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

Monday, March 26, 2012


March 26, 2012

Of Armenians and Mexicans

Hey there ya'll!

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I woke up this morning prepared to fling back the curtains and gave upon the gloriously clear streets of Saratov in all it's springy, warm majesty! What horror filled my disheartened soul as I gazed upon the new 2 inches of snow laying so ungraciously upon the once clear streets I strolled upon the day before! Well...ok, it wasn't that dramatic, and I really wasn't that bright eyed this morning, but it really did snow again today. Blast! Spring has been having a crises here lately, one day letting the sun shine quite nicely and the other sending forth the blasts of wind and snow of a forgotten January past. But, I'm a firm believer that winter is nearing her last cry. Here's to hoping!

This has been a pretty good week! I found out that I actually like broccoli, which is an odd thing since that, along with mushrooms and honey were on my list of things I never thought I'd like to eat. Turns out it's especially good in a delicious stir-fry Elder Rekow makes or on pizza that I like to make. Discoveries! In addition, we also set up a baptismal date with an investigator named [...]. It was pretty cool since, during our lesson on 2 Nephi 31, he asked us "So...when can I get baptized then?". Good stuff! Me and Elder Rekow celebrated that night by buying 6% milk and delicious cookies, which were well enjoyed.

Speaking of delicious food, thank you again so much Mom and Dad for the Mexican food! Me and Elder Rekow, in trying to figure out how best to enjoy the feast, decided that we'd share it with one of our favorite families in the whole world, the [...] family (gosh, that looks odd in English). The [...] are Armenian and we always joked with them that they looked like Mexicans. Though they emphatically said they weren't really Mexican, the delicious burittos we made proved otherwise. Only one of the family was brave enough to try green chiles though (his name is [...] . What a champ!). That was a delicious taste of home, and I wholly approved of the whole thing. Thank you so much, once again! :)

I've been reading a lot of the Old Testament lately, especially ever since I got past Deuteronomy, and in looking at the chronology of stuff, I had a quick question. It mentions that 10 of the tribes of Israel were carried off, but do we know which ones of them were exactly? Of course, I derived that Judah was left behind, but my only other guess for the other one left was probably the tribe of Levi since they were necessary for carrying out the ordinances of the law of Moses (what exactly did the Jews do if the Levi was carried away?). Then again, the other main kingdom was Ephraim (or the tribe of Joseph, in effect) so maybe it was them? I figured ya'll probably had the answer, so I thought I'd ask :).

Not too much more on the front right now. I love reading your e-mails and letters and everything! It's always a blast to hear from ya'll. If you'd like, feel free to ask up some questions that I can answer (some weeks, like today, I don't have a whole bunch to say) and I'd love to answer them!

Thank you again so much. I love you! :) Hope everything goes well for ya'll this week and enjoy the good weather!

With much love, as always
Elder Peterson

Monday, March 19, 2012


March 19, 2012

Drawing on a bus!

Hey there ya'll!

So, before I forget, I got your package mom and dad and I'm way excited to make some tasty mexican food! Also, it's so dang awesome to hear that Ed is going to BYU-I. He's gonna love it, methinks.

We had a Zone Conference here this past week, which is always one of my favorite couple of days. We get to sit down and filled up with all sorts of good training, advice and Subway sandwiches. One of my most favorite things I learned were explained in 2 parables that I wanted to share.

The Parable of the Rock

There was a man living in his home next to a very large, heavy rock. One night, God came to the man and said He had a work for him. God explained to the man that He wanted him to push the rock next to his home every day with all his might. The man agreed to do so, knowing that God had personally asked him to do so.

Starting that next morning, and for many days following, the man went to the rock and pushed with all his might. Yet, no matter how much he push, worked and struggled, the rock never moved at all. Many days after starting, the man wondered to himself why he was asked to push the rock. It hadn't moved, and showed no signs of ever moving, despite his efforts. Immediately after he had this thought, Satan came to him. "You're right!" he said, "It is perfectly useless for you to push this rock. It will never move. Why do you struggle so hard everyday? Aren't you tired? Look, why don't you rest. Don't push so hard, take a day off, or, better yet, quit!" The man was troubled greatly, and decided to make it a matter of prayer for that night.

As he had determined, that night the man got down on his knees and began to pray to Heavenly Father, pleading with Him to know why the rock had not yet moved. As he pled, God once again came to the man and comforted him.

"My dear son," He said, "I never asked you to move the rock. I only asked you to push the rock with all your might. And look at you now. Your arms have become refined and toned, your legs have become firm and stead fast as they have braced themselves against the rock and your strength is now far beyond that which you had when I first came to you. Now, my son, I shall move the rock for you."

The Parable of the Cliff

There was a man living in his home to to a very vast and steep cliff, leading down to a dark, foreboding sea. The man, one evening, was looking out at the sunset when the Lord appeared at the edge of the cliff.

