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