Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Glorius People

alright here i go
     last email.  hmm weird.  i remember sitting in the mtc two years ago pounding out an email in the short time they gave me.  so long ago.  so much has happened since then.  well i don't have a whole lot to say.  my time is short.  this week flew by.  i'm scared ha ha.  it is kind of sad that pretty soon i'm going to wake up and not be in malaysia.  i can't even imagine it. 
     well i just want to share one thing really.  last saturday and sunday was district conference.  it was so fun.  a lot of members from sandakan and tawau came and all of the elders as well.  ning's family from sandakan, minus ning, was all there as well as joshua and kimberly who we also taught and baptized.  i was so happy to see everyone.  the saturday night adult session was extremely moving for some reason.  it's hard to describe.  i can't put into words what i actually felt so i don't know if it's worth it to tell you ha ha.  but the meeting started out pretty good.  after the first few speakers was a musical number.  it was done by the sandakan choir.  torch tabiar was on the piano and all of the youth were lined up all dressed in white.  they sang "how great thou art".  it just hit me hard.  rayne ning started out by singing the first verse and everyone joined in on the chorus.  then jackson tabiar sang solo the second verse with everyone joining again on the chorus.  the third verse was sang by ebee with everyone on the chorus and the fourth was all three of them with everyone on the chorus.  it was just way way pretty.  each verse got louder and more powerful.  it was just really touching to see 7 of my converts standing there singing this beautiful song.  they sang it so good and the words are so moving.  after they all sat down and i snapped out of it is when i started to get emotional.  i just couldn't stop crying for very long ha ha.  all of the speakers talked about when they met the missionaries and i just thought about all my converts from sandakan and when we first started teaching them and their families.  i am so thankful for the experiences i had there.  i really feel like that is one place where i made a huge difference.  i feel like the people i met there really changed me as well.  i just hope they can stay strong in the gospel.  i always pray for it.  i hope that they really mean the words that they sang in that choir.  in malay it says "aku memuji kebesaran mu, Juruselamat ya Allah ku, aku memuji kebesaran Mu, betapa agung nama Mu".
     like i said i'm extremely thankful for the experiences that i've had out here.  the mission has been hard, but i've had some of the most spiritual experiences out here of my life.  i've learned so much.  the greatest thing has been mostly the people.  i've met some high quality people.  that is irreplaceable.  thanks for everything.  i love you guys so much.  after thinking about all of the people i've met on my mission and how much i love them my thoughts turned to you guys.  it's going to be crazy to meet you.  i really miss you guys and i'm glad that you are all strong in the gospel.  that's what brings me the most joy of anything on my mission, meeting families that all stay strong in the gospel.  i just can't imagine what it is going to be like to meet these people again.  and i promise you i will meet them again.  it will be glorious.
     well that's all.  if you want to know anything else just wait till next wednesday.  i fly into singapore on monday, and wednesday morning i fly out.  so i'll have some time there.  tuesday i might email so if you email me, email me a day early.  so i guess this isn't yet my last email because i will send something out next week.  alright well have a good week.  enjoy conference.  i'm so jealous.  say hi to everyone!
elder petersen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Such a Small World!

dua minggu lagi!
     thanks for the emails they were  awesome.  really touching.  from mom it sounds like things are really busy.  well i can't believe you went to another jazz game.  oh man.  save a ticket for me will ya ha ha.  i definitely want to go to the temple when i get home. 
What a cute white guy :)
     this week was ok only.  hold on i have to remember what happened.  well actually last week wasn't that good.  our numbers were way low.  but good things happened.  the thing is that about 7 of our investigators went back to their village for various reasons.  that is so frustrating.  ha ha so we couldn't teach them and they couldn't go to church.  if only we could force them.  just kidding...but seriously..  last thursday we flew to sibu sarawak for our zone leader council.  oh man ha ha we were all scared.  from what we could tell we though president was going to rip into us.  there have been a few cases recently of missionaries being idiots and not following some big rules.  we thought he was going to rebuke us for obedience.   well that's not really his style.  he did talk a lot about commandments and obedience but he's a nice guy.  nothing condeming but we got the message.  i love those meetings.  i'm very lucky to be able to sit with president once a month. and the zone leaders are so awesome right now.  it is a lot of fun. 
     well i don't remember who i've told you about already so here's to gang.  first we have an awesome investigator named simon.  he is deaf in one ear and can barely barely hear in the the other (like only loud claps or horns or something).  apparently he was in a backpack on his dad's back when he was young and his dad was hunting.  the sound of the gun just broke his ears and some tree branch or something took out one of his eyes.  maybe all at once.  it's kind of sad.  from what we understand the dad then took off.  he didn't want to take care of him anymore.  he met the sisters a few years ago but never stayed with it.  about 3 weeks ago he just showed up in church.  he is really eager to learn.  we've been teaching him ever since and he is set to be baptized the week after i leave.  he's not mentally disabled but it is hard for him to understand what is going on.  but he is really really cool.  we have good spiritual lessons.
     next is a girl named senci.  she is really cool. she has read about half of the book of mormon already and loves to learn.  she wants everthing we have to give her.  she is set to get baptized on the 31st.  she went back to kampung (village) last week.  it's always kind of a nervous time because we don't know if the kampung church will anti them or if their parents will get mad.  but she said everyone sat down and watched the restoration dvd with her and they all really liked it.  that is so awesome!  there's no chance the church will go up there anytime soon but it's good that they like it.  so she is doing really good.  she is related to a strong member so it's exciting.  i'll keep you posted
     next is a little miracle.  she is a lady named josephine.  actually she is half european.  wow.  so we met her way way back in october or november.  she came to church a few times but could never meet us.  then she was having some passport problems and just dropped off the map.  her strong member friend dorkas had no idea where she was.  so we were pretty sad but moved on.  last month she showed back up.  she has been coming to church everyweek since she showed back up but we could still never meet her.  so basically she has come to church a lot and knows a lot already from that.  on monday we finally met her.  she's great.  we taught lesson 1 and things started to come together for her.  she just kept saying "this is true".  ha ha ya it is.  so we asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said "yes of course".  also can.  we were trying to choose a date with her.  i said "well if you are really fast then you could get baptized before i leave".  she said "ya i must be baptized while petersen is still here".  i said "ok well that would be next week then".  she was just like "ok next week i want to be baptized".   ha ha it was awesome.  really she already knows everthing from sunday school.  she stopped smoking immediately and we've already seen her twice this week.  it's so cool. 

Stenley, Pres. Chuah, Maylin, & Viviana
President Chuah & his Family doing
a traditional Dusun dance.
Later, we all joined in and it was a lot of fun.

The cute primary kids singing, "I am a Child of God" for the Larsons

The Reads & Larsons with gift
Larson's, Trevor, Read's
so that's not everyone but it is a few good people.   this past week a new senior couple came.  they are the Reads.  the Larsons leave next week so they overlap for one week.  actually i found out that he worked with the weber state administration and she worked in the chemistry department of weber state.  i said i was from north ogden and she asked me if i knew the lipperts.  i said ya that's my bishop!  ha ha they know the lipperts really well.                         well at least she knows all of the boys names.  you'll have to ask them if they know her.  on saturday was a welfare party, welcome to the reads and farewell to the larsons.  it was a lot of fun.  i'm really going to miss the members here.  they are so strong and so fun to be with.  there is one awesome member named jen.  she helps us out with missionary work a lot.  she had a passport problem so she had to leave to indonesia yesterday.  she was so sad to leave before me and the larsons because she wanted to go to the airport with us to say goodbye.  she was just crying.  i hope i can meet her again.  i hope i can see most of these people again.  i hope they remember me.  if nothing else i'm the tallest elder to ever serve here ha ha.well one more week.  i'll make it count.  president is coming in to town tomorrow for district conference.  we'll be going to mount kinabalu again.  the sandakan and tawau members are going to be coming in.  it should be a lot of fun.  thanks for the emails.  i can't wait to see you.  say hi to everyone.  i love you!!
elder petersen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It is so True. Through and through. There is no Flaw.

