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

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

July 2015 Letters

July 6th Letter

This week we had our transfers and I got Elder MacDonald. He's From
south Jordan Utah. He's been out for 21 months. He's a good
missionary, we've got some good plans put together, so if all goes
well we'll see some great things happening.
You may have heard Maryville Tennessee mentioned on the news this
week. There was a train that was derailed and caught on fire. It had 9
cars of highly toxic stuff on it, and 5000 people were evacuated in
the middle of the night. One of our fantastic ward members called us
at 4:30 in the morning, to ask if we were alright. Don't get worried
for me (Mom), but we live pretty close to where the train wreck
happened. The evacuation was a 2 mile radius and we're just outside
the evacuation zone. Some members have even said that we should have
been evacuated, but we're fine.
We helped a family in the ward move this week. On Wednesday we did
most of it. On Thursday we finished up. They lived inside the
evacuation zone though, so we had to go into the evacuation zone to
help finish the move. I was thinking we'd see the start of the
apocalypse because of the toxic fumes, but so far that hasn't
Yesterday we visited another church, since the other missionaries in
Maryville were invited to it by a cop who they met at a gas station.
It was a Pentecostal church. They're the ones who speak in tongues,
run up and down the isles, have a rock band and have super loud music,
and other things like that. They were really nice people though, tons
of people welcomed us. We even got a shout out from the pastor. He was
like 'We'd like to welcome our visitors. We've got a few of the from
the Mormon faith back there, thanks for joining us." And at the end he
told his congregation to make sure we got at least 150 hand shakes. It
was all pretty interesting, but I could definitely tell that I
couldn't actually feel the spirit there. They talked a lot about the
spirit, and most of what they said was true, but I couldn't feel it.
They also got to talking about how praise makes sinners feel
uncomfortable, but it really wasn't even like I wasn't comfortable. By
the end of it I was just bored really. I wouldn't think someone would
get bored in that church with their loud music and the pastor
screaming at them, and with all the standing up and sitting down. It
was a serious leg workout with all the standing up and sitting down.
It really refreshed my knowledge that this church is unique though. My
favorite thing about visiting other churches is being able to compare
the feelings you get in this church to the feelings other churches
have to offer. That's also why I'd encourage anyone to visit other
churches and compare them to this church, because there's no better
way to know the difference between them and to find out for yourself
which is true.
Love y'all
Elder Jared Petersen

July 13, 2015

Yesterday Kenny came to church! Kenny is the preacher who we've been teaching. His sister who is a member of the ward gave a talk, so he came for it. He was only able to stay for about half an hour because he had to go preach, but it was so exciting to see him in church. Things with him have been going well, his sister and her husband told us that they've been trying to share the gospel with him for 30 to 40 years and he hasn't shown any interest until just recently. I'm so glad that I get to be here to see him decide to see if he can find truth in our church. He has said that he doesn't have any ties to a specific denomination, he is only following the truth that he can find. I'm excited to see him get an answer to his prayers and come to know for himself about the truth of this church.
President Griffin came to our district meeting this week. He talked to us about what makes a missionary successful. In the beginning of his training he said, "Now I know that all of you graduated from high school." And everyone turned and looked at me. I lost it. I was laughing so hard that I almost fell out of my chair. President Griffin was like "Ok, I know about that and you basically graduated." Then he talked about how we all know that you can make it through high school without putting much effort into it, and how our missions can be the same way. If we don't work hard, our missions wont pause and wait for us to start working harder, the time that we spend slacking will pass us by and will be gone. He also taught that what makes missionaries successful varies and is individual. But one universal trait that sets successful missionaries apart from all the other missionaries is not so much just that they follow the rules and try to be a good missionary. The thing that sets them apart from the rest is that they do the things that the other missionaries don't want to do. Most every missionary wants to teach, baptize, convert and follow the Lord. But significantly fewer missionaries want to go tracting when they can't find people to teach by different methods. They aren't as eager to change themselves to be more humble, patient, diligent, obedient, and all around more like Christ. But if we want to be numbered among the great, we have to learn to submit our will to God's and do the things that we really don't want to do.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

