Another Sad day for the People of France

13710502_10210230216258937_5449392129192409184_o.jpgQue la paix de Jésus-Christ soit avec le peuple de Nice France au cours de leur période de deuil!

As you all well know, this country has known so many sad moments in the past 18 months. It is always so hard to hear about these things when they happen, and we never expect these things to happen. As horrible and gruesome as they are, they seem to strike less surprise in our hearts as these events continue to be carried out.

It is true that as the years pass, the end comes closer, and I know that there will be turmoil and continued war in these final days, but it is still so difficult.

I have learned to love this country with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength and it hurts me to see these people that love others so unconditionally and would share anything with those in need, even when they don’t have a lot, are the targets and victims of these attacks.

I know that the Lord loves his children and that he answers their prayers.

After all of these attacks, over the last year and a half, it has become difficult to do any good contacting. Even talking to people is more difficult let alone that we are trying to introduce religious principles. They are hurting due to these terrorist attacks by individuals who profess to perform their “Acts” in gods name. They are putting up walls to try to protect themselves, and no matter what hope to try to introduce to them, they close up. It is so incredibly hard.

We went to see one of our Amis, and we talked to her about that, she is so open and loving. She seems to understand God and how he wants us to be happy and to succeed. She shared something that touched me. She said that while it’s true that people will reject us, we will be in the right place to help those who are ready.

Then she told us some incredibly great news. Last week we went and saw her, she had a friend over whose name is Tristan. He was not doing well and believed in that everything in his life was negative; he was so depressed. Just having that conversation was sad and brought us down.:( However, by the end of the RDV, I just decided that it was time, to be frank with him and said that we preach a gospel of joy and love and that the contrast to his views was incredibly huge. He had two choices either be sad and hate humanity or be happy and find hope in God. We ended the RDV on real terms but did not expect much out of it. She has been working with him for months to try to accept God and to begin to a new line of progress and start to pray, but he just wouldn’t do it! However… She told us the other day that after we had left, he said he would pray. He also stated that he would come to church and talk with us! It was such a huge miracle, and then she reiterated what she said before about our being there when the people the Lord is preparing are ready!

It ended up being a good week after all!

We got some great family history work done. I was able to find about six ancestors and to prepare over 13 names to receive the temple blessings!

My area touches the NICE sector (like right next to it) and because we are in the same stake after the incident on the 14th they read out a note In sacrament talking about it. They let us know that there were no members hurt, and did tell us that there was a group of members right on the Promenade des Anglais at the moment of the attack for an activity. They were not hurt, but they witnessed a very gruesome scene and circumstances.

The Lord was the most saddened of all that evening of the 14th; he leaves us freedom as our greatest gift, but it is the way we use it that causes such pain 😦

He is there for us, and he will help his children who are in need, he knows us, and I know these things.

Lots of love,

Elder Peterson,
La Mission Française de Lyon.

The Time is Flying By….

Bonjour a tous.

Donc cette semaine était très bien passé!

Last Monday for P-Day we went to Aix to celebrate the 4th of July, we went bowling and had a great time all together signing the National Anthem. 🙂

Then we got home and went to an American family’s home to spend the evening, we ate amazing potato salad, jello and hamburgers. It was so much like being at home in America, I loved it. 🙂 🙂

Can you believe I am 20 — Yes today is my Birthday!!!!! I have been on my mission just short of 2 years!

This week is a big celebration in France, on the 14th they celebrate Bastille Day.

We went back up to Aix on Wednesday night because I had to do a baptismal interview for an Ami of the Sisters. It was great. He is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, he is so spiritually prepared and he really does love the gospel. It was an honor to be able to do that interview and I am sure he will be strong in the church and be very blessed for his faith.

After the interview, I was able to visit with a member who I knew pretty well when I was serving in Aix, but given that I only spent 6 weeks there, we did not get to talk as much as we would’ve liked. She took us all to get Kebabs and then she got us ice cream. She is great and is a relatively recent convert, of about a year and a half. She is super sweet, she is like 50 years old and is like a really cool mom for the missionaries. I was so happy to spend some time with her.

