Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Loose Yourself in the Lord

Hey guys,

I don't have a lot of time to write. This has been one of the craziest weeks of my mission. I have also learned a lot. Most of my letters have been rushed lately. Hopefully next week will be better. This week I've seen things that I didn't think I'd ever see. It's been really crazy.

For now I will just say that I owe everything I have to the mission. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I had a spiritual experience that I would like to share. Sunday night as I knelt down to pray I felt overwhelmed, stressed out, frustrated and even angry. I started to pray expressing my feelings to my Heavenly Father and asking for peace and forgiveness for my mistakes of the day. My thoughts were very confused and just all over the place. Then a voice inside my head said, "Stop worrying about yourself". I knew it must of come from the Spirit because I was only thinking about myself. So, for the next few minutes, I poured out my heart in prayer for those who truly are struggling. Those who are lost and who may have even lost hope. I prayed for everyone I could think of including the missionaries in my zone. As I did, the peace that I was so desperately seeking began to wash over me. For me, it gave new meaning to the words of the Savior, "He who looseth his life shall find it." 
I look back on who I was 4 years ago, 2 years ago, even a few months ago and it is hard to imagine that I ever was who I was. I am forever indebted to my Savior. I know that it is only because and through His atonement that I have been able to become what I have.
I know Christ lives. He loves us. We are guided by living prophets and apostles. We are a part of the most glorious work that has ever existed: the immortality and eternal life of man. I love you all so much. Have a great week!
Elder Peterson

Thursday, October 1, 2015


This week was fun! We did divisions Tuesday and Wednesday and that was interesting, I was with Elder Thomas from Virginia and with Elder Lira from Bolivia. We have been working really hard. Hopefully we will start seeing a lot of success this week. We taught a really cool family yesterday. They seem like they have been prepared. Today we ate Dominos! They put a Dominos pizza here...real pizza! That was awesome! Well that's about it.

Love you, have a great week!

Elder Peterson


Hey mom and dad,

We are working super hard. I have only 20 minutes to write. We had a zone conference this week with President. It was really good. In our meeting with the zone, the one we have every week without President we talked about loving the gospel. There is a line in chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel on the first page of that chapter that says we should believe, teach, love and live those principles of the gospel. As I read it this week I realized I have never prayed much attention to the word love. There is a difference obviously between understanding the gospel and loving the gospel. Loving the gospel leads us to be diligent in our callings, trust in God 100%, have charity and not just love it (the gospel) but love everyone around us, because we understand that the worth of soul is great in the sight of God. I don't have time to explain everything I would like to so suffice it to say that I am coming to love the gospel more every day. I have always understood it, maybe not with my heart but I have understood it. The mission has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. And I esteem it of great worth. I don't know what else to say. I know that the Lord works line upon line and precept upon precept, slowly almost unnoticeably he has been changing my heart, he has been helping me become a better person. I wish I could be a missionary forever. Every moment is so precious. For some reason I'm at a loss for words. Love you all so much, I'll try and send some pictures real soon!

Elder Peterson


Sounds like everyone is having a blast on vacation. Take lots of pictures of the hikes you guys do!! The riots were to get rid of the government. Lots of people are unhappy with the President. It is not normal but no one is super worried. The training with president was great. We didn't have as much time as we wanted to but it was still really good. My companion and I trained about what Elder Wadell taught us.

As far as our week went, it was good. We started teaching a new family. They are super good! They seem to have been prepared to receive the gospel. It is a mom and her two daughters. The mom and her oldest daughter came to church. E got the priesthood this Sunday and this Saturday he is going to baptize his daughter!! He is a really good convert! The problem is that he has a lot of shows on Saturday nights. For example this Saturday he had a show in Quito at the Marriott hotel and he got back to Ambato at 6 in the morning, but he still went to all hours of church! For the rest of the week we visited a lot of other people. We were waiting for a lot more people to come to church but they didn't come.