July 20th letter

We've had a good week. It's been really productive and it's looking
like the work is still on the up and up. We went out with several
members for lessons and it's really helped me to see how helpful it is
to have members with us. I still firmly believe that member support is
absolutely critical for missionaries. And I'm so grateful for this
ward and how much they help us.
Our zone training meeting was this week. It was really good. President
shared a story that I thought was really cool. In the 1600's most of
London was burnt down. There was a man named Sir Christopher Wren who
had the task of rebuilding a cathedral. It was said that he would
visit the building site and observe the construction, but he went
unrecognized. On one occasion he asked the simple question, "What are
you doing?" to 3 of the men assigned to lay the brick. The first
responded, "I'm laying brick. The second responded, "I'm earning 3
shillings an hour." and the third stood up, squared his shoulders and
proudly said, "I am helping Sir Christopher Wren rebuild this great
cathedral." After sharing this story with us, President said, "What
are you doing? Are you putting in your time? Are you gaining
blessings? Or are you helping to build The Kingdom of God, by helping
others come unto Christ and enjoy the blessings of the gospel?"
We saw President again at church on Sunday. He came to Maryville to
speak. He started out talking about how when he first came to the
mission he went to a gas station that is next to the mission office,
so they're familiar with missionaries and have an idea of what goes on
in the mission, and asked how to get to 'Mary-ville.' The lady looked
at him for a second and said, "You're the new guy, aren't you?" He
asked, "Is it that obvious?" And she responded, "Oh, hun, it's
Maryville." (The southern proper way of pronouncing Maryville is more
like Murvul) He also talked about the story from the Bible of Jesus
feeding the 5000. In the story a boy has 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread
and he brings it all to Jesus to give to everyone. The question he
centered on was, 'Why did Jesus take both of the boys fish and all of
his bread when he could have clearly done it either with only some
fish and bread or without either, like he did for the children of
Israel when he gave them Manna?' After that he talked about how it's
to show us that sometimes Jesus asks us for everything we have. We may
feel like if we give up everything to him, we won't be provided for,
but we learn from the story that when we give him our all, he makes it
better than we could possibly make it. He related it to a missionary
who just came out to the mission field and left everything he had back
at home. And as a result is molded into a man or woman much greater
than they could have been without making that sacrifice.
It was good to see President so much this week, as I'm sure you can
tell, I learn a ton from him.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

July 28, 2015

Jared sent this to his sister in her letter:

So I just met this older German dude at the library. He's interesting, he was telling me that it would be better if I had gone to college and done a mission later in life. I was telling him that the skills I've learned on my mission will help me throughout my life. He was also asking why I do this and I told him that it's because I believe in it. He commented about how it's hot outside and so I told him about how all last summer I was riding a bike and I always told people that there's no way I'd be riding a bike in the heat if I didn't believe in what I was doing. He also talked about how the Bible is more than enough word of God, so I told him that I just appreciate having even more of the word of God. I also told him about how God uses prophets today to lead us just like he always has. He was saying that Christ is Alpha and Omega which is the beginning and the end so I told him that he's exactly right and that he leads his church today through the prophet. He also asked if it would be possible for me to change my mind about my religion and I told him hat it's possible, but I'm going to do everything I can to keep my faith. It was kinda fun, he was definitely trying to stump me and by the end he asked for my email and said that he'd like to take us to lunch and either I can convert him or he can convert me. It was actually the first time you could say I've Bible bashed on my whole mission haha. I can usually keep southerners from bashing with me, but Germans are more direct so I couldn't just let him tell me I'm wrong.

July 27th letter

This week has been pretty great. We talk to our neighbors across the hall from us (It's not an indoor hall) whenever we see them and the length of the conversation has varied from 'how are you?' To short introductions of my new comps. They moved into the apartment that we helped a guy move out of a few months ago. So they've seen me with several different missionaries, and they refer to me as 'the constant one.' It's pretty funny. But anyways, the other night we were getting home and she told us how she had this question and we'd probably think it was dumb, but she'd tried to google it several times and couldn't find anything and she wanted to know the answer so bad that she just decided to ask us. We told her not to worry, we get dumb questions all the time. So she said "I've noticed that every time you leave, you drive, and you stand outside of the car while he backs up and then you get in. Why do you do that? Is it religious??" So once we stopped laughing we explained to her our rule about backing. That lead to other questions and after a good while of questions and just chilling explaining our beliefs, we gave them a Book of Mormon and she said she was eager to read it, and we told them our church address and the time we meet and she said she'll come next Sunday and bring her daughter so that she can be exposed to our church and have accurate knowledge about it. So that's really exciting.
We also met with Kenny, we talked a lot about faith and some about real intent. He's still doing well.
We were doing some tracting and a guy opened the door and looked at me and said that he knew me. I couldn't for the life of me remember who he was, so I asked him how he knows me. He was an investigator who we tracted into when I was first in Maryville. We taught him and incredible lesson about the restoration and at the end he prayed and asked God to show him the truth. We weren't able to meet with him after that for a while, and he told us he wasn't interested. He had moved, so the odds that we'd knock on his door were next to nothing. It really showed me that God answered his prayer and gave him another chance. Unfortunately he said he wasn't interested in us coming back, but it was still really cool for me to see. 