Then the next morning, it was time for District meeting and I had to teach.  It went well, I chose to talk about the importance of member work and how we can gain the trust of members, notably in learning their language and culture to show that we actually care about them. I feel like a lot of the missionaries are content with just a small vocabulary at a couple of common expressions and few if any cultural references… I am not! I feel the need to really understand so that I can connect the French people.  This means understanding how they speak, why the speak about what they speak about, why they act certain ways and learn about their history. By doing these things I have been able to make a lot of friends and gain the trust of many.  When we establish this kind of connection we can show that we care and have a more positive impact when teaching the gospel. It was a good meeting.

We had our first game night (Soriee de jeux) this week and it went very well, we were about 15 people so it was fun and we plan on it growing to a larger group every week!

We did some other stuff and I don’t have much time but I want you all to know that I love you and I am praying for you!

Love,

Elder Peterson,
La mission Française de Lyon.

Manosque… the work begins

Hello, a Tous! 

Wow, It has been a whole week?!? That is crazy! 

This was a good week, it has been interesting work here in Manosque.

The reason that I say interesting is that there have been some stories and gossip going around and it has made a large hole in the branch, for lack of better words. 😦 😦 It is sad because the missionaries assigned here apparently had no idea.

I do not know why, but for some reason, people trust me with sensitive information.  Whenever I go visit people they just start telling me everything. 🙂 🙂  My companion is sitting there like…. “What…..?” It is not his fault that he was unaware of these things, he has only for one transfer (6 weeks) before me. 

Normally, the work of the missionaries is not to really help fix the branch, however these are special circumstances, as this has been brewing in the branch for almost a year and it is now an impediment to the work. It is hard to bring Amis in as they expect to find a place where they are loved and accepted only to experience an environment that is not exactly in agreement with the teachings that we have been sharing with them.  Anyway, it makes it difficult.

However, what is great about us being here and knowing about the situation is because we were not involved and come from other areas, we are neutral sources that can make a difference.

Now that we know, we can start the healing process. We have started and now it is time to Press Forward, Onward and Upward!

Our work this week has been focused on these things, and luckily the mission is also taking a turn to work more with the members to accomplish the goals of integration.  For Europe this means 1)bring a friend 2)become spiritually and temporally self-reliant  3) prepare an ancestor for the temple. 

I know that as we work with the members to accomplish these goals it will bless us as a mission and bless the members for their work.

To start helping the healing process for the Branch we are going to start a game night with members as a branch activity hosted by the missionaries every Friday evening. We need to have activities here so the members can actually connect and communicate with one another and that will help tremendously.  The other benefit of this game night is to provide  a “non-threatening” place to bring friends so that the members can accomplish their goal of bringing a friend.

We feel as if there will be some amazing blessings that come from these small and simple  things. 

We are also trying to see a lot of the less active members here.  A number of people have left the branch because of these misunderstood comments and stories. We will work to help them and we have already seen some blessings and progression in this aspect.  We went and played some card games and foosball with FOUR of the less actives and it went very well! Like I said before, because people seem to trust me, they opened up and so now we can help them. 🙂 

It all reminds me of the 12 step Program, the first step is admitting that you have a problem! As we pass this step we can now progress and I am so thankful for that. 

I know the Lord loves his children and I see that he cares about them here in Manosque. 

What has been made clearer every day is a knowledge that I am here for a reason and every minute it seems to become more, clear  why I am here. I have served in areas where there have been problems in the past and I have served in a small branch, in the Presidency thus I am aware of church regulations which is beneficial . I have just been realizing that the Lord prepared me for this calling and I am so happy for that, I know that as long as I work hard, I can make positive changes and I can help these people feel love for one another.

As they will all come closer together they will all grow closer to their Heavenly Father and I know it’s true, the Lord loves these people. 

Along with goal for helping the members with their three goals, we are also taking it upon ourselves as a mission to accomplish another goal.  Every Sunday we now have 1 hour of genealogy! It’s incredible what I have been able to help members find already!

