Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
-Isaiah 12 2-3

Thursday, September 29, 2011


"Word, American"

Oh gosh! Still in Russia! Turns out this isn't a dream after all, still in the Motherland where it's beginning to turn a bit chilly! It's making all the trees turn even more beautiful with tons of colors.Fall is pretty dang sweet here in Russia. I especially like it because it makes everyone wear a lot more clothes that they would during the summer time, woo hoo! I've been able to try my hand at some true legit Russian food lately, and, I gotta tell ya, it's pretty delicious. I was writing a letter today and it made me think about how before the mission, I really hated sour cream. Thought the stuff was disgusting. But here in Russia, they've gotten me to like it! Heck, it was even on a dessert once (gonna be asking the member tonight for the recipe) and it made it taste even better than it already was! I think I might have mentioned this last week, but I've got to say it again. The juices and the yogurt here in Russia are just simply fantastic. Pretty dang tasty and legit!

A couple of days ago I got to see a baptism for an investigators the sisters in our zone found. I even got to sing at it too! It's was the coolest experience and the Spirit was so strong. It was a bit of a bummer that one of our investigators we had invited to come couldn't, but there'll be another baptism pretty soon, so maybe he'll be able to come to that one! In addition, our taxi drive, r gave us his number and we talked a bit about the Gospel on the hour drive there (and the hour back too). He's in our area so hopefully we'll be able to teach him ([...]) soon! Good times!

Language wise I'm certainly a heck of a lot better than I was last week. I've been heading our efforts in contacting on the streets and I've gotten a ton better linguistically even just from doing that. I've finally settled into a language plan that's been working for me and it consists mainly of simply talking to people and learning. And, thus far, it's gone pretty rockin! One of the church members, a 12 year old girl named [...], and I have especially been having fun in teaching each other Russia and English. She even brought a friend to church yesterday and later tonight we're going to be teaching their family with [...] family! So cool!

Contacting has been pretty fun. Something about a goofy American with a bad accent, big smile, loud voice and a book in his hand somehow gets the attention of most Russians. I've gotten pretty good at catching their attention while they're about 15-20 feet away with a cheery "hey there! how're you?" (in Russian, of course) and I almost always get the same reaction. It's vital to catch them while they're far away because the entire thought process of the individual takes a good 5-7 seconds. The first 1-2 are spent assessing my attire, goofy smile and snazzy tie while the other few seconds are spent figuring out whether or not to ignore the funny American and pretend nothing happened or to go ahead and say "hello" back. Either way, they get an invitation to church with some information on the church and a brochure if they accept the original invitation! And heck, if they hang around for a whole 30 seconds or so they'll probably get a Book of Mormon and we'll exchange information! All the time they just give me the funniest looks wondering what the heck is up with this crazy American!

Funny story real quick. An inside joke of our District at the MTC was to say "word" to each other (except in Russian) because of a random experience on a temple walk. The Russian's like to say things like "hello American!" in English and other such things, though perhaps the most unique was last night when a Russian walked up to me and say "Word up, American" in Russian. It caught me and my companion totally off guard, it was hilarious. And well, if it doesn't sound too hilarious while you read it, had to be there. Ah well!

Couple of quick things real quick and then I've got to write my letter to President Sartori. Happy Birthday Mer and Eric! Well, happy belated anyways! I thought about ya while I was at the baptism ob Saturday. Good times.

I know that this Church is true. I'm here in Russia because God wants all of His children to hear the Gospel, accept Jesus Christ as their savior, and be the happiest that they can be. For whatever reason or wisdom in Him, he asked a dorky guy from New Mexico with a loud voice to go to Russia and invite people to hear the Gospel, and everyday I'm thankful to Him for that opportunity to be here. I know God loves each and every one of us. I know that the Book of Mormon is an evidence of that love, and that everyone has the promise given to them that if they read it, and ask God in the name of Christ with faith if the Book is true, they will receive an answer of it's truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost, just as I have. That witness has not come to my life merely once, but has been a continual confirmation throughout my life, and especially while I've been here out on the mission. I know of God's love and seek for everyone to feel and know of it too, whether they been in the states, in Zavodskoi or wherever I may be.

May God bless you, my family and friends. I pray for you and you're continually within my heart and in my mind. Thank you so much for your love and help.

God be with you always, is my prayer. Talk to ya next week!