"Come to the edge!", He called, beckoning to the man.

"No, I cannot!," the man called back, "I will fall!"

The Lord once again beckoned to the man, saying "Be not afraid. Come to the edge!"

The man was scared, yet knowing that it was his Lord that called, came to the edge where He stood. The sunset was so beautiful, and the waves of the sea both calmed and alarmed the man as he stood upon the edge. Then, the Lord pushed the man off the edge.

And the man flew.


I hope you like those parables, and they sure meant a lot to me when I heard them at Zone Conference. Even better, I had a fun experience because of them! During Zone Conference I had a feeling that we needed to share these parables with some members in the branch. We had a meeting with them that evening, and the traffic is always obnoxious from the center of the city going to Zavodskoi, so there was lots of time to spend waiting. I was sitting down next to a guy on the bus thinking about how to explain the parables in Russian when I realized I didn't know all the words, specifically, the word for "edge". I didn't have my mini dictionary on me, and so I decided to draw a little cliff in my planner and have an arrow pointing to the edge. I asked the guy next to me (whose name is Ivan) if he knew the word for that thing the arrow was pointing to, and he gave it to me. I decided to practice the stories on him, and it went well! After a bit of time getting to know each other, he got off the bus, but a girl in the row in front of me turned around and said "wow, you've got good Russian! How did you know how to tell those stories?" By the end of the bus ride I'd made a few new friends and got pretty good at telling the parables to the members! Good times were had by all :)

I was also reminded lately about my purpose as a missionary. I remember talking to Mom before my mission when she told me "now, don't worry about getting lots of baptisms. That's not what success is on a mission" and I remember telling her "of course it's not! I just want to help people!" It's been cool, especially lately, to see how my Russian language skills are allowing me to let more and more of my personality show, which allows more of a chance for people to open their hearts and see more than just a snazzy looking American in a new coat and a nametag, but an actual guy who just wants to make friends with some Russians and give them a chance to feel what I feel in respects to the Gospel. It's cool! :)

Well, I've got no more time it looks like. Mom, thanks for all that you do and I hope you get to feeling better soon! Did Elder Williams get that E-mail? I sure hope that little system works :)

Well, ya'll have a good week now! Thank you again, and I love you so much :)

With love!


Elder Peterson


03-12 -12

Photos 6-9 from Brian's 03-12 blog
#6 a goofy picture of Brian
#7 Brian and Elder Rounds at Nutcracker
#8 Kiev temple
#9 Brian and Elder Rekow at a cultural night


March 12, 2012

Photo madness!

Hey there ya'll!

Well, I finally remembered to bring my camera, so I'll slap some photos on here to share! Good times!

The first one is the newest one taken today! Me and Elder Rekow went to the bazaar today at 3rd Dachney and bought new spiffy looking coats for the spring/fall seasons! They look way snazzy, and I'm not the biggest fan of the picture, but you'll get a better one surely in the future (had to rush to get e-mail and whatnot on time today).

The next 5 photos were taken at a Family Home Evening at Staus's apartment! The first one is of Yulia, Staus's daughter, the second one is Liza, my investigator from when I was first here who we can now meet with again! The third is a goofy picture of me and Elder Rekow, and the 4th one is Elder Rekow with Liza. And the last one is just a goofy picture of me!

The next photo is a picture of me with Elder Rounds at cultural night when we saw the Nutcracker! That thing was so dang fun!

The next one is a really pretty picture I took of the Kiev temple on my first visa trip. Hopefull I'll be able to go back there in a couple of months :)

And last, but not least is me and Elder Rekow at th most recent cultural night! Good times!

Hope that satiates some photo hunger :) My camera is slowly dying, so I'm not taking as many pictures as I used too. The package has not yet come, but we've got Zone Conference on Thursday, which means if it's come to the mission by now (or within a day or two) it'll be there for me at the Zone Conference. Here's to hoping! :)

It's be a pretty interesting week here in Zavodskoi! It started out with some of the strangest food I think I ever want to eat. We were at a members house, Antonina is her name, and she said that when the Sisters were serving there in Zavodskoi she'd always treat them to some watermelon! Me and Elder Rekow looked in gleeful awe as she brought out a big jar filled with watermelon slices and some kinda liquid. The Russians like to make their own juices by putting fruit and water in a jar and letting it sit for awhile, and me and Elder Rekow were super excited when we thought that it was some variety of watermelon juice! How sadly we'd forgotten that another, perhaps more popular, pastime of the Russians is to take any kind of vegtable or fruit and put it in a pickle-ing solution.

That's right folks, pickled watermelon! Good and good for ya, right? Ack! That stuff was awful! Can't honestly recommend it,but now I can say not only have I had pickled tomatoes, but pickled watermelon.

