Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Perfect Day...Merry Christmas

merry christmas!!
     i love you guys.  oh man monday was so awesome to talk to you.  thanks for the great letter dad.  happy birthday old man.  i'll be there for the big 5-0.  sorry you guys were all sick.  that sucks.  ha ha i can only help but think back to two years ago when i was there.  oh man i was so sick.  the worst in my life.  it all started with a big mac right before a temple session with dad in ogden.  ha ha it's a miracle i'll even eat big mac's these days.  i hope jaynanne likes wsu.  college is seriously easier than high school.  but more important.  don't get too lazy.  i can't wait to be there for next christmas.  sounds like you had a good one.  sounds like church was good too.  i know what you're saying about crying during the hymn.  ever since being on my mission i've become just a big baby.  ha ha if the moment is right i'm quick to cry.  feels good though.  i can only imagine going to a sacrament meeting with some good singing. 
     i don't know what to say.  i said it all while talking to you.  seriously. i ran out of things to say ha ha.  but i'll think of something.  let's see.  well even though i already told you i'll tell you what we did christmas day.  church started at 10 with both branches combined.  so we got up at normal time and got ready.  the other elders opened their packages from their families but i was impatient and opened it last wednesday.  they didn't really get anything cool.  especially compared to my awesome package! ha ha.  
Elders Laycock, Petersen & Pres. Francis Simon
   the sacrament service was really awesome.  the larson's spoke with a translator.  it was so good.  i really really like them.  i hope we can stay in touch.  their talks were tear jerking.  then the district president gave a really good talk.  but right in his talk he said santa wasn't real.  ha ha.  i don't know if any kids were listening but he assured the parents not to worry.  ha ha.  he is a good guy.  after that we thought church was over.  the last we heard is that church would only be the first hour and then after that everyone would go out and visit less actives.  well since that was the news we spread, most people left.  everyone forced us back into the classes for the other two meetings.  so there was only like 20 of us or so.  ha ha oh well.  after sunday school i did a quick baptism interview.  for the third hour we combined and watched the 1st presidency christmas devotional.  it was awesome.  really really good.  president monson seemed so old in it.  there was a cool video in there of Christ's birth.  you should look it up online.  after church we were planning on going around to deliver cookies to our recent converts and some awesome members.  our ride ditched us so we asked the kk1 branch pres.  he was leaving town right after church so he couldn't.  we asked the kk2 branch pres and he said...also can.  ha ha.  

Christmas Trees?
so we went around and delivered all of the cookies me and laycock made along with a few pictures of us.  it was a hit.  we also caroled two songs at every house in malay.  awesome success.  we were able to hit 22 houses.  president chuah was a miracle.  it was a great christmas.  then we went home and played that card game you sent me after planning.  perfect day. :)

   oh yeah so those pictures are from the christmas party.  the four of us were decorated as christmas trees.  it was a competition.  it was pretty funny actually.  the members got really into it but there's only so much you can do so we basically all looked the same.  the christmas party was really fun.  it was on friday night. there were a ton of less actives there and actually we got a lot of investigators there.  let's see.  seriously my package was awesome.  easy cheese is awesome.  the two games are great.  the candy is all good, no lame tacky business.  the yo yo goes up and down.  jaynannes letter topped it all off.  sweet.  

yesterday the ap's came and today they gave us a quick training.  president and the aps are hiking to the top of mount kinabalu tomorrow with the district president from kl.  i'm jealous.  today we went to the beach for elder hawkins' and sister wong's last p day.  it was a lot of fun.  

oh yeah so it looks like april 5th is the day although i think it will be the 4th.  i'll let you know once i get flight plans...maybe.  me tovar and williams are extending and going home together.  thurman chose not to for some reason.  it should be a blast to go home with those guys.  oh yeah but i will totally miss general conference.  it is that first week of april so i'll be here in malaysia.  here they play it a week late so that first week will just be fast sunday.  then when i get home it will just be fast sunday again.  ha ha.  i'll just watch it on the internet.  

it's sweet that you finally got a pingpong table.  i can't wait to try it out.  i can't believe spencer has an iphone.  i've just been thinking about that for the last two days.  i want one!!  what price range are we talking?  how big is the memory?  i've got a bunch more questions. 
well dad you said I'll never quite comprehend the blessings my mission has been to the family.  i hope so.  i remember in sandakan i was teaching somebody.  i said i know my family is blessed because i am out here serving the Lord.  then i thought to myself is that really true?  so the next p day i asked you.  i can't find the email but you said yes of course it's true and you told me a few evidences of it.

just yesterday in district meeting we were talking about the blessings that missions bring and elder larson said "you guys can talk about this but you don't really know what you're saying and you won't know until many years later when you reflect back over the years."  well maybe i can't see it but i do have faith and hope that i will.  actually i already feel like i've seen tons of changes and blessing so i'm excited to just see even more later.  i really love you guys and i hope that things are going good back home.  i always pray for you.  mom dad thank you for your patience and teachings over the years.  you guys are awesome.  without a doubt i've got the best family anyone could ask for.
     i hope you have a good week.  i'll let you know what happens next week.  hawkins is dying but new missionaries don't come for another week so most likely me laycock and bradley will just be a threesome for a week.  i love you.  don't have too much fun over christmas.  jumpa lagi

elder petersen

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Still & Strong

selamat hari natal!

     well well thanks for the awesome TRUNKY email dad.  it's nice to see that you guys are having a good time.  what the freak spencer ha ha pretty much all of the clothes you were wearing were mine before ha ha.  oh well.  how tall are you now kid?  i'm glad you liked my last email.  i feel like i didn't really do the story justice.  it was cool though.  just an update.  that referral that came is so awesome!! her name is flora and she is just perfect.  it's true that there's no perfect investigator but she is just eating up our lessons.  she is taking tons of notes and she said that that night she read and reread the restoration pamphlet until 2 am.  ha ha wow.  and the other elders' investigator jerney is doing awesome.  just yesterday he told them that they need to meet more often and he is looking to be a miraculous end of the year baptism.  sweet.  yeah dad i totally remember that night caroling ha ha ha so funny.  don't worry about me giving a long talk later dad.  i've got nothing to say.  :)
     let's see.  awesome awesome week.  last Wednesday and thursday we went on splits to tawau.  it was really really fun.  Elder Brooks and i had some miraculous experiences finding.  i don't really have time to tell you them all.  but they've been struggling to find new investigators and we went out and found a bunch of good ones.  saturday was a great day.  
Trevor, Peter, Elder Laycock
Peter's family
elly and peter were both baptized!!!!  quick background on them.  elly is iban and was a referral from tawau.  a lot of his family was baptized in tawau.  some of them moved over here for a few months and so they introduced him to us.  he is about 30.  peter is the son of a long time member who has like 11 kids.  he is also like 30.  his brother right now is on a mission to washington dc.