Love y'all,

June 2015 Letters

June 1, 2015 Letter

We have some eternigators who teach us magic tricks, and I figured out a way to use a magic trick that they use to ask members for referrals. It worked incredibly well, the first family who we tried it on gave us 4 referrals. Another family gave us 1 referral, so just this week we've been able to get 5 referrals from this magic trick. We're hoping to see more success in using the magic trick to get referrals and hopefully someone will be baptized as a result.
We also had our full mission conference to prepare us for ipads. Elder Zwick, a 70, and Elder Hemmingway, the director of proselyting, spoke with us. They gave us some great insight. I had an exchange with Elder Goldsberry afterwards and we went out with a member. He stopped for some kids selling koolaid in cups that were about the size of a ketchup container at wendy's. They were a dollar a cup. So we got 3 cups. We were hustled.
We've been working with a preacher, and this week we some some great progress with him. Over the time that I've been here I've seen him become more receptive to the gospel, and this week he finally agreed to read from the Book of Mormon. That was so cool for me to see, because he's talked to lots of missionaries and from what I've heard missionaries get bible bashed by him. He knows the Bible very well, so it doesn't surprise me at all. I've just followed the spirit in talking to him, and I think that's the reason why I've been able to help him.
Shannon, another investigator who we've been working with agreed to work towards being baptized on June 27th. We visited him with a member who told him about his conversion and it helped him a lot because he had gone through a lot of the same stuff. I'm excited to keep helping him.
So one of the biggest things I've learned more about this week was to depend on the spirit. It makes me want to do what I can to always have the spirit with me. And I've learned that in order to have the spirit with you the strongest you need to search within yourself and figure out what you need to do. I've found that when I'm doing things because someone told me it's good, the spirit isn't as strong, but when I do something that I've learned for myself brings the spirit it's a much better feeling. And it's something that you have to learn for yourself. I love to explain to people that they don't need to believe me, but that if they want to know if what I tell them is true they need to pray about it and find out for themselves, and that's really how it is with anything in the gospel.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

June 15th Letter

This week has been pretty good, we had a great lesson with Kenny (the preacher). We talked about the Book of Mormon, he's around 1 Nephi 18, and he had a ton of notes and questions. His Sister and her husband (who are members) were able to answer a lot of his questions and we were able to explain some things too. It's awesome to have members so closely involved, because I can know that their support wont fall when I leave. Kenny's wife was also there, she mostly just listens to our conversations and soaks it up and she was asking me who she could write to tell them about how I'm doing here. She's such a nice lady.
In our district meeting Elder Goldsberry read some verses in Alma chapter 8 and related it to member missionary work. It relates incredibly well to what I've seen. It starts out with Alma going to a new area (like transfers) and the people in that area don't want to hear anything from him (like tracting) So Alma has to move on and the Lord stops him and sends him back to the city. When Alma goes back to the city he finds Amuleck (a member) and Amuleck feeds him (dinner appointments) and then Alma and Amuleck go out to preach the gospel (like when we go visit people after dinner). When they go out the people already know Amuleck and he has a good reputation with the people (like members do) And they have much more success talking to people and teaching them the gospel because the people already knew Amuleck. I liked how well that shows the need we as missionaries have for members to help us. As missionaries we can try to do missionary work on our own and we often do, but it just doesn't work as well as when missionaries and members work together. Because of that one of my favorite things to do has become helping members find ways to do missionary work. They are usually super overwhelmed at the thought of sharing the gospel, but it's so cool to help calm their fears about it and help them see easy ways that they can share the gospel. A lot of people think that it's a game of all or nothing and if their friend or family member doesn't listen to them about the gospel then they've failed, but really all we can do is show them the choice that they can make and show them an example and we've accomplished all that we need to. If you try to do too much more than that then you're trying to take away their right to choose, which never works in the end.

Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

Note from Jared:
I like the theme of testimonies, I think that's something that's really important to learn about. One thing that I've thought about quite a bit is how people come to believe in other churches. I've met so many people who have strong testimonies of Christ, but their testimony is based on teachings of another church. That's kinda helped me to realize that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints doesn't necessarily have a monopoly of the spirit. The spirit testifies of truth, and people in other churches have pieces of truth. The thing that we have exclusively is the complete truth. But it's like how building a testimony is related to building a house. You can't build a house all at once, you have to build it piece by piece, and you have to do it in some order. From the scriptures we learn that Christ must be our foundation, so he should be the first thing we learn about when we're trying to build a testimony. After that I imagine the walls and the floors and everything between the foundation and the roof are knowledge of things like the scriptures, the plan of salvation, the atonement, the prophet, and things like that. And then the roof is a knowledge that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the one and only church with the complete truth. But for some reason it seems people are too eager to put the roof on before building the rest of the house. Some people even build the house upside down because they start by trying to believe in the church before they believe in the Savior. And to me an upside down house is much less steadfast than even a house built on the sand.

June 29th Letter

We had transfer calls this week and I'll stay in Maryville again!
Elder Byron will be transferred though, so I'm going to get my 5th
companion in Maryville on Wednesday. One of the members asked me if I
was ever going to leave and I told him I'd probably die here. I
wouldn't even be mad, Maryville is great.
We met with Kenny this week,Mir was good. We talked about the Book of
Mormon and gave him a scripture from the Book of Mormon that he could
use in a sermon that he's going to preach in a couple weeks. His
sermon is about contrast, he's using Matthew chapter 5 so we gave him
2Nephi 2:13.
We put our car in the shop on Monday, and we got it back on Thursday.
I decided that cars are better than iPads. It was so annoying to not
be able to drive around our area and see people. We really weren't
able to do much without our car, so I really appreciate it more now.
Sunday night there was a family who had us over for dinner, they're
one of my favorite families in the ward, and we had a great time
talking to them about missionary work. They were super excited to find
ways to share the gospel with their friends and people who they meet.
One of the things we talked about at stuck out to me is that you don't
have to make it a big deal when you bring up the gospel. We talked
about how it would be really easy to talk to someone about a sport you
really like and that you should try to talk about the gospel the same
way. If we can show people that the gospel is something we love and
that it's a part of who we are it makes it much less threatening for
whoever you're talking to.
Next week I'll tell you about my new companion!
Love youns,
Elder Jared Petersen

