Monday, March 30, 2015

Because He Lives - 03/30/15 (Charleston, IL)

Dear Friends and Family,

This week has sure gone by fast! It is crazy to think that March is already pretty much over and spring is on its way. It was 6 months ago last Tuesday that I have been on my mission for 6 months. In the short time I have been out on my mission I sure have learned a lot and been able to experience a lot. 

We had a pretty crazy week here in Charleston. Wednesday morning I said goodbye to Elder Phillips and waited in Mattoon with Elder Payne most of the day while I waited to get my new companion. Elder Campbell is a pretty great guy, we are already getting along great and working pretty hard! Elder Campbell has been on his mission about 18 months, and is from Sandy Utah. 

We met with Sharon this week at her home in Lerna, and had a great lesson with her! She told us this week that she is ready to be baptized. Elder Campbell and I thought about setting a date with her for April 25, but when we brought it up to Sharon she said "How bout April 11?" So we are going to meet with her this week and finish teaching most of what we have to go over! 

Joe has started to experience some trouble with his decision to be baptized.. He is looking for a job and got offered a job teaching Catholicism at a school in Effingham, the problem with the job is that you have to be a practicing catholic. He is struggling with what to do, but we had a great lesson with him about how God tests us and puts trials in our way to prove our dedication. We promised him that if he was baptized and chose to stick with what he has come to know that God will provide for him.... Not sure what is going to happen at this point, it has me pretty stressed. But I am confident that he will make the right decision in the end.

So we had kind of a funny story this week.. Elder Campbell and I were walking down this road and there were some college students drinking and partying in their house, and as we walk by they start yelling and shouting at us. We of course just kept walking. A guy comes out the door and yells "Hey come back here, I want to learn about "Book of Jehova." we respond, "... That's not us, dude." then he was like "Well I want to learn about the Book of Mormon, get in here!" For a few seconds we think about running.. but we both decide to go in. They were all drinking and smoking. But we were actually able to sit down and actually talk about the Book of Mormon with them. Elder Campbell talked about the Restoration with two guys, then I started to talking to another guy about the Plan of Salvation and by the end of it they just kept saying "You guys are awesome! Your just GOOD GUYS.." You kind of had to be there, but it was pretty funny.

Wednesday night Elder Campbell and I were tracting some college apartments, and we heard some guys playing basketball in the courts. Se we walked over and asked if we could play. It was 3 other guys and Elder Campbell and I totally beat them in two games of baketball! It was seriously awesome! Afterwards we taught them the restoration and gave them all copies of The Book of Mormon. 

Anyways, it has been a pretty exciting week and this week should be just as good! We have to drive a few hours to and from Springfield Illinois to go to Zone Conference Tuesday, so that will take up most of our day. Then we have General Conference this weekend! 

So last thing, The Church has put out another awesome short video called "Because He lives". It is super awesome and this week we get to go around and share it with people! It is probably one of the only Church videos that has actually gotten me choked up. I just want to invite everyone to watch it on "" or look it up on Youtube. Then to share it with your friends and family! 

I hope everyone has a great week and stays safe and can enjoy General Conference. May we all be able to remember the importance of this Easter season and remember our Savior Jesus Christ, that because of him everything is made right, no lost causes, no reason to feel lost, no reason to lose hope. All because He Lives.

Elder Chase Peterson

Monday, March 23, 2015

Power In The B.O.M. - 03/23/15 (Charleston, IL)

