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, May 14, 2012


May 14, 2012 Teaching and Flowers Hey there! Weird to think it's already monday again. This past week has been a rather odd one. On the 9th of May we stayed inside for Victory Day this past week and had some time to clean the house and do some well needed paperwork, but not gonna lie having that weird day in the middle muddled up the week a bit. I've been learning some cool stuff about teaching lately that I wanted to share. This morning I was reading about "learning faith", which made me think about the teaching appointments we've had this past week. I think it's still hard for me to think sometimes of faith being something learned. A lot of times it seems like faith just springs up, or builds from where it's from already, but rarely before my mission would I have though of faith being something learned. The past few weeks we've been working with an investigator who has been interested in the Church for awhile but never quite made the progress necessary for baptism. In looking over the teaching records for him it was hard to see what was holding him back. He'd been taught the lessons and it seemed as though the missionaries had been addressing his concerns as best as they could, but for whatever reason, he didn't budge. You always here about how we, as people, are not the real Gospel teachers, but rather the Spirit is. A lot of times I find myself thinking that if I phrase something perfectly the right way or use the best, most well formed thesis to convince people that something is right, then I will be able to change them. I think being here in Russia has taught me a lot about how, in all reality, I am not the one who changes others by my words, but rather it is from a different source. We've been meeting with this investigator for the past month or so and it's been amazing to see how he's changed. When we first met with him he was a bit blunt and rude at times, but clearly a nice guy. He had the same old concerns and we found out that he didn't really pray all that much. Me and Elder Lewis talked about it and we decided that, especially this past week, we would call him everyday, talk about work and everything, and then pray with him and the end, first starting with us giving a prayer and then him offering a prayer. At first he thought that he had nothing more to say that what we said in our prayer, but everyday as we've continued to pray with him he's opened up his heart more to Heavenly Father. He tells us now how good he feels after praying and he sees the blessings in his life as a result from his sincere prayers to God. As missionaries, it's hard to remember sometimes that you are yourself. Sure, you are a missionary, of course you are a representative of the Church, but God called you specifically, with you talents, skills and personality to do the work. I've grown so close to the members here and investigators and people in general as I always make that connection with them. We're friends! We all hug each other, cry when it's sad and laugh when it's good times. So often we try to get refferals from members and get the members in on lessons with investigators. Why is that? It's because we want to have friends for these wonderful people. Family and friendship are some of the strongest ties, and when the form of trust and love is formed, the way to understanding and accepting each other is opened wide, giving a chance for the Spirit to influence our lives. I dunno, maybe I didn't describe that all too good, but I really have noticed that this past week, seeing how much of a motivation love really is in all of our lives, in how it moves and shapes us. It's dang cool, and I'm glad that I can help people here in Russia feel God's love through my little actions of work and service. Cool stuff. It was pretty dang cool to talk to ya'll over Skype, by the way. When I looked at the e-mail last week I wasn't sure how/if it was going to work, but sure enough, worked out just fine! Me and Elder Lewis were pretty dang happy to sing that song to ya, Mom, and I'm glad you liked it! I knew it'd be a good choice when you mentioned it in an e-mail a couple of weeks ago (we had already picked it by then). Good times! :) Thank you so much Mom and Dad :) Times up, so I'm gonna jet. You all have a wonderful week, and I love you lots. Keep eating them veggies! With love -- Elder Peterson

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