I have been thinking about what Elder Wadell taught us about keeping our covenants. A few things he said that really effected me are: "The Father requires from us what he required from His Son.", "We cant do what Jesus Christ did, but we can do how he did". "A disobedient missionary is a coward, a liar and prideful."- He talked a lot about the Atonement. A scripture that I liked was Moses 7:55,56. When Christ was suffering for our sins we were most likely present and watching and we cried! He was obedient to His covenant. It was not easy, in fact He asked if there was another way, and the Father, in answered and said no, the conditions are set, you have to obey. He even explains His own suffering in D&C 19:18,19. It wasn't easy. Something we didn't talk about, but that came to me as I finished the Book of Mormon today is that the Father also has made covenants, one I believe was to send His son, and he did it. Covenant making is a principle that has existed before we came here to this earth. It is a principle that must be understood in this earth because if we can't keep our covenants here if we cant live the celestial law, we can't support a celestial glory (D&C 88:22). So I have been thinking a lot about this and it has helped me these last weeks to be a better missionary and a better disciple.

Some other scriptures he shared with us were: D&C 97:8,9 and D&C 98:12-15.

Have a great week! The church is true! The TRUE knowledge we have of the Atonement and the Restoration of the gospel is the most precious knowledge we posses. We should share it with everyone. Love you so much!

Elder Peterson



Okay...This has been a fun and interesting week! Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty normal. We did divisions on Tuesday. I was with Elder Poma from Bolivia. It was good. Wednesday we practiced for the special number that we did for Elder Wadell. We sang Army of Helaman with the sisters and the other elders. I sing a lot better now than 15 months ago, by the way. It is a talent I have been developing. Thursday Elder Waddell was supposed to arrive at 11am. We were there from 10:30am to 5:40pm, waiting! There were a lot of riots and things in Ecuador going on and most of the roads were blocked off, so they got here late. Basically, we only had an hour and a half of training instead of seven hours!! That was a bummer, but we fit a lot into that hour and a half. It was a super good training. We talked about the difference between a baptism and a convert. A baptism is a number and a convert is somebody that will endure and make it to the temple some day. We talked about the purpose of the priesthood (D&C 2- Elijah, sealing keys-seal families). We also talked about the Atonement and keeping our covenants, including the covenant we made when we accepted our mission call. It was very uplifting.

Saturday, we had the baptism of E which was awesome!! He got confirmed on Sunday as well. He is awesome and will be a great member. His daughter will hopefully get baptized this Saturday or next. That was our week. One of the less active families that we teach came to church this week, so that was good. This week the President is coming to Ambato and my companion and I have to give a specialized training. That should be fun.

I'm excited to see where Cody gets called to. Love you, have a great week!

Elder Peterson


Hi Mom!

My week has been good! We have a few investigators going to church. One is going to get baptized this Saturday hopefully. He is the rock star. We had a talent show this week as missionaries so that members could bring friends. It turned out really good. Me and my companion sang a song that I played on the guitar. Our investigator also sang. It was fun. We decided to do an activity for the zone. We have been focusing a lot on Christlike attributes! So we printed out an activity that there is in Preach my Gospel and had the missionaries fill it out. At the end of the change we will have everyone do it again to see how we have improved. We talked about a few other things as well. I really like the talk this last conference by Elder Kevin W. Pearson, "Stay by the tree". We actually put a quote from that talk on the activity that we handed out to the zone. The quote is "Once we enter into covenants with God, there is no going back. Giving in, giving up, and giving out are not options. In the kingdom of God, there is a standard of excellence for exaltation. It requires valiant discipleship! There is no room for average or complacent disciples. Average is the enemy of excellence, and average commitment will prevent you from enduring to the end." The Savior clearly stated what he wanted from us when he said, "Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am."-3 Nephi 27:27. We must all become like Christ and live the standard of excellence that he has given, so that when he comes, like it says in Moroni 7:48, “We shall see Him as he is.”

Christ lives! He came and will come again. "Our daily discipleship will determine our eternal destiny!" by Kevin W. Pearson.  Love you and hope you have a great week!