he met the missionaries before but just wasn't ready to go all the way.  about 2 months ago he came to church on his own and asked if we could teach him again.   it was so sweet.  they are really awesome guys.  they both have pretty big families that came.  also the other elders had a baptism at the same time so they drew a crowd.  all in all between the three guys our little baptism room was packed.  but it was sweet.  flora was there again along with a few other investigators.  

Trevor, Theddie, Elly, Elder Laycock
we had theddie and peter, who are both about to go on missions, baptize them.  they did it perfectly first try.  like usual the baptism was a little bit stressful.  we were just running around trying to get everything in order and everything right.  

we just want everyone else to have a really good experience ya know?  that seems like missionary work in a nutshell.  well the biggest payoff of the night was when the two of our guys bore their testimonies.  this same thing has happened to me before.  sometimes when you are teaching an investigator you don't really know what they're thinking or how much they are absorbing.  
Theddie & Peter's family
both peter and elly are quiet guys.  they never exactly opened up to us but they clearly enjoyed having us teach them and we could see small changes in their lives. 

well they both gave extremely powerful testimonies.  they both talked about how before they weren't the best and they didn't really have anything to do with religion.  they both got really teary eyed when they said thank you and they expressed their beliefs in the gospel and the spirit they've felt.  it was really awesome.  i feel like i can't really understand how much this means to the people i teach.  i always seem to learn far after the baptism about how grateful my investigators were to meet us and how different they were before.  it is awesome.  that's got to be like the coolest part of missionary work.  sweet!
 on monday morning we took a bus to sandakan to do splits.  it was a blast.  i absolutely love sandakan!! i really really wish i could introduce you guys to the members there.  that would be so cool.  jaynanne if we have enough money i really want to go back there with you and tour the jungle of sabah.  we were able to see a bunch of members and also go caroling.  while caroling, one of the members brought us over to their cousin's house.  i actually remember knocking on the door and contacting the lady that lived there.  i don't know how i remembered.  she remembered me too.  that was atleast in august of 2010.  ha ha it was great.  so actually i might have planted a seed and harvested a seed.  one of my recent converts there is named jasli.  he has got to be my favorite.  he is 12 and a freaking stud.  last year he did not know how to read.  he has never been in school but he's really smart.  now a year later he can read malay and english.  he is going to be an awesome missionary.  there's another 12 year old named joshua.  we baptized him there along with his whole family.  he is the oldest.  when we were teaching him we basically had to drag him in to hear the lessons.  he really just wanted to join islam, but in the end reluctantly decided to follow the family.  now he is doing awesome.  he is totally different.  he has the priesthood, he is 100 percent active, he carries around the book of mormon everywhere, and he also will make a great missionary.  it's so cool to see.  i absolutely love sandakan. 
A house on a swamp in our area
lately we've been kind of low on our finding new investigators.  this past week was finally good.  we found a part of town that is almost 100 percent christian.  when elder laycock was on splits here with elder bradley they found a cool family.  they only talked to the wife though.  she is 21 and indonesian.  she's got 1 kid.  me and laycock went back and she was so cool.  she has read both of the pamphlets that they left with her and she asked us if she could buy a book of mormon from us.  we didn't have any with us but we said she could have one for free tomorrow.  the next day we went back and gave her one.  her husband was finally there so we had a good talk with him too.  he said "hey i've met your friend before" in my experience that is rare so i doubted whether or not it was really from our church.  he said "yeah elder, elder, elder oren"  i've never heard of him so we were just like uh yeah maybe.  he ran into the house and then came out with a name card just like ours and a plan of salvation pamphlet.  on the name card was elder oren and elder osborne.  i recognized elder osborn.  my group replaced his group.  so that means that this guy, yanto, has hung on to that pamphlet and name card for about 2 years.  wow.  that is impressive.  clearly this guy had been prepared to meet us.  exactly what we pray for each day.
     well merry christmas.  happy birthday mollie!!!  i'm planning to do skype here at 9 am monday morning, there 7 pm sunday night.  you better be there or else.  i'm so excited.  i don't really have anything to say to you guys though.  i just basically said it all in this email ha ha.  jaynanne i loved all the pictures you sent me.  you crack me up.  ok talk to you monday.  i love you