Elder Peterson

Monday, September 19, 2011


Sept 19, 2011
"You are in Russia now"
Oh gosh, I'm in Russia! That's just downright crazy, now isn't it?

We left Monday morning and borded a bus to get dropped off at SLC, suticases and whatnot got checked in just fine and the flight was on time. From JFK to Moscow went just fine too, save for the fact that our first plane had a wing flap problem, so 3 hours later we boarded a new plane which got us safely to Moscow.

Now landing in Moscow was where it began to get crazy. Just a ragtag group of missionaries plopped in Moscow (all of our stuff came through just fine) and not knowing quite what to do. We were able to get out of the main terminal and thankfully found a couple of older sister missionary guides to help us out. They took us by the US embassy so that we could apply for our second passports and then they whisked us back to the Moscow airport.

Before I go on, lemme just say that Russian drivers are pretty dang crazy. Blocking an intersection? No problem! Does it look like there's a space to squeeze in with a little help of the sidewalk? Go to! Bikers weave in and out all the time and driving is just crazy, I can't even describe. Thankfull, I won't be driving! All public transport and walking for this missionary, so woo!

Anyways,back to Moscow. The 9 of us going to Samara were dropped off by drivers who didn't know English and no one really gave us any instruction, so we pretty much just hoped for the best. With the help of a dictionary, we figured out which way our terminal was and got to the baggage check. The lady who did mine spoke no English, so I felt a bit like a little kid. Took a bit of time to explain I had to pieces of luggage (new word for the day there!) and such.

We all went through security just fine too, which was good, and then just waited at the airport for our plane ride to Samara. Me and my companion Elder Swartz found and talked to a couple of nice people who knew some English and helped a bit with our vocab. Afterwards we boarded the flight to Samara and arrived a little before midnight (turns out Moscow and Samara are in the same time zone, go figure!).

After some orientation and whatnot at the Mission home we found out our new companions and areas. My new companion is Elder Fearn from Canada and our area is in the town of Saratov (in the zavadskoi area) which I think is in the southern part of town, though I could be wrong. I'm his "killer" (meaning that I'm his last companion, he'll be leaving at the end of October).

Already had a couple of cool experiences while I've been here in Saratov! The first day I was here I got spit on (the guy had some pretty good aim too, lemme tell ya!). Hard to explain why, but that was actually a nice little confidence booster for me. I just smiled and my companion complimented his distance and we went on our way.

Being here has taught me that I don't know much Russian at all. Which is a bummer, but can make it funny when talking to people. I got the guts to talk to an old lady on the transport a couple of days ago and introduced myself and the church. After giving her a quick synopsis of what we believe I showed her my family (she likes you all by the way and she especially liked the picture of Brielle!). After that was all done I told here that I really liked being here in Saratov and when she asked why, my mind kinda blanked and the first thing I could think of was trees, so I told her I love the trees here (which, quite sincerely, I do. They're pretty dang awesome and they're all over the place. Nice parks too). She then pointed to a couple of girls on the transport and said "The girls too?" I thought she had misunderstood me (don't judge me too much, the word for tree and girl are kinda close!) and so I quickly said "no no no! I like the trees!" Wherein she gave me the funniest look and my companion and the people behind me began laughing. Good times! Glad she was an understanding old lady.

Gosh, it's kinda stressful being here, but everday I'm finding a lot more courage to do what's required of me. I'm getting braver about talking to people in the streets and on the transports, overcoming the fact that I most likely won't understand much of anything I say (Which can be a blessing at times, as with today when someone called us idiot Americans but I told him for about the Gospel anyways). There's such a special feeling here is Saratov and I know that there are people here that are ready to learn about the Gospel. I don't know how in the world I'll be able to fully communicate what I have within me to them, but I believe that I will. Just gotta open up my mouth and start speaking. If anyone has any particular stories or suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them (either e-mail them of dearelder them to me).

Think that's about all the time I've got right now.

Much love, as always
Elder Peterson

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Friends of Brian,
If you would like to write to Brian in Russia, there are 2 ways to do it—

1. send a pouch letter yourself by carefully following these rules:

write a postcard or one-page only letter, fold it in thirds, and tape it only at the top, not on the sides, write your return address in the upper left hand corner, and Brian’s in the center, then place a regular first class or forever stamp in the upper right hand corner—use the following address for Brian. DO NOT PUT THE LETTER IN AN ENVELOPE OR IT WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU!

