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

Monday, April 11, 2016

He's Home!!

Here's the last email home, it's a good one  <3  ENJOY!

2 years, 45 pounds, 6 areas, 15 companions, and 2 mission president's have sure changed my life. I wouldn't give up my experiences from my mission for anything, there is absolutely no better way I could have spent the last 2 years of my life. It's been hard, I'm not going to lie, but the hard times have taught me to turn to the Lord and rely on Him. I can truly say I know He lives, He's there for me, and He loves me personally. I've felt it over and over. It's not something I say just because it's catchy, it's something that I've come to know for myself and it's changed my life. He's helped me accomplish my goals.
He's put me in places and with people who I needed to be with to accomplish what I wanted. One example is that I wanted to learn how to get missionary work going more in a ward or branch, so he sent me to some areas where the work was slow and I had to learn how to get things moving. There were also things on His agenda that I can look back and see now. He wanted me to have the right motivation to follow Him, not because someone else was watching, but because I love God and I know that the plans He has for me are better than the plans I have for myself. So He let me make my own choices and learn from them. He also put me with and around other missionaries so that I could see their choices and the effects and learn from them.
One of the greatest things he's helped me to do is to finish my mission strong. A while ago I made the decision that I was going to sprint to the finish in my mission. I wasn't going to get close to the end and just give up. I wanted other missionaries to look at and hear about what I did at the end of my mission and take courage knowing that it is possible for them to keep going right up until the end because I did it. I have to admit, I was nervous I wouldn't be able to do it. Some of the greatest missionaries I know got close to the end and I saw how hard it was for them and it made me wonder if I would be able to do it. The key to it all though was consistent prayer, work and focus and maybe a little bit of denial haha. It's absolutely not something I accomplished myself, it's something The Lord accomplished through me. "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." Alma 26:12. That scripture now has personal meaning to me and I can't explain how true it is.
This week we had a dinner at the Martinez's home. They cooked some good Mexican food and E Martinez was in heaven. Their grandpa who is a member of the branch came to dinner along with his friend who had been investigating the church. She really wants to know it before she makes any serious commitments, which I think is great because she is actually trying to learn it. She has been reading the Book of Mormon pretty diligently, she's in Mosiah, and she's been praying about it and her answer has been to keep reading. She believes the Book of Mormon could be true, but she wants to learn more about it before she can really say. She had some questions about some minor details and they were good questions that were hard to answer clearly. We gave her the best answer we could and she mostly accepted it, but after thinking for a second she recognized that it wasn't really that significant. She recognized that the important parts now are the fundamentals and that the details come later. It was a lot of fun to teach her because of her real intent and I'm looking forward to hearing about how things with her continue to go.
We had dinner with a family where the mother is a member and the father is Pentecostal. They're a great family. The father has been a little reserved towards us because we've only started meeting with them within the last month or 2 and he just doesn't seem to be sure about us yet. But he's warmed up each time and this week he told us he was going to a revival. So I asked what a revival was like since I haven't had the opportunity to go to one and he asked if we wanted to come see. So I told him sure, and we went with him. We're hoping that will help him to warm up to us more and that he'll realize we aren't there just to force our religion on him. I also wanted to go to a revival. Elder Martinez was definitely caught off guard and if you've been to a Pentecostal church you'll know why. Their services are very eventful and the congregation participates a lot. It was definitely good for him to have a little more insight to another church though and it's always good to recognize the spirit in other churches compared to our church. The members of that church were also very friendly, as most Pentecostals I've met are. I'm looking forward to hearing about that family too, I really hope he becomes more interested in our church and decides to learn more.
I'm looking forward to seeing most of y'all this week! After this week if you want to email me my email is
Love y'all!