elder petersen

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brown & Murky Miracles

astaga lah bah
     wow i love you guys.  your letters really crack me up.  i've been keeping the elders here up to date on my school options and concerns so i read them dad's email.  ha ha they got a crack out of it.  thanks for all the advice.  mollie!! that's my girl getting the Hobbit question right.  it's a bummer you lost.  oh well.  are you in 7th grade?  there's always next year. _she's in 8th :)_    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! 24 years eh? that's a long time.  congratulations. basically the missionaries run the show here in east malaysia.  kk isn't so much like that but in most other branches the leadership is so new and they totally lean on the elders for help which is understandable.  
Anime Convention at the mall :)
despite your law of sibling game contention, i still miss playing games with you guys.  sometimes at the end of the day if we have extra time we squeeze in a quick game.  especially if the next day is pday.  last night we got a good quick game of Ucher in.  it is a card game played with five cards each.  you sit across from your teammate and you have to take tricks together but you don't know their cards.  well we were two points from winning and it was almost time for bed.  it was a great finish.  those guys took two tricks and we took two tricks.  if we won the last trick then we got two points and won the game.  after elder bradley led out i knew i had the winning card.  laycock and i both threw our cards down at the same time.  he also had a potential winning card.  we won the game.  we started to cheer and rub it in and give two handed high fives.  ha ha ha it was fun.  no contention really. 
welllll well well this week was awesome!  seriously good week.  actually there's basically just one main highlight that i want to report on.  Lawrence was baptized!!!  it was sweet.  it wasn't pretty but it happened.  alright here's the story.  basically lawrence is unpredictably predictable.  he doesn't have a good handphone so it is hard to stay in touch with him.  on saturday the baptism was scheduled to start at 5:00 sharp.  he told us he would be early to get ready and everything.  we were like ok perfect.  we got there around 3:20 to fill the font which takes about 1 hour++.  so we got it started.  at 3:30ish lawrence walked in.  haha plenty early.  well at least we knew for sure he would be there.  i was chosen to baptize him so we knew the two important players were there, it would for sure happen.  well then tragedy struck.  at about  4:00 some kids at the church ran up to us and told us that the water was dirty.  we were a little surprised so we checked it out and sure enough it was kind of yellow.  i thought well that's not too abnormal for malaysia so we let it keep going to see if it would get better.  it only got worse.  the water just started to get brown and really murky.  the thing is that they used the font just last week and it was fine.  so we stopped the water.  we weren't sure if the water was dirty or if the font was dirty.  the next problem was that we didn't have the key to drain the font.  so we couldn't even drain it to clean it and put in clean water.  we were in a predicament.  the members told us to either do it at the Larson's condo pool or at the ocean.  we thought the pool would be a better option and not require permission from president clark.  we called the larson's and they said the pool was not at all private so they recommended the ocean.  we told lawrence this and he was like kind of scared at the thought of going to the ocean.  ha ha.  well, in the end miraculously we found the keys to drain the font in the clerk's office.  we realized that it was in fact the water that was dirty not the font.  so we would still have a problem of filling it back up with dirty water.  the district president was there and he went out to the big filter outside the building and was checking it out.  he switched it to backwash and let the water run backwards through the filter for a while.  he said that it was long overdue to do that.  we let it run until it finally ran clean.  by now it was about 5:05 or so.  everyone that was coming was there.  we ran inside and rinsed the residue dirty water out of the font and started filling it again.  but it would take at least an hour to get to a reasonable height.  i switched to my white clothes and we took pictures and then sang a lot of songs to wait the font out.  the district president was kind of impatient and so we just got started anyways.  by now it was about 5:30 or so.  well it all went pretty well.  

when it came time for the baptism the two of us went down into the water and it only came to right below his knee and to my shin.  hmmm.  pretty low.  so i had him sit down and i kneeled down to do it.  well it went fine and was still a good experience.  we changed clothes and finished the program.  no harm no foul i guess.  in the end we actually realized how all of these things worked out for the better.  a young man in the branch that is about to go on his mission to texas really wanted to bring his friend to the baptism.  he knew he would be late.  because we started so late it turned out that he came just on time.  she was able to see the whole service and sing hymns with us.  we met her afterwards and she is really really nice.  the other elders were planning on meeting an investigator at the baptism but he was late.  because we started so late he was able to catch some of the service.  he was able to meet with the elders after and they had a great lesson where they talked about baptism and put him on date.  now he has already come to church two times.  so what started out as a bad thing that delayed our baptism actually turned out to be really really good.  who would have known that.  truly miraculous.  we just have to remember 2 nefi 2:24.
     that was a long story i know but it was cool.  this week we are planning on two more baptisms.  i'll report next week.  elder laycock and I are working really hard.  we've had some rough couple of days but yesterday we finally got some payoff.  it started with awesome taco salads from the larson's after district meeting.  then we went contacting and found a really really nice family.  i was about to share about the restoration but laycock said no share about the plan of salvation. so we did.  and they really liked it.  they have like 13 people that live in the one house but it is mostly kids.  awesome.  also we were able to visit elly and co. he is the one on date for saturday.  also on the buses we talked to more christians than usual and had a lot of good discussions.  we ended off the night at the church talking with our branch presidency about a mission plan and about how we can help them out and then i did a baptism interview for the other elder's investigator.  he was awesome.  it is a privilege to meet with people that are about to get baptized.  they seem to open up the the interviewer.  it's cool.  so yesterday was awesome.  i wish we had a lot more days like that.
Here's the actual Location of Zion.  Who knew?  It's in KK
 well the church is true.  i love you guys so much.  i'm definitely going to skype you guys. ok? i'm planning on monday the 26th around 9 am.  it will be christmas night at 7 pm there.  is that ok?  i'll probably just have to make a new acount and add you again.  alright you guys are awesome. 

Stanley, 14 Way funny, cool kid, Branch Pres - son
 i talked with president about my release date.  the we were talking to the aps last night and they said pres might send me an email today talking about it but he didn't.  so i still don't know.  frankly i don't care.  i would prefer not february.  anyways don't worry about it.  i get there when i get there.  say hi to grandma and grandpa.  i'm glad you got that email from our bml.  i hope i get the package soon.  ha ha thanks so much.  i love you.
elder petersen

