The one month mark!
Hello there family and friends!
I'm not sure which ones of you will realize this, but it hit me today that nearly exactly a year ago I started college at BYU-I. I remember entering the campus, looking around the small town and wondering if I would actually like the place at all. I was still thinking in my head that it might be a lame college and that I'd be bored to tears. Yet, from the moment I started to go to classes on campus and meet the people there, I knew that it was exactly where I needed to be, and it there have been rarer times in my life where I've been happier than I was there at BYU-I.
It's been nearly a full month now since I've been at the MTC, a bonified 4 weeks in. And my mind is reflecting on what I thought this experience would be like and what it actually is. Just like with BYU-I, I was unsure of how good the MTC would actually be. Who would want to stay in Provo for 3 months when you could be in Russia, teaching and working and serving the people there. But I have been humbled in coming here, yet it has not been a humbling of pain, but rather a humbling of joy.
No, the food isn't any better here, and it's been crazy hot since I've been here, and that heat becomes excessively apparent when I and some other missionaries wore suit jackets to go to the temple today. If I wanted to, I could find and point out and complain about things at the MTC, but the truth is, this place is more incredible than those of you who have not gone on missions could truly imagine.
Recently I was looking as to what our purpose as missionaries is. For those of you who don't know, and as a reminder for those who have forgotten, our purpose of missionaries of Jesus Christ is to invite people to come unto Christ via helping people to elarn faith in Christ, to repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. How suprised I was when I felt prompted to look up the duties of an Aaronic Priesthood holder and found that that purpose has actually been my calling since I was ordained a deacon at age 12. It was quite humbling to realize that this has always been my job, to preach the Gospel and to help people come to know about Christ and develop faith in Him. It just so happens that now I am specifically called to do this duty in Russia and to do it all the time, dedicating 2 years of my life to my Heavenly Father to do this work.
This MTC in Provo has taught me a great many things. I've learned, in a way I have never felt before, that I am a talented and loved son of God. That because of who I am, and because of the specific talents (and weaknesses) I have, I have been called by a prophet of God to go to a specific place, so that I may teach and be taught, that I may help others grow, and in so doing, grow myself.
The language is still tough, but I'm getting a handle on it I think. It's been a bit hard because the past couple days I've felt a bit under the weather, but that has not stopped me in the least from progressing in the language. Grammar is starting to make sense and daily my vocabulary is expanding and growing to meet the needs of those my and my companion have and will be teaching in the future. Daily during class and while preparing to teach it is easy to get discouraged, in thinking that I don't know enough or that I don't have a good enough grasp on the language to make any sort of good impression on anyone. But always as I've prayed and as I've medititated, I have found peace and comfort, and to this day I and my companion have still been able to introduce the Spirit and teach our message to our investigators in a way that is understandable.
Every week I wonder and think about what will be best to write in these letters home. What lessons I should talk about or what feelings and impressions I should share. Understand that throughout the week I learn inumerable lesons, and the thoughts and impressions that reach my heart are just as numerous. I will never have enough time to tell them to you, but I hope you won't mind me sharing a bit of what I have learned.
God is our loving Heavenly Father. I cannot stress how much I know that simple phrase is true. God loves us so much. He created a Plan and a means whereby we could have joy. That plan's main focal point is Jesus Christ and His atonement for our sins. How wonderful it is that we have a loving father who sent His son so that all of His children could return to Him and be happy! How incredible it is that Jesus Christ was so willing to accomplish the Atonement, that even amidst the most burdensome of trials He did not waver, but did as our Heavenly Father asked.
I know that God has a plan for each of us. We are all born and live in a world in which God understand perfectly all that happens to us. He knows us, our thoughts, our hearts,our intentions. He knows of our trials, our sufferings, and also of our happiness and joys. He is so good and kind enough that He would not force us to do anything, but that through our own choice and volition, we would have the opportunity to do that which was right. He has not abandoned us, nor never has He, but throughout all generations of time He has helped and guided man, has always allowed humanity to chose for itself yet with loving care, has always provided direction and guidance to His children.
I know that this Gospel is true. I know that my God lives, as does Jesus Christ. We are God's children, and because of His love, the Atonement has been made real and actual, and through the means of faith, repentence, baptism and enduring to the end, we may be full partakers of this Atonement.
Thank you for your love and prayers. Know that you are all in my thoughts and in my heart, along with my prayers.
Much love, as always
Elder Brian Peterson