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, November 29, 2012


November 26, 2012 "So, how do Americans express thankfulness on the day of thanks?" "By eating all the food on the face of the land!" *munch munch* Hey there ya'll! :) Oh my gosh, Eric is engaged! You know what's even better? He's getting married when I can go to the wedding!!!! Isn't that wild? Man, I would have bet a good number of rubles that I wouldn't have been able to be at that wedding. Молодци вы! You're the best! This has been a pretty good week out here in Orenburg! The best was most definitely celebrating Thanksgiving (a day late, but I mean, who doesn't want to have a thanksgiving feast as opposed to black friday? I'm all for the feast!) And my golly gosh, the mom where we ate made a TON of food! They had never heard of nor celebrated Thanksgiving, but the idea of having a sweet potluck and giving thanks for it was especially intriguing to the mom, so needless to say it was a scrumptious feast (is that how you spell the word? Hope so!). We brought a a mexican dip (made with some delicious taco seasoning straight from NM- thanks Mom!) and some hand made Elder Peterson tortillas. It was way fun, and way tasty :) I guess I haven't talked much about the senior missionaries yet. They're so dang cool! Do ya'll remember when I served in Saratov in a place falled Dachney? They are from that branch, and we actually knew each other before either one of us got here! If you remember the story with when the branch president got karate-chopped by our crazy investigator, she was actually the one that got the calling that day when the crazy guy got confused. Good times! There serving here in Orenburg for 2 years and are doing a super good job of doing it. Before they came here the branch had about 15 members that came weekly, and now there's an average of more than 40. They've been helping us out especially a ton because ever since we came here our washing machine hasn't worked and so they've done our laundry for us. Also they've shown us the best place to buy delicious sausage and other tasty Russian wares. It's pretty cool having a Russian senior couple! For the past few weeks we've also been working on getting a home insulated before the real winter hits. It's been a pretty crazy project, seeing as how the home doesn't yet have any sort of roof (hopefully that'll change soon) and until last week it wasn't fully insulated on the outside. Yikes! The family had been working of it paycheck to paycheck but didn't have enough to get at least the insulation and roof done before winter, so the branch has been helping out with that and we've been able to help put it up. The main lady doing the work is a sister from the branch, and she's just the best. She's been teaching me some Russian childrens songs, which somehow I'm gonna have to write down or record for the future. Christmas is coming up. Isn't that wild? It really doesn't feel like that long ago when I was with Elder Rounds and we were skyping in Dachney or when me and Elder Lewis were skping in Ulyanovsk. Crazy! Transfers are the week before Christmas, so whether or not I'm here is uncertain, but as with the other times I'd say that Skype is almost 100% gonna work out. If you have any preference on the day or time, give a holler (Orenburg is I think a lot easier to work out time wise, By the way! I can get pictures as you e-mail them, I just can't really send them off from these computers. Good question! Alright, well, time's winding down. You best be bundling up now! Out here it's been getting below 0C during the morning and evening times, so I decided this past week to switch from my fall coat to my winter coat. Good stuff! Ya'll have a great week now! I love you lots :) С любовью -- Elder Peterson