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Curry Puffs & Anti Crap

     wow well i really don't know what to tell you all this week.  let's see first of all it sounds like things are going good back home.  i can't believe the weather is so crazy there.  weird.  dad thanks for all the info on school.  it was so much.  i just don't know what to do.  i'll email you.  
     well like i said last week, right now i am in sibu sarawak.  you'll have to look it up on the map.  it is about at the bottom third mark of sarawak.  it's sweet.  yesterday was zone leader council, that's why i'm here.  it's a monthly meeting with all of the zone leaders.  well the flights are all pretty booked right now so we got stuck down here for a long time.  we got in tuesday afternoon and we are leaving tonight thursday at 6.  really we've been kind of bored but we are making the most of it.  this is like one of the promised lands of the mission.  so we've been exploring a little bit and we went out with some elders.  the training yesterday was awesome, like usual.  i love president.  the ap's right now too are really good.  we are on track to hit our mission goal for baptisms but it is not yet guaranteed.  we got some inspired training to bring back to our zone that will hopefully push us to the very end.  also we got a ton of packages to bring back to our zone.  none for me...  but president did give us all a gift.  well, present at the meeting were four awesome elders from the group ahead of mine.  they are all going home on the first week of january and they had to bear their dying testimonies.  there was hawkins gottfredson evanson and cazier.  it was good.  that night after interviews we went out, with an elder that is in kuching now but was here for a long time, to visit a member.  it was a blast.  oh man they gave us way too many curry puffs.  so many.  they were delicious.  they knew elder garrett and thomas and chin really well and liked me better when i told them i knew them all.  so i was able to enjoy and experience just a little bit of the famed iban hospitality.  it was good we sat on the ground, ate sunflower seeds and coke, and had an iban karaoke cd going in the background.  classic.  today the sibu elders met at the church for a meeting with pres and we followed because there was pizza involved afterward.  so all in all it is hard to get around here but my stay in sibu was fun.  I was also able to see elder cheel who is also dying in january.  sweet.
     kk is still doing awesome.  i love it up there.  we actually had a lot of set backs this week.  we had a long time investigator tell us that this just isn't for her.  it's a shame.  actually she has never come to church so how would she know?  we have only been going to her house because another guy there is progressing great and is on date for next week.  i just really hope she has a change of heart.  so we are trying to figure out how best to rework our area to be more productive.  we've been working hard but i feel we could be more efficient.  my comp is still awesome.  i like him.  the members are so funny.  oh yeah on sunday we were all sitting in branch council and a member poked their head in and handed the first counselor a paper.  apparently while we were all at church somebody came around and put anti mormon stuff in everybody's windshields.  ha ha garbage.  no one was really phased but it was uncalled for.  it wasn't just general anti crap, it was directed at members.  it started out with something like "beware oh ye of the mormon church, repent and leave that wicked group" etc etc.  that just goes to show you just how corrupt other churches are.  things of Christ inspire to do good and be good.  that is clearly of the devil.  oh well.  this week we should be having a baptism of old lawrence!!  we are so excited.  he is really great, just old and lives far away.  but every soul is precious in the sight of God right?
    last week i had a hair cut from a member because she owns a place. 
     well i love you all.  i have to go catch a flight.  in my interview with president clark he said to me at the end, "you know elder petersen you've really matured over your mission.  your parents are going to be really happy to see you again."  ha ha i just laughed and said ok thanks pres maybe.  he said "seriously you have, you're a great missionary."  well that was nice of him.  i guess i might be different when i get home.   well don't get too trunky on me.  i'll probably call christmas night your time.  hope you are home ha ha.  again i love you.  have a great week!

elder petersen

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Look for Miracles

hello hello
     very good to hear from you all.  wow thanksgiving.  trunky!  on friday morning there was a point where i stopped and said "i bet everyone is sitting around the table back home right now playing 9 cards down."  ha ha i was right.  we played a few card games that night as well.  ha ha ha oh man that tree sounds awesome!  that is funny.  does it take up the whole family room? i can just imagine kids from idaho clapping to see you guys.  i can't believe utah lost!  come on!  that's good to hear that nba is back on but it is still weird.  like if utah went all the way and won it all it would probably be down played because it wasn't a complete season.  so i guess this year we'll just let someone else win.  ha ha ha a bushman from borneo huh?  ha i've seen plenty of those.  that is too funny. yeah here people do the fist bumb a little bit.  mostly the two people will do a thumbs up and then flip each other's thumbs or after the handshake change to a grasp thing and then flip the thumbs.  i always do the fist bump to people.  it seems cleaner than shaking some of their hands.
     well intersting week for sure.  first and foremost was thanksgiving.  thursday after i emailed you we headed over to the Larson's.  oh man i really like them.  probably my favorite senior couple i've served with.  they are just all around awesome.  so so funny.  elder larson is a stake patriarch.  they are from north carolina or something.  they have thick southern accents and just say exactly what they are thinking.  wow sister larson is an amazing cook!  thanksgiving was made up southern style.  there are no turkeys here so we had awesome chicken with mashed potatoes(!) and buttery green beans (so good) and sweet potatoe casserol (amazing) and great biscuits and salad and cranberry jello stuff and sweet potatoe pie and chocolate apple sauce cake with ice cream.  oh my gosh it was incredible.  i gained three pounds over dinner.  after we ate us four elders couldn't move.  we just layed down and were stuck there.  sister larson didn't notice at first but then she looked over at us and started laughing so hard and ran and took a picture.  we got in a few card games as well.  very good thanksgiving.
      well as part of our push for the end of the year we are trying to look for miracles everyday.  each night we have to call the other districts in the zone and we ask them what their miracle of the day was.  we have seen so many miracles.  when you are really looking for them you start to see a lot.  it's cool.  one cool one is that i contacted a girl on the bus named beverly.  she was way nice.  we were both going to the end of the line so we talked for a while.  she actually was contacted by the sisters a few months ago when it was two different sisters.  she said she gave away the pamphlet to her parents so she doesn't have it anymore.  i gave her a new one and we talked about it.  she seemed like she would really come to church.  i passed it to the sisters because she lives in their area.  a few days later sister gopinath contacted beverly's sister on a different bus.  she was really interested and said basically she is a church hopper so she would love to come and see what our church is like.  since then she read the whole pamphlet and has a lot of questions.  that is not coincidence that we both contacted two people from the same family.  another cool thing is that a christian family just moved in next door to one of our top investigators.  last time we were there he was just standing outside and he called me over to talk to me.  he asked if i had a mormon bible and i didn't have any extra so i gave him a pamphlet.  he said that he met missionaries about 5 years ago in a different part of kk but they didn't really speak malay.  so he was asking a bunch of questions.  he gave us a ride home later that day any we had a good talk with him.  yesterday we went back and gave him a book of mormon and when we walked up he was watching the finding faith in Christ dvd that he borrowed from our investigator.  ha ha he was definitely prepared to meet us.  he is a school teacher so he has good work hours and he knows english pretty good.  definitely a kingdom builder. 
     our other investigators are doing good as well.  we have three, lawrence, elly and peter that are going to be baptized really soon.  they are all looking good but all have their own little challenges.  we are pretty confident they will all make it.  i have a sad story to tell you but i just called an audible and decided not to tell you.  it is about this drunk guy we met.  why would anybody subject themself to be drunk.  they lose all control of their body?  ya that was random but oh well.
     on monday we had a branch social.  it was fun.  we played this game called telefon charades.  it was so funny.  basically like 5 people are involved at a time.  most of them go out into the hall and wait.  the fist person acts out the charade thing and then the second person watches.  after thirty seconds the second person has to act out what he thought it was to the third person and so on until the last person has to guess what it actually was.  it was so funny.  elder larson was just dying of laughter.  some of the things were a fish, angry birds, thou shalt not kill, mermaid, and the bml david chong.  i'm telling you it was hilarious.  the elders quorum pres did the mermaid one and everyone was dying laughing.  it turned out a lot better than i expected.  there was some investigators there and some recent converts.  afterwards there was lots of food and so all in all it was a successful fellowshipping activity. 
     well besides that we just have to same old same old going on here.  next week i go to sibu for zone leader council so i won't email you on wednesday. after that i'll probably go on splits each week till christmas.  the branch here is awesome.  the members are so cool.  the missionaries are all cool.  our investigators are all cool.  no complaints.  dad tell me about you money scheme.  a truck would be cool but not a huge truck.  and cough cough what happened to that motorcycle cough cough...  oh one last cool thing.  i got two letters yesterday.  one was from grandma.  tell her thanks.  she is awesome!!  the other is from a random girl from arizona.  she said that her and her friend were just looking through missionary blogs and decided to write some missionaries a letter.  also can!  anyways the church is true the book is blue.  keep up the work on the home front.  i love you all!!
elder petersen

