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, April 29, 2013


April 28, 2013
"You're translating for him right?" "Yeah" "Cool, looks like you're pretty good! Get ready, we're about to talk about Quantum Physics boy!" "Oh my..."

Hey there everyone :)

So, I didn't get arrested or put in a hospital this week, but it was STILL pretty dang awesome! Not gonna lie, this was another one of those abnormal but really awesome weeks of my mission.

The first thing was zone conference. Yep, the very last one of my mission. Weird, right? I cried. I was pretty good though in my testimony, didn't cry too much. Man was that hard. So good though, we learned a ton about the Book of Mormon and how we can use it better in helping in the conversion process. It was so good!

This part is most definitely just for family :)   [so I summed it up in the next paragraph]

[Brian had his final interview with his mission president at the last zone conference he’ll have before coming home.  His mission president was very complimentary of the work Brian has done—he didn’t want to brag to the world about it, so we’ll do it for him  =-)]

Anyways, we had really cool exchanges with the Sisters this week on Friday, and we had just about the coolest experience ever. The Sisters, naturally, got a little shaken up what with the experience with the Police, but when I prayed on Sunday and Monday about it I had a good feeling that there would be no lasting negative consequences of our experience. Well, that became a reality when, while contacting on the streets, we met a lady who was there and was a part of the whole experience. She smiled, talked kindly to us and wished us the very best in our work! So cool! This lady could have not liked us or chosen to be snide, but she was kind and everything was great! It was a cool little confiramation that everything was ok.

Speaking of cool stuff while contacting, we met the greatest people. I really have been working on lately testifying and using my testimony and the Book of Mormon to help people understand how our message really helps them in their daily life. There was a man that has a 5 year old son and his wife just up and left him and their son. He was depressed when he saw us and didn't want to speak to us at first, but he stopped and asked how what we do for people helps. We explained the plan of salvation and bore testimony of God's love for him and his son whom he takes care of now. This man went from being rude to not believing that we could help him to being struck by the Spirit. After our testimony he paused for a second and then said "give me your number...we need to meet." We, of course, exchanged numbers. Before parting we gave him a brochure of the Restoration, and he started to cry, saying that he didn't understand why but he felt something good about the brochure. He took it and we left. I'm always humbled and really blessed when I see circumstances like that. I'm glad that he opened his heart to the Spirit and felt God's love through testimony. Pretty cool.

We also had a really great lesson with another investigator in discussing the purpose of life and why God lets evil exist in the world. His point of view is that if there really is a God (or, at least, a loving God) He wouldn't allow for the world to have sadness and evil. We discussed the plan of salvation and really how we have to take a different point of view. That’s the problem for a lot of people I've talked to I think. How can God be just if all this bad stuff happens in the world (he used the examples of the stuff that happened in Boston and Texas). After explaining the plan of salvation I testified of how I knew it was true. Surprisingly he said "You don't know it's true, Peterson. This is made up by man. It's not of God." We, of course, explained and testified once more that yes this plan is of God and how we can actually come to know it's true (we then read Moroni 10:3-5) and told him that reading, pondering and praying about the Book of Mormon would give him the exact confiramtion and evidence he needed from God to know that it's true and that he would come to know, if he did it, that the Book of Mormon is true. He took the challenge.  Way to go!

Last story, then I gotta go, but Mom, you'd be real proud of me! I was the branch pianist yesterday! Yeah, you know you're desperate when you're asking me to play the piano, and I could only really do the right hand, but I stayed on time and did a good job (all things considered!) yesterday! I just thought you'd be proud of me for that! Your son the branch pianist (for hopefully no more than one Sunday! I'll stick to the harp I think!)

In reference to Mothers day, skype shoudl work out just fine as it has in the past. Anytime after 3PM our time here should be just fine, and what with Church I don't know what time will work best for you. Any time between 3-8 my time will be just fine for skyping home, so we can arrange a time now (in your next e-mail please give me a good time) and we'll work with it! :)

Anyways, time to go! Thanks a bunch! I love you lots :)

Elder Peterson

Monday, April 22, 2013


Thanks to so many of Brian's friends for writing (emailing) to him!!  He was very touched and happy to hear from you! =-)

April 22, 2013
"What's with these pills?!" "Oh man, I don't even know how to explain...those are altoids! Candy! Makes your breath smell good!"
Hey there everyone! :)

Man! I just can't have a normal week! That's alright though, it's been a real blast and we've had some great experiences these past weeks. I am feeling a lot better, by the way, than I did last week and everything is hunky dorey.