Elder Jared Petersen

Monday, March 7, 2016

January 25th

We got so much snow this week! The snow has got me jonesin for
snowboarding. We got about 11 inches in 2 days and it shut everything
down. I was told it was the most snow since the blizzard of 93, and
people still talk about the blizzard of 93. The day before the snow
came I took E Martinez to Ingles and it was packed. We barely got
a parking spot and the bread section was almost wiped out. With all
the snow we were stuck for about 2 and a half days. The roads are
pretty dangerous when it snows here and the drivers are even worse.
Being snowed in has to be about the worst thing ever, it was so
boring! I couldn't even convince E Martinez to go build a snowman
with me.. We also had church cancelled because of the snow, I think
it's the first time in my life that church has been cancelled. But we
had a few good service opportunities with the snow, we got to help
people push their car out of the snow and shovel an older couples
Before all the snow I went on an exchange with E Fifita. We had a
party. We also taught a really good lesson to a less active lady. We
read Lehi's vision with her from 1 Nephi 8 and we explained it as we
went and specifically pointed out different groups of people. The
important ones are those who wandered in the darkness, those who
followed the rod to the tree and then were ashamed when they were
mocked, and those who got to the tree and didn't care about the
mocking. We talked about which group of people we want to be and how
to accomplish that. We also talked to her about how Lehi saw that
Laman and Lemuel didn't come to the tree, so he could have assumed
they were lost causes, but he never gave up trying to help them and
convince them to do what's right. That was touching to her because she
has kids who she's tried to share the gospel with and they haven't
been interested in it and she worries about them. So we told her to
follow Lehi's example and never give up on them and she said she
We had a missionary broadcast to all the missionaries in the world.
They announced we have 75,000 missionaries. That number will probably
jump in the next couple months with graduation. The whole meeting was
titled, 'Teach Repentance, Baptize Converts.' E Anderson started
off and I really liked what he said. He said that if we are ever
unsure of what to say, we should speak of Christ. And no matter how
much we talk about Christ, we cannot talk about Him too much. E
Bednar's part was also one of my favorites. He talked about the role
of the Holy Ghost in conversion. He said that without the Holy Ghost
we could not be successful as missionaries. He also talked about the
role we play compared to the role the Holy Ghost plays. And E Oaks
was my other favorite speaker. He talked about how crucial it is that
we share the gospel. He gave one of his own quotes from Preach My
Gospel about how we are not here to increase the membership of the
church or to persuade others to live better lives. Anyone can persuade
someone to live a better life. We are here to show people the one and
only path to live with God again. No one else can do that.
The day before the snow we had a big service day. We started off
helping a member replace her pipes, because they were plugged with
calcium build up. So I had to crawl up under her house, which is one
of my least favorite places in the world to be. But we got it done and
now her water is working for her. We also got to help our branch
mission leader split firewood. We've literally begged him to have us
over to split firewood for him, so we were super excited. Afterwards
he told us that was the first time he's asked missionaries or anyone
from the church to help him with anything. And he's been a member for
over 10 years. It was also the first time E Martinez has split
firewood in his life and then for dinner he had chili for the first
time in his life along with cornbread for the first time in his life
I'm pretty sure.

Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 18, 2016 Zone Conference/Stake Conference