holy cow
    i am speechless. i really don't know what to say.    so dad it sounds to me that with reona you guys lost.  i mean she basically had no case against you because of how clear grandpa's trust was but she still ended up with so much.   true?  but it does sound good that it is settled and you can all move on.  you said cash will all be split but what about all of his possessions.  man who knew that it could be such a hassle to divide up one's assets.  sounds like you did have some fun this week.  that's good.  spencer!  nice going to prom.  i know his lips are sealed but come on how was it?  i need a picture. well i plan to have some fun with thomas for a few weeks before work or school settles in.  we'll see but you'll have to give me some ideas.
      well i had a real good week out here in kk.  i love it here.  the biggest highlight of the week was flying down to miri sarawak thursday for a conference with elder perkins on friday.  it was a lot of fun.  i love those kind of conferences.  haha there are some real characters in our mission.  elder perkins is so cool.  he is the asia area president.  he is an inspired man.  it is just so nice to talk with general authorities.  he can see the whole big picture where as we can only see a little tiny piece.  one interesting thing he said was that china will not open anytime soon.  he says when china opens it will take off.  people are already being baptized pretty quick there.  the church really couldn't handle the growth. there's not enough missionaries.  interesting.  he also said to keep up our language skills.  he said if the muslim world ever opens up to the gospel, malaysia would automatically need 4 missions,  indonesia would be about 30 more.  how valuable as senior couples could we be or in some other capacity.  cool thought.  he gave some good marriage advice.  i took good notes.  also he gave good insights into teaching.  teaching about tithing especially.  that was his main focus.  i can't even tell you anything he said because i wouldn't do it justice but it was good.  believe me.
     well we used to have a ton of investigators but they've slowly been weeded out.  it's kind of sad really how many we've dropped but we are left with quite a few solid ones.  the other day we were teaching a lady named Welista and all of her kids.  they are really crazy but so so cute.  ha ha there are five from the range 2-11.  we keep our lessons pretty short because they don't have very long attention spans.  but monday we started our lesson off by singing keluarga dapat kekal selamanya (families can be together forever).  i was surprised how quite and focused they got.  it was spiritual.  it's times like those that i will really miss.  sitting on the floor in a circle with a awesome family like that singing a primary song.  there's no feeling like it.  that family was all able to come to church on sunday and they really liked it.  it was so good to see.
     we met one investigator on sunday that we thought was ready to drop us.  she was texting us earlier and she sent a message something like this "honey it will be ok, i gave the church books back, don't worry love, see you soon"  clearly we weren't supposed to get that message.  we thought it was going to her dad or something because she was talking about seeing him.  we thought oh no maybe he turned on us and doesn't like us.  and we thought she was ready to give us all of the pamphlets and book of mormon back.  we were worried.  later we met her and much to our "comfortable surprise"  ha she was doing great.  that message was to her boyfriend.  she had books from another church and she gave them back to that church because she has chosen to follow our church.  on top of that she said her boyfriend and also her parents want to meet us.  so it was a big relief.  she is still doing really well.
    everything else is just sort of slowly going along you know.  things are going good.  the branch is doing really well.  the zone is doing pretty good.  this evening we are flying to sibu to have zone leader counsel with pres clark.  should be good.  it will be my last flight before my final flight, my "final transfer".  i can't believe it. 
     well thomas sent me a sweet email.  i kind of updated him by forwarding him most of dad's last email.  well between thomas's email and dad's email and even mom's short but powerful email i just want to say how lucky i am.  how blessed am i?  like i said a few weeks ago why do i deserve this.  to oskar, mollie, spencer, jaynanne, and abbie you have to know how awesome mom and dad are.  it is amazing.  we're so lucky.  i really love you all.  i'm so glad i have an awesome family.  i am so grateful i have awesome friends like john and thomas.  i'm grateful i have an awesome bishop like bishop lippert and awesome neighbors like his family and the slacks and stowers.  above all i'm grateful for this gospel.  it is so true.  through and through.  there is no flaw.  i understand it a lot better than i used to.  i hope i can do as good as dad in raising a family in the future.  i have a great vision of being way dedicated to the church and keeping the commandments for the rest of my life.  i know i'm not perfect but i plan to do my best.  thank you all for everything.  can't wait to see you again.  i hope i can hear from oskar, mollie, spencer, jaynanne, and abbie before i come home.  i love you so much.  have a good week.
elder petersen

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Investigators Attendance

     well, well interesting email dad.  thanks for the pictures jaynanne ha ha classic.  i'm always so surprised at how young i look.  i think back and i felt old at that time.  right now i feel old but i'll look back later and look really young in all my mission pictures.  i can't believe what's going on back there.  sounds crazy.  i hope everything is alright. i can't believe you went to a jazz game.  i have written down in my notes here to ask you about going to a jazz game.  do you think you can get me and thomas a ticket for may?  or me and you?  or maybe i should ask brett haha.  that would be awesome.  ha ha dad you can't make me any more trunky than i am.  ha ha i am completely ready for american food!  i haven't been eating exotic food, just a lot of rice and bland foods ha ha.  actually last week was the end of the month and me and brodie still had a bunch of money left so we went to pizza hut.  we got the combo meal which was 2 regular pizza's and 4 soups and a pitcher of pepsi.  we downed it.  so good.  and on monday we had our usual big mac monday and i got the mega mac.  wow so good.  ha ha so yeah basically my stomach can handle anything.  it better not be oatmeal.  but ice cream and hot fudge is like number 1 priority.  oh man i was looking forward to going to the fast sunday.  plus i want to hear you give your talk.  oh man.  oh well
Sandakan Family
   well yeah this past week was alright.  it was only the second full week of 2012 that i've been in my area.  so it was weird.  but we got a lot done.  well come to think of it i can't think of anything specific. ha ha but everybody is doing pretty good.  we finally sorted through all of the sister's old investigators.  it is weird to only have to missionaries sini.  it's just like, i don't know, quiet.  some of their investigators were garbage that we quickly sifted out, but they actually gave us some really, really cool people.  this sunday was even better than the last.  we had a whopping 16 investigators at church!!  wow.  kk hasn't had that much since 2010.  also we had the highest attendence since the Larsons got here 18 months ago.  kk1 had 75 and for the second week in a row and the second time only kk2 had more than kk1 with an all time high of 79 making for a total of 154 total in kk.  that is awesome!  i hope we can sustain it.  district conference is coming up in two weeks and i think we should have quite a few people here for that.  also sandakan and tawau are coming over.  it should be sweet.
FHE in Sandakan
Tamparuli Market...Mt Kinabalu in background
     a few days ago we decided to try out a new restaraunt for lunch and to our great surprise they were playing a live nba basketball game on a huge flat screen tv.  ha ha also can.  we watched a quarter of the lakers whooping the timberwolves.  it was so cool.  i haven't seen that level of basketball in a long time.  it was cool to see.  dad you gotta get me to the energy solutions arena!