May letters 2015

May 4th 2015 Letter

This week we got 3 new investigators. 2 of them are a couple and they're really cool. We taught them the restoration and really focused on the Book of Mormon. We told them all about how to relate it to yourself when you read and about how much we've both learned from it. I always realize a little more about how much of a difference the Book of Mormon has made in my life when I tell people about it. Especially when I'm talking to people who wont believe in Joseph Smith being a prophet. We talked to a like semi retired preacher the other day about it and I was told him something that I didn't even realize how profound it was until I thought back on it. He said that he was having a hard time believing in the church, he just couldn't make that leap. So I told him "We don't want you to make any leaps. Anyone would have a hard time making a leap like that. What we want to do is help you make steps. So the first step we want you to try is to read the Book of Mormon and see if you can grow closer to Christ, and improve your life through reading it." At that moment I realized that people can't go straight from where they are to where I am and I can't expect that from them because it's taken me almost 20 years to get to where I am. All I can do is encourage them to make small steps, and celebrate when they to.
Our other new investigator is a young man about our age. A family in the ward has been fellowshipping him and helping him . They've been taking him to church and we just started teaching him. He came up to me yesterday and said "I talked to Bishop and he told me that I should talk to you guys about getting baptized. I'm thinking the 16th, what do you think?" You hear stories about this happening, but it is incredibly rare. Especially here in the South. So when he asked me about it I think it literally blew my mind, because my nose started bleeding right then and I had to leave before I could talk to him more about it. Elder Smith picked up the slack though, and we're going to be teaching him every chance we can to help him prepare.
That experience strengthened my testimony of member missionary work so much. We, as missionaries, absolutely need members. Not just to feed us, and not just to give us rides. Missionaries need members to work with them in the work of salvation. President Griffin talked about that in Stake conference this last Saturday. He talked about how a certain type of horse can pull about 2000 pounds on its own. But when you get 2 of this type of horse together, they pull 7 times as much. That's exactly how it is with members as missionaries. We can both pull weight and make progress, but if we work together we can do so much more than we could individually. So I want to encourage all y'all to ask the missionaries what you can do for them and look for ways to introduce them to your friends and invite them to be taught. Ask the missionaries how to make it less awkward and how you can avoid offending your friends. We know that it's hard to do, but we can help you and any missionary should love to talk to you about how to do missionary work.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

May 11, 2015 Letter "Mother's Day" call

This week we got to skype home, as I'm sure y'all know. It was a lot of fun, it's always exciting for missionaries to skype their families. So that was one of the best parts of my week.
The other best part of my week was our investigator, Tristin. We helped him figure out details for his baptism this week, and taught him some more. When we talked to him about who will do what, he was like "Elder Smith is going to baptize me and Elder Petersen is going to confirm me." It's really cool to me that he wants me to confirm him, he'll be the first person I confirm. We also talked to him about the commandments and when we went over the Word of Wisdom he wasn't excited to give up tea. He said everything else was easy to follow, but tea wasn't easy. We didn't have to explain it to him more or anything before he decided that he was going to do it even though he said he was used to drinking about a gallon of tea a day. That was incredible to me, and he's going strong with it.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

He skyped us from the Crawford's home.
They are awesome!

May 18th 2015 Letter
This week we had Tristin's baptism! It was so great! I'm so glad that I got to be here to help him join the gospel. He's been my favorite person to work with in Tennessee. He made our job super easy because he was so ready. I also got the chance to confirm him and give him the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was great. This has been a huge weekend in his life, and I got to be there for all of it. It started with Graduation on Friday, and Elder Smith and I showed up for it. Then on Saturday he was baptized. Then on Sunday he was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I included a picture of all 3.
We also had transfer calls this week. I'm staying in Maryville! I'm glad that I'm staying, but Elder Smith is being transferred out. It was a surprise since he's been here for 6 weeks and I've been here for 12 weeks.
I also said bye to one of my favorite members in Maryville this week. His name is Reggie, he is the coolest guy. He grew up on the carnival, so he left to join the carnival for a while. He said that Me and Elder Smith are the coolest missionaries that he's talked to.
I'll let youns know what happens at transfers next week,
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

