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

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,

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