Elder Peterson


This week was good. We had three people in church, two will be baptized the 1st of August and one on the 8th of August. I'm super tired right now so I probably won't write a big letter. I am sending pictures. We found a new investigator this week. He is super cool. He is a semi-famous rock star! He accepted a baptismal date during the first lesson and went to church this Sunday. He has performed in the US before as well.

We had divisions this week also. I was with one of the new missionaries in the mission. At the end of the day I made him some patacones (a super popular Ecuadorian food) because he had never tried them before. I sent pictures so you can see what they are. Also while we were on divisions we were contacting and as we went around a corner a dog jumped out and bit me! It made a tiny hole in my pants but that's it. We also did three service projects this week. We cleaned out someone's water tank filter and we moved a bunch of giant rocks. The brother of the person that we did the service for has a hamburger joint and afterwards he invited us. I have to say they were the best hamburgers I have tried since coming to Ecuador. Other than that it was a pretty normal week. Next week we have changes. It's possible that my companion might leave but I will most likely stay here.

Hope everything is well and that everyone is doing good and enjoying the summer. Love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Peterson


Hey Mom,

Things have been great. I get along really well with my companion, which is always good. The work is always a little bit smoother when you have a good companion. We have been working really hard these weeks and we have taught a lot of new people. The ward I am in is really good. We have a lot of good members. This week we did divisions with one of the companionships in the zone. I was with Elder Contreras. We had a fun day together. He is from Bolivia.

There are a few companionships in the zone that are struggling, so Wednesday we went to one of their sectors to contact and help them find new people for a couple of hours. Thursday we did the same thing in a different sector with other missionaries. So we weren't able to work a ton in our sector this week but we still had success. We have been teaching the G family. They have come to church a few times now. They will hopefully get baptized during the first of August. The zone has been improving over the last few weeks.

I haven't been eating very good these last few weeks. And we've only gone running three times. We set a goal today to do better. I was doing really good until I came to Ambato. I am coming to the end of the Book of Mormon again. I have also been studying the New Testament. I will probably finish that again soon. I took up reading Jesus the Christ again and I am about to finish all the conference talks from April again. I was re-studying them. So I've basically been studying a little bit of everything. Sometimes it is hard to organize my studies especially since we study mostly for our investigators.

How's the family? So far it seems like it's been a pretty busy summer. Those pictures made me miss the mountains. I'm sure it's beautiful this time of year. My companion and I were talking the other day about what life will be like after the mission. I realized I have so many decisions to make before I go home and a lot of planning to do but no idea when I will be able to do it. My companion finishes pretty soon so that's how we got on to that subject.

Also looking at all the conference talks and what is happening in the US now is cool. Obviously they were inspired, recently two big topics have been the family and religious freedom. The second coming draws closer!! It will be extremely important to follow the prophet in these days which has also been a big topic, mostly in the October conference. So I have been thinking a little about that lately. Other than that, there is not a ton of things to report. I hope you liked the pictures I will try to take more. Send more to me as well.

Love and miss you! Have a great week!

Elder Peterson

Monday, September 14, 2015


Hi mom,
Ambato is nice. It is in the mountains and it's colder here, which I love. I'm still getting used to it though. I haven't seen any new animals here and I haven't heard anything about pumas but I wouldn't be surprised. I get along with my companion really well. His name is Elder Harmer, he's from Bountiful, Utah. We are working out. We going running every other day. I'm still really out of shape though. My biggest fear is that I will go home like this. I eat pretty healthy though. I heard that fruit is cheap, yes. We aren't allowed to ride in the back of pickup trucks, why? The ward is good. About 150 attend, so it's a strong ward. How many attend in our ward at home? I havent got the package yet. My next trip to Quito will be at the beginning of July. As a zone leader I have to travel to Quito at the beginning of every month for a leadership meeting. Our apartement is nice, it is on the second floor. I'll take some pictures for you next week...if I remember. We are supposed to work 50% with investigators and 50% with less actives. So we are working with bot,h although for the moment we don't have many less actives that we are working with. 
Everything is good though. I am learning about my new responsibilities and gaining the confidence of the misisonaries in my zone. I think Elder H and I will have a very successful time together though. We get along really good. Well, love you so much and I hope you have a great week!
Btw how are my brothers doing?
Elder Peterson 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Moving on....

