to leave the nets and follow him. He related that to us as missionaries, and it relates to anyone else also. He talked about how each of us missionaries left our lives when our nets were full. We all had so many blessings in our lives when we answered His
call to serve a mission. Most of us had a new freedom to do what we want, opportunities to pursue a career or go to college, friends, family, people who we loved. We had lots of material things, nice
beds, nice phones, cars, video games, and whatever other things we enjoyed. And it was at this time when we felt like we had it made that Jesus called us to be fishers of men. It was when our nets were full and we felt like we had it made that we were asked to leave it all and serve the Lord. We weren't forced into it, and it wasn't easy for any of us, but we had learned to trust God and we all loved him and wanted to share the things that he's blessed us with. It made me think of a
time when some one, who isn't a member of the church, told me that the best advertisement the church has is the missionary force. I think that's because the missionary program uses mostly 18 to 21 year olds to tell people about what they consider the most important thing in the world, and the program is successful. 

So it's been a good week. I'm not really looking forward to sending off Elder Schultz, we've had a great time together, but I'm sure I'll have a great time with my next comp too. I'll let youns know about him next week.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

The "magicc slushy" stuff

Mission President Prank Video (hope it works)

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Wow, I just finished updating his blog for the past.... too many months =)
He asked me if I was still going to keep up the blog, so since I didn't want to tell him no, I decided that I had better get on it. Now! So sorry that there are few pictures in the posts but I wanted to get the important stuff in, his letters. It is so amazing to read his letters from the beginning of his mission until now. (He has 6 months to go!) His mission truly has been the best thing that he ever could have done for his life! I'm so glad that he recognized it as well. He is such an amazing kid (adult), I am so proud to be his mom! His 20th birthday is today and I am missing him terribly. I just want to give him the biggest hug ever!

HaPpY BiRtHdAy to my wonderful son! I LOVE you SOOO much!

He still buys milk by the gallon.
This was one of his birthday ties in his package. I told him he should wait to open it...
This was the message along with the picture.
"I like this one. I know, I didn't wait...."
I figured he would open it :)

September 7 & 14th Letters

September 7, 2015 Letter

This week has been fun, I'm starting to like Marion more every day.
Our meal calendar for the next 2 weeks really filled up, so it will be
good to start having more meals with members. We've also had a lot
more meals just this week, and they've been a lot of fun. I've done a
ton of magic for people, mostly kids, at dinners. I like to tie my
spiritual thought into a magic trick and it really sticks with them.
We've also tried to contact a lot of less active members this week.
We've found a few people who we'll be able to work with and help, so
I'm looking forward to that. One less active lady who we visited
recently came to church yesterday! It was cool to see her there, she
was the first one to bear her testimony and I really liked it. When we
visited her she was watching, 'The Theory of Everything.' And in her
testimony she talked about watching it and how she had been inspired
by the story. She has had some difficult health challenges, but when
she saw what Steven Hawking does to overcome his challenges in that
movie, it gave her hope and motivation to work past her challenges.
And that's why she came to church.
District meeting was good, me and Elder Schultz talked about keeping
the Sabbath Day holy. There were some really cool comments, and I
learned quite a bit. We talked about how there are so many ways that
people around us aren't respecting the sabbath day and how it just
makes it more important for members of the church to hold to their
sabbath day observance.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

September 14th 2015 letter
This week has been pretty great, we've finally started to see some
results from the work we've been doing. We've had a lot of things that
we've been working on for a while and they're finally starting to work
One thing that we've seen some good results from is transferring our
paper records onto our ipads digital records. That was a pain, but we
finally finished transitioning to the area book on the ipads this week
and we've been able to start trying to visit some of the people who's
records we transferred. There have been a lot of people who've slipped
through the cracks, so we've been trying to contact them and help
We've had to have a lot of consistency, there's a couple houses that
I've knocked on the door so many times I started having deja vu when
we'd go there. I'm tired of knocking, so I think this week I'll try
skipping the knocking part and just open the door and walk in.
We had one lady though who we knocked on her door probably 10 times in
the last 2 weeks, she has a friend who went on and put in
her information. So we got the message and had been trying to contact
her for a while and we finally got to meet her on Saturday. She was
nice and was asking us for advice and direction in her life. So we
were able to show her how she can find direction through the
scriptures and the restored gospel. It was awesome.
At church all the members wanted to fill me in on the Boise State BYU
game. One of the young men told me that he thought of me while he
watched it haha. They're mostly BYU fans and a lot of them know that
I'm a Boise State fan, so they had to give me crap about it. I also
have a Boise State pin that I wear on my suit, so I think some of them
had to rub it in a little more because of that. It was all good
though, the members are still pretty great here. I bet some of them
are even going to start keeping track of Boise State to keep me
updated, so that will be nice. College Football is a pretty big deal
in the South, so when you have a team and can talk about football it's
like you can speak their language haha.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen


August 2015 Letters and Pictures

August 3, 2015 -- transfer calls

This week was pretty good, but this upcoming Saturday we find out about transfers, so I'll find out if I'll be blessed to stay in Maryville another 6 weeks. If you couldn't tell, I really want to, but the odds aren't very good so I've been getting pictures with people just in case I leave. There are so many great people in Maryville that it will be hard to get pictures with them all, but I'm going to do it if I leave.
This week there was a guy visiting for work who take missionaries out to eat every chance he gets, so he took all of us out. It was a lot of fun, he showed us pictures of a lot of missionaries who he's fed and it's incredible. He travels a lot, so he schedules his flights for times when he knows lots of missionaries will be at the airport. It was so cool to hear about all he does for missionaries, and he has the best attitude about it. He told us how great all the missionaries who he's met are and how grateful he is to feed them. He even dedicated his instagram to pictures of feeding the missionaries.
We also helped a recent convert move this week. His name is Steve, and he's the coolest guy. I didn't teach him, the other set of missionaries in Maryville did, but I've talked to him a lot through it all and it's awesome how much of a difference the gospel has made in his life. It seems like every time I see him he just gets happier and happier. I was glad to help him out, and he's also still in Maryville ward, so that's good. (The ward covers 567 square miles, so it's hard to move out.) 
We took one of our members, Brother Peterson, out this week and that was really good. I always say that he knows everything, and there's not an ounce of sarcasm in that statement. I don't know how one person can know so much, but he's also an awesome guy. We went to visit a lady who's working on coming to church more often and her mom who is not a member was there. Brother Peterson caught on to the fact that she wasn't a member before we even did, and he just started explaining the Book of Mormon to her. He did a great job explaining it to her, so hopefully she has enough interest in it now to read it and pray about it. She doesn't live here though, so we probably wont find out how that turns out. That's alright though.
Yesterday our dinner was open, so one of my favorite families here invited us over. I was actually worried that I wouldn't have a chance to visit them and get a picture if I left, so I was really happy that I could, just in case. The dad of the family said that he thinks President will just forget that he put me here and I'll still be in Maryville a year from now, after I would have gone home. I told him I wouldn't even be mad haha. 
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

He's leaving Maryville after about 6 months. I have to say, I have greatly appreciated the members in Maryville they have been wonderful to my son! He is going to miss them terribly.

August 10, 2015 -- Goodbye Maryville

This week I found out that I'll be transferred out of Maryville on
Wednesday. I guess I wasn't surprised to find out that I'm leaving,
but I kinda didn't think it would happen. I'm going to miss Maryville,
I was talking to one of the other missionaries and he asked if I was
excited to go somewhere else. I told him that it doesn't get better
than Maryville. The members here are so great, saying goodbye isn't
fun, but I told several of them that I'll be back next year, so I'm
already excited to come back and visit them.
We started playing ultimate frisbee this week, we're hoping to use it
to find people to teach and have fun doing it. It was pretty fun, it
rained a little, so there wasn't a great turnout, almost everyone
there was not a member so if they keep coming it wont be hard to get
more members out.
Someone who the other missionaries are working with had a wedding this
week, so we got to go to that. We also helped set up for it. Wedding
decorations take a long time, but it looked cool and they were happy
that we helped decorate so it was worth it. The wedding was doctor who
themed and they even had a blue old school telephone booth prop that
they brought into the church and got married in front of. It was
pretty legit. They had a dance after the wedding and the bride didn't
know that missionaries can't dance, so she was calling us out in front
of everyone to come dance and we just sat there and looked at her, I'm
sure everyone was wondering what's wrong with us haha.
Church was good, it seems weird to me that it was my last Sunday here.
A lot of members were sad that I'm leaving, and some of them thought I
was going home because I've been here so long. I really haven't been
here extremely long, I've just had a lot of companions here which
makes it seem like I've been here longer. I've had multiple people
offer to have me stay with them before I even mentioned that I'm
coming back, so that shows how great the members are.
We also visited a recent convert in the hospital who had a stroke
Saturday night. The other missionaries in Maryville taught and
baptized him, but I've been here through it all and he's a good friend
of mine. We gave him a blessing and things are really looking good for
him. He was so sad to hear that I'm leaving, he just kept telling me
about how much he appreciates me and how he knows that I'm doing good
and I'll be successful in my next area. He is such a great guy, I'm so
glad I got to be here through his conversion process.
I'll let you know where I am next week,
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