I have my new companion now! His name is Elder Lundberg and he's from Boise Idaho! He wants to go into Aerospace engineering and he was at BYU-I for a semester before heading out. I'm really surprised at how much he can speak and in how much he understands Russian. I think he gets it quite a bit better than I did when I first came out to Russia! Our very first night together in contacting we found 4 potentials, and we prayed with 2 of them! Pretty cool! The first guy we prayed with was actually prayed for by Elder Lundberg and, in leaving, he shouted back and said "Hey Lundberg! Thanks for the prayer!" It was so cool! I'm proud of Elder Lundberg! He's gonna do real good :D (I know, bad grammar, sorry!). 

Here's the fun part of our week though. This is a story a little too long to explain by e-mail, so if you remember you'll have to ask me when I come back home! In short, the Sisters had a little run-in with the police (man, it sounds funny that way! They're innocent by the way, no worries), but we came over to where they were to help out and...they hauled us away too! Ha! We all rode in the back of a police car together, which was actually a pretty interesting but fun experience. We were at the police station for awhile, wherein they checked our documents and bags, everything was fine (it was fun translating for Elder Lundberg the whole time). It was about 9 o'clock when we got out of the police station and if a bus didn't come we'd have to order a taxi to get home...but a bus came! As we hopped on we started a great conversation with a guy, a 21 year old, who lost his faith because of alcohol. He took interest in us and requested a Book of Mormon and we met with him and his friend yesterday and talked about the Restoration and Joseph Smith. We have a meeting again with them on Wednesday after Zone Conference.

That's just the coolest, you know? You take a weird situation like going to the police that messes with your plans for the night, and then the next thing you know you meet a way cool guy and he's interested in the Church. Really, nothing is too hard for God, and no matter what, so long as we're faithful, he puts us exactly in the spot where we need to be, whether it be on a lesson with someone or on a bus late at night to talk to a new great guy.

This upcoming part of the letter is going to be for family I think, but your choice :) While in Samara and in talking with the Sisters it's come up a lot just how soon our group of missionaries is going home. Some people are getting a little trunky and lazy from it, others staying strong and disregarding it all. I had an interesting little conversation with an Elder while in Samara, that one of the missionaries I'd known, when he came home, cried for nearly a week. I was pretty surprised, because that Elder wasn't at all that inclined to cry. As it turns out he cried because he was away from Russia and his mission. Of course he loved seeing his family and friends again, but when he was alone or in the more quiet moments he cried. I was taken aback, because I'd never thought about it before, just how hard it will be. When I thought of it then, and now when I think about it (though I avoid the thoughts), I get teary eyed or just straight up cry a bit. I can't imagine how hard it's be to leave these people I love. Gosh, it's the biggest blessing ever to be on a mission and serve. So often I focus on becoming better at the language, contacting well, teaching great and juggling all these other things that I forget perhaps the main purpose of this all. I left onto my mission because I loved God, and what I do know isn't just because of my love for God, but because I love these people so much. It's maybe a dumb question, but as your missions were coming to a close, what kind of feelings and thoughts did you have? Did you miss the people? What did you do to cope with that and to continue doing awesome good things till the very end? Thanks a lot :)

This week will be zone conference and exchanges with the Sisters, so lots of great things are going to happen. We're still working hard with S and N to help them make it to baptism along with lots of others. Gosh, I love Balakova and I love being here. I'm probably among the luckiest in my mission to be in such a great district and branch with great members and friends. 

Anyways, that's what I've got for this week. Best of luck, alright! Be good :)

I love you lots
Elder Peterson

P.S. Thanks for the e-mail addresses Mom! I got a flood today, and I know that was in great part thanks to you :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Brian really wants to hear from his friends!!  Please send him an email at  and let him know how you're doing!!  =-)

April 15, 2013
"Man Elder're pretty old!" "Quiet you! I'm still a young whippersnapper!" "When was your first train ride?" "Well...back in September of last year going to Zavodskoi!" "Elder Peterson..." "Yeah?" "You're old." "Dang!"
Hey there everyone!