Elder Brian Peterson 

Russia Samara Mission 

POB 30150 
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150

2. send a pouch letter by going to, under Select a mission choose- Russia Samara, then click on Write a letter, and type in your letter using the above pouch address for Brian, they will print it up and send it free of charge to Brian

I know he would love to get a letter from you!
Brian's mom


Brian with the Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Sartori

Love, Laughter and Sunshine,
Sister Sartori
Russia Samara Mission

Friday, September 9, 2011

09-07-11 last from MTC

September 7, 2011
Oh gosh flight plans!

Well, I've got my flight plans! And, as it turns out, I found out I get to call you before I ship out half-way across the world! Whould'a thunk it? Anyways, so my itinerary is this:

Flying Delta airlines flight #94 from SLC to JFK in New York, leaving at 8:35 AM and arriving at 3:22 PM. Next, we're leaving from JFK to Moscow (SV) on Delta Airlines flight number 30, leaving at 5:00 PM and arriving at 10:55 AM in Russia (on the next day, the 13th). Then we chill in Moscow for a good 11 hours wherein we were told we might have a guide to take us around Moscow. If not, we'll try our hand at Russian and check out the airport. We leave from Moscow (SV) to Smarak (KUF) on Aeroflot Russian Intl., leaving at 9:55 PM and arriving at 11:35 PM. I find out later today if there's any problem with my visa. Cross your fingers, I know I am!

As a curiosity, can anyone figure out the time change on that flight from New York to Moscow? We think it's only about 9 or 10 hours, but we might be totally off.

As for calling ya'll, Mom, I'll call you on your cell phone from Salt Lake Airport (with a possible subsequent time if travel plans hiccup for any reason, though I don't intend for them too).

If you think it'll be better to call from JFK or if you have any other ideas/plans, go ahead and dearelder them to me! Communication is essentially one way in that fashion, so whatever you say goes there.

Just a couple more things, then I'll go on, I promise! Does anyone remember (and can send me via dearelder) the name of whatever it is that happens when you look at sunlight and sneeze? That'd be awesome if someone could send that off to me! In addition, If I could get pictures of Bretty for my photo album, that'd be pretty sweet too :) Also, if I can be deareldered my pouch mail addresses, that'd be very useful for my final letters to friends telling them where to send their reply.

Mom and Dad, I'll be sending a box with stuff that'll not be coming with me to Russia. I don't know how small or big it is, merely that I'll be sending one. Other than that, I don't think I need anything from you but your love and prayers! :)

Well, it's been a very good week this week. We've all been pretty pumped about going to Russia and we're going to be packing today! It's pretty sweet to think that we're actually going to be doing this. Study has been really good this week and I'm excited! Our teachers are complimenting us on our preparedness and our speaking of the language, which is a nice little confidence boost, so yeah! Pretty dang awesome.

Got in-field orientation all day on Friday. None of us really know what it is and it's gotten mixed reviews, so I hope it ends up being good (it takes away gym time, so I hope it's really good!) Nothing else in particular is planned for the week other than cramming in some words and vocab and praying for the best!

My time's up, hope all is well! Be good!

Much love, as always
Elder Peterson

Brian's pouch address in Russia

Brian is flying to Russia on Monday, September 12, leaving the Salt Lake City airport at about 8:30 in the morning and will arrive in Russia at about 11 in the morning on Tuesday, September 13. The best way to send mail to him there is by using the pouch.

You can send either a letter or a post card--no envelopes!!!! (If you send it in an envelope, the letter will be returned to you in about 3 weeks). So write a one page letter and fold it in thirds. Put tape only on the top (not the sides). Write Brian's address (just below) and use a regular first-class stamp (currently 44 cents) and your return address.

Brian's pouch mail address is

Elder Brian Peterson
Russia Samara Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150

Remember--only postcards and letters that are single sheet, folded into thirds and taped at the top only (no envelopes) may be sent through the pouch. Packages cannot be sent through pouch mail.

Packages should use following address, after addressing take to the carrier of your choice:

Elder Brian Peterson
Russia Samara Mission
Vodnikov Street 95-1
Samara oblast 443099
Phone: 7 846-310-2829

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Nametags and Elder Holland!

Hey there family and friends!