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Knock, Knock, 3 In A Row...

selamat hari bersyukur!
     wow awesome letters.  first and foremost i will be praying for the U's success.  that is the best news i've heard in a while.  wait, does spencer have his license?  that is so weird ha ha.  i can't wait to play games with you guys when i get home.  i just remember back in the day i used to crush you all.  we'll see if that still the same ha ha. occasionally we play games here and uh i hate to brag but yeah i haven't lost yet.  ha ha.  i can't believe bishop is a runner.  sweet.  you guys all seem to be on a running craze right now.  also can.
     well well this week was awesome!  seriously i can't even tell you everything that happened.  friday was a big day.  ok well every monday and thursday we report with our zone.  thursday after reporting elder hawkins and i were trying to think of what we could do to help out our zone.  we feel like we are definitely limited because we are 6 hours from one city and 9 hours from the other.  we decided to have a fast the next day on friday.  we decided not to do it on sunday so that it would seem different than your average fast.  so we were pretty pumped and we told everyone about it.  so we started thursday at the end of the day.  friday morning at about 10:30 elder hawkins and i joined in on a conference call with all of the zone leaders in east malaysia and president clark and the ap's.  we didn't really know what it would be about but we assumed that it would be about our gap between our goal and our actual performance as a mission.  we were right.  with six weeks left before the end of the year we are pretty far off from our mission baptism goal.  in a loving way president clark told us that we simply are not doing good enough.  he said that the past few weeks have seen the fewest number of baptisms since he has been president but we have the potential to see the highest number of baptisms soon.  i really wish you could have heard him.  he was incredibly inspiring.  no doubt he cracked down on us and was mad.  he was very too the point and told us what needs to be done so that we can hit our goal.  he said each companionship mission wide must have 4 baptisms before the end of the year.  there will for sure be people that dont hit that so some need to step up.  he said obedience brings blessings but obedience with exactness brings miracles and brethen we need a miracle.  the only way that i can describe this to you is that he sounded like off of some sports movie like "miracle".  in the end he said you have failed if you didn't do all that you could.  if you could have had 15 baptisms and you only had the four required then you failed.  so he told us to have a zone meeting and pass this information on.  well we couldn't exactly meet with our whole zone together so that night we had our own conference call.  there was no way we were as inspiring as president clark but i think we passed his message along.  so right now it is crunch time.
     so like i said friday was great.  after the conference call i was pumped.  we were already fasting and we had nothing planned for the day besides going finding.  the night before as i was laying in bed i was thinking about where we could go and i really felt like we should go to this one area that we scouted out a few days before.  it felt good.  so that is where we went.  i basically had in mind two streets there.  well before we started knocking we had a prayer.  the first street started off with a muslim house.  there were so many dogs barking everywhere that i felt we should just abandon that street.  so we left it and said we would come back later.  the next street was completely fruitless.  lots of muslims and angry chinese people.  people ignored us or closed the door on us.  nothing.  we wandered around a little bit and had a few other lessons but really we got nothing.  i was feeling pretty bummed because i was so pumped earlier.  so we went back to that first street.  the first house we knocked was a christian but she totally ignored us and was rude.  ok whatever.  next was muslim.  it was looking like a repeat of street number 2.  the third house was different.  a katazan lady invited us inside her gate and we sat on her front porch and talked.  she was really nice and has 5 children and we were able to share a good message about the restoration.  she gave us her number but didn't set up a specific return appointment.  so she wasn't quite a new investigator but had potential.  she was the last house on the one side.  the next house we knocked was the last house on the other side.  an old lady came to the door and she was really quiet.  there was some dogs barking so i asked her if we could come inside the gate so we could hear her better and surprisingly she said yes.  she took it a step further and set out chairs and told us to sit down.  we talked with her for like thirty min.  as she told us about herself and we talked she actually shed a few tears.  she told us that lots of people from other churches have come by her house but she never let anyone else in before us.  sweet.  she also told me that she saw me on the bus before.  she overheard me contacting someone on the bus one night and she wanted to know what i shared.  after a closing prayer she said a specific time we could come back.  awesome!!  she also has a big family.  two houses in a row.  wow.  the very next house was a similiar story.  we were standing by the gate and there was a lot of  people walking around and stuff and we asked if we could come in.  they said of course.  they probably let us in more out of kindness than anything but we were able to share a good message with them and they gave us their phone numbers.  wow.  three houses in a row.  it pays off to endure to the end.   those were the last three houses in the area.  we were invited in and had three good discussions with a potential of about 12 or more people.  really awesome.  it was still light out and we wanted to keep knocking so we went over to another area and continued.  the first two houses were no good.  at the third house there was a man and wife outside weaving a couple of fishing nets.  we said hi and they invited us over.  we talked about fishing for a second and then sat out on their porch and shared about the restoration.  they were pretty strict catholics but really nice.  it was a mom and dad and one teenage kid.  he gave us his pone number but then said oh no now you are going to call me every day right?  so we don't want to pressure this guy too much.  by this time it was dark and we had to go back to the city.  but what a day.  four solid solid potentials.  that was almost a week ago and we've already had follow up lessons with two of them.  elder laycock said to me, "i'm not going to lie i feel pretty spiritual right now."  ha ha me too.  i think our fasting and our preparation paid off.  it was a good day.  miracles do happen.
Contact Mario at the Mall
     well other sweet things have been going on since then but i don't have time to tell you everything.  i told you about lawrence last week.  he stayed strong!! he didn't drink with everyone at the tradition moment of the wedding but unfortunately he drank the day before after helping to set everything up.  but we talked with him and he is still looking really good for his baptism.  it's exciting.  we've been getting closer to some members here.  the members up here are so solid.  they are funny.  a few funny guys who are going on their missions in march one to new york and one to texas commented that missionaries in general but me specifically say "also can" a lot.  ha ha.  it's a west malaysia thing.  but now i have them all saying it.  they are so funny.  we recorded me saying it and set it as one of their ring tones if we call them.

