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

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

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