Dear Friends and Family,
I hope that everything back home is going great, Utah doesn't even seem real to me at this point. But things are going great for me out here in Charleston Illinois! I am loving the corn Fields very much at this point. Haha! Everything is slowly starting to come back to life, and you can hear birds, and see Mosquito's, and hear the frogs at night.
We got transfer calls Saturday night. I found out that I am staying in Charleston Illinois for at least another 6 weeks. Elder Phillips is getting transferred though. He is going to be a Zone Leader in Cape Guirardo MIssouri for the last 4 months of his mission. Elder Phillips is awesome and we really enjoyed getting to serve together for this last transfer! It also turns out that I am not going to be training quite yet... so that is good. I am getting Elder Campbell, that is all I really know about him at the moment! Haha!
A lot of our appointments this week ended up dropping, except for Joe. He is doing awesome! He came to Institute on Thursday night and we talked about Celestial Marriage, and at some points the conversations got kind of deep. But Joe said he really loved it! Thursday we were going to teach him the commandments and the word of wisdom, and ya he already knew mostly everything about both topics. Joe is also getting fellow shipped really well into the ward. He is pretty much a Mormon already, so we will definitely be baptizing him by the end of the transfer!
Sharon and her daughter Liz are on track with the lessons and should have a baptismal date by this week or next week for sure! They are both so awesome and prepared!
Duane and his son Aaron are doing great too.. They will likely have a baptismal date within the next few weeks. Aaron just got out of jail and sincerely expressed his new found desire to be baptized.
We have 12 investigators in our teaching pool to start out this next transfer on a strong note! It is pretty amazing to see that the Lord really does prepare people to hear about the Gospel and gives them the best opportunities to accept it. Our top investigators we have done nothing to find them, honestly.. As long as you are being obedient and working, then the Lord really just puts people into your path that are ready!
So this week Elder Phillips and I are going to finish our time together strong! Then Wednesday I will be getting Elder Campbell and we'll work on improving the area even more. Super stoked that there is a lot going on in our area and in the mission as a whole! This last transfer alone there were 50 baptisms in our mission, with a year to date total of 94 baptisms!
General Conference is coming up in a few weeks, so I hope everyone is pretty excited for that! I know I am really excited! haha! I am working hard to try and finish the Book of Mormon before Conference starts on April 4th.. I am only in Heleman, so I have a little bit to go still, I just get distracted sometimes, but I am not giving up. The Book of Mormon is so amazing, and as you read you really do come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. You learn about the Gospel and how we should live, your faith increases, and your desire to do good increases. By reading and studying you truly learn more about who you are.. I have started adapting my missionary work to be more centered around the Book of Mormon, especially meeting people for the first time and when we are out tracting. Because in it lays the power to change and to become better! I am not even done reading it yet, but I have seen it start to chance me as a person, as a member of the church, and as a missionary. I have watched it change the people we teach, it has changed some of them so quickly and so dramatically. There is true power in it.
I hope that everyone has a great week and starts to enjoy this great spring weather coming our way! I miss you all and think of you all the time. so for another week I say goodbye.. Until next Monday, Love one another, serve one another, and read the Book of Mormon. talk to you all next Monday!
Elder Chase Peterson

Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Of Mormon Conversion - 03/16/15 (Charleston, IL)

Dear Friends and Family,

I would like to start off by saying that it has really just been a beautiful week here in Charleston Illinois! It has been in the 50's and 60's most of the week. Today it is supposed to be in the high 70's. It is so nice to actually walk outside now and feel some kind of warmth! It has been way to long since I have had that. 

Elder Phillips and I have been killing it here in our area! This week we picked up 4 new investigators, all of whom are very solid. We started teaching a lady and her daughter who have been reading the Book of Mormon and watching BYU devotionals every morning and even came to church on Sunday. We will probably set a baptismal date with them this week.

We started teaching this gentleman named Duane, who is in his 50's and he used to meet with the missionaries for a while, but work got in the way of his progression and stopped him from being baptized. He has a different job now and is much more free and is ready to get going again with the church!

Last week on exchanges Elder Rausch and I were tracting some EIU College apartment complexes and picked up several potentials including a lady names Jessica, seemed interested and said to come back. When Elder Phillips and I went back a week later, she let us right in and we talked about the Book of Mormon and taught her the Restoration. Jessica is super cool and really open to what we teach and talk about. She was not able to come to church on Sunday because she was in Springfield doing training with the Army National Guard. She is an Army Band member. haha! 

It has been a pretty great week with the work here in Charleston, the area is really booming! There is a lot to do and we stay busy all day every day. But the highlight of my week came from our Investigator Joe!

We started teaching Joe 6 weeks ago when I came into the area, and he has been progressing like crazy! When we visited him Thursday afternoon he had just finished reading through Alma and as we talked and discussed what things were standing out to him as he read. He took us to a verse in Alma that said something to the effect of "Show the Lord your faith by entering the waters of baptism." Then Joe said something I will never forget.. "I am ready to be baptized." I was so happy!! He said that he cannot deny what he has read and felt from reading and praying, he knows it is true and he can see himself changing because of it!

That was a really big testimony builder for me personally.. It is pretty amazing to see the power of the Book of Mormon, and that by reading it who discover who God is and who Jesus Christ is and your relationship deepens and becomes stronger with them. By reading it you learn that it truly leads people to do good and to point you towards Christ. Every Good thing that teaches a man to do good is of God. Therefore the Book of Mormon truly is inspired scripture and because of that everything else falls into place that Joseph Smith was called by God as a prophet and restored Christs church to the earth today. 

As I have been pushing to read the entire Book of Mormon by General Conference I have no doubt gained a stronger witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the Church itself. The Gospel is simple. it is Beautiful. It is no doubt true. It just makes too much sense. 

It is hard to believe that I have already been in Charleston for a month and a half! This transfer has just flown by to be quite honest. This Saturday we are going to be getting transfer calls! It is highly likely that I will be staying in Charleston to take over the area. It is also a good possibility that I will become a trainer. I am just going to work hard this week and prepare to lead the area next transfer and whatever news we get Saturday night I will just role with. 

