Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Puppets and Rain

hey guys.
     this week was great.  a lot happened actually.  ha ha i knew you would comment on my socks mom.  that is why i even took the picture in the first place.  ha ha.  alright i'll be looking for oskar but i don't think we'll see conference for at least 2 weeks.  man i'm so jealous that they are going to that concert (Taylor Swift).  ha ha i would love to go.  jaynanne would be proud that i am a loyal fan now.  all the missionaries here know it.  oh man thanks for the recipes.  that is so awesome.  sister johnson will be thrilled.  yeah we get that a lot, that people don't think we'll understand them (so they talk in front of us).  it is funny. 
      alright first, we went to ipoh.  it is a pretty big town here in west malaysia.  it is one of the four in our zone.  the elders down there were going to have a baptism so we went down to do the interviews.  they all passed with flying colors.  while we were down there the johnsons took advantage of the situation and roped us into helping them.  they are humanitarian missionaries so a lot of times they are doing service things.  they had like 200 health care kits to give away.  so we went to an indian elementary school and put on a puppet show.  me, kelley and thurman were the main event.  the church gave them a big stage and like 15 puppets to use.  so we kind of just made something up on the spot.  we thought it would be like 30 kids but it was actually like 180 kids.  ha ha wow.  they loved it though.  they've probably never really seen puppets before.  they were laughing really hard and the teachers were also cracking up.  so it was a success.  then we passed out the kits and juice and crackers.  it was fun.  then the johnsons took us to a way way nice chinese restaraunt.  oh man i love chinese food!!  we also got a chance to play legit badminton.  my whole life i've made fun of badminton.  it's just been one of those dumb asian sports.  i love it now.  it takes some serious stamina.  we played with some way good kids.  they kicked my butt.  we played with some members and investigators. my fore arm and my shoulder and surprisingly my buns were way sore for like 3 days afterwards.  ha ha it was fun. 
     i've told you about darren before.  he is a little indian boy we met my first week here.  he's the one that liked to follow us around.  well he pulled through big for us.  he invited us over to his house saturday night to meet his cousins and eat.  we thought for sure he just wanted to parade us around and whatever.  also we were fasting so we were seriously considering not going.  we got our awesome elder's quorum pres to come with us.  darren had a lot of people there.  there was like his aunt and uncle and their 3 kids and another aunt and uncle and his mom and grandma.  they're all indian.  they were totally cool with us sharing a short message.  so we shared about joseph smith with bro ananda translating sentence by sentence.  they were all capitvated.  it was way quiet and they were really focused.  i was shocked.  at the end bro ananda shared his conversion story and stuff.  i didn't understand anything because it was all in tamil but it seemed good.  we wanted to get out of there but then they kept asking a lot of questions and the mood kind of deteriorated.  some people got distracted and made noise and stuff.  but they did say they wanted to meet again.  one of the uncles is a pastor in a carismatic church and his family is completely devoted to it.  the wife wears the pants there.  he looked like he was really pondering our message but she was just asking a ton of questions like trying to find a problem.  something cool is that he actually found a tamil book of mormon in the garbage can like a month ago.  coincidence? no way.  i hope he felt something different. 
     we have been caught in some crazy rain lately.  the other day we were going along and a huge storm came upon us.  we found shelter underneath an overpass and sat there for about 40 min.  ha ha and then the water on the road was like up to our peddles.  crazy.  later that night we met our branch president out in an area.  we were headed home and it wasn't raining yet.  president ching decided to follow right behind us because he thought it would be hard for cars to see us.  we were about halfway home and the rains came.  oh man it started pouring so hard.  we were instantly soaked.  then a few minutes later my back tire popped.  ha ha freak.  so i just got off and walked it in the rain.  we were like 5 min ride away.  i wasn't getting any wetter so i didn't care.  after the rain let up president made me put my bike in his trunk.  he's a good guy.  ha ha so yeah that must have been punishment for something but i'm not sure what. 
     big news.  there was another emergency transfer.  we're not exactly sure what happened but for some reason they closed down a branch in kuching and elder chin got transferred here to butterworth.  so we are a threesome.  he is awesome.  he is a native of sandakan.  i knew him before he went out.  he has been out since last september.  he can speak malay perfectly and can speak chinese pretty well.  he will be a huge asset here.  he is really funny.
     well that's all for this week.  things are going great.  our knocking efforts are slowly paying off.  the zone is good.  the mission is good.  we have another meeitng in KL in a few weeks.  new missionaries are coming in in a few weeks.  pres is cracking down hard on apostacy.  don't worry i'm in the clear.  we're diligent up here.  oh i was going to say i don't mind sleeping on the couch.  i can sleep on the tile floor now.  there's no carpet here.  tell the stowers to take their time.  like hurry but don't worry.  i know maybe you guys are stressed but i don't really care.  i shouldn't be at the house too much longer.  me and john and chase are really planning to find a house in salt lake. you may have to help us out.  i think it is awesome that you have let so many different people stay at our house.  it's a huge blessing.
     one other thing.  president ching's daughter is serving in the temple square mission.  her name is wendy ching.  her companion is sister cool from australia.  she requested that you bring her down some candy.  i told her i'd pass the message.  she is going to serve in minnesota for six weeks starting friday.  so if you're going down today or tomorrow try to stop by.  if not dont worry.  maybe in november. 
     alright i love you all.  i'll send you pictures next week.  i forgot my camera.  stay strong.  thanks for your love.  thanks for always going to church.  thanks for the emails.  say hi to everyone.  i love you!
elder petersen

