Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Testimonies of Three

hello family,
     thank you for your email.  spencer is..the man!! ha ha it sounds like he had some good times up at loll.  just you talking about it made me want to be there.  delose is so awesome.  i remember him using that line about deferring the decisions but i don't remember what he says.  i just remember jody talks about being bald and they all comment.  ha ha they're quick.  tell spencer to write down a few cool things that happened so that he can remember to tell me next year.  the story about mom trying to sleep was so funny.  ha ha i can totally imagine her being so jumpy.  thanks for sending the talk.  it was really good.  seriously it almost brought me to tears.  as you talked about your experience on the plane i thought of all the times i really felt the spirit while bearing my testimony.  it just feels so good.  it's hard to describe but it's the kind of feeling you want over and over. 

     well this week was so awesome!  i can't even tell you everything that happened.  there was so much.  we had a baptism!!  we baptized a man named Raju and two of his children named Christina 13 and Ruben 11.  they are a referral family from an awesome member.  that alone is a good story.  basically she knocked on their door, not knowing them, and asked them if they wanted to learn about the church.  anyways at the beginning of the week we weren't exactly sure if the baptism would go through or not.  they have a lot of challenges including money, work and transportation.  we were really praying for them.  we met them more than usual so that we could keep them on track.  well saturday they had their interviews and were all set for baptism on sunday.  the mom and the oldest son weren't ready to get baptized yet.  they haven't learned enough and they are not quite as eager.  well the mom and son both made arrangements so that they could make it to the baptism before church and stay for one hour of church.  we were pumped.  

saturday night we put a little bit of water in the font and were planning to put more in on sunday morning.  the font is really small.  the engineers of the building say that the font will be too heavy and will break through the floor of the 2nd story that we're on.  they tell us not to have it filled for very long.  so sunday morning we woke up extra early and went down to the church by 7:30.  we filled the rest of our tiny font up.  members started to trickle in and then the family came.  the mom and son actually came!  it was so cool.  surprisingly too a lot of members came.  i was so proud of our branch and of how many people turned out to support this struggling family.  at the same time that elder maughan was reaching over to turn off the font that was filling up, the bottom ring of the portable font broke.  the pressure was too great.  it was bad.  it put a lot of pressure on the remaining top ring.  if that broke too then the water would flood the church and the floors below.  we'd be done.  so the branch president and maughan and i used some ribbon from a flower arrangement and tied together as best we could.  it was sketchy but it would have to do. 

we had a good baptism program.  the talks were good and short and everyone was quiet.  the baptisms didn't go as well.  ha ha oh boy.  the dad was first.  he is a big indian man.  elder reeves was the guy for the job.  like i said the font was pretty small so the water only came up to about my mid thigh, and this man was scared of water.  every time he went down his feet would come up or he would fight it and keep his head up.  by the fifth time reeves kept him down.  we're pretty sure this is the first time in this man's life that he has been fully submerged in water.  ha ha later the dad said, "the!"  ha ha yeah that's why we told you to plug your nose.  the kids went fine.  so since the baptism was before church we were able to do the confirmations in sacrament meeting.  it went great.  the mom had to leave early but she told us that she really enjoyed it and liked church, it was the first time she came.  so that is really good.  church was great.  we had so much food after.  there was a feast because of the baptism and because i'm getting transferred.  oh yeah i got transferred.  i had to bear my testimony in church.  i'm really going to miss this branch.  they are so diligent in their callings and in missionary work.
     sunday afternoon we went to say goodbye to one of our favorite families, sister amy and brother lim.  amy and her son were baptized in may and brother lim and the two daughters have not yet been baptized but they really enjoy the church.  we go to their house every friday for good food and a lesson.  bro lim has been going to church as long as amy has but he's had some big challenges to overcome.  first he was the top dog in a big tea company so that conflicted with the word of wisdom.  miraculously about a month ago he quit that job so that he could keep that commandment even though he's not a member.  wow amazing!  the second challenge is his mom and his buddhist traditions.  he has a lot of duties as oldest son and he doesn't want to offend his mother in the sunset of her life.  after eating, we had a great lesson with them.  last time we talked all about the atonement and so we were planning on finishing the 2nd half of the plan of salvation.  it went really well as we went through and explained everything.  we helped him resolve some concerns.  right at the end elder maughan just started to bear his testimony about the importance of getting baptized and going to the temple.  he said "brother lim we love you and your family so much and we want to see you at the temple."  he couldn't say that without choking up and crying.  in turn brother lim got teary.  i also got teary.  i bore my testimony in the importance of doing what we need to here on earth so that in the next life we can have eternal happiness.  even the greeney gave an awesome testimony about the book of mormon.  everyone was really quiet and just really listening.  it was an awesome moment.  i could feel the spirit so strong.  we didn't harp on him and ask for the umpteenth time for him to get baptized.  we just asked him to read a chapter the book of mormon and pray about it.  i gave them a picture that we took a few weeks earlier of their whole family and i gave bro lim a tie.  he was pretty thankful.  well we took another picture and said bye.  i will really miss them.  

after that we walked over to raju's house to say bye to him and his children.  the mom was at work but they were all very happy to see us.  they miss me already.  i gave ruben and raju a tie and we took a picture.  they just seemed so happy.  they have changed in the short time that i've known them.  they were so quiet and sad the first time we met them but now they were all smiles and telling us how good they feel.  i hope they stay strong in the church.  it'll be the only thing that will keep them happy.

 monday morning i transferred up north to a small town called Butterworth.  google map it.  it was a long lonely bus ride.  there is a famous island off the west coast of malaysia called penang island.  butterworth is right across from it on the main land.  so far so good.  everybody that has served here has loved it.  thomas and hawkins both served here for long amounts of time and loved it so i think it'll be ok.  well tuesday morning i got a call from elder maughan back in KL.  he had some good news for me.  he said that a few minutes earlier that sister amy called him.  he asked if he could call her back because he was in a meeting but she insisted.  she told him that brother lim really thought about the things we shared and he wants to get baptized and his daughters tooi am so excited to hear that!  maughan is going to meet them tonight to talk about it. he told me that they want it as early as this sunday.  it will probably have to wait until next sunday because they have to be taught a few more things.  that is so awesome.  like i said i'll really miss that area. 
     well there's tons more that i could write but my letter is already too huge.  i'll have to report on butterworth next week.  supposedly there is a lot of good food here so i might put on some weight.  thanks for elder kersey's letter.  dang he has a way with words.  i'm not as good of a writer as him but i promise you i have had unforgettable experiences on my mission.  i love being out here.  i love sharing about the gospel with families who need and are seeking this knowledge.  nothing is better than to see a family learn about the gospel and then to see changes in their lives as they follow it.  it makes it all worth it.  i hope you have a good week.  i look forward to hearing from you again next week.  tell mom i love her too even if she is on drugs.  ha ha say hi to everyone.
elder petersen

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