August 17th 2015 -- Arrived in Marion, Virginia

So I left Maryville this week, I wasn't excited to go, but I knew I
needed to be somewhere else. I was blessed to be able to say goodbye
to everyone in Maryville that I wanted to, I was so happy for that.
At transfer meeting I asked President Griffin where I was going before
the meeting and he gave me a few hints. He told me that it's the
farthest area away, and that it's a very desirable area. It's an area
that missionaries ask to go to. I knew which area it was as soon as he
said it was the farthest away. My companion is Elder Schultz. He's...
Drumroll... A tall guy from Utah! He's really cool though, we get
along great. Marion is his first area, so he hasn't been in the
mission for long, but he's a good missionary. I'm also back into a
branch, although it's not at all like Chattanooga, which is the other
branch I served in. It's fun to get used to being in a branch again,
you really get to know members in a branch and the branches also
depend on the missionaries more than most wards.
This branch is really good, the Branch President especially impressed
me. He has a set appointment where he goes out with the missionaries
every Sunday after church until the end of the day. It's awesome how
involved he is. Yesterday we went out with him and these members
weren't home, but they had a ton of bags of trash all over their front
porch, so President Starkey, the branch president, picked them all up
with us and we threw them away. It was really gross and smelled awful,
but it was cool that President Starkey wanted to serve them instead of
just leaving since they weren't home.
In our district meeting we talked a lot about obedience, it was
interesting. I've definitely learned a lot about obedience on my
mission. I used to view obedience as something you do to stay out of
trouble mostly. But now I see that it's a way we can show that we love
and trust God. I've also learned that he knows better than we do. So
we can rely on our own knowledge and we're liable to fail, but God
never fails so if we follow his commandments we'll always come out on
top. Another thing that we talked about was a way you can use the
scriptures to your advantage. If there's a blessing that you want you
can look in the scriptures to find what commandment goes with that
blessing and follow that commandment more in your life and the
blessing will come.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

August 24, 2015 Letter

I've started to get to know this area better, I still don't know where
most everything is, but I know where some things area, so I'm making
progress. I've also met most of the members now, there are a lot of
great members here. So things are getting better. We haven't been
working with a lot of people, there's a few people who have been
investigating the church for a long time, and they're about the only
people who we teach. So that's something we've been trying to work on.
It's not like any of my other areas though, since Marion is so small
everyone has met the missionaries and I've been told every street has
been tracted and tracting has been ineffective. So we rely pretty
heavily on the members to find people to teach. In my other areas I've
known that working with the members is the best way to find people to
teach, but the areas were big enough that when we didn't have members
helping us we could just go out on our own. So it's a change and it's
been kinda weird, but I think once we get some more momentum things
will go really well. It's like something Elder Gerig said in district
meeting, he was talking about how to get a weak pool of people to
teach and the answer is by working without members. Like tracting. He
said that the reason missionaries resort to tracting is because it's
either immediate success or immediate failure. I thought that was
really cool, sometimes missionaries act like tracting a lot shows more
dedication, but really tracting doesn't take as much dedication as
helping members be missionaries does. He also talked about how if
working without members creates a weak teaching pool, working with
members creates a strong teaching pool.
I've already seen how much better the missionary work here is when we
work with the members, and that's probably partially because the
members are just great. We had lunch with an investigator who is an
older lady and she loves to make us food, she makes good food too, and
we invited a lady from the ward to come with us. We didn't tell her
much about how we expected the visit to go, that was our bad, but the
lady mentioned that she is going to be making sour kraut and our
member jumped on the opportunity to build a friendship and asked if
she could help and also learn how to make sour kraut. The member also
invited her to come to church with her and offered to give her a ride.
It was awesome, she should be able to come to church next Sunday.
We also helped clean the church this week, and after cleaning the
church a couple young men wanted to play basketball with us. Before we
played they asked me if I did any sports and I told them I'm just a
snowboarder. Then after playing basketball for a bit he said, "I
thought you said you're just a snowboarder." I told him I am, and he
said I'm a liar because I'm too good at basketball to just be a
snowboarder hahaha. I guess all the basketball we played in Maryville
payed off a little. Of course, it helps that my companion is 6'4 and
actually did play basketball.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