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dogs and Texts

oh dear family!
     i'm just in a really good mood right now.  your emails were great this week.  jaynanne thanks for the pictures.  ha ha i crack my self up.  we look so funny.  i can't believe my hair was so long.  awesome.  where did you get those?  yeah spencer send me an email.  i want to know how the date was!  do you have any pictures.  what was her name?  send me a seperate email, ya know a private line.  byu LOST!!!!  ha ha ha oh man i am so happy.  when i heard that news i honestly couldn't believe it.  the score was way too lopsided.  i really wish people here cared so that i could rub it in someone's face.  it's so awesome.  them and their stupid theme.  i think i officially want to go there next year. 
     well it was another great week up here in butterworth.  i've only got a few things to report on.  basically it was just your average week of monotonous work.  i do have a few stories from knocking though. 
Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia
     i might have told you already but last week we knocked a pretty big house.  they had some awesome dogs.  the dogs in malaysia are all terribly dirty and grimy.  these guys had nice golden retrievers.  so they asked us if we wanted to see all of their dogs.  i guess that got us in the door.  there was like 5 chinese kids there.  the 20 year old boy dillon and 16 year old girl christine lived there and the rest were the friends.  they were pretty interested in talking to us.  and of course they wanted a picture with us.  they always do.  well a few days later one of the girls sms'd us and so we asked her if she read the pamphlet and stuff and went to the website.  she actually had and she said she chatted with some members online.  sweet.  hopefully they go somewhere.
     another day i was sitting at my desk.  the last missionary had a bunch of quotes and pictures up on the wall.  i cleaned up and threw most of them away.  i took one  picture down and a small scrap of paper with a name and number fell down.  we thought sweet so we called the number and it was still good and eventually we set up an appointment with her.  we went to their house last week and had a good chat with them.  it is a husband and wife and two small children.  about 7 months ago the missionaries knocked on their door and then never really followed up with them.  they were really nice buddhists.  so that was sweet.  hopefully they go somewhere.  that was a sweet small miracle. 
     sometimes, but very rarely, the mission office will send us a referral from the calling center back in utah.  in singapore we got a bunch.  a few days ago the office elders called us and told us that some lady requested a book of mormon.  sweet.  so we wrote down her name address and number.  that's all we had to go off of.  her name was christine and she lived out where we'd been planning on going so that is cool.  we went out to find the house but it was definitely the wrong address.  ha ha we knocked the gate of some chinese lady multiple times.  she was ticked.  she just kept waving her hand saying "don't want don't want".  all we wanted to do was talk to her and find the address.  ha ha so frustrating.  so we tried to ask the neighbor.  the neighbor house was a day care.  as soon as we knocked on their gate about 12 kids ran to the door and all started talking.  we asked for their teacher, who we could see, but she would not come to the door.  she was a malay lady.  we said we just need help finding an address.  then i heard her say in malay "they are lying,  don't listen to them.  i've been sitting here for several days and have seen them walking around.  they don't want an address. tell them you don't know"  then all of the kids turned to us and said "we don't know" in unision.  ha ha it was comical.  we tried to reason with them and told them we weren't lying but to no avail.  so we were just dissappointed that we wouldn't be able to find this referral.  that is when kelley remembered that there was a number, he never told me previously.  so we called the number and a confused girl answered.  i only heard this half of the conversation but there was definite confusion.  so they hung up she she sent an sms.  as we were reading it somehow it all clicked together.  i saw the number and realized that it was the same christine that we contacted earlier in the week with the dogs!  she must have gone online and then requested a book of mormon.  ha ha we just both cracked up laughing.  it all made sense.  so we told her that we had the book and we set up an appointment.  we still haven't met her but we will soon.  ha ha i hope you followed all of that, it was funny. 
Cooking Fried Rice
     we have a sweet investigator named cindy.  the branch president has a food delivery business so he delivers food daily to the nearby condo's.  basically he knows a lot of people and somehow his family became friends with cindy.  she is from ipoh.  she is 22 and a student at the big dental college here.  she's been to a lot of family home evenings and parties and only recently we've had any lessons with her.  our last two lessons were really good.  she had a list of questions on her mind.  the list was like  why did you serve a mission,  have you gained anything,  how long have you been in the church, is there any difference,  is your family really close, would you ever change religions, have you changed, how do you know who the prophet is, and many more i can't think of.  so we've had some good discussions.  she's our best investigator.  we learned that while in india she went to a crazy carismatic church in some basement and it kind of scarred her.  we told her our church isn't like that and she seemed relieved.  she prays and is way smart and is really open so i hope she finds the truth.  she gave us some ear candles last week.  we tried them out.  ha ha i burned myself.  i'll send you a picture.  she also really wants us to experience malaysia and she wants to learn about the u.s.  when we try to dumb stuff down so she will understand it she stops us and tells us to just explain it normal.  ha ha that's not typical of a malaysian.  anyways she's cool.