Monday, November 19, 2012


November 19, 2012 "Computer no work! Only one!" Elder Treter - "Nah, I got this" Hey there everyone! It snowed this week! Three days in a row too! Though it's not nearly as epic as it really sounds. There's still snow on the ground and whatnot, but it's not a whole lot, so now [no] worries. It's jsut enough though that there's ice on the sidewalks and roads, which brought back a ton of fun memories of slipping and sliding around in the winter time down the streets of Saratov. It's a little difficult to descibe the feelings I had doing that again, since that means the second winter of my mission has started. Woah snap! That's pretty crazy! The locals have informed me that winters here should be about what they were like in Saratov, though -40 does happen here perhaps a bit more frequently than there. But that won't be for another month or two I think (most likely Febuary, that's when it was coldest last winter), so we'll see what Orenburg has in store this year! Mom asked a bit about my companion, so I can expound a bit more about him. He's from Greendale Wisconsin and is the youngest of 3. He actually home taught Sean's mission president, which is cool. His dad is a lawyer and his mom is a professional viola player and as for Elder Treter, he doesn't know exactly what he wants to become yet but he thinks becoming some variety of physicist would be good, and he most certainly has the brains for it. He knows the scriptures way well and we have fun talking about random stuff from the old testament especailly. I have a feeling that I may gain some weight this cycle since we discovered that making fried chicken and potatoes, although a bit of an expensive dish, is very much so possible and tasty here in Russia. Fun times! Last Thanksgiving we were able to come up from Zavodskoy to the Williams apartment and have a tasty feast! This year we found out that we'll be having a combined district meeting/thanksgiving dinner fun times at the senior couple here in Orenburg! They'll be supplying the main dishes whilst we'll be providing any kind of small dish. They have never had mexican food, so I'm thinking of sacrificing my last package of taco seasoning for the festivities! Methinks it'll be a good Thanksgiving :) President Sartori has been hinting that we're all going to be staying in the areas we're in for a long time, which would be cool since I love it up here in Orenburg! We've especially lately been doing a lot of less active work with the senior couple, which is yielding some great results. I think I mentioned it earlier, but before they came 3 months ago there was all of about 11 people coming to church each Sunday, and then after they came and began their work we've gotten to an average of about 40 coming each Sunday, which is a huge miracle. It's been cool to see how the Lord's been working with each one of the memebers, both active and less active, to help them become strong and have their own spiritual experiences. A pretty humbling experience happened this past week with this one family this past week. The whole family is supported by their mother, who works as a night janitor and the local school. When she applied for the job they said that they could pay her only by having her apply for a certain bank card and then having the money placed directly onto the account. That's all good, but the problem is that it takes 2-3 months for them to create and give her (the mom) the card. It's already been two months now and she hasn't received the card, and this past week her family was in serious financial debt. The only thing she had to feed her family one night was Russian pancakes called bline with no kind of add on or anything (essentially, just flower and water). Well, the senior couple found out about the situation and them, along with the branch president, were able to work everything out and get her some money and food. The mom never doubted that the Lord would provide for her and her family, and the whole little village where she's in is astounded as to how she seems to make it month by month with so little money and means. We had a little meeting with them and she bore testimony of the Lord's love and care for her and her little family. One of my favorite verses from the scriptures is when Christ talks about the lilies of the field, and the birds of the sky, and how God provides for them, though for only a little while do they live. Something I'm still learning is really realizing just how much Heavenly Father loves us, more than those lilies that He created and provides for. Well, times up now, gotta go. Eric mentioned today (which makes Mom, Dad, Sean and Eric now!) that someday I need to explain what all my subject lines means. Almost all of them are just taken from funny experiences I've had during the past week, most of which I remember. If you get the time, could you make a list of my subject lines that I can print out? I can keep a record of what each of them is from and the experiece tied to it (may be a good way for me to write more in my journal too. I've been terrible about keeping a good journal on my mission). I can see that potentially taking a lot more time than it's worth though, and I think honestly I remember most if not all of them and we can have some laughs over them when I come back. Anyways, time really is up now and I'm gonna log off. Thanks a bunch for everything! Have a great week now and Happy Thanksgiving! With love -- Elder Peterson

Monday, November 12, 2012


November 11-12-12 "Stop all the fighting! Look, I think I know what we need...a little bit of MAMBO!" -cue the music- "NO!" "Aww..." Hey there family and friends! Well, I spent a lot of time trying to get the camera to work with the computer and, what do ya know, it didn't really work, so it'll be a bit shorter of an e-mail this week. Cool news! Our investigator got baptized on Saturday! Yay! That makes a whoppin two baptisms in one cycle, not to mention it's Elder Treter's first cyle. Pretty cool, huh? When I've got more time I'll upload the pictures onto the computer and send them off. Something that could be useful too (though it may be a bit late to ask for) would be a straight up SD card USB drive (just a usb drive with a slot for the SD care). Though, honestly, how often do I really send pictures back home, so it's not too important. You may just have to have patience and wait a bit to see some cool baptism pictures :) Either way, I'll work it out. As for the questions, I'm doing just fine on contacts (every other cycle I just end up wearing glasses the whole time, so it works out pretty well, I should have a least a few more by the time I get back home). MP3 is just fine for the music, I don't recommend a flash player. Thanks a bunch! :) We got to see West Side Russian! In Russia! Woah snap! It wasn't actually the most well done production, but I liked it a lot anyways (I'm always a sucker for musicals). I felt a bit awkward when they sang the song "Everythings better in America", but hey! America doesn't have bag jam or quite as tasty mayo, so the Sharks were a bit off there at least. Also, the enws came around that Obama won the election. I totally forgot that elections and whatnot were happening, but it certainly made contacting interesting: "hey there!" "Hey! Did you know that Obama won the election?" "Oh. Uh, nope. But you know what I do know? The gospel!" Ok, so we never did quite have a conversation that went down exactly that way, but a couple were pretty close. That's always a funny thing to explain to Russians. Whenever things like elections or hurricanes or the weather come up in conversation, almost undoubtedly I don't know much of anything, which also undoubtedly brings up the questions why we don't know such big news things, which preceeds and explanation by us discussing why we don't watch the news (or any TV/internet for that matter) while wer're here in Russia. It actually makes especially up the weather a great conversation starters especially in talking to people on buses. Want to know what the weather will be tomorrow but have no access to the newspaper or internet? Never fear! Ask the Russian with an ipad next to you on the bus! Always a good conversation starter :) Speaking of weather, it's been hitting the below freezing mark lately here at night times in Orenburg. When we headed out to Church yesterday morning the cars were covered with a dusting of snow and the ground was super moist. Rumor has it that this week there'll be the first real snow, which fits pretty well with how it worked out last year, so that's cool! I'll keep you in touch as to what happens in that respect. I liked how you mentioned the new teaching curriculum they've got for the youth. When Dad mentioned about how they're teaching the youth and not lessons, that reminded me of the little "Preach My Gospel '2'" for missionaries wherein one of the sections is called "Teach people, not lessons". I'll have to check it out after the mission, but from what you said it sounds like they're taking the basic teaching principles of Preach My Gospel and applying it to all the teachers. Cool stuff! Gosh, this is such a short letter, sorry about that. More next week then. Oh, and by the way, me and Elder Treter will be here for another cycle, so that's cool! :) I love you all a whole bunch! I say it a lot, I think, but I really do thank you for your prayers, letters and support in general. My family's pretty much the best :) Alright, I'm gonna go now. Thanks so much! Have a great week! Love -- Elder Peterson