August 31, 2015 letter
This week was pretty eventful, we had a zone conference in Morristown,
Tennessee, which was my first area. So it was cool to go back there
over a year later and see everything and remember it. Morristown is
also about 125 miles from Marion, so we stayed with the Elders in
Bristol the night before and that was a party.
Zone conference was alright. It would have been a lot better if we
hadn't got Tiwi, I'm not gonna lie. Tiwi is what missionaries call the
back boxes. It's what missionary nightmares are made of. Basically
it's a box that is attached to your windshield and it has a gps in it.
It records how you drive, and it yells at you if you drive over the
speed limit, turn too fast, brake hard, accelerate quickly, or do
anything else that it considers dangerous. The concept and reasoning
behind it is actually really good, they figured that there are a lot
of missionaries with little driving experience and too many
missionaries are getting injured or even killed in car accidents. The
church is also spending a lot of money on car accidents. So Tiwi is
intended to give you guidance about how to be a safer driver and
reduce dangerous driving. So overall it has a good purpose, I just
don't like that it's in the car I drive, because it gets after you if
you go 3 miles an hour over the speed limit and in a little town like
Marion it doesn't know what most speed limits actually are.
At zone conference Sister Griffin gave us a training that I liked. One
of my favorite things she said was, "Don't be stupid." Those three
words really go a long ways. She was actually quoting Elder Holland
when she said that. She also shared some more of what Elder Holland
said in a talk, I'm pretty sure it's called "Missionaries and the
Atonement." And in it Elder Holland talks about the struggles of
missionary work. A quote from that talk is,"Why isn't the only risk in
missionary work that of pneumonia because of so much time spent in
water baptizing?" He then went on to explain that things were never
easy for Jesus Christ, so why should we expect any different? He talks
about how missionary work has never been easy, it requires some effort
from the depth of our souls. He also says, "When you struggle, when
you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out, you stand with
the best light that this world has ever seen." I really couldn't say
it any better than that.
At the Zone conference we also got our area books on our iPads. For
those of you who don't know, area books are where missionaries keep
records of everything, and they're usually not very organized, so
they're hard to work with. So it's nice to have them on our iPads. Now
we have to copy all the information from the paper copies to our
iPads. That's a chore.
We've tried to find a lot of less actives this week, and I can't say
we've had a lot of success with that, but we did see some cool places.
At one place I looked out and realized that my view was a perfect
depiction of the south in all its glory. That's what the picture is.
We also saw a lot more cool places, one of them is Saltville. It was
the salt Capitol of the confederacy, whatever that means. It's a cool
little old ghetto town, way out yonder in the hollers.
In church we had a missionary Sunday, it was pretty cool. I got to
speak about member missionary work, so I'm hoping I helped the members
get a little more fired up to do missionary work. I told some stories
from my mission about working with members, and I told them the story
of Alma and Amulek in Alma chapter 5 and related that to missionaries
and members working together. I also told them about an analogy
President Griffin shared in a stake conference a while ago. He told us
about these horses that are similar to Clydesdales. One of these
horses alone can pull 2000 pounds, but when you yoke 2 of these horses
together they can pull 14000 pounds. It's like members working with
missionaries. One of them alone can do some work, but if you put them
right alongside each other, working together, there's a lot more
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen