Serving from March 2014 to March 2016

Mission Address: (send everything to this address and they will forward to him daily)

Elder Jared Petersen
Tennessee Knoxville Mission
11320 Station West Dr Ste 101
Farragut, TN 37934

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dec 7, 2015 #ASaviorisBorn video

(I'm just a little excited ♥)


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

Elder Jared Petersen

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

Thanksgiving 2015


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

Elder Jared Petersen

Nov 23, 2015 -- Zone Conference



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


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

Elder Jared Petersen

Nov 16, 2015

Picture from Transfers

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

Elder Jared Petersen

Nov 9, 2015 Transferred to Brevard, North Carolina

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


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

Elder Jared Petersen

Oct 26, 2015 Zone Meeting

Letter from Elder Petersen:

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

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

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

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

Elder Jared Petersen

Oct 12, 2015 Ambur's Wedding Letter

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

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

More from his letter on Oct 12:

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