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, 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

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