It’s a great work and I am happy to be able to work in this amazing work for my family on the other side of the veil. 

I am very happy! 

Getting here a couple of weeks ago I was thinking “well this is small and there isn’t that much going on. We will see if it’s boring.” Now I know…..nope! There is so much to do! 🙂 🙂

I love you all! Have a great week and a great Fourth of July! 

Today we are going to Aix to have P-Day with the other missionnaires to Celebrate this incredible day of American Independence. 🙂  

Elder Peterson,

La mission Française de Lyon.

Transfers…..I am off to Manosque

Hello, to all my friends and family,

It has been a great week here in Manosque! I am starting to meet some of the members and the amis here.

The ville is super nice and it is about 1000 degrees every single day…. but I’ll pull through 🙂 :). Who knew there were high deserts in France!
It has been great to be able to do the Lords work here over this week. Its always interesting for the first week trying to gain my footing and get a mental map of the city, especially having a companion who has only been here for 6 weeks. We are both learning the city for the most part and it seems to be good. Guess what?  We have not yet gotten lost, so that must count for something!
There are some really cool Amis here, although I have not gotten to know them too well yet. There is one who was born in France, but whose parents are from Vietnam. She owns a shop that sells incense and little Asian figurines.  She is super cool and if we go near 5:30 before she closes she gives us cookies and makes us an herbal tea and then we are able to teach her peacefully in her shop. She seems super cool and down to earth, so I am excited to see her again soon.
The Branch here seems to be very nice but there are some less active members that we saw this week that shared some problems that they encountered, so we are going to work hard with members during this transfer. In the last few transfers, the former missionaries assigned to this village did not concentrate on member work so there was not a lot of member work done here.  I am excited to get a lot of it underway. I love working with members and while I was in Tarbes we developed a program of working with members. I have already seen some of the reasons I am here in Manosque and it is super great. 🙂
We got an invitation to share the 4th of July with an American family in the evening so we are very excited for that. Since it is P-day we are going to Aix to have a 4th of July party there with the Elder’s there.
This week we had a lot of planning for the transfer and a lot of contacting time so I don’t have a lot of news. Yesterday i was able to present myself at church and introduce myself which is always fun, I am excited to be here!
My companion and I are getting along really well, which is always important quality as a base for missionary work, if it is not going well between us, how can we expect it to go well when teaching others!
I love you all and I thank you for reading!
Love, Elder Peterson
France Lyon Mission
Manosque, France

A Week of Tender Miracles

Salut Mon Amis.

Wow, this was a week of tender miracles, the Lord had really helped me see his hands and feel his love.

This week started off rather hard, having received some sad news of a friend passing away. I began the week with that weighing on my mind, but the Lord was able to show me his love and to comfort me, through the people that surrounded me.

On Tuesday, we did some contacting after lunch and then went to see one of our potentials named Monsieur Williams, as we sat down he started talking about how much he wanted to change his life and start on a better path and really try to build something more with God… So I guess you could say that we got pretty excited. We taught about the restoration and the importance of the gospel and the Book of Mormon, we invite him to pray to know if it’s true, then he stuns us by telling us that he knows it’s true already… Ok… 🙂 🙂 🙂 We
decided to invite him to be baptized in July, he needs to do a lot of preparation for this but I know he can be ready, so we asked him and he readily accepted the date which we had proposed. We were super happy to be able to see him and help him set his feet on this path of discipleship, he is super great and we are stoked for him!

Then after that. we got a bus (because all of the trains are on strike still) up to Toulouse for an exchange with the district leader, it was a good time, nevertheless, my mind was still occupied by other thoughts so I was not feeling the best, it was difficult to lift up my morale,  so we went back to their apt and he did area book work in making calls to old Chinese Amis, given our district leader was actually called to speak Chinese in the mission! Luckily he had a lot of work to do in calls which gave me a moment to calm down and pray and just read scriptures and relax.