Well I had changes. It was kind of hard to leave Tena. I had been there for a long time and have really come to love the people there. I will definitely miss it. Things will be in good hands though. Elder B stayed there as the district leader and he will be a good leader. He is the best companion I have ever had and definitely one of my best friends. I am in Ambato now with Elder H as a zone leader. Elder H is a great missionary. I've had a chance to talk to him on a few occasions. It should be a great change. I'm excited. There are 16 missionaries in the zone here and there will be four new missionaries coming. Things are good here. The weather is much nicer in my opinion. Its not too hot. I'm not sweating every second so that's a nice change. 

On Sunday there were some members of the church doing charity work in Tena from Twin Falls. I didn't know any of them, but one of the kids of one of the families is a good friend of B and D. I'll send a picture. 
The C family couldn't make it because they had to go to the hospital for one of their boys but he is fine now. This week they will definitely be there. Those boys are great!
Other than that there is nothing new to report. I'll send some pictures. Hope you have a great week! Love you!

When the spirit speaks...

This week was one of the most spiritual weeks I've had in the mission. We did not have a ton of lessons but the lessons we did have were very spiritual and edifying. At the beginning of the week we had a lesson with the C family. We have been working with the family since I got here and the two older boys (ages 17, and 15), have been coming to church faithfully now. They have to travel about an hour to get to church. And I imagine that they have to get up pretty early as well. Whenever we are with them I put my arms around both of them which is pretty easy because they not terribly big and tell them that they are my hero's! They truly are! This week we had a great lesson with the whole family. I remember distinctly during the lesson when the spirit entered the room, not little by little. It was very sudden. I have never felt the spirit like that during a lesson before. Hopefully, they will be in church this week. We had another lesson with JC as well. He has always been somewhat closed to the missionaries. The missionaries have taught his family for a while now, but Elder C and I were the first to be able to teach him. This week the Lord really prepared him to receive our message. Little by little, we have been able to gain his trust. For about an hour he stared into my eyes, occasionally looking down but almost the whole time he looked me in the eyes, and explained his thoughts and feelings and what he is struggling with right now, as well. He's not someone I can really picture crying but he cried as well. It was such a good lesson. Last night we taught him and his wife together. They have a lot of problems and need to decide whether they should give it another shot or separate. They have 4 kids. It was a very good lesson and the spirit was there. As we answered their questions and taught accordingly and really tried to listen, understand, and help the spirit grew stronger. As I testified at the end of the lesson I have never felt the spirit stronger. As I was speaking, I felt like a strength just entered into me like I had never felt before. It was like a convincing power that comes from inside of us, but that doesn't actually originate from us. Hopefully that makes sense or at least you understand what I mean. It really strengthened my testimony. It was a wonderful lesson. I felt honored to be a part of it. It was a very successful week. We had nine investigators in church and 12 less actives. Most of the less actives are progressing well. 

This Sunday we have changes. I have been here almost six months now. I have learned a ton. Part of me wants to stay. The people here still need a lot of help. But whatever the Lords will is, will be fine with me. My companion is awesome as well. I consider him one of my best friends. I hope everything is good. Love you! Have a great week!

Elder Peterson

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 25 letter

Well, another week has come and gone. Tomorrow I have to go to Quito to renew my visa. It's an hour bus ride there and back. We´ll probably leave tomorrow, Tuesday in the afternoon and we´ll get back Wednesday night. It's a lot of traveling. I might see some of the people I was in the MTC with though which should be fun. When I started my mission the missionaries who had a lot of time would talk about how they were tired of rice every day and I thought I would never get tired of it because I liked it but sometimes it does get boring. 

This week we had a conference in Puyo with President Christensen. It was great. I ripped a hole in my suit pants though about a foot long. It was funny, but you couldn't see it as long as I had my jacket on. We had quite a few new people in church this week, which was good. Hopefully they will progress. There are three more weeks left in this change. Today we played soccer until we couldn't stand up anymore. It is good to clear our heads every once in a while. 