Suspension Bridge between Villages

Peter helping me at the Upside Down House
     two sundays in a row this deaf guy has come to church.  last week  the sisters never got his number so there was no getting a hold of him.  sunday he came again so i didn't let him get away.  his name is simon.  on monday we went over to his house with a member.    simon is very flamboyant ya know but he's cool.  he's like 30+ and unmarried.  basically he can't hear what anyone says right so he walks to the beat of his own drum.  he wears pretty tight shirts and is a little bigger ha ha.  but he was so excited to see us.  it was hard to communicate with him.  basically he doesn't know malay that well.  just sign language.  but we wrote out the lesson line by line on paper.  he told us he knows sister ritchie, harrison, and petty.  that was quite a while.  apparently his parents weren't too happy that he met with them. but recently they both died.  so he immediately came to church.  can.  when we asked him if he wanted to be baptized he just lit up.  he was so excited.  so that is great.  i hope he can get a friend at church but even if he doesn't, i think he'll keep coming.

Upside Down House in Rumah Terbalik
     oh man i can't think of anything else to write.  i'm running out of interesting things.  basically things are going good here.  we're just doing the same old same old that i've been doing for the past 2 years.  oh president clark had a heart attack.  he didn't pass out or anything.  basically he was on a ten mile run with his buddy in singapore and he felt some pain in his chest.  he walked the rest.  he went home showered got ready etc and then drove down to the hospital.  when they ran some tests they told him he definitely had a heart attack.  his artery was 95 percent closed.  despite him being extremely healthy this condition was genetic.  his father died of a heart attack at about the same age president is now.  but being in shape helped him.  so they had a stint put in and now he's doing good.  we're supposed to meet him tomorrow in miri sarawak but he can't come.  elder perkins, the asia area president, is touring the mission.  so the ap's are in charge.  oh great.  president's a boss.  nothing can keep him down. 
Nuf Sed
     lately i've been reading this one teaching's of the presidents of the church book wilford woodruff edition.  it is really interesting.  he had a crazy life.  it's good.  um what else.  i've been trying to keep my journal up to date but keep falling behind.  people here are talking about the hunger games.  i'll have to read it when i get home.  yeah well that's about all i got this week.  i promise next week will be better.  or maybe i'll just keep all of my stories so that i have something to tell you when i get home.  i feel like we might just have a lot of awkward silences when i get home cause i have nothing to tell you that i haven't already.  hey i read that talk on grace like 3 times.  it was awesome!!  wow so good.  actually the guy was in elder brodie's bishopric back at byu.  he says he is a way good speaker.  cool.  thanks for the talk.  it is inspiring. it really put things in perspective.  i mean nobody is perfect but that doesn't mean we give up.  we just try again.  it was a good message.  i want to hear your comments too.
     hey what is the popular music there?  i need to be up to date when i get home.   basically
Borneo Homesteads
 right now we've got adele somebody like you, katty perry the one that got away, stereo hearts, sexy and i know it, and yeah that's about it.  oh and love you like a love song.  are any of these still played over there?  i heard t swift has some new songs.  true or not?  let me know
     well don't worry i'm still working like crazy.  i'm having the biggest numbers i've had on my whole mission, except for baptisms.  but i feel like i'm really making a difference anyways.  the branch is strong.  we're not going to slow down.  the church is absolutely true.  thanks for your support.  i love you all
elder petersen