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


November 5, 2012 "So, how do you like the pool?" "It's nice!" "Cool! Hop on in! You're gonna get baptized!"get baptized!" Hey there everyone! YEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! Woo! Guess what? N totally got baptized!!! I forgot my cord today, so pictures will be next week it looks like, but I've got pictures, so no worries. I got to baptize her on Saturday and it was about the most cool ever. I've never seen her more smiley before and her mom and sister were super pumped about the baptism. I think one of the coolest things about the baptism was the closing song we had for it "Families Can be Together Forever". N's family had been less active for awhile before the senior couple came into town, and their family was so surprised and happy when the senior couple came by and wanted to help them become active again. It was a hard process, and that story will have to come on another day, but the family (Mom, daughter, 16 years old, son, 15 years old, N 9 years old and son, 7 years old) is doing way awesome now and has been so blessed. Like I was saying, we were singing the song and the words mentioned how if we learn the gospel and are worthy starting from our childhood years than we'll go to the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity. that hit me like a train when I realized that that whole family was still young, that they were becoming active (the brother passed the sacrament on Sunday) and preparing, right now, for the greatest blessings the Lord has in store. And me and Elder Treter and the senior missionaries got to play a part (and still play a part) in helping all of that come to pass. That's pretty cool. Another cool thing was the testimony meeting. Of everyone there I think her sister was most excited about her baptism. She said "You know, just seeing you getting baptized makes me want to get baptized again too! You've got an eternal friend now, sister, and he always will help you." She right now is studying to become a chef and she told us how before she begins to prepare and cook a meal she always says a prayer and asks for God's help to guide her hands and help her learn well. She said that everytime she does that she sees God's help and knows that He loves her. It's pretty cool to see the faith of the Russians here. I've seen that a ton on my mission, how people so simply and earnestly ask for help and love from God and find it as they go forward with faith. it's really easy to think "this thing is so simple, I don't need to ask for help, what's it really matter to Him anyways?" But her testimony helped me remember something really simple but true: what matters to us, no matter how big or small it may be, it is important also to God. He's so eager to help us in what we do in life, and He's always ready to guide us so long as we just ask! Pretty cool, huh? Anyways, enough about that for now. We have another baptism planned for Saturday so more news on that this next week. We had exchanges this past week too, which was fun and I got the chance to go across the Europe/ Asia border, so now I've not only been in America and Europe, but now Asia! Spiffy! Sean asked if we eat out much or if we eat any Italian/Chinese food. Well, we don't eat out much at all unless it's Zone Conference (and then it's either KFC or McD's, tasty!). Italian resturants are around, that I do know, but my guess is that they're pretty expensive, and I'm not sure that I've ever seen a Chinese food place. Then again, I make soem variety of pasta or pizza nearly every week, so we have some genuine Elder Peterson Italian food! Good stuff :) Looking like time is up. I'm always on the hunt for some nice music to listen too, so if you've got some good uplifting music I'm always up for it. I'm gotten a craving for cello music lately and always I love celtic music, so if you can find some of that or anything else cool for that matter, I'm always up for it. Also Russia has a lack of good mechanical pencils, and mine from the MTC have both broken, so that'd be nice too. Also, from Mom, I wanted to know if you had any particular kind/color/material of shawl you wanted me to look for. I've got good taste (I hope! :D) so no worries, burt if you've got some specific requests I'd love to hear 'em. Well, that's it for now. Thanks so much for everything! I love you lots :) With love -- Elder Peterson