Harun Sisters Mission Calls to London, England
oh i just thought of another huge story but i will summarize.  there is an awesome family up here named the harun's.  they have a missionary right now in salt lake and one is the elders quorum pres and the dad is in the branch presidency and the girls all have big callings.  there are two twins that are 23 i think.  girls.  they are so funny but they've been waiting for 

their mission papers for more than a month now.  on sunday they opened them.  a bunch of us went to their house after church.  it was way exciting and way spiritual and way surprising.  they both report to the mtc on the same day and they both are going to england, one to london england and one to london england south.  they just cried and hugged when they read them.  cool.
     well things are going awesome here!!  i love it.  we have p day on thurs this week so we can celebrate thanksgiving.  later we are going to the larson's for some southern style cooking.  the larson's are from the south and they are so so so funny.  she is just like paula deen.  i love you all.  thanks for everything.  oh i really need your full chocolate chip cookie recipe.  i told everyone it was my specialty so they want me to cook for christmas.  ha ha.  we'll see how that goes.  say hi to everyone in the ward.
elder petersen

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's a Wedding, Drink Up?

dear family,
     i love you!!  oh man i don't know how to say it but for some reason your emails are so awesome.  so nice to read.  dad i got both of yours this week.  thanks.  i knew after 86 letters there was no way you forgot ha ha.  ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha mom's story about the NAL match is so funny.  ha ha oh man she must have been so embarrassed.  priceless.  i think i would have been embarassed if i was there.  if dad shouted out i would be fine but if mom did then i would also be dying ha ha.  that's rough about your shoes but yeah you're right at least you have shoes.  ha ha.  speaking of shoes i might buy some new ones but i think i can probably hold off.  i can't believe grandma and grandpa have been married for 50 years.  that is way cool.  please say hi to them for me.  alright the half should be sweet.  i can't imagine christian as elvis.  i'm sure it would be funny to hear jaynanne tell me about people in our home ward.  alright utah. GO UTES! alright taylor swift.  i don't know if i told you but i tell everyone here that she is my girlfriend.  a lot believe me.  i have this one picture of her cut out and taped to a picture of me.  it is hilarious.  actually last week i told this muslim guy that avril levine was my ceweh too because her song was playing.  he was amazed.  he said tell her hi for me.  ha ha ha so gullible.  thanks for your thought about abraham dad.  actually i was thinking about something similair to that recently.  i have been reading the old testament and i'm almost done.  i frequently have deep thoughts but i forget to write them down and then usually forget.  ha ha the bible is pretty good though.
     well it was another interesting week in borneo.  we went on exchanges again and left the greenies to fend for themselves.  we flew to tawau for two days and just got back last night.  it was a blast.  elder williams is there from my group.  he is so funny.  look up where tawau is in sabah.  it's the only other city here with missionaries.  so now i've completed my trifecta of sabah.  sabah is so cool.  the people in this state are so nice.  i just wish we could teach muslims.  oh well.
     sunday we had KK1 and KK2 combined for a primary presentation.  ha ha it was funny.  it wasn't as perfectly planned and executed as you would imagine in utah but it was still good nonetheless.  we had way good attendence and had a good group of investigators there too.  i think they really enjoyed it but it might be kind of weird to see on their first sunday at a different church.  eventhough it was kind of unorganized i still got the chills when they sang a child's prayer.  oh man i love that song.  it is just a tear jerker.  ha ha if you have a soul it should bring a wave of emotions.  so in answer to your question i don't know if regularly in malaysia they have primary programs but they had one this past weekend and it was great. 
     i want to tell you about a man named lawrence.  he is about 58 and he lives alone.  he is so awesome.  the sisters contacted him before we were in the area but we taught him after we got here.  he is just so willing to do what we say.  he really stops and thinks about what we are sharing with him.  we taught him lesson two with one of the ap's.  it went great.  he had a ton of great questions.  at different times throughout the lesson we would teach a principle and then he would sit back in his chair and think and smile and say "oh ok" and nod his head and then ask us to continue.  ha ha he was eating it up.  pretty much the whole time we've taught him he has read everything we asked him to and always come to church even though he's about an hour away and always prayed.  i thought he is too perfect.  he must have some concern about something.  but he never did.  i hope i didn't jynx him.  he is set to get baptized this saturday.  well monday night we got an sms from him.  he said "petersen i'm so sorry i have to postpone my baptism to december because this saturday is my cousin's wedding and for sure i will drink a little bit there. i'm so sorry"  oh my heck.  i was just devestated to read that.  he's not a drinker by any means but i guess he's not strong enough to stand up against a long time wedding tradition where everyone drinks a shot together.  we've just been really praying for him.  we haven't had a chance to talk to him.  it is worse because he knows it is a sin and he is still choosing to do it.  so frustrating.  he is still solid though and we hope he pulls through.
     well lately we've been doing a lot a lot of finding.  we've asked some members where to go and they've given us some suggestions.  it's actually been going pretty good.  we've been talking to a lot of people and we've gotten a lot of phone numbers.  we haven't really had many return appointments from that yet but we did have one with a nice preacher from another church.  he is a nice guy with a nice family.  he is at least interested enough to hear what we have to say.  so sweet.  we are really praying and working hard right now that we can find a family to baptize before the end of the year.  that is our goal.  that is our focus.  but we basically have to find them this week so they have enough time to learn.  i really hope it will happen.  well i am really loving it here.  we're starting to get to know more members and they are really being friendly.  me and laycock get along way good.  he is funny and really nice to the members.  i'm really scared though.  i hate to think about it but my mission time is coming to a close.  it's sad.  i just love teaching people you know?  i don't want to miss a chance or have any regrets.  as we've been out finding we have met a lot of people from other churches and they are just missing something but they don't know it.  i am so glad that i have 4 hours a day to study the gospel with my companion.  from these studies i feel like i've really learned a lot more about the church and about Jesus Christ.  i have to tell you i love this church.  this is for sure God's church.  this work isn't easy but i know the pay off is huge and God is definitely on our side.  i hope everything is going good back home.  i just wrote jaynanne a letter and in it i kind of said how i just hope so much that my recent converts stay active.  then i thought about how any parents hope that their kids will stay active and gain a testimony.  then i thought that even me as an older brother, i'm not really worried but kind of anxious to see if my younger brothers and sisters will do the good things i've done or if they'll slip up in the same places i did or if they'll choose a totally different path.  i just really hope that everyone in our family will always be strong in the church.  i'm telling you we will be so happy together. 
     well i love you guys so much.  if you send anything just send it to singapore.  i might get it a little late though.  i don't really need anything but some letters would be sweet.  or pictures.  say hi to everyone for me.  go to church.  say your prayers.  have a good week.
elder petersen