May 26, 2015 Letter

This week I got a new companion, Elder Wadsworth. He's from Utah. Apparently it's somewhere in the Salt Lake valley. And he's tall, so the streak of every one of my companions being taller than me is still going. Elder Wadsworth is #9. Elder Smith went to Farragut, so he's still in the same zone. He really likes that area, so that's good.
On Sunday I had the opportunity to ordain Tristin to the Priesthood. It was such an awesome experience, he's still going really strong in the gospel. I was also able to show him my priesthood lineage and show him how he's a part of it now. 
For memorial day, the Bayle's took us on a hike to Abram falls. It was 14 miles, round trip. It was a really good hike, it reminded me of hiking back home. I'm definitely sore now though, I guess I haven't been on a good hike in a while. 
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

April 6 - 27th 2015 Conference & More in Maryville

Letter April 6, 2015

Conference this week was fantastic! I love conference! My favorite talk was Elder Hollands, he is also probably my favorite speaker. He told a story about two brothers who decided to climb a canyon on their own with no climbing gear. They neared the top and found a ledge that they could not climb, and at that point they could not go back down. The older brother hoisted the younger over the ledge to safety, but after he did there was no way up for him. He decided that his only hope was to leap for the ledge and hope he caught it. He told his brother to go find a branch large enough to hold him, and when he figured his brother was far enough off that he wouldn't witness him falling to his death if he missed the jump he said a prayer and jumped. He surprisingly made it to the ledge and got his hands over it, but quickly discovered that there was nothing to hold on to. Just as he started to slide back down to certain death, he felt two hands tightly grasp his. His younger brother had anticipated his brothers foolish plan and waited so that he would be there to help him. I liked how in the story he told the Brother was right there to catch him, even though he didn't think he would be. I think that's a great way to look at our relationship with Christ. He will always be there, right when we need him. We may not think that he'll be there, but he will. We just need to turn to him and ask him for help. I also liked how in the story, if the brother hadn't been there to catch him, he would have certainly fallen to his death. It's a perfect demonstration of how much we really need Christ. The only thing I can't understand is that even though we are all in this situation, some of us will reject Christ and will pull away from him. If we need him in our lives so badly, why would we do that? Why do we think that we can do it on our own? We're all guilty of it.
We also had our transfer calls this week, Elder Johns will be transferred out of Maryville and I'll be getting a new companion. I'll have more about that next week.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

(For more information about Conference visit and search General Conference)

April 13, 2015 Letter

We had transfers this week, and I got Elder D Smith! We were companions in the MTC so it's exciting that we get to serve together now. He told me that he can tell I've picked up some southern accent haha. Elder Johns asked me before transfers where I thought he would go and on a whim I told him Watauga ward. And now that's where he is! 
I've had a pretty good week, before transfers me and Elder Johns just went to people who he wanted to say bye to, so it was sorta uneventful, but good. Me and Elder Smith have had some good times already. The other day we found a guy who was atheist/agnostic and we talked to him for quite a while. He had a hard time with the concept of faith, because he felt faith was just an absence of reason. We explained a bit about faith to him, part of what we explained was that we simply can't comprehend everything as we are now, so that's where faith comes in. It's like if you go to the doctor and he tells you what's wrong with you and that you need surgery and you let him preform the surgery. You don't have a perfect understanding of what's wrong, if he's right, or if he can fix the problem, but you'll still let him perform the operation. Usually you'll also have him explain what's wrong, how he's going to fix it and any other details that you need to know in order to make your decision to let him do the surgery. That's like learning about the gospel. When you're listening to what the doctor says you're deciding whether or not you believe him and it's no different when you learn about the gospel. When you learn about the gospel and feel the spirit, that's how you'll know that it's true and you shouldn't let anything else convince you of it. By the end of our conversation we gave him a Book of Mormon and he agreed to read it without bias and to pay attention to how he feels when he reads it. It was awesome and I'm looking forward to seeing what his experience is. 
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

E. Smith, Tristan, and E. Petersen

Letter April 20, 2015
We've had a pretty great week this week. I think the highlight was this guy named Jack. He's an older guy who we tracted into. He welcomed us in and told us all about his son who died in Iraq. We also tried to slip in as much about the gospel as we could and at the end we gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to church. He also told us all about how much he admired us and how we were such great young men to be doing what we do. We called him Sunday morning and reminded him about church and he came! It was exciting because it's so hard to get most people to come to church. He was late, but he went to Elders Quorum and he said he enjoyed it. He also came with us to dinner at a members house and we had a good lesson with him there. He said that he believes everything that we tell him and he told the members about how great we were. The only concern that he had was that he wanted to read the Book of Mormon and get it into his head! It was so cool how much he wanted to know about it for himself. That's really the best way to know about the Book of Mormon, and we really helped him understand that he should only believe it if God tells him that it's true.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

Letter April 27, 2015

This week has been pretty good, we've stayed pretty busy and we've got a lot done. Jack is one of our investigators, he's an older guy, and he came to church yesterday which was awesome! All we have to do is call him in the morning to help him wake up and he'll come to church. Church was pretty good, Jack had some good questions that we were able to answer later in the day when we went over to his house to teach him. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and it was pretty much the same as every lesson we teach him. We tell him all about it and he believes everything that we tell him. He said that he's learned more in the last 2 weeks of meeting with us than he has in his whole 66 years of life. He also was telling the member who we took with us all about how we were the best young men he's ever met and just talking us up like crazy. It's pretty cool to see that he thinks so much of us, but the best thing is seeing him learn more about the gospel and be humble enough to listen to us and want to learn. 
Love y'all,
Eder Jared Petersen