It's been a good week here at the MTC! The best parts of the week having happened yesterday! For one, our district got our new nametags (With our names all Russified, very classy) which was super sweet. On that same note, I signed my visa app yesterday along with most of my district (which we take as a good sign) and we should all be getting our travel plans tomorrow (which is pretty dang sweet!). That was all good and splendid, but the best part of my day was when Elder Holland came and gave the Tuesday night devotional! It was such an amazing talk and I got a ton from it.

The language is coming along really well. As usual, I'm excited and distressed at the amount of time I've got left until I go to Russia (12 days! Woo!). We've gone over all of the "task sheets" that have been given us in our language training, so from here out we're just reviewing over them, and specifically verbs of motion (which I'm pretty good at, though no one else seems to like them). Grammar and conjugations is becoming more and more natural to me, which is very nice, and I'm becoming more accustomed to using flash cards and in applying them to the lessons.

Mom, I got your letter today! I love the Pixar forever stamps! My favorite by far, though the Mark Twain ones are a pretty close runner up.

Gosh, I don't have too much to write about. Each day is really the same as other days, just like weeks are like other weeks, but I become better and stronger each day and week that I'm here. It's hard to show that in an e-mail (especially when I can't write Russian in it), but I really have worked and grown a lot here. The MTC has been an experience that I've simply needed in my life, much less for my mission to Russia. Elder Holland spoke a lot about how there was only one thing that mattered to him more than his mission, that being his wife and his kids.

I'm not sure if I ever told you this, Mom and Dad, but really the only thing that has been a higher priority to me than going on a mission was having a family. you probably knew that, but I was reminded of that yesterday when Elder Holland was talking. More so than Russian, what I've been trying to learn here at the MTC has been love. To see others and myself in the way that God sees us. I'm told, and I've often times imagined, that the love that a parent feels for a child can (and should) be among the strongest loves anyone can ever have. And I believe it too. I know that when I have children I am going to love them with all my heart, and do everything I can do for them. And maybe a reason God wants me to go on a mission first is to help me realize and feel that love for all of His children before I have my own.

Faith, hope, charity and love. Really simple words, not too hard to spell. But among the hardest things to develop, even harder than Russian. Progress in Russian is awfully tangible and clear. You can make a mistake in Russian and be corrected. You can memorize principles, words and verbs and apply them in creating sentences, paragraphs and lessons. But even more powerful than the words themselves is the meaning and the feelings behind them. A perfectly worded lesson with pristine grammar and eloquent phrases most surely can and has existed in the mouth of missionaries preaching in Russia. Yet if that message is delivered without any true feeling, intent or knowledge than it's pretty useless.

My goal is to initially deliver the message of the Gospel with pefect feeling and knowledge to those I'm preaching too. But my next goal, not my first, is to do so with perfect grammar and words. A nice little realization I had this week.

Anyways, my time is nearly up. Good to hear about Baby Brett and everyone! Stay good, eat your veggies, and know that God is with you always, as He is with us here in the MTC.

With love, as always
Elder Brian Peterson


August 24, 2011
Oh gosh!
So, it's odd to think about, and maybe it's bad to start every letter back home like this, but I've got 2 and a half weeks left. That's just crazy! I feel like I don't know NEARLY enough Russian to go, but at the same time, I really just want to head out and do the work, know what I mean? The ebst I can do is just use what time I've got left to study and pick up what I can.

It's so awesome to hear that Baby Brett is born! Was he born on the 22nd or the 23rd (I got the dearelder yesterday, so I thought maybe yesterday, but I don't know). If it was yesterday, then I totally guessed right! In any event, woo hoo! I can't wai8t to see the pictures :)

Sorry for the moderately late e-mail today, just been one of those days. But I'm here and doing fine! Russian is chugging along, though I really am just worried about learning enough before I go out. I still hate vocab cards with a passion, but I'm doing them and they do help. Just grumpy about them I guess -shrug-. Did ya'll still do things like vocab cards out in the field, or what did your study consist of? I'd imagine it'd be different from what it was in the MTC, but to be frank, I really don't know! Any suggestions would be most appreciated :)

Stuff in my district is going well! Everything's settled down, and has been for a couple of weeks now. We're all just anxious about prepping and going to Russia. We are getting our travel plans either tomorrow or next Thursday (I'm pretty sure it'll be next Thursday), so that'll be super exciting. Though, even though we will ahve travel plans, that doesn't necessarily mean our visa is fully done. They haven't told us anything about it, and I doubt they will until the time comes, so I should stop worrying about it. Still jsut crossing my fingers!

