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, December 20, 2012


December 17, 2012
"Kind of a sketchy train, isn't it?" *Knock Knock* "Excuse me...forgot my vodka" "...Yeah, pretty sketch"
Hey there family and friends!

Well, like I mentioned last week, I was got into Samara last Monday for Elder Treter's first visa trip! it was a pretty hackneyed operation and as such we took my first ever day train from Orenburg to Samara. When thing are ordered last minute (because of weird changes in schedule, issues etc...) we either end up getting, essentially, first class or the dirt cheap compartments. Well, going to Samara was pretty dang great since we had first class! It was just pretty boring: 8 hours or so just chilling on a train. It was pretyt obnoxious though because when we got to the compartment there was a plate with all sorts of tea, coffee and a single packet of hot cocoa on it. Well, seeing as how there was no sign and it was first class, we said to ourselves "selves! Let's share that hot cocoa packet!" and, with great joy, we did. Come to find out at the end of the ride something rather distressing. The conductor knocked on the door and asked "Um...hey, did you take anything from the tray?" "Well, yeah. A hot cocoa packet" "Oh, ok...That'll cost 300 Rubles! (about 10 dollars)" Of all the trickery! I didn't approve of that at all.

But I'd much rather pay the 300 rubles for the hot cocoa then ride on the last train we were on. The visa trip got messed up hard core because all the flights to Kiev got cancled on the day of the visa trip, so we were all grounded in Samara for an extra day. It was a pretty dang good day of work though, got lots of work done and helped out some other elders, so that was nice. Everything worked out in the end for the visa trippers, which was good, but they bought our tickets to Orenburg last minute too and this time we got the dirt cheap compartment. Suffice it to say, I got the best and the worst of trains in the same week. Still was way fun though since we were all together!

Speaking of being together, a first in the mission of Elder Peterson: a 3rd cycle with the same companion! Me and Elder Treter are gonna keep up the work here in Orenburg North for another 7 weeks! We've been working out recently a better way to do the work and I'm glad that we get to stay together for another long while to figure out how it'll work out.

I've got more info on calling home. We got permission to do it on the 24th, which will be better all the way around I think. That puts us at evening time my time. Elder Treter is gonna skype his family at 6:30 and so I'll be skyping you at about 7:15 or so, if that's alright with you! we'll be arranging all the little details this week, but we'll probably do it at the senior couples house so you'll get to meet them! If there's any kind of problem with that, let me know (and maybe be on at about the time I sent you the first e-mail today so we can do some real-time working out of the problem), because it can work on Christmas day too my time, just a little trickier to work out.

More about Orenburg! It finally snowed yesterday! It wasn't a lot lot, but sliding on ice and snow is a lot better then walking on half frozen dirt! They're predicting that more snow will come before New Years, so we're all hoping for it! One of our investigators is making some great progress in the Gospel, but unfortunately he missed Church this past week. We'll be having a couple of lessons with him this week though and so that's really good. He wants to teach me the language "Bashski" (I'm not sure what that is in English, guess I'll ask!).

Also, we had some pretty cool experiences in the past couple of days. One of the more popular methods of contacting now that it's getting below -20 is to go knocking in big apartment complexes. It's always a tricky thing to get into the complexes at times, since not everyone wants to open the main front door to a couple of Americans. So, one of the common methods is to just go into a door that's being opened by someone else. As we were looking for a place to knock we did so and, to my suprise, we were stopped but a 70 year old grandma door guard telling us that she knew we didn't live here. Well, we explained to her who we were and why we wanted to get in the door and she was just tickled pink to talk to us. We had a great conversation with her, prayed, gave her a Book of Mormon and set up a time to come back on another day and visit her and her friend!

