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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elder Jared Petersen