I saw a friend of Sean's today while I was at the temple! He said he served with Sean and recognized me from pictures (which is surprising since I'm guessing in pictures I'm not usually wearing a suit or glasses), but his name I think was Chris Tellington. Said he'd give you a call, but just in case he doesn't, just thought I'd tell you he saw me! Good times!

Thank you so much for your help and support over these past few weeks especially. Ever since the new Russian Elder's have come in time has been flying by and it kinda scares me a bit. But everytime I've got a letter it's boosted me up so much and has brightened my day quite a bit. Thank you especially to all my brothers. I'm so sorry I haven't written any of you back yet, and I promise I will before I leave the MTC. I know you understand (you all have been where I am now), but still, you are owed a lot more than you are getting. Thank you especially to Neil. You wrote quite awhile back, but your letter of support and suggestions has helped me quite a bit since I've been here, and I even used your suggestions the day I got it for one of my investigators!

Thanks Mom for sending out my New Testament book! I think I should be getting it within the next day or two. I jsut really miss my notes in my book about the second half of the New Testament and it'll help em in my studying of the first 4 Gospels too. Already been finding out so much though from my scripture study! I especially have been loving the Doctrine and Covenants lately. I think it's Section 11 where it talks about the 116 pages that were lost. Always before in classes and whatnot we had read abotu how awful it was that it was lost and the poor consequences that resulted from it. But in reading the chapter personally I was so incredibly uplifted.

Take this for instance. Here at the MTC, as I've mentioned many times, I don't like flashcards, but I know that I can learn a lot from them. Yet for a week or two I ddin't really do them or add to teh stack, and so as a consequence I ddin't learn as much as I could have. I felt extremely bad in having done so afterwards in thinking about it, because there was no reason not too and the whole purpose of flashcards is not to agitate me but rather to help me learn the language. But I felt a lot of comfort after thinking for a minute or two "Oh gosh, I'll never be able to learn Russian now and I'llf all behind and be stupid". After I had been thinking that a ray of reality hit my mind and brought some peace to it. Yeah, it's a bummer that I didn't do those flash cards, and yes, I really should have. But God know's I've been working hard here. I haven't slacked, though I could have worked more effectively, but I felt that God understood that.

Despite those lost pages, God still know that everything was going to be ok. In fact, He was so wise that He inspired His servants to locate those most precious doctrine to another part of the plates where they would stay undefiled and would be able to come out, in full, in these latter-days. In that same way, God knows I ddin't do flash cards, but He has still continually helped me and provided me a way to learn Russian.

That reminds me of something. For those of you who don't know, my teachers here at the MTC are not old, hired professional Russian proffessors who are experts at the language. Nah, one of the is 21 and the other is 22, barely returned fr4omt heir missions, hardly masters of the language, and they are hired to teach us. Perhaps it's hard to understand at times, but it amazes me that God is sending out 19 and 21 year olds out into all the world to preach His gospel. They are not master linguists, in fact sometimes the ones who struggle the most with language get the hardest languages, but by the grace and mercy of God they progress and learn, and are able to go out and perform the miracle daily of inviting others to come unto Christ and to accept His atonement.

I still don't understand why God wants me to learn Russia and go to Samara. I speak a lot better English and a lot fo the things I learn daily in my personal study in the scriptures I can't even begin to form into simple sentences. But the most vital parts of the Gospel have been taught to me in Russian, and I can string together coherent converstations. Even then, I am no master. But, this I do know. I know I was called, by divine revelation, to be where I am now, and to go where I will in the future. God knows me by name, and called me by name, to serve a special people. I know that, so much more and much much more powerfully than I know Russian. And in the end, that's what counts, right?

Thank you so much for your love and your support. Mom and Dad, I especially love you. I feel your prayers daily, and it gives me strength when I feel like I ahve none (paitence too). Thank you so much Mom for you love and care, whether it come in fruitsnacks or in velcro strips or in a loving letter. I love you so very much.

Everyday I thank my God for my family and for my friends. Without you, I would not be here. God be with you always, till we meet again.

Much love, as always
Elder Peterson