Monday, June 13, 2016

"Pick three things you did right, and one thing you can improve on." - Jared Ward

Can you believe that Elder Peters is coming up on his first year in the mission? On July 23rd it will be one year!  How crazy is that?  

He loves letters and pictures from home so feel free to drop him a line at  even if it’s just a short note to say “HI” you will make his day!

Members of Elder Peters district

Dear friends & family,

This week started with us going to Elder Prescott's area and helping him with a service project of cleaning out a shed. it was made of cement blocks that had small spaces in the sides with a tin roof on the top and was packed full of old glass bottles, boards and bed frames, clothes, old carpets, you name it. We found a Liahona from 2007 in there. While we were cleaning it out Elder Prescott moved this big, dirt covered, roll of carpet out of the way and a cat jumped out from behind it and bolted out of the shed door, it freaked both of us out. I sarcastically said, "You know why he was in here right?" Prescott said, "Don’t scare me man!" and went to move the next roll of carpet. Sure enough, out came a good sized rat. I’ve never seen a big islander like Prescott jump backward so fast. It scampered off and we didn't find it. We finished cleaning out the shed and it started raining really hard. The member (sis. Agla) whose shed we cleaned out made us a big plate of bankuu, it was Christopherson’s first bankuu. I’m not sure that he really liked it all that much, but at least we finally got him some traditional Ghanaian food.

A lot of the stuff in the shed was just strait junk and we wanted to throw it away, but sis. Agla insisted that it could be used by someone. Things like splintered cracked bed frames, broken light housings, the mud/mold covered carpet remnants, etc. and it made me think about things in my life that maybe I need to throw away. Bad habits that I have that I need to change. Could I "Walk uprightly before God?" or would I be weighed down with a load of trash? In striving to change some habits this week, I determined to try to keep my desk cleaner and more organized so that I wouldn't have to tidy up a space on it before I can study. It would reduce stress and give me more time to study, write in my journal, and do other things on my desk. Side note - I’m working on drawing a cool comic about missionary life in Ghana and slowly adding panels to it, maybe by the end of my mission I will have a few pages done. I also decided to try to learn some of the phrases that the Africans in my zone use in their local languages back home. That was some advice that elder Liera gave me and it totally works!

On Wednesday we had MLC at President Snow’s house. It was nice. we talked about improving district meetings and making them more productive, trying to move them to different days of the week in which we are able to invite the ward mission leader to attend, and invite the ward missionaries to attend and discuss plans and ideas for who we (the missionaries, ward missionaries, and ward mission leader) will visit and what we will do.
Photo of the Missionaries at MLC with President and Sister Snow. Elder Peters is on the second row, second from the right.

We have been trying to do more service lately and we learned that the mission will pay for cutlasses for weeding (machetes) as long as we leave them in the apartment when we leave the area. I also got a guitar strap for my guitar today and I am trying to learn some hymns that I can play and sing with people in finding situations and at family home evenings. So pretty soon my proselyting gear will consist of a machete, my guitar -OR- roll-up piano, and my scriptures and the picture book. Its gonna be sweet! (I’ve gotta get a cutlass and learn more hymns first) but that’s my goal.

On Thursday we went on exchange with Elder Fryar and Elder Msomi. Msomi is from my mtc and Elder Ferrin went with him in their area so I went with Elder Fryar. Elder Fryar is from Preston Idaho and played on the football, baseball, and almost basketball team. He’s a super friendly guy and is an awesome missionary. It was from him that I got the idea to possibly carry my guitar around and play it for people. We went to Pascalines house and he wanted to start every lesson with a hymn and I had the thought, man if only I could play this, that would be so cool! It will be hard because I will probably have about 15 min at night to actually practice, maybe some time in the morning if I get up early to exercise. 