Letters March 23 & 30th 2015 - Maryville

Letter March 23, 2015

This week has been a good week, I'm on the downhill slide now, but it doesn't feel that way. The whole concept of time is just skewed for me now haha.
On Tuesday we helped someone move. At the end of my mission I'll have probably moved over a hundred people. It's all fun though, I actually enjoy moving people. We also gave a lady in the ward a blessing, she's been real depressed and stuff and we've been able to help her feel better. It's interesting to me how quickly people start feeling better when we talk to them about the gospel. You can literally watch the hope come into their eyes if you pay attention. 
On Wednesday we visited a retired preacher who knows the Bible inside and out. We learned a bit from him. It was cool to notice how the spirit tells you what's true and what's not, but I've found it to be really hard to notice. We also met a family who is less active and from Idaho! The wife is actually from Kuna, and I know their cousins. That was pretty cool.
On Thursday we did splits with the Ward Council. It was cool to talk with them and get to know some ward members better. I went with the dad of the young man who we took out and he told me about how his son talked and talked and talked about it and really liked it. I was so glad to hear that.
On Friday We had zone training, it was so good! There was a big focus on working with members and planning. We are getting Ipads in May, and everyone's excited about that but President told us "The Ipads aren't the silver bullet. The members are." I really liked how he pointed that out and I think there's a ton of untapped potential in the members of our church. We all need to just learn to do missionary work, and when members can do missionary work the results will be phenomenal. 
On Saturday we took another young man out. The two that we took out this week are brothers. We had a good time with him and hopefully he enjoyed it as much as his brother. After we dropped him off we did a lot of tracting. It wasn't bad, one guy was willing to talk to us, but we almost got into a bible bash. I've gotten really good at avoiding bible bashing but it was hard to avoid it with him. His beef was Revelations 22:19. We explained to him how it was only pertaining to the book of Revelations because the bible wasn't compiled at the time. It was actually compiled about 500 years later. Another lady opened the door, kindly said she wasn't interested and we kept going. She then came back out and told us to knock on her basement door and teach her sons. We taught them a super solid lesson and they both really felt the spirit. We asked them to pray at the end and without us even asking them to they were asking God if it was all true and asking him to show them the truth. I was so excited for them.
On Sunday an investigator who we haven't been able to contact in forever just showed up to church. We were so surprised. The family who we had dinner with that night also came and just invited him to join us all for dinner! They're a great family. He came over to their house and we had some great conversation about the gospel. He really wants to do the right things which is awesome.
Love youns,
Elder Jared Petersen

Letter from March 30, 2015

This week has been fun, the transfer is getting close to the end which is weird. It seems like I haven't been here long at all. I still like it here though.
On Tuesday we were able to go out with the Bishop here and get to know him a bit and also talk to a few people. We had a good time with him and he told us some helpful things about the ward, so it was really good. He also told us that he wants to try to go out with us weekly, which will be awesome.
On Wednesday we did some service for our Ward Mission Leader. He had some yard work that he needed done and me and Elder Johns got it all done really quick. It was fun to do some yard work for them, I kinda missed doing service during the winter.
On Thursday we did quite a bit of planning. I've learned a lot about how helpful planning is. A lot of people will just go out with no idea of what to do, and it just doesn't work out. We also took one of our young men out, it's been fun to get them involved. They've never gone out with the missionaries before and it's been good for them to get an idea of what it's like. 
On Friday we had district meeting, it was pretty good. Half of our district is in another ward, so we only get to see them at district meetings. They're all a lot of fun though, we have a pretty great district. We also had a ward social which was good, I'm starting to really like the ward here.
On Saturday we helped move a few people. The other missionaries in our ward also baptized one of their investigators, he's a really good guy. President Griffin came to the baptism and it's always a good time when we get to see President Griffin. 
On Sunday we had church and the missionaries taught priesthood lessons about family mission plans. It was pretty good, I think the biggest thing that stops people from doing missionary work is that they just don't know what to do. It's interesting to try to see their perspective. For me missionary work is almost all I know how to do now, it's weird, but for them it's the opposite. We kept telling them to just ask the missionaries about how they can share the gospel, because you can't just give a general 'This is what works and this is what doesn't.' That also shows how individual the gospel is. The gospel works differently for everyone, and we all have to figure out how the gospel should work in our lives.
Love youns,
Elder Jared Petersen