High Fashion for Pday

Trying out an Indian Ear Candle

     elder dass is in penang and really doesn't want lazy p-days so he's dragging us along.  that's fine with me.  last week we went to the state museum and today we went to a thai buddhist temple and a burmese buddhist temple.  they were sweet.  also he's on a huge mcdonalds craze so we had that for lunch.  it was great.  he's a cool elder i'm happy he's up here.  transfers are next week.  parrish goes home so there'll be a new ap.  i don't think anything will happen to our zone.  friday we get to go to ipoh to do a baptism interview.  should be fun. 

mom tell the relief society sisters that muslims are awesome.  seriously it is a pretty good religion,  if you follow it down to the core.  it is really family oriented.  the only flaw with it is a malaysian law that says if you join you're in for life.  but the people have awesome traditions and are all so friendly.  we contacted  nice muslim man and wife last week.  we usually skip the muslim houses because it is illegal to preach to them but their house wasn't marked.  we talked for like 20 min and he gave us drinks and biscuits.  we're hopefully going out there for dinner soon.  to say muslims are scary is just narrow minded.  anyways pass the message.
     i love you all.  hope you have a good week.  mom did i suck my thumb as a baby.  you must answer this question.  also you never sent me the recipes!  i need saurkraut, hot fudge, and waffles!  don't forget or the johnsons will kill me.  ok have a good week.  say hi to eveybody!
elder petersen 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Looking for the Kingdom Builders

Beautiful Rainbow!
     ha ha your emails crack me up!  i miss you guys.  thanks for the quotes from coach mac.  there's some good ones in there.  spencer you better send me some pictures from the dance.  i can't believe you got a snow blower dad.  you're becoming a big softy.  that's why weber high is 0 and 3.  i'll look for oskar but we will see conference at least one week late so just let me know where he was sitting.  the story about the stowers and about our cousins just killed me.  so funny.  
     well i don't have too much time so i'll cut to the chase.  this week was pretty good.  last wednesday night we got a call from the top.  they told us that lewis in penang was getting transferred and that he would be replaced by elder dass.  sweet.  so saturday elder dass showed up here.  we're with him right now.  he is funny.  it's good to be with him.  he's ok from the mugging.  we've asked him a few times to tell us everything that happened and it was interesting.  he can't really remember anything.  he just remembers a sharp pain at the back of his head and then he remembers waking up a little and they were going through his pockets.  his companion was only like 20 feet away when it happened he just didn't notice.  so dass stumbled along without a bike or shoes or money until he found a pay phone and called his companion.  he said he passed out a few times on the way.  wow pretty intense.  this kid has had a rough mission.  in every area he has been in he has had troubles.  oh well we're glad to have him up here as long as he doesn't bring bad luck with him.

     well we basically still don't have any investigators.  so we've been doing some serious contacting.  it has actually been fun.  this is the best times i've had on my mission knocking.  usually it is a dreaded thing but not lately.  we've chosen two areas in the town that we thought would be good to go to.  then we've been praying that we can just meet somebody there that has been prepared for us.  then after we get out to the area, but before we start, we pray again.  we've met some interesting people.  we've gone out sometimes with absolutely nothing.  sometimes nobody is interested.  nobody even says hi.  nobody even smiles.  but sometimes people actually do talk to us.  we met this guy the other day named john.  he was totally opposed to us.  he just didn't want to hear about us.  he is like 50 with no wife or kids.  he came out to his gate and just started going off telling us how hard things have been for him.  he has had so many bad experiences with christians.  he said that he will die before he goes to a church again.  his ex had an affair with a married church man, a church has robbed him, and so forth.  so we just let him talk for a while.  after he was done we tried to say a little bit but he would cut us off again.  after a while he started to see that we weren't really arguing with him but that we were agreeing that most christians are in fact hypocrites.  he started saying that last time Christ only had one church and that people have changed his teachings.  we pulled out a pamphlet and showed him that the things he was saying was exactly what we teach.  as he started to tell us more about his past he actually got really emotional.  he started to cry.  i couldn't tell if was sad or felt the spirit.  he took it and said "i guess there's no harm in reading"  we just told him our testimonies and said that he can finally find peace in this church.  then i really did feel the spirit and i know he did.  after a while later he asked us where our church was.  he said "i guess there's no harm in coming to just see"  that was awesome.  he totally mellowed out.  he was still pretty reluctant but we left on a good note.  that was cool.  we met another guy who lived in utah for a little while but doesn't really know much about us.  he has three daughters and is catholic.  hopefully we can meet him again. 
A Lantern for the Lantern Festival

They just wanted our picture

Crazy Branch Mission Leader :)
     another thing i learned this week is that our branch has a lot of struggles.  oh man the branch president and the senior couple told us that we cannot baptize any more people with problems.  they were dead serious.  so we're trying to find "kingdom builders".  last week a member named ruben got his mission call.  he is going to the india bangalore mission.  he was way excited.  his mom and younger sister were even more excited.  ha ha.  he'll be awesome.  
     alright well sorry but that's all for this week.  mom sister johnson wants your saurkraut and hot fudge recipes.  asap.  i love you all.  have a great week!

elder petersen

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Starting the "Slump"