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Machete's and Reunions

hey fam bamily
     not to make you feel guilty or anything because i know you probably have a good reason but dad this is the first week on my mission that you did not email me.  wow this is so weird.  seriously it feels like i'm missing something.  it sounds like everything is going really good back home though.  nice oskar you the man!  i can't believe you are 12 and i can't believe you will be passing the sacrament.  crazy.  nice mollie i never did comment but that is so cool that you are on NAL.  it was a blast.  ha ha i remember some kids making fun of me but it's just because they were too dumb to make the team.  ha ha.  i wish i did it before i was in 9th grade.  who is the coach?  well it still sounds like the world is in chaos.  cool.
Two girls from our KK branch 23 & 19 yrs old...short :)
     well this last week was just awesome.  wednesday after p-day me and hawkins left the greenies here and hopped on a plane to kuching sarawak.  i finally made it baby!!  sarawak is like the holy land of our mission.  it is a huge part of the mission.  that is like all christian and they baptize like crazy.  it is where all the tribal people and jungle trekking is.  everyone wants to serve there but if you don't start out there you don't really get in.  it was nice to say i set foot there but to tell you the truth sabah is way better!  we just had a bunch of meetings there all day so i didn't really see the real sarawak.  it was good training.
     we had a really good week of finding new investigators.  we are always so happy when we actually meet up with someone again that we've contacted.  it really is exhilarating to teach someone the gospel.  i don't really want to go in to everyone but i'll let you know if any of them progress past the first appointment.
A few of Jessica's Kids...sooo cute
     we met a lot of crazy people this week.  first was this old chinese lady.  as the four of us walked past her she just stopped looked up at me and in english said "wow long boy!"  ha ha the greenies were laughing so so hard.  next was when we were waiting for a bus.  it was a little later and we were waiting for a rare bus.  a guy in a truck pulled up and offered us a ride.  he seemed a little crazy so i asked him if he was drunk.  he said no in a drunk manner.  ha ha we took the ride.  he was in fact crazy.  but we got home safely and avoided giving him our home address and emails even though he relentlessly asked.  ha ha last was a white guy at the night market.  we were waiting for our ramli burger to cook and he walked up and said hi.  he was possibly taller than me.  he was australian and seemed nice.  actually he asked if we were mormons.  looking back he kept putting us down.  he told us that he was fluent in malay but never spoke it.  in the end i tried to offer him a restoration pamphlet but he said "no i can't accept any literature i'm a jehovah's witness"  that explains it.  he was weird.  i wish we had more time to talk with him so i could really test his malay and see what he believed doctrinally because i just don't know.  we met those three crazy people all in one day.  ha ha weird.
Sunset over Sandakan
     alright last but certainly not least....i went back to sandakan!!!!!!  yeah baby!  oh man it was so awesome.  so nostalgic.  we went there for exchanges and it was a blast.  we just got back.  the ride to and from was terrible.  we took a six hour bus ride each way on a winding, winding one lane road.  it's the only road they've got.  i am so trunky for sandakan right now.  the highlights were seeing the chin family, elder chin as well, going to the bistro on the harbor front, seeing jason villaflores,  just staying in the house again, and of course visiting Ning's family.  
Elder Brown at the house we were building in the Jungle

tues morning we helped jason with some hard work.  we went out into the jungle and used machetes to chop down trees so that he could make his house.  then they floated them up a filthy river to the house site.  pretty crazy.  way tiring. 