HUMP WEEK - 1 year mark

March 16, 2015 HUMP DAY WEEK

I hit 1 year this week! It's super crazy to me that I've already been out that long! It was a good time for me to look at how much my mission has meant for me so far and it's worth more than anything in the world to me. I wouldn't trade my mission for anything. I've had quite a few struggles in my mission already, but I've had a lot of help to stay happy and to keep going. It's also been so cool to see the influence of the gospel on people. The change that you see in people when they learn about the gospel and feel the spirit is incredible. I also got an email from one of my friends this week who I haven't talked to in forever and he told me that he just got baptized!! That was so exciting for me!
On Tuesday we went to lunch with a family friend of Elder Johns who lives in the stake here. We had a really good lunch with them, one of them is a kid who is getting close to going on his mission and he was talking about some of his hesitations for going on a mission. A lot of his reasons were the same as how I felt and we were able to talk to him about it and help him understand what a mission is like a little better. That evening we went on a visit with a member to a less active family who was interesting. One older guy was absolutely wasted, and was asking our member what to do about his liver failing (The member is a doctor) And the member was like, "Well, you need to quit drinking to get any better." It was pretty funny, and led to a conversation about the Word of Wisdom. It was interesting to me because they really understood the reasoning behind most of the Word of Wisdom, but they still didn't believe in it. It got me to thinking about why we can't have coffee and tea, which is a big concern here. So I realized that alcohol and tobacco can be easily explained and you don't have to have much faith to believe that you shouldn't drink them. You can't show proof of coffee and tea being bad for you though, so to believe that you're not supposed to drink them requires more faith and it helps you grow stronger spiritually. I've also found that people who believe that God doesn't want them to drink or smoke usually drink and smoke. But when someone believes that God doesn't want them to drink coffee or tea those people don't drink coffee, tea, alcohol, or use tobacco. So you can see how there is more power when you have to use faith.
On Wednesday we had an organizing day mostly. We got a lot of stuff organized in our area so that we can do things more effectively. We also had correlation which was pretty good. Our ward mission leader really wants to do a lot in this ward, which is great.
On Thursday it was my year mark! We did a lot of tracting, in the morning we found a few people outside and talked to them. Then we went out with a member to visit a less active and after our visit the member took us surprise grocery shopping and bought us food for dinner!! He's so legit! We also gave a non member lady a blessing and she felt the spirit so strong that she wants to be baptized! she lives in the other missionaries area though, so they're going to teach her. 
On Friday we drove all the way to Sevierville for district meeting. It was fun, but it took a ton of time. That evening we also visited a less active family with our ward mission leader and that was fun. The guy works at a place that makes sharpies so he gave us some, and he also wants to have us over for dinner soon.
On Saturday we did quite a bit of looking for less actives and tracting. It was pretty good we were able to teach someone. Then our dinner was really fun, the members who had us over are hilarious, so we were laughing the whole time. 
On Sunday we went to church as usual and it was pretty good. A lot was focused on Christs life and we had lots of good discussion about him. After church we went out to home teach with some members and had a good time with that. It's always a good time when you can go do something with a member, even if nothing works out.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

 His Maryville hat.
He buys one for each area he is in.

 My "selfie" for sending a tie :)
Makes a Mom happy!

Very common in the South

Maryville March 2, 2015

He is so excited that after 9 month on a bike.... he gets to drive a car

"So I got transferred to Maryville, which is just South of Knoxville. I'm also driving a car, so that's super nice! I also am in the nicest apartment in the mission according to President Griffin. It's such a nice place. I'm with Elder Johns, he's from Florida. I like it here, but I do miss Chatt. There aren't many black people here and I learned that I came to like black people. They're just so funny and loud.
At transfer meeting I was the last one to be announced where I was going and when Pres said I was in a car I ran and hugged Elder Johns. Then he said I was driver and I was like, "President, what do I do with it??" haha It's been so long since I drove, but I got the hang of it again. I even got some snow to drive on my first night driving. 
I'm short on time, but things are great.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen"

Feb 23, 2015 See ya later Nooga!

He's leaving Chattanooga.

So I found out I'm going to be transferred. I'm definitely going to miss Chatt, but I am excited to be somewhere new. A little something to top off the transfer, Elder Titus and his new companion will be getting a car, and I am at risk of going to another bike area! There are not many bike areas left in the mission though, so my chances are pretty good of getting a car.
On Wednesday everything fell through, we had a couple appointments and stuff, but none of it worked. Luckily though we had some surprises, one of them being a member surprised us by taking us out to dinner. I was so happy about that.
On Thursday it was so cold! We did a bit of tracting and luckily we got into a house pretty quick. A real nice lady let us in, she was super pregnant, and we found out real quick that she knew a bit about the church already. (You never know right away if that's good or bad) Apparently her ex-husband was an RM and her now boyfriend is possibly a super less active member. She was really nice and told us that she want's to cook for us. I'll miss out on it though.
On Friday we had a team up with someone in YSA who is going to Idaho for his mission tomorrow! We also got some snow in the evening. We witnessed firsthand how badly southerners drive in snow. If you don't have anywhere to be it's hilarious. There was a great big dodge 3500 truck that was going through an intersection at about 3 miles an hour because he was scared of sliding. Me and Elder Titus also had a snowball fight.
On Saturday we got transfer calls and I found out that I'm leaving. The Sisters area is also being overtaken by the Elders. Another YSA had us over for breakfast too which was great. We also had dinner with our new Branch Mission Leader.
On Sunday I said goodbye to a lot of people. I hate goodbyes. We also had dinner with our Branch President which was great! They're a really fun family. And his little girl gave me some stickers to put on the back of my nametag! So I finally have some!
I'll let you know where I'm at next week, and if I get lucky enough to be in a car.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen
Lila - gave him stickers
I guess it is cool to collect stickers on the back of your nametag