hey guys,
     jaynanne i got a few letters.  but not as many as you were saying. don't blame me.  oh man that would have been awesome if usu won!!  i forgot to say elder parrish has a scholarship to play there.  he extended so that he won't be home when the season started.  so he'll start next year.  dad i know what the chains are.  ha ha ha i can just imagine coach mac saying that all the students are pansies.  she was always yelling that at us in PE.  ha ha she is so cool.  it seems only natural for everyone to raise their hand and welcome a new member into the ward.  that's what we do everytime.  one time the conductor forgot to and someone on the stand stopped him and made him.  that's funny. 
     well like i said last time we had zone conference.  our zone is pretty small.  there's only 8 missionaries in 4 cities.  but we combined with the KL zone so it was all of west malaysia.  there was probably about 24 or 26 elders there.  it was a lot of fun to see everybody from KL.  i miss those guys.  PJ2 is still on fire just like i left it.  i was able to see some members from there too.  they are so cool.  they were a lot nicer to me now that i am not down there.  our zone of 8 stayed at the senior couple's big house.  the house used to be a church so it is pretty big.  we played ping pong and stuff.  i met some of them for the first time.  they were all nice but we do have some definite weirdo's in our zone.   ha ha we are the ipoh zone and it's been said that we are the ipoh creepo's.  ha ha very fitting for some.  the browns made us french toast one morning and pancakes the next.  sweet.  the meetings were good.  the assistants actually gave a pretty good training and president's was good like always.  i took a lot of notes.  i really like talking about missionary work.  it is quite inspiring.  actually putting that talk into action is hard.  we have so many low moments that it is frustrating.  oh well we push on.  the meeting went pretty late because the general authorities could only talk to us at night because they gave a youth fireside.  i was happy to see my most recent, recent convert christina at the youth thing.  that's awesome.  she's like 13. i think she had a lot of fun.  elder gong is a really nice guy.  he gave a good talk.  he did this little scout camp type thing where he sad watch close and then said this little ryhme and used his hands and then you had to try to copy him.  i read him like a book.  all you had to do was do the thing and then put your hands together and down at the end.  he asked if anyone wanted to try so i volunteered and nailed it.  i hope i didn't steal his thunder.  nobody else got it for a few minutes.  but then everyone that did know it did it at once and it was pretty obvious and then everyone else finally figured it out.  he read mormon 1:4 or something that says mormon was "quick to observe" and that we all must be quick to observe.  it was good.  the other guy also gave a good talk but i was way sleepy.  he basically said you can't desire baptisms for the sake of success.  you have to desire them out of love for those you teach.  it was a good point.  that night the ap's and the sabah zl's and the singapore zl's slept at the brown's too and we played this game called mafia.  it was a blast.

Beautiful Butterworth Sunset

     the next day was a meeting called zone leader council.  i don't know if i said but me and kelley are zone leaders.  so the zl's from kl butterworth kk and singapore all met up for a training with president and the ap's.  i think it is monthly meeting.  this one was way good.  better than zone conference.  president is a lot more clear and to the point with us because we've been out for a while i guess.  we talked about inviting people to make commitments.  we talked about the difference between administering and ministering i can't remember all of the details right now but it was good.  i learned a lot.  at the end they call on a few people to bear their testimony and of course i got called on.  i figured i would be so i was thinking about what i could share.  i just talked about how good it feels to feel the spirit and that the most memorable times i have felt the spirit have been when bearing my testimony or when someone else was bearing their testimony.  i told of two times that we were teaching and felt the spirit so strong.  i also said how awesome it was that my recent converts were at the temple right then.  i still think that is so awesome.  i was brought to tears.  also the night before when elder gong bore his testimony i had a really clear impression.  he was saying how he knew that God and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone.  right then i just felt that is definitely true.  i could just imagine them both standing up in front of us with elder gong walking around.  it was so clear.  i know that God is real.  He's up there.  it's not just something we theorize about but for sure They live!  i am so thankful for the gospel and i love bearing my testimony about it.  you know those times when you just feel the spirit so strong and you know for sure that that thing is right?  i love that.  later i had a good interview with president clark.  he is pleased with my work so that is good.  i'm really enjoying the mission right now. 
     oh president told us that just the day before that elder dass (remember i served with him in singapore) was riding his bike in kuching and he rode past some guys on the side of the road and they whacked him with a metal bar and he went unconsious and they stole his bike and his money he just got out of the bank.  ha ha nuts.  his companion was just ahead so he didn't notice until it was too late.  dass did get a punch in but they got away and he was hospitalized.  he's good now no problems but sister clark is freaking out.  crazy malaysia.
The shoe shelves at church
     we've been doing a lot of knocking lately but it's ok we've found a few people.  it'll pay off soon.  i have a different view about knocking now a days.  i don't dread it like i used to.  it can be effective if you make it so.  well things are going as good as usual here.  i'm alive, i'm safe, i'm healthy, and we just got a waffle iron!  this morning i beat elder kelley in three games of squash.  it was tiring.  how's the new school year.  how is spencer doing now that he's a big bad junior hey and mollie is also in the middle of her school at 8th grade.  11th grade was so fun.  how's oskar at the top of the totem pole in noe?  don't let it go to his head.  i love you.  the church is true!  love each other.  don't fight.  i'll be back soon.  i heard the mission goes bump(6 months) hump(12 months) and slump(18 months).  i'm on the slump.  before i know it i'll be knocking on the door.  you better be ready.  have a good week!
elder petersen