I love you so much. Remember in two weeks it is fast Sunday. Read your scriptures and say your prayers as a family. I am studying a lot about Lehi's dream this week (the tree of life) and gave a talk on it this past Sunday. Something my mission president said is that once we have fallen off the straight and narrow path and let go of the iron rod, and fall in the abyss it is much easier to walk over to the great and spacious building, than crawl our way out and back to the straight and narrow path. The key is to never let go of the rod. Not even for a second. When we give an inch, we often tend to give 2 inches, then 3 inches and so on. The church is true. The Book of Mormon and the words of the prophets are the iron hold. It is easy to keep our eye on the iron rod, but it is different and we are more secure when we hold on to it. We must not just listen to the prophets, but do what they say. Love you. Have a great week.

Elder Peterson

Monday, May 18, 2015

Letter from May 18, 2015

We are preparing people still for baptism. Hopefully this change will make a difference. I would like to challenge you to invite others to gospel activities. I highly doubt you will offended anyone. Something I heard once is that "we are so worried sometimes about offending people (when it comes to sharing the gospel) that in the process we never save them." Those are words I will never forget.
That's what I'm trying to do. Even if don't see many fruits here in Tena in regards to baptisms, I believe my testimony is much stronger. 
This week we ate cow stomach and today we played basketball and soccer as a zone. The senior missionary couple is here now. They should help the branch out a lot. I'm not the counselor anymore, but it was an interesting responsibility. Well, love you. Hope you have a great week!!!

Elder Peterson

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 4 pictures only

letter from April 27

This week nothing terribly exciting happened. We have changes next week. I will most likely stay here which is what I want. There is a lot of work to do still. I am excited to continue. This week one of the part member families we have been working with came to church. The dad has really decided to change. He wants an eternal family. The spirit has worked in him and he is being converted. If I do get changed I know he will get baptized and sealed in the temple, which makes me happy. We've had a few other good lessons as well. The branch here will grow. This week during the branch counsel they decided that the work will go forward here in Tena. We've been working hard for a long time without much success, but things are going to pick up. This week we had seven less actives in church as well. As missionaries, we want the branch to grow and flourish, but baptizing anybody we can get into the water hasn't worked here in the past. We have been fighting so that not just the missionaries, but members have the desire to help the branch grow. And for getting good missionaries that will convert people to the Lord and not to the name tag. 
One important lesson that I have been learning here in Tena is that the Lord is much more interested in the Soul being saved than the instrument he uses to save it. Maybe we wont see a ton of fruits here in Tena but the Lord called us here when it was time to dig and nurture around the tree, and when it's time for the harvest he will call other servants to labor in the vineyard. What's interesting about missionary work is that it's not important when you labor in the vineyard, it's how you labor. I think something like that was said in the last conference. Something I read in, Jesus the Christ says. "Let the seed be sown, even though the sower be straightway called to other fields or other duties; in the gladsome harvest he shall find his recompense." I feel I've been called away to other duties a lot of times and that I didn't get to see the fruits and that because I wasn't there in the baptism or to watch a family get reactivated like I didn't also have joy in the fruits. But now I realize it doesn't matter. That whether we see the fruits of our labors or not we can be happy knowing that we did our part when the Lord asked it of us. The truth is they were never our fruits anyways, they are the Lords. 

The church is true. I'm not sure how many times I will say those four words in this life, but I know I will never stop saying them. The Lord is a great Shepherd, and he loves His sheep. "Therefore, dearly beloved bretheren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed." D&C 123:17.

Love and miss you all. Have a great week!

Elder Peterson

April 20 - Just Pictures this week.

April 13

We had a good week this week. We had to go to Puyo twice for a mini conference and for interviews with the President so we did a lot of traveling. We had a lot of people come to church though which was nice. They are thinking about putting a senior couple here in Tena which would be great. They would be able to help the branch out a lot. Other than that there is not much to report.