February 18, 2015

Chattanooga  2-18-15

On Tuesday we spent almost our entire day doing service. We painted a members house. It took a lot longer than we anticipated and the member only asked the missionaries to help paint. We were able to get a lot done and we did a good job, but it helped me really appreciate organized service projects. A problem that I've seen a lot of people have is that they don't know how to do much on their own. A lot of people are very dependent, and it kinda kills me to see people who don't know how to stand on their own. That evening we had our missionary open house and the only person who came for it was our ride. It was still a good day, but it was a learning day.
On Wednesday we had our lunch at Sister Bridgette's which was good. Then we went out with a member to try to visit some people, but no one was home. 
On Thursday I hit 11 months in the mission. That was weird, I can only imagine what next month will feel like. We visited a member and I learned a bit about the importance of disciplining kids. In Southern terms, some kids just need a whoopin. We were also able to go home teaching with a member and had a good time.
On Friday we had our Zone Training meeting and how we need to focus on a mission on specifically bringing souls unto Christ. We also learned how the Book of Mormon is the tool for gathering the house of Israel. Then we had an exchange and I showed Elder Zuniga around Chatt.
On Saturday we did some service for a member who recently had his leg amputated. I was glad we could help him. Then in the evening we helped Brother Zhang get his house ready to move out. He was our Branch Mission leader and he moved back to Australia on Monday. He's an awesome guy. 
On Sunday we had church and we talked about a new Branch Mission Leader. I'm glad the missionaries are being involved with deciding on one. We had dinner at our YSA Branch mission leaders house and it was really good.
On Monday we had some bad weather and it was a little nerve racking for everyone since we all had to travel to Farragut for Elder Christofferson the next day.
On Tuesday we met with Elder Christofferson, it was really good, but he got there 2 hours late. He only had time for a Q&A session, but I learned a lot.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen

February 2, 2015

Letter from Feb 2, 2015

I had a slight fear after last week that this week would be slower, but the work shows no signs of slowing down, it's great!
On Tuesday we had a team up and dinner. Before dinner we visited Sister Maddox finally. She'd been pretty busy and we'd had a hard time figuring out when we could meet with her, but it finally happened. While we were talking to her we were explaining some stuff about baptism and she turns to me and she's like "You know I already know all of this." I can't remember specifically what she said after that but she was basically telling me that I know she's ready and we've just got to get things going. She still does have a little ways to go, but she's so close and she's going to do so great. After that we had dinner with the member and another team up with him after dinner. We saw a less active lady who is so nice! We talked to her about the Plan of Salvation and she was able to answer some pretty hard questions right. It was awesome, her only hold back is that she doesn't realize just how much she knows yet.
We also contacted a referral after Sister Bridgette's. She said she's looking for a church and was super willing to learn, but didn't have time to talk to us right then, so we'll see her again this Wednesday. 
On Thursday we had District Meeting. We had a training on how to teach the Principal that God is our Loving Heavenly Father. At first I was like "Ha, I know this." Then I realized that there are so many things that we don't teach enough in that 1 principal because we assume that when people say they know God and that he loves them then they really do, when in reality they only partially do because they don't know there's more. It was slightly humbling and very enlightening. We tried to visit a less active after that and I felt like we should do 3 up 3 down. We usually aren't as good about that as we need to be, but we did and we got a new investigator from it. It was this guy who talked about how he saw so many problems in other churches and we taught him the restoration and he listened well through it and asked some good questions. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he'll read it and have lots of questions for us next time. I'm so excited for our next appointment with him. I also got a letter in the mail saying that a lady named Melinda in Grove Park got baptized!! It was so cool, because I was the very first missionary to meet with her! She was a referral and when we contacted her I was on splits with a member, so for the first lesson I was the only missionary. Not that the other missionaries didn't do much, but it was cool that someone I contacted joined the church. Her husband and son are on their way as well.

On Saturday we had a lesson with one of our investigators, where we taught the Plan of Salvation (The Plan of Salvation is my favorite, so I think that's why I'm getting so many opportunities to teach it) She didn't know much about the Plan of Salvation, but she really liked it and she made the comment at one point that she's glad her dad will have another chance to accept it. It was so cool to see the hope that the Plan of Salvation brought to her. 
On Sunday we had church. It was good. There's not much that changes from week to week at church. haha After church though we had dinner at our YSA branch mission leaders house and we had an amazing meal! It was so good! My favorite was the sweet potatoes and the regular potatoes. I think I like potatoes more now that I did even back home! After dinner we drove by the Chickamauga Battlefield. It was really cool, I love all the connections to the civil war down here.
Love y'all,
Elder Jared Petersen