The next day we went out to lunch with the zone leaders and the district leader and found a great Mexican restaurant!! It’s been over a year since I have had real Mexican food! We all went out and had a good lunch hour, that as really good to lift the morale and to
really just relax and recharge for some more hard work over the week!  After that, we got to the Gare to see for trains or buses and we got the next bus… 4 hours later we were in Tarbes so that means 2 hours longer than normal….. But on the bright side,   there was air
conditioning which is a rare commodity here in France so that was good! It is interesting to note that a lot of the passengers were getting impatient and upset during the time with all the stops the bus was making, so I guess the strikes are doing their jobs. 🙂 🙂

The next day we went to see a member Patrick and to help him fix his bike and when it was finished we took him out for a ride, we went to ride to his brother’s house which was about 7 kilometers away, the problem was that he hadn’t ridden a bike in a number of years so he was not ready. 🙂 🙂 Needless to say we had to stop often to rest but he made it in the end! We were so proud of him, it was a great time and it was really a tender mercy from the lord to me to do that, it was calming and fun and then when we got to his brothers, they made us dinner and we spent a great moment with the family then we rode back quickly to get back on time! 🙂 🙂 🙂  It was great and I know the Lord put his hands in that day to help us.

We have been able to get a couple new Amis this week and have been able to teach some great people, the Lord is helping us so much, he wants us to succeed and to be happy in our lives here as his servants.

I have been able to gain a deeper understanding and love for the Plan of our Heavenly Father, for what happens after death and for the Love and mercy that will be given to us and are constantly accorded to us.

I know that everyone will get a fair chance to learn these teachings and accept this gospel, it is a gospel of love and that is because we have a God of love, he is great and I am so happy to be his servant at this time.

Throughout the whole week, I felt his love and he showed it to me constantly, he has helped me overcome a lot of me weaknesses this week to become stronger and I know these things will help me for the rest of my life, from when I get home and throughout my marriage and future family 🙂

Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers! This next week is transfer week and I might move so I probably will not have much, email time next week so I will apologize in advance, if that is the case.

Love you all.

Elder Peterson,
La mission Française de Lyon.

Bonjour a tous ceux qui sont Beaux

Hello, everyone!

Wow, another great week flew by, I didn’t even feel it pass!

My current companion is pretty fixed in the idea that I am “old” in the mission and that I will be “Dying” soon! I have now been in Tarbes for nearly 6 months. I am expecting to be leaving here in two weeks. 😦  I love it here so much, it is a great place and the people are
incredible.

I had an interview over Skype with my mission president this week and he told me it is going to be really hard to leave Tarbes, I asked him how he knew and he said because he once had to do it, about 35 years ago, as a young elder he served here and he loved everything about it as well.  It holds a very special place in his heart and the same has happened to me. 🙂 I am so thankful for all the time I have had here and I cannot wait to hopefully be able to come back and visit in September at the end of my mission. For now, I am still here and the work is moving along just fine!

This week we got a new Ami and found some potential new Amis! It has been  great week! One of the best parts of the week is really seeing the Lords hand in our lives.

It is quite often that the plans we make don’t work out how we planned them, which is ok as long as we are in the right place at the right time 🙂

For example, this week we were going to ride our bikes about 6 kilometers south to visit a family living in a village, as we set off on the trail (we found a bike trail so we don’t need to bike on a busy, noisy road and it leads us right to the village) my back chain guide
broke off and went into the wheel and gets super bent out of shape…  There goes our plans… So I get off and try to bend it back to shape, but that doesn’t work.

We go and walk the bike to one of our Amis homes that was really close by, luckily they are home!

We get some pliers and work on it for a while but it was pretty pointless, our Ami offers to drive us home and so we put the bikes in the car and we are on our way home.  As I was looking out the window I suddenly make eye contact with a woman on the side of the road. She gives me a big smile as we pass by. I ask my companion if he saw what I saw and
he said yes… But we were not positive, but it looked like that woman we found in the gare a couple months ago. She had been baptized in Rwanda about a year ago and has been coming back to church. However, we thought she lived about an hour away in a village with her husband. Where we saw her walking was in Tarbes, right around the corner from our apt at the HOMELESS SHELTER… So we get out, and throw our bikes in our apt real fast and then get out to try to see if it was her, and sure enough, it was, she has been there for almost a month now but she has ashamed so she didn’t tell anyone, she needed help and felt alone. We called up, the Relief Society president and they got in contact to figure out the situation. Now she will be able to get the help she needs. I know it’s an answer to her prayers and her families prayers.