January 18, 2016

We had our zone conference this week. There was a training about
explaining words that people might not be familiar with and afterwards
we had a role play. They give us a couple minutes to think about what
we'd say for the role play, and E Martinez and I thought we'd be
teaching each other. So after we'd prepared our own thoughts they told
us they wanted us to teach another companionship as a companionship,
so we had to completely change our plans on the spot. I highlighted a
few of the words we'd explain more and told E Martinez we'd just
switch off. It went really well, I did the first one so E Martinez
could see how to do it and he did his part perfectly. We were talking
about how it went afterwards and they said it was really good and only
had one or 2 small things that could be improved. When we told them we
thought we were teaching alone, so we only prepared with each other
for like 15 seconds, they couldn't believe it.
We also visited a less active lady and taught her the restoration. It
was one of the smoothest restoration lessons I've ever taught, E
Martinez is getting to be a really good teacher. We also talked to her
about some of her concerns. I asked how her scripture reading is going
and she said it's sporadic. So I told her that reading her scriptures
more consistently will make a difference and she said she would. We
also talked about her coming to church and she said she'd give herself
a stern talking to to get herself to church. I told her we could call
her Sunday morning and give her a reinforcement stern talking to and
she said that'd be good. She ended up being called in to work, so she
wasn't able to come. She was pretty upset about being called in, so I
think we'll see her at church pretty soon.
We visited a part member family and it was a ton of fun. They have 2
boys who are 9 and 11, and there's never a dull moment with them. When
we pulled up they were outside with their Grandpa. So we talked to
him, he told us he's a Reverend in the Pentecostal church. He's a
pretty nice guy and we talked with him about religion a bit. I think
he was surprised how much of what he believes is the same as what we
believe. I think he was also surprised about how much a couple of 19
and 20 year old guys could know about the scriptures and religion. So
we had a good conversation with him. After talking with him the 9 year
old boy wanted to show us how he rides his goat. We went to the edge
of the field and that little boy just walked right up to this goat
that's about as tall as he is and he grabs it and pulls it across the
field and hops on while the goat runs back across the field. He did it
probably over 15 times, it was hilarious because after a couple times
he decided to ride it backwards. We went up to the house after that
and the boys mom who is a member asked us, "How did y'all find us?"
Haha They live pretty far out there and our poor fusion definitely
wasn't made to drive on the roads that lead to their house. Their
address also doesn't show up on a GPS and the directory doesn't even
have a house number, it only has a street name of a street nearby. We
told her how a couple weeks ago at church the boys told us how to get
there. She told us that since we were able to find their house they'll
have to have us over for dinner. We're really looking forward to that.
We had Stake Conference this week. It was broadcast to over 100 Stakes
in the South. There was a story I thought was really cool. There's a
juvenile detention facility in Texas for 12-18 year olds. They have
their schooling in the facility and they have a football team that the
older boys can join if they're well behaved. This football team
travels to other schools to play high security football games. It's
like the high school version of The Longest Yard. The football team
had a record of 0 wins, 8 losses. They went to play against a
Christian school, and the coach there asked that half the audience sit
on the other side and cheer for the opposite team. He asked them to
learn the names and numbers of the boys on the other team and show
them support. They cheered for them and even boo'd at some of the refs
calls against them. The team played better than they ever had, scoring
I think 2 touch downs. After the game the two teams got together to
say a prayer and one of the boys from the juvenile facility asked to
offer it. In his prayer he said, "We didn't know there were so many
people in the world who cared about us." The coach of juvenile
detention team told the Christian coach, "You'll never know how much
you did for these boys tonight. You'll never know."
That was the coolest story to me. Something President Griffin talked
about in zone conference this week was what sets successful people
apart from unsuccessful people. He's obviously a business man, but he
has a great way of thing his business knowledge to the gospel. One of
the things he said is that successful people compliment, rather than
criticize. That's stuck with me, and I think that's why the story was
so cool to me. The majority of the world will tear others down, why
not be a rebel and lift people up?
In our priesthood meeting last night one man talked about how Jesus
was a revolutionary in many of the things he did. He didn't follow
what the general population did, and often had to stand up for the
things he did that were contrary to popular belief. Like when he and
his apostles picked corn to eat on the sabbath. He said that we should
all try follow Christ's example and be revolutionary in our sabbath
day observance. We should base it off of the sign we want to send to
God, rather than just following general traditions.
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen
January 11, 2016

Last Sunday E Martinez was asked to give a talk, but we both
thought that his talk was next week. So this week he found out he was
speaking and pretty much gave his talk on the fly. He gave a good talk
though, he talked about the Book of Mormon and the role it's played in
his life. I was impressed how well he gave his talk on the fly. I
thought it was pretty funny that he's already had to do that a month
into his mission and I still haven't had to give a last minute talk.
President Soliai also spoke and I really liked what he had to say. He
talked a bit about the work in Brevard and gave a poem that I can
really relate to.

Father, where shall I work today? And my love flowed warm and free.
Then He pointed me out a tiny spot and said, "Tend that for me."
I answered quickly, "Oh no, not that! Why no one would ever see
No matter how well my work was done,
Not that little place for me."
And the words He spoke, they were not stern
"Ah, little one, search that heart of thine;
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee."

We did a lot of trying to find more people to teach. I took E
Martinez for his first time really tracting this week. We've gone to
knock on a few doors here and there, but it was his first time just
going up and down a street knocking on all the doors. It went alright
for tracting, an old lady told us how much she appreciated us
spreading the word and how nice we looked, but she wasn't interested
in talking with us because she said we're going to the same place
anyways. E Martinez was so surprised that she would say that to us
even though she's not a member. I told him that happens all the time
in he south, lots of people love us, they just don't think they need
what we have to offer.
There's a couple who we've been working with, J and T.
J is a member and T isn't yet, but they came last week and
stayed 1 hour and they came again this week and stayed 2 hours and
they plan to stay all 3 hours next week and come to church
consistently after that. The coolest thing with them is that one of
them is always pushing the other one along. Last week J got
T to come to church and was able to get her to agree to coming
every Sunday and this week J wanted to bail out after the first
hour, but T drug him to class and made him stick to the plan of
staying for 2 hours. Most of the time with people in situations like
theirs I've seen that one spouse will be trying and the other will
either not be trying or be antagonistic about it. I really like how
they both pick up each other's slack and work to do what they need to.

Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

January 4, 2016 It's gotten cold!

2016! It's gotten col

January 4, 2016

Happy New Years y'all! This has been a good week, we had 2
investigators at church and 2 less active members! It was great, we
have 3 more investigators who should start attending in the next
couple weeks! The area has been picking up, and I'm grateful for it.
I went on an exchange with E Schultz this week! We had a ton of
fun. We were visiting a part member family and me and E Schultz
were teasing each other and they said we had to know each other pretty
well. I think it's because E Schultz is a lot bigger than me so
they were surprised I would tease him haha.
We also had a ton of rain this week and it flooded so much that it
created a lake by our house. I literally mean a lake, I'll attach a
couple pictures for y'all. I couldn't believe it. E Martinez has
also been amazed by the amount of rain since he has lived in Arizona
most of his life.
We met with a family who is a gold mine currently. The mom is an
active member, her boyfriend is investigating and her son is
investigating and their daughter is a recent convert. And as if that
wasn't enough, they've invited a couple of their cousins who live
close by to investigate the church. So we had a lesson there and it
was real good. There's a young man who lives there who plays the
guitar and E Martinez plays it too, so they played guitar
together. It was really good because he hasn't had any interest in
talking to the missionaries, but we might have a foot in the door with
E Martinez playing guitar.
On Saturday night I had the thought/impression to stop by a lady's
house who is a recent convert. At the time I didn't think much of it,
but looking back it didn't make sense for us to visit her. She's a
single mother so we couldn't go inside since we didn't have a man with
us, it was cold (it's gotten cold lately) so she'd have to stand out
on the porch in the cold to talk to us, and we didn't have anything to
talk to her about except for inviting her to church. But we still went
over there and found out that her phone broke recently and she hasn't
been able to contact anyone to get a ride to church, so she told us
that and we were able to get her a ride. She was so grateful and said
that we were inspired to come visit her.
We've had super warm weather lately, like 60's and 70's and the season
has caught up with us! It's gotten down to the 30's during the day and
it made me realize I was taking our weather for granted. I'm kinda
hoping now that God has taught me to appreciate the warmth he'll send
it back haha.

Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen

This is the lake
It's still pretty flooded here, but this is closer to what it usually looks like.

December 28, 2016

I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone! It was a really
fun week though. We had Christmas zone training meeting. We got some
news that I'm not too excited about, I'm not going to lie, but I'm
sure it'll help us as a mission. We aren't going to be having transfer
meetings any more. The way transfers will work now is on Tuesday you
get a phone call saying if you're going and where and who with, and on
Wednesday you leave. I guess it's the way the did it a long time ago,
like in Joseph Smith's time. It doesn't give us very much time to say
bye to people and to pack, but it's supposed to help us be more
effective with our time so it will help us more in sharing the gospel.
We also played dodgeball at the meeting, which was a lot of fun, and
we got to watch Big Hero 6.
On Christmas we got to skype our families! That was a lot of fun,
E Martinez had his first skype call and I had my last so we had
both ends of the spectrum. We went over to the Andersen's for
Christmas and to Skype and they're a great family. They've got 4 boys,
so there's never a dull moment. They all got remote controlled cars,
which is pretty much my favorite kind of toy, so it was fun to see
them having so much fun with them. They also took us to a lights show
that was really cool. They've got like a track laid out that you drive
on and tons of Christmas lights to look at. The first half the lights
are like funny little light up cartoons that move, and the second half
the lights go to Christmas music.
There's a family who we visit pretty often, there's one member and the
rest of them aren't members but they're Christian. We saw them a
couple times this week and they've always been friendly towards us,
but when it came to differences in beliefs the grandpa would always
tell us that he believes differently than us and that's just the way
it is and he'd usually talk about some of the things he's heard about
our beliefs that he doesn't agree with so much. He's not antagonistic
about it, he just wants to draw a line and make sure we don't cross
it. This week he acted a little differently though, we showed them A
Savior Is Born and he loved it. He told us how some people say we
believe in a different Jesus, and that through talking to us he's
found that simply isn't true. He also said that when it comes down to
it he feels that we have more beliefs in common than we have
differences. It was so cool to see how he's come to view the church
differently and even though he still does believe differently he
respects us and I'm sure he'd stand up for us. One of my favorite
things I've seen on my mission is when someone who isn't a member of
the church has enough respect for us to defend the church. I'm really
hoping that somewhere down the road he'll soften up towards the church
enough to be taught and baptized.
I gave a talk on Sunday. In a small branch like this everyone talks
pretty often, so the missionaries talk a lot. My talk was on service
and I talked a lot about how the greatest service you can do for
someone is to share your testimony of the gospel with them. Afterwards
everyone told me I did well. One lady told me that she was going to
share some of the things that I said with some of her friends. I told
her that is the best thing she could do with it.
Hope y'all have a Happy New Year!
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen
December 21, 2016

I got E Martinez this week! He's from Arizona. He's legit! He's a
convert to the church, he joined about 6 years ago along with his
family. It all started because his mom does cross fit and a neighbor
asked if she could join. Then while doing cross fit she brought up the
church and mutual and scouting. E Martinez's mom had some of her
son's go to scouts and Wednesday activities and after a while her
neighbor started inviting her to church. She told her about how it was
a great church and she'd love to see her there and eventually she came
to church, was taught by the missionaries and was baptized. The whole
family ended up getting baptized. I'm so grateful that lady was
willing to talk about the church and wasn't afraid to share what she
loves. If she hadn't, E Martinez's family would probably still not
know the happiness of the gospel. E Martinez decided to come on
his mission to set an example and to bless his family, both his future
family and his current family. He has 2 younger brothers who he hopes
will decide to serve missions because they see what a mission was for
him. So I'm really excited to teach E Martinez everything I've
learned about being a missionary.
The job of introducing a missionary to the south is pretty
entertaining. It reminded me of what was so strange when I first came
here. At first he talked about how green it is and I told him, just
wait till the summer. He talked about all the trees blocking your view
of everything. He noticed all the churches and we just randomly
started counting and within a couple seconds we spotted 6 or 7
churches. He has no idea what a Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian,
Jehovah's Witness, or most any other denomination is, just like me at
Love y'all,

E Jared Petersen
December 14, 2016

Just a side note to Jared's letter: Missionary lingo is odd. They use funny terms that might be misunderstood if one is not serving a mission. Missionaries (at least in his mission) create relationship titles that don't make sense. I hope that clarifies this next part.

On Saturday I found out that I'll be having a baby this Wednesday!
That's missionary slang for training or for getting a brand new
missionary and teaching them how to be a missionary haha. I'm pretty
excited, new missionaries are a lot of fun. It also means that I'll
probably stay in Brevard until I die and my son will probably be the
one who kills me.
This week was really good, we met with more less active members this
week than any other week since I've got to Brevard. We also had a half
mission conference with E and S Zwick. That was really good,
they talked a lot about how we can reach our potential as
missionaries. E Zwick said "Never limit yourself by what you think
is your capacity." I like that a lot, we hold ourselves back more than
anyone else and when we can learn not to limit ourselves there is no
end to what we can achieve. The whole conference was really motivating
for me, by the end of it I just wanted to get out and teach everyone
about Jesus. So I guess that means it went just how it was supposed to
We went out with one of our members to visit some older single ladies
who are less active and this guy has a heart of gold. I can't even
explain how good this guy is, but he really loves like Jesus does.
Both of the ladies who we visited are going through hard things. One
of them has a sister who is dying of cancer and the other one lost a
daughter about a year ago and has home life problems. He related with
both of them so well, he told them both a story of how he's been
through or been close to similar trials and how he found help and got
through it by the grace of God. He was also so anxious to help them,
one of them said that she felt like when she came to church people
ignored her. So he told her, "The day I see you at church and don't
say good morning to you will be the day I stop coming to church." And
he meant it whole heartedly. He really is an example to me of showing
Christlike love.
I'll tell y'all about my kid next week!
Love y'all,

Elder Jared Petersen