On another note, a this past week was the one year anniversary of me receiving my mission call! Crazy to think about. :)

This past week we had "International Women's Day" on the 8th of March! Many Russian's are very surprised that no such holiday exists in America (though we do have Mother's Day which, to my knowledge, ain't here)! We had a District activity where all the branches in Saratov gathered together had an activity at our branch building. Sasha Titorov, Elder Rekow and I, as a request from our branch, sang "As Sister in Zion" though changed all the words from "we" to "you". It was well liked at the activity :)

Can't think of too much else to add right now, been a pretty quiet week here! I do have a small request for you though Mom. My friend Elder Justin T Williams, who is serving in Uruguay,sent me a letter through his mom a coupel few months ago. I've been working on his letter and, as it turns out, there is a way through e-mail that you can reach him. If you could tell him that I got his letter and that I'm working on his reponse (I'll send it straight to him rather than work through you, Mom, I think) and that he's just plain awesome, that'd be great! :) He's an awesome guy and one of my best friends :) The e-mail is [...] . Put his name as the subject line and it'll get to him :) Feel free to add anything more lke something from my blog if you have the time/desire to do so :)

I love you all so very much. I don't think I said that enough before the mission, but I love you so much! Especially you Mom :) Ya'll have done so much for me in helping me and supporting me while I've been here in Russia (and heck, even before I came to Russia!) and it means quite a bunch to me:) Thank you again, and much love here from across the world!

Ya'll be good now, ya hear? :)


Elder Peterson

[The photos will be in another blog]

Monday, March 5, 2012


March 5, 2012
"Liza!!!! Oh my gosh! Come on over and play Uno with us!"

Hey there family and friends!
So, gotta give the best news first! Last night we were over at [...] having a little lesson with [...] mom who is from out of town. We were singing our some of our favorite hymns (one of my favorites, especially in Russian is Abide with Me, Tis' Eventide) when [...] got a call from...Liza! If you remember, she's the girl I nearly baptized my second cycle, but some stuff happened and ever since partway through that cycle I never saw her again. Well, [...] sounded really sad and asked [...] is she could come over. Excited, [...] said the missionaries were home and asked if she wanted to talk to me! I was so happy I was bouncing around the room when I heard it was her and we invited her to come over and sing hymns and play Uno with us. Stuff in her family has made it so that she may be able to meet with us again like she used to, and our next appointment with her is on Tuesday! Good stuff :)
In other news, me and Elder Rekow will be staying here in Zavodskoi for another six weeks, which I'm pretty happy about!
There was a cool experience that happened the other day while me and Elder Rekow were contacting. We give out things called invitations, which is just a nice little handout to give people, and one day we were contacting outside for nearly 3 hours without much luck. I was down to my last invitation before going inside for dinner when I saw a 30 year old dad with a [...] stroller waiting outside a [...] resturant. I gave him the invitation and we started talking about our message. It's pretty dang spiffy when people stop to talk to us and even spiffier when they say they're religious and don't call you any colorful names. When the moment of truth came, rather awkwardly I said "Hey, would you be interested in learning more about our message?" Generally, people say "eh, not really" or something along those lines, but Andrei said "well, of course I do!" Woah snap! A family to teach, woo hoo! We prayed with him and set up a meeting to teach him soon. Good times :)
In other news, I was reminded of grandpa one morning as, groggily while eating cereal, I told me companion "Hm, I think I need to shave my whiskers". I was suprised, because I don't think I've ever said that in my life, but when I said it it made me think of Daddy Guy and how Mom said that he'd always say that (I hope I remember that right!) Just wanted to share that little experience :)
It's getting warmer here in Saratov, where 0 C is starting to becoming more of a habit rather than a far off dream! The snow is melting and soon the streets will be flooded with water and mud as Spring enters in! I'll be looking for a spring/fall coat soon, which I'm pretty excited for! Snazzy looking Elder Peterson soon to come to a Russia near you!
The triple combinations in Russian (with all new sparkly tranlation too!) has been made and they are coming to all of Russia! The missionaries had the opportunity to get a free, hardbound triple combo or get a fancy smancy black leartherbound, gold outlined spiffy triple combo for 20 bucks (give or take on the day). Needless to say, this missionary requested the fancy smancy edition and will send picture of him with it whenever he gets it (hopefully in this month!)
Speaking of pictures...I keep on forgetting to bring my camera. I'm always about 1/2 way through the bus ride when I remember "Aw dang, I forgot my camera" and my companion will say "shoot, me too!" so we're both gonna write down and remember to bring cameras this next week. thanks for the patience and sorry for the wait!
Members have been complementing my singing lately, which has given me the warm fuzzies. Mrs. Nichols teaching hasn't all been lost on my mission, for which I am quite grateful! :)
Well, that's about it for now, methinks! Ya'll are simply wondeful, and thank you so much :) Thank you Jennie for the awesome letter and pictures of Brett! I got that fresh from the office this past week, which was pretty dang cool!
Be good now, ya hear? :)
With love, as always
Elder Peterson