I hope that everyone has a great week and is preparing for General Conference! It will be awesome! Like always, thank you for the support. This next week I will be hitting my 6 month mark. That is crazy! Can't wait to report next week all of the events that will be taking place this week, and to tell you all what will happen in regards to transfers. Like I said It is almost a given that I should be staying in Charleston so anyone can still send letters this week like normal. Love you all.

Elder Chase Peterson

Monday, March 9, 2015

Unofficial St. Patrick's Day - 03/09/15 (Charleston, IL)

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you have all had a great week and that all is well back in the warm weather of Utah. Things have started to warm up out here in Illinois. I walked out o my apartment this morning in shorts and a long sleeved shirt and it felt some warm!! It was only 31 degrees, but that says just how cold it has felt the last few months.

This week has been a pretty good one, we went on two back to back exchanges with the Mattoon Elders and the Effingham Elders. Because of that I got the opportunity to run my area for three days in a row. It was a great opportunity because it helped me learn the area much better and helped me take charge of the work in Charleston. 

We had a great lesson with our investigator Joe this week! We is so prepared for the gospel it is unreal. We see him at the university on Monday's before we go Email. We always stop to say hello. Joe is an Archivist for the state of Illinois. He came to Church again this week and really enjoyed it! He tells us that it is much different from the catholic services that he is so used to attending. Elder Phillips and I are planning on setting a baptismal date with him this week.

We dropped several of our investigators this week, and our teaching pool has dropped to only 9 people, so this week we are going to be focusing most of our efforts on finding new investigators. We have spent a lot of time tracting, meeting a lot of cool people, and a plenty of Odd balls. But we have found at least 12 new potential investigators, most of them are really solid. So hopefully we will be having more people to teach by the end of the week.

So here is one funny story to end this weeks email.. Saturday afternoon we were out walking to see some people. We were walking through town square and "downtown" Charleston and we start to hear some commotion. All around us are swarms of  College students dressed in green.. They were on every street corner, and almost ever road we were walking on. We asked one of the nice EIU students what was going on! Because at this point Elder Phillips and I were pretty freaked out and Confused! The student told is that it was "Unofficial St Patrick's day" and that all of the college students pretty much just party all day and walk around from Bar to Bar drinking as much as they can... It was a super strange day to say the least. 

Anyways, I think that is all I have to talk about for this week! I hope everyone has a great week and enjoys the Spring weather that is on it's way.. 

Elder Chase Peterson

Monday, March 2, 2015

Done With Winter - 03/02/15 (Charleston, IL)

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope all is going well for you back West, here in Eastern Illinois I am freezing! I am pretty much over winter for this year. Temperatures have been low, and we have close to 9 inches of snow on the ground. Cars have been grounded in the zone several times this week, so that has left us to walk everywhere, so that has been great. Haha! I manage to not get to cold most of the time.

I don't have a ton to report for this week actually... Saturday night we had a baptism! Our Investigator Nancyann got baptized by her son who drove down 8 hours from Michigan just so he could baptize her. Her son is a convert of almost one year, so it was really cool that he got the opportunity to baptize his own mom into the church! 

We went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders Wednesday and that was a good time. I got to work with Elder Moore in Mahomet/ Champaign! We taught a few lessons and went tracting for a good chunk of the day. I actually enjoy tracting and find that it is one of my strengths in missionary work. I also met one of their members who makes plaques for missionaries who serve there, and he had me write my name down and is going to make me one too.. so that is pretty cool! 

We have more lessons coming up this week with our investigators, a couple of them are progressing really well, enough that we might have a few baptismal dates here pretty soon. Elder Phillips and I are continuing to work hard and having fun in the process. This week the Mattoon Elders are going to be having the car, which means we are going to be back to walking the whole week. 

March is definitely going to be a great month for the Charleston area and for the Champaign Illinois Stake, and for the Missouri St Louis mission! Great things are happening here and the church continues to spread. Our mission continues to reach for the goal of 453 baptisms this year, as of this morning our mission as a whole has 111 baptismal dates and 6 baptisms this last week! Bringing a year to date total of 53 baptisms... Pretty good for two months into the year!

This Transfer I have made it a goal to finish the Book of Mormon by General Conference, and to have effective studies in the morning from Preach my Gospel and the standard works. I also study each day during my lunch hour and dinner hour when I can. I am really just focusing on learning the gospel and improving my teaching skills, and I have begun to see a difference! 

The church is so true! It is pretty amazing.. Anyways I will report again next week with more good news and hopefully some good stories for everyone! God Be with you... 

Elder Chase Peterson