Man, I know I say this every week, but this week really was a crazy one. Based on your e-mails I don't think you've seen it yet but if you go and check out my bank account you'll see a healthy sum taken out for medical bills. That's right, Elder Peterson surivived Russian hospital!!!! Nothing too crazy, really. I had some serious stomach pains and nothing was helping pill wise so while I was there in Saratov Elder Davidov and I (not me and Elder Davidov!) went to essentially an urgent care who promptly sent us to the hospital to get an ultrasound and some blood work. They didn't find anything drastic and they gave me some pills that have helped a lot. The Church will refund everything and so no worries on that, just waiting for the refund now. But if you're wondering why there's a healthy chunk of money gone from my account, that's why.

That was pretty cool miracle though, by the way. Ever since a week and a half ago I've had this stomach pain and when we came up to Saratov to do exchanges I felt pretty awful, and I was lucky enough to be in a good town with good medical care with a Ukranian helping me all along the way! It's pretty funny though, because we (as missionaries) need to stay together at all times, a rule that pretty much nobody else ever understands. To make sure that we stayed together throughout the whole process I had to make Elder Davidov my translator (he speaks perfect English, so no problem). It was funny though, especially at the hospital, when the doctors were talking to each other "Yeah, that Peterson guy doesn't know a lick of Russian! He just uses his friend as a translator!". They were preparing a nurse to give me a shot, which had to be done alone, and while she was giving me my shot I honestly forgot that I was supposed to fake not knowing Russian. We striked up a great conversation and after the shot she said "wow, the others said that you didn't speak Russian, but you speak excellently!" I told her thanks, and at that point it didn't matter since we were leaving if she told the doctors or not, but it was a pretty funny experience.

I could talk a lot about Russian hospitals and all the stuff that goes on there, but you don't want to hear about that! You want to hear about my crazy cool transfer news, don't you?! That's right, there was a change in our little Balakovian district...I'm training again!!!! Crazy, right? Elder Warkentin got transfered to Kazan (the area where he started his mission even, which is cool) and the Sisters are staying the same. I'm here in Samara right now with a good keyboeard and a non-sketchy internet cafe, which is a really nice change. The new guys should be coming in tomorrow night and so Wednesday I'll meet the new one! There's 14 new missionaries coming in this cycle with a ton more coming in over the next few months. What's even weirder is that the group of missionaries right above me just went home which group is the oldest in the mission. 

Weird, right? That's messed up! During a break at Conference Sister Kiestler and Sister Crane came up to me and said "Elder Peterson...we thought about it, and you've only got 12 weeks left! That's crazy!" And it is crazy, which is why were not gonna talk about it anymore. In short, I'm gonna be making this last bit of time my best here in Russia. And how could it not, because I'm still in Balakova! Yay!

I wish I had more news in reference to the work, but honestly it's prety much just been the hospital and conference. Conference, by the way, was so dang cool! This conference just seemed to personal and had some really good stories. Way to go Elder Holland, as usual. His talks always make me cry. President Beck in the Priesthood session also had a really good talk.

So, real quick. That's dang cool that Mary is leaving on her mission soon, but...which mission is she going to? All I know is that she's going to Kiev somewhere. If it's hard to remember, it's probably the Dnepopetrovsk mission (heh, that's fun to spell in English). In any event, that'd be cool to know where she's going! If you could grab me her e-mail address too that'd be spiffy.

Speaking of e-mail addresses, have we been able to get ahold of anyone elses? I know I bug you a lot about it, but I really do, if possible, want to contact those people as soon as possible and they haven't written yet. Thanks for your help! :)

Well, that just about wraps it up for now! I hope you have a splendid week and that everything goes great! Enjoy the spring weather, it's super nice and sunny outside today.

With love
Elder Peterson

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


April 8, 2013
*hop on a bus* "Today is better than yesterday!-jazzy instrumental-" Yeah, it really will be a good day!
Hey there everyone!

Gosh, it's been one really weird but good week. We had dealing with the police for getting stuff secured for our branch building, the unexpected news that S will be in Moscow for a month and some variety of stomach bug that put a weird wrench in the week, but despite all of that, it was really clear how God's been preparing some great stuff for us this past week and for the weeks to come.

First off, cool story of the week! So, one of my good friends here in Balakovo is a member. When we first came here he was completely less active but with the help of the Wings and a couple of really cool activities he started coming to Church again! Well, this past Sunday...he was the very first to testify! He's come such a long way from coming to Church in regular clothes to being snappily dressed in a suit and his favorite tie from Elder Wing. He came up and very simply and humbly bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and the truthfullness of the Church. The Spirit was strong and you could tell that everyone (especially us!) were so proud of him bearing testimony on Sunday. In walking back home from Church he explained that he was reading in the Liahona that morning about the Book of Mormon and how he felt like he needed to bear his testimony about it on testimony meeting. As he went up, he didn't know what to say but said "as soon as I opened my mouth, Elder Peterson, I felt the Spirit enter my heart and give me words to say. He helped me testify!" He has big plans for helping his wife accept the gospel (we have a meeting with them both on Tuesday!) and he's been reading Preach My Gospel to figure out how to help us and to help her.He's so cool!

That reminds me of a lesson we had yesterday, actually. So, quick news, N and S are still planning on being baptised, but because S is going to Moscow we moved both of their baptismal May 31st! Yay Mom! As it turns out that is N's birthday (their (grand)daughter) and it works out great with her work schedule.Anyways, yesterday we had a lesson with N and N with President Dzubluk to help one of them start the 12 step program to quit smoking! The Spirit works in interesting ways. One of the things that I've really gained a testimony of is that God has called us specifically to be where we need to be (not just missionaries, but all of us) for the good of our own and others spiritual growth. Often I think, maybe,that in the back of my mind is "alright, you were called here and your life experiences, thoughts and stories will help these people out! Go to!" After President Dzubluk asked a question that neither one knew so he turned to me to answer it. I started out by giving the basic answer and then was about to tell a little story in connection with it when President kindly interrupted me and asked N another question closely related to the first and my answer. She bore testimony, based on the question, of our incredible relationship with God and the importance of personal prayer and study and the Spirit bore witness that it was true. At that moment, that was exactly what was needed and no matter what I could have said it would not have produced the same effect or given her the chance to grow spiritually from the experience. I'm so greatful that we're able to learn from one another and the God allows us all to grow and to share so that we're all given strength and learn. Pretty cool!

This next week is going to be a full one, we've got exchanges in Saratov (yay!) on Wednesday and Thursday and we're working on getting some weekly activities going on here. Oddly enough, this upcoming week is the last of the cycle, leaving just two more after this is done.Yipes! Pretty exciting stuff going on though what with N and S, A, S and everyone else! More news as it comes in!

Thank you so much for your love and support! I hope you're enjoying the weather as much as we are! All the snow has melted now and we're walking around in just our suitcoats these days. About time too! It is April after all.

By the way, when is Easter? It's different here in Russia than with you all.

Anyways, I sure do love you. Have a great week!

With love
Elder Peterson

Monday, April 1, 2013


April 1, 2013
"You've got to be kidding! This is gonna drive DearElder out of buisness! Sweet!!!"
Hey there everyone!

And when I say everyone, I really do mean EVERYONE! We got some crazy cool news from the First Presidency that now we are allowed to e-mail...EVERYONE! Yep, that's right folks. You can now, without any problem, e-mail me. So sweet, right? Because of thise-mail time ahs now been upped to 90 minutes as opposed to the usual 60. So cool! I just about died when I heard that since I'm the most terrible at writing people back. As possible, I want everyone's e-mail address (seeing ashow I have no-ones -I thought I sneakily could have gotten Miranda's e-mail address from some variety of e-mail from you, but the search didn't bring up anything). Like I said, as possible, I want everyone's e-mail, but most specifically/urgently, I would like: Miranda Mundt, Rebekah Hoggan (Sister Hoggan, her mission e-mail would best), Alyssa Whittemore, Bethany Budka, Alex Simons and J.T Williams (on facebook most likely Justin Williams) and Jordan Pope. Thanks so much! The easiest way for me to get your e-mail address is simply to e-mail me! My e-mail is . I'll be looking forward to hearing from you, or you can soon look forward to hearing from me when I get your address! :)