A second fun little experience is that we were knocking down an apartment complex and had gotten down a few floors and just weren't having any luck. We prayed to know whether or not we should keep on going in that complex or move to a different one. We had a feeling to stay and keep knocking there. We kept going, with no success for another 20 minutes or so (and we only had 30 in all before we had to go to a meeting) when finally we knocked and found a man, who has a family, took a Liahona and asked us to come back next week. We left the building, went to our meeting and then prayed to know what to do. Elder Treter felt like we needed to go back to the building we were knocking at earlier. When we go to the main door, no one was leaving the complext and thus no one opened it like the first time we went there to knock. I prepared to go through the tedious process of trying to get in when, his neighbor, the man I called, let us in an wanted a Liahona too! We gave him and his wife a Liahona and a Book of Mormon and we have a return appointment on Wednesday.

Those are just little stories I guess, but in both instances I had, at least for a little bit, a doubt that we realyl did need to be there or that people would open up to us. But they did! Way cool! It's great to see that as me and Elder Treter have become more exact in what we ask and more prayerful in our word that the Lord's been opening the way for me and more to happen.

Anyways, it's time to go. Thanks for the letters and support! I haven't got the package yet, but I imagine it'll come soon. If there's anything you'd like me to do for ya'll or any questions, I'm open for it! Thanks so much :)

I love you!
--Elder Peterson

Monday, December 10, 2012


December 10, 2012
Spoiler alert!
Hey there family :)

[The first portion of Brian’s letter was personal stuff for family]

Also! Transfers are coming up soon. I'm hoping I stay in Orenburg, but we'll see what the Lord has in mind for this good Elder! Regardless, we've recieved word from the higher-ups that we should plan on our call being right on Christmas day.
Phew! I think that takes care of all the not particularly missionary related business and whatnot! On to to the letter! We've been really pushing and praying that we can have another person enter the waters of baptism before the end of this year in Orenburg and it looks like it's gonna happen. We were on exchanges this week when me and Elder Elwood met with a 17 (almost 18) year old teenager. The kid's got some brains, let me tell ya. He is fluent in 7 languages, including English, Russian and Polish and can read/translate about in about 25 different ones. Woah snap! Languages come to him quicker that I do to some delicious home-made buttermilk pancakes. He's deeply religious and wants to be baptized into the Church. Cool, right? We set a baptismal date for the 29th and, in the process of the meeting, found out that he lives in our area so we'll take the main responsibility of teaching and preparing him for baptism! We're still working really close our other investiagtors and have some high hopes they'll be able to make some great progress in the upcoming weeks!

In addition to all that cool stuff, our recent baptism is going to be receiving the Priesthood soon (msot likely this upcoming Sunday). He passed the interview just fine and is making some fine and dandy progress in helping his family come closer together through the gospel (they started doing some family scritpure study and we taught them about family prayer. So cool!). Another family is doing just great too and another member’s house is getting warmer and warmer each day what with the new insulation! Unforunately their car broke down, so they weren't able to make it to Church this Sunday, so we're all praying and hoping that they'll be able to fix it soon and be able to make it to Church again! 

I read this really cool talk this past week that I'll ahve to share with you all at some point. I forgot to bring it with me (else I'd share the title with you). If you google the phrase "harvesting with the Lord" there's a chance you'll find it. Either way, I'll share it with ya'll next week I think, time's nearly up. Thanks a bunch for your support, love and prayers. Also, thanks a bunch for getting stuff set up for me at college Mom. You really are the best! I love you lots and I hope you have a great week.

Я всех вас очен люблю! Удачи!
Старейшина Питерсон

Monday, December 3, 2012


December 3, 2012 "What's your name in English?" "El-der Pete-r-son!" "Donatello?" "Uh...sure! Ninja turtle!" Hey there everyone :) Gosh, we've been having the weirdest weather lately. This week on Tuesday or something in snowed a good bit (I don't have a ruler, so I don't knwo the height, a few inches though) and then, soon after the heavy snow, the weather warmed up a ton and for the past two days we've had mostly fog and some rain, oddly enough. So, the snows almost all melted and temperature wise it feels like Fall. Silly Orenburg, you're doing it wrong! I still have my hopes up for a nice, white Christmas and some ice sliding on sidewalk, but we'll see how it works out. Quick correction to last weeks letter too... it's not "Молодци" but rather "Молодцы". It's a small thing, I know, and most of you didn't notice it, but it bugged me most of the week (I figured it out right after I logged out, oh no!). Elder Peterson will work this next week on his spelling. Anyways, this was a really cool week. Every month our mission has something called "zone training" where for a few hours the zone gets together (i.e. a bunch of missionaries) and receives training from our fearless leaders! However, since Orenburg is a good night train away from the rest of the zone, our zone leaders came down this past week and gave some terrific training on how to do the work better and shared a really cool talk on desire. It was a wonderful answer to a lot of prayers lately and reminded me of some of the funny weaknesses I've got and that I'm working on. For example, for the past couple of weeks there have been times in talking to people where, quite frankly, I just had no idea what to say. Which is weird. I'm Elder Peterson! I've always got something to say about anything, especially when it's gospel related and it's what I've been doing for the past year and a half. But in the past couple of weeks, there were times where I just had nothing to say and whenever I tried to really express something it took 5 times the effort it should have and the Russian behind it just didn't really work well at all. It was really a discomforting feeling, and I'd been trying to figure out the answer to it. The answer began to come after service at a member’s home this past week (we've been doing insulation on their home). I asked Elder Treter to give the spiritual thought. He struggled a bit, and didn't know some of the words (which is pretty natural since he was relating Mormon's letter to Pahoran to answers to prayers) and so I'd fill in the blanks whenever he didn't have the sufficient vocab. Everytime when I'd try to explain more than he implied to put my own thoughts into the conversation, it came out awkward, whilst Elder Treter, slowly but clearly explained his spiritual thought. After the lesson, a member said to me "Man, he speaks better than you Peterson!". Not the greatest thing to hear, seeing as how I've been here longer, but it got me thinking and me and Elder Treter talked about it for a long time one day. Missionaries work in companionships for a lot of reasons, but one of the most crucial roles of a companionship , in my opinion, is there ability to work together in teaching people. One teaches, the other testifies then teaches which then the other can testify to and continue the lesson. A simple pattern, but it works like a charm. When I first started to train Elder Treter, most of the conversation was taken up by me, because I understood the language and the investigator. Elder Treter would always testify, and the lessons would go well, no lack of words at all. But lately we'd found that I'd speak most of the time, and not give as many chances to Elder Treter as he needed and as the Spirit prompted. In short, Elder Treter is growing up now! And our role is to work together, with both of us teaching and both of us testifying, working together in unity to help people accept the Gospel. As we began to implement that we saw quickly just how much the work improved and how much more got done. Pretty cool. I'm so grateful that God trusts us to do the work and helps up to learn His will and then be ready to fulfill it. It's always a nice reminder too that all the language development I've made has been thanks to God and that I really still do rely on Him to help me do this work in the Russian language. Real quick request for you, Mom and Dad. Do you remember the woman from Ulyanovsk who e-mailed you a couple of times? If you get the chance, can you tell her hi and thanks? Lately we've been applying, as a mission, an idea that she insitgated back in Ulyanovsk, that of handing out old Liahonas to people to help them learn about the Gospel. It's been helping us a ton in knocking, wherein if people get a free nice looking magazine they're a lot friendlier are more likely to let us come back than if we just go with a little brochure of the fully Book of Mormon. She taught me and Elder Lewis how to do it when we served there and it's helped our work out a lot. So if you could tell her that, that'd be great. Ask her too to say hi to the branch for me. Thanks a bunch :) Can I also say how much I love Christmas music? Mom and Dad sent me a cd last year filled with sweet Christmas music. I especially love to listen to the guitar songs. Reminds me a lot of you Dad. Way to go, by the way, on playing in Church! Well, it's time to go now. Thanks so much :) I hope you have a great week! With love -- Elder Peterson