The Ning Family -Ning, Jasli, Tingak, Rinijah, Ronny, Rayne, & Rainah
tuesday night me and elder browne went to the ning's!!  it was so sweet.  they were so funny.  they gave me a few gifts.  jasli is now 12 and has the priesthood.  his voice totally got deeper.  ha ha he is so funny.  i finally beat him in a game that we always played.  they made us so much food and forced us to eat it all.  at first it was good but it was way too much.  the mom tingak is way nicer than ever.  she is so cool.  they are my first converts and the strongest.  everybody but the dad is still really active and now a main part of the small branch.  it just makes me way happy.
     well i love it out here guys.  the mission can get tough but it is so so worth it.  i love teaching the gospel.  i wish more people listened and i wish i was a better teacher but i am so grateful for those that i have met.  i'm telling you spencer, oskar, you've got to serve a mission.  it shouldn't even be a question.  i love you guys so much and i am so so happy that our whole family is active in the church.  that is very rare here but you can see that the few full active families are so happy.  i know that this is God's church and that it really can bring us eternal happiness.  i love you all and hope you have an awesome week!
elder petersen

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mountains and Squirrels

tinggi tinggi gunung kinabalu!! 
     hey guys whats up.  this was a great week.  that is so cool that kolton is going to korea.  asia rocks!  back two years ago when i was waiting for my mission call i anticipated going to europe.  i was really envisioning my self over there in holland or germany or something.  i never thought going to south america was in my future.  right at the end i thought wow what if i went to asia and what do you know i did.  i love it over here.  looking back asia is the perfect place to serve a mission.  it's so nice here.  wow spencer went to the dance eh?  nice!  that was expected.  the others were not.  ha ha that's good though.  it sounds like the rest of your week was awesome.  oh to be a kid on halloween again.  ha ha good times.  dad you really are the master of raking in the candy.
     well this week was awesome!!!!!!  oh man it was really fun.  i emailed you last wednesday night.  right after that president and the ap's and the sandakan and tawau elders flew in.  so we had a lot of people in our house.  it was fun.  elder williams from my group is serving in tawau so it was awesome to see him again.  ha ha he really cracks me up.  he is so funny.  in both of those areas there is an elder from the last group.  they just finished their training.  they are elder putnam and elder brooksthey are so funny.  elder putnam is half japanese and brooks is from canada and looks and acts just like a character from monty python.  so funny.  

well thursday morning we woke up before the sun was up.  we got up at 4:30 so that we could all pile into a tour bus at 5:00.  we took a two hour ride to the mountain.  we were all pretty much asleep on the bus but it was really cold because of the air con.  when we got off the bus at the lodge there it was even colder outside!  ha ha it was like 60ish with a good wind.  ha ha we were all shivering.  i haven't been in weather that cold for quite some time.  
we all paid our fees and then headed up the mountain.  we weren't able to go to the very top because it costs so much and is supposed to be done in two days.  but we were able to go halfway up.  the trail started at about 6000 feet and we topped out at 9000 feet.  actually president clark had a gps and it read 8992 feet.  there was thick thick jungle on either side of the trail so you couldn't really go anywhere but i took the gps from him and stretched out as tall as i could and climbed a little bit into the jungle so that i could hit 9000.  it was floating around 8999 for a while until finally it read 9000.  ha ha everyone cheered.  it was funny.  the trail was only 4 km one way but it was dang steep.  needless to say i was way way sore for about 4 days afterwards.  ha ha.  up there there was thick clouds the whole time so you didn't really have a good view but every now and then there would be a break in the clouds and you could see out forever.  it was so pretty.  so all in all it was way fun.  i don't think any previous zone has ever done it and i don't think any will for a long long time.
     the next day was zone conference.  the wielands from old sandakan were there.  it was really great to see them.  they actually left on tuesday.  we said our goodbyes and took a picture.  when they bore their dying testimonies i got pretty emotional.  they are really great people and i will miss them.  they really helped the branch there.  sis w is president clark's sister.  they had a teary goodbye.  i was thinking how sweet it would be if way down the road me and jaynanne served in the same mission.  that would be so sweet.  well the trainings were way good.  it was a good zone conference. 
     we have a few good investigators that we've been meeting with.  nothing big to report but yeah we are seeing a lot of people.  they are so funny.  this one family cooks us dinner everytime.  ha ha we tell them not to but they still bring out the noodles everytime.  actually we saw them last night and they gave us fried rice instead.  oh it was good.  they also gave us rose flavored juice mixed with milk and little cake things with small fish cooked in.  ok also can.  we went to a recent convert's house the other day and she also cooked for us.  ha ha wow.  she made "vegetables", and banana heart which is the top of a banana tree, and squirrel.  yep that's right.  they caught squirrels outside their house and last time i asked them what they do with them and she said they eat them.  so we showed up monday and what do you know squirrel was on the menu.  ha ha it was actually pretty good.  pretty tough meat.  lots of little bones.  if you didn't focus on where that little guy has been running around then it wasn't so bad.  ha ha i haven't eaten that many crazy things here but there are definitely things here that aren't in america.
     on monday was of course halloween.  here in malaysia this great holiday goes unnoticed by the majority of the population.  in fact nobody celebrates it.  but strangely enough every year it is celebrated by church members across the country.  ha ha i guess they just picked it up from all of the american missionaries.  there was a party on monday and actually there was a lot of non members there so it was great.  
we couldn't find and pumpkins this year so we carved watermelons.  it is way different.  they are hard to gut because they aren't hollow.  but they are way easy to cut.  everyone loved it.  i don't think most people have seen a jack o lantern before.  they were amazed.  for my costume i just put all of my clothes on backwards.  ha ha everyone was laughing.  elder hawkins had to help me close up the shirt and tighten the tie but it was a hit.  at one point i put a mask on backwards and from the back it looked like normal.  ha ha.  it was a lot of fun.  
mom i just got your letter.  it was awesome!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY OSKAR in advance.  i can't believe you are going to be 12.  don't worry i'll still put you in your place when i get home. 
     well that's about it.  it was an awesome week.  sorry there's not anything super spiritual.  i had a lot of good experiences actually.  i talk to a lot of people on the bus and i pretty much always feel like the things i say are really things they need to hear.  yesterday i gave the district meeting training and we talked about The Spirit.  we had a great conversation and shared spiritual experiences.  in some of our lessons when we teach certain principles, people's faces light up and you know they are feeling the spirit and finding an answer to their long time questions.  i love those moments.  i really love being a missionary.  it is a blast.  i know i'll have no other time like this in my life where i can just teach people about Christ all day.  sometimes i don't realize how sweet it is but i want you guys to know that it is sweet.  i hope you guys don't take the church lightly because you are so familiar with it.  i love you all so much and can't wait to sit down and just tell you story after story of awesome people i've met here.  i hope you have a good week and i am looking forward to your email next week!
elder petersen