Speaking of other awesome news. we've made some really big progress with N and S this past week. When we first started teaching them it was mostly S that wanted to get baptised. N said that she wanted to wait longer until mid-spring really before she'd start seriously considering baptism. This week we didn't try to change her decision, we just taught the Restoration and encouraged the whole family to pray and read together and after a lesson we had with the branch president, N said "I think I also want to get baptised with S...hmmm". We set S's baptismal date for the 20th of April and tentatively set N's date for that day too. Well, we got an unexpected phone call from President Sartori on Wednesday that he and Sister Sartori were gonna come down on Saturday and Sunday for their last visit to Balakova (so strange. We leave within one week of each other). Also, as a coincidence, we had sister exchanges planned for that day, so for that day we went as a group of 6 missionaries to every lesson we had, which was a bit crazy crowd control wise, but it went very well! One of those lessons we had was with N and S. We had a wonderful lesson on the Spirit and the value of family relationships, a great bit of it was taught by the Sartori's too, which was wonderful! But! What was even cooler was that at the end of the lesson, as N was hugging Sister Sartori she said "Hey, Sister Sartori, guess what!" "What is it N?" "S and I and both going to be baptised on the 20th of April! Isn't that wonderful?!" Gosh, I just about exploded with happiness when I heard her said that! She's changed so much in even just this past week and it's been a huge privelage just to see that.

I had a cool thing I wanted to share with you especially Dad, something I think I appreciate a lot more now. On Sunday I got to translate for interviews for getting temple recommends. One of them was for Y's mom who was bursting from excitement that she gets to, next May, go to the temple all together as a family so that Y can get sealed to them. After that N, the (grand)daughter of N and S came up to me and said "hey, guess what Peterson? We're all going with the K family (Y and fam) to the temple next May too! Isn't that great?". After  N told me that I remembered my first time going through the temple. It was right after I'd gotten my initiatories I was sitting in a room with you, Dad, waiting for the temple president. He asked a few questions and said some really important stuff too, I'm guessing, all of which I've forgotten. I remember though him asking you which child I was, you telling him that I was the last of your 5 sons. The president asked if all of my other brothers had also been through the temple, and you told him yes. You then started to cry a bit, and in the moment I didn't at all understand why or exactly what significance it really had for you (and just in general) that all of your sons had made it through the temple. It's pretty much the greatest blessing we can achieve in this life, when you really think about it. The promises that you can be sealed in the temple with your family for all eternity and the flood of blessing associated with the temple that affect this life and the next can't be duplicated in even the smallest degree anywhere else. Almost at no other time of my life than right now have I seen how blessed I am and those families whose familes have been sealed in the temple. There's almost a physical light and difference you can see in those people; a happiness that you just can't find in any other people. It's awesome. Thanks Dad for helping me to start realizing that almost exactly 2 years ago at the temple :)

Heh, thanks for adding Sister F onto facebook! She called me on Monday making sure that she was writing to the right people and that "Carol" was a my mom's name! We talked more during the week and she was worried that you wouldn't be able to read the e-mail she'd sent you, and then the day you added me she called me and said "Elder Peterson! Your parents added me on facebook! I'm gonna show them all the pictures of you and that video! Tell your parents thanks so much for sending such a terrific son to Russia! All my love to them!" She really does love you, Mom and Dad, and she's one of my favorite members in the world. Have fun looking at the photos and video! By the way, in answer to your question, Dad, it means essentially "Happy March 8th! (that's womens day)." I don't remember what the song was about, though I can tell you it was most likely some kind of "yay for women!" song. Pretty typical for the holiday!

Well, that's what I've got for this week! Still no package unforunately, but I'm sure it'll come soon. Until then my socks are holding up alright! :)

I sure do love you! Thank you so much for being so awesome! Have a great day, and as for the rest of you (non-family members)...don't forget to shoot me an e-mail! :)

With love, as always
Elder Peterson