The Lord completely changed our plans and even had my bike break so that we could help her. She really needed this help and if we hadn’t seen her that day who knows what would have happened! I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father and I know that he loves all of his children and he listens to each and every prayer 🙂

We were able to visit with some of our Amis this week and I am so thankful for the Opportunity to be the Lords hands here in Tarbes.

All of the strikes are still happening throughout France with the supposed end date being next weekend but we shall see. 🙂 🙂 We are hoping we will be good for the 20th because there are a lot of missionaries going home and coming in this transfer!

I was able to share a little message with a lot of people about a tent… In the Doctrine and Covenants when the saints are being persecuted and going through all sorts of trials, Joseph Smith prayed saying “where is the tent that covers your hiding place” thinking that the Lord was hiding from the suffering prophet. In a talk from Henry Erying it says that God doesn’t put a tent to cover him, we put a tent and cover God, in things we do and maybe habits that we create, we are distancing ourselves from the blessings the lord is often trying to pour on our heads.

We really have a great and Loving Heavenly Father.

I love you all! Have a great week.

Elder Peterson,
La mission Française de Lyon.

Greves Turn into Faith in Finding

It is official! France is turning off for about 10 days!

It is interesting that in French culture if you want to change something, you protest, get the word across that you are not happy.

There is a new labor law that has to do with overtime pay here in France and for a few months, there have been protests in the streets and people striking everywhere. Recently we were  informed that SNCF, the French train system, would be on strike every Wednesday and Thursday through the 11th of July. 😦 😦

However, the other day in the Gare – when we asked about trains for a meeting we had in Toulouse the following day-we were informed that as of the 1st of June, until Monday the 11th of July there would be a strike, not just Wednesday and Thursday’s but EVERY SINGLE DAY.

OK this is a predicament at the moment and it isn’t letting up, there are strikes at the oil companies and some grocery stores and lots of other places everyone uses to carry on their daily activities. Now you can see what I mean when I say France is closing.  All buses will be out of service for a least 10 days.

Our area is rather large and so buses and trams are a daily part of mission life. For the moment we are stuck.

In this time of opposition, our mission president has given us a challenge, to find 1000 new people to teach in these 10 days of “Mega Greve.” We will show faith and diligence and I am sure that the Lord will bless us. Hopefully, all the strikes will stop in time for the next transfers in mid June…  We shall see.

This week we were able to get up to Toulouse in spite of strikes and pushed schedules, we had our district meeting and then we did a zone finding day. We got to change companions during the day and I was lucky to serve with both Elder Warner and Elder Peron who were old companions of mine! We had a great day with a lot of fun and we made kind of amazing race game of it. We had different challenges which helped to push us, we had a blast! 🙂

We noticed that a lot of people have been pushed by their ancestors recently. I say that because a lot of people would stop and talk to us but about family history which shows that their hearts are being turned towards their fathers, it was great to see and we were able to have a lot of conversations with people about their ancestors.

We were able to perform some service here with some of our friends in Tarbes, for some people we are teaching, it was a great time.

We have this big goal of 1000 new Amis and we are so excited to get to work on it! We will need a lot of faith and prayers but I am sure that we will be able to accomplish this goal, I will report back next week on our progress!

Yesterday, I gave a talk at church, I have given 3 talks in the last 4 weeks! 🙂 It has always been a last minute thing, but I am so grateful to be able to do it.  I have learned to rely a lot more on the spirit to guide me because I have no time to prepare, it has been great practice and it is definitely something that will help me in my life.

I love you all, I hope you have a great week!

Avec amour

Elder Peterson,
La mission Française de Lyon.