Later on the exchange we went to sis Princess house to just say “hi” to her kids before we were going to go try to contact this one referral that we have around that area. I was playing this cool little clapping came with Angel called "old tibo" and the wind started to blow. People ran around to try to find shelter from the incoming rainstorm. All of the kids scampered inside the house and I stood on the front porch as the rain started to appear in the gusts of the wind. As I stood on the porch there was a CRASH above my head and a 3x5 ft piece of plywood blew over onto the bar about 5 ft away from sis Princess's rooftop. By this time the sky was dark with the setting of the sun and the rain was falling hard enough to make the gutters overflow, it was really pounding us. The piece of plywood had broken a hole in the family’s roof and rain water was now pouring into their kitchen area by their front door. Louisa, Angel and Lillian grabbed wash basins and started catching the water and taking it out off the porch. I was helping them and decided to try to cover the hole in the roof. I went out into the rain and grabbed the piece of plywood from off the roof of the bar and dragged it up onto Leslie’s porch. I then had him hold it while I climbed up their polytank and then had him hand it up to me. I stood there with the piece of plywood on the top of the polytank and looked over at the roof, made of wavy fiberglass slabs. I could see the hole with the help of the street light and the occasional flash of lightning off in the distance. I tossed the piece of plywood onto the roof; it didn't make it to the hole. Leslie said I should climb over and push it onto the hole, I asked him if the roof would hold, he said that they do it all the time, that it would. So I scrambled over the roof knee by knee where I knew the concrete walls were and pushed the piece of plywood over the hole. It wasn't helping; I scampered back over to the poly tank and told Leslie to get me an old rice bag. he ran inside and grabbed one and handed it up to me, I crawled back over to the hole, threw the piece of plywood out of the way and stuffed the rice bag into the whole to block more of the water from flowing in. the lightning flashed and I saw into the hole just long enough to see that my hand was surrounded by a tangle of wires. As I kneeled there on the roof in the pouring rain, I said a prayer in my heart asking God to help me withdraw my hand safely, that he would forgive me of my stupidity in forgetting my headlamp and climbing on a sketchy roof, that he would understand my desire to help this family. I took my hand out and everything was ok. I recovered the hole and as I climbed down back onto the poly tank I said another prayer thanking God that I was ok, and that this family’s home would be ok. the rain gradually started to stop, and the leaking stopped as well, but the kids were pretty freaked out so Elder Christopherson, Fryar, and I gathered them together in the living room and taught them how to play "down by the banks.." a carpenter came and was able to properly fix the roof that night. But that’s my crazy welcome to rainy season story! 

At the end of the exchange with Elder Fryar, we did an evaluation and I have decided that on my exchanges I’m going to do something that Jared Ward taught us at a Cross Country meeting once. Pick 3 things you did right (in the race, in this case in your mission) and 1 thing you can improve on for the next race. But you do it for one another. So I told him about how he inspired me to learn the hymns on instruments that I can play for people, and gave him the advice of skipper the penguin in Madagascar, "don't give me excuses, give me results!" I told him not to give himself excuses to not lead out, but to be able to look back at the results of the day and the fruitful effort he gave it. He told me something that I thought was cool. His one thing for me to improve on was to talk louder, that I mumble a lot. I really liked that advice because it is so true! I have learned that if somebody really cares about you, they will tell you things that you aren't doing that great on, or things you could improve on because they want you to be a better person. I remember mom and dad telling me, "I’m only getting after you because I love you" all the time when I was little. I didn't understand, but now I do. It has been cool to learn on these exchanges. 

The missionaries of the Laterbiokshie Zone playing "Pure Water Dodgeball" for P-day.
What is "Pure Water Dodgeball" you ask?  Keep reading... (Elder Peters can be seen in this image with his stylin' camo hat and RSL t-shirt)
(To answer some of Alexa's questions) - Ya it usually is really hot here, but lately it has been really nice because of rainy season. I have really liked it a lot. I just got back from cleaning up our zone activity which was pure water dodgeball! I’m sure you’ve seen the little sachet waters that everybody drinks out of, ya we bought big bags of those and had a water balloon fight with them. Then we ordered pizza and sold it around. Oh ya, I have been trying to collect some small things like cool key chain ornaments and bracelets to give to people as gifts when I get home and I found some really cool bracelets in market today and bought you some. Bracelets and little woodcarvings that you can put on your key chain are like 2 cedis so I have started gathering them small.

(To Mom) - I hope you are having fun having your kid’s home from school! I miss those summer days. the other day I was talking to somebody about making a mad dash inside the house with my grass covered shoes and legs, down the stairs to get my iPod and dashing back out the door just in time to hear you start to come out from your room to get after me as I would bolt out the door and speed away in the car. Ha-ha! I miss that. I remember being a recluse in my room sometimes and not wanting Alexa or James to bother me so I could get my homework done fast and how they would come in to pester me and I would chase them out. I would give anything for one of them to come interrupt my personal study! It’s so funny the little things you miss about home.

Watching Elder Ferrin and how close he is to going home I put myself in his shoes the other day, I asked myself, "if I was going home in a month, what would I be thinking about, what would that be like?" For the first time on my mission I was scared. I realized what going home would mean: school, job, work, etc. I pushed them out of my mind but I really was almost shaking as I sat down to write in my journal that night because of fear. I know that God doesn't give us the spirit of fear, but those thoughts freaked me out. 

I love you all a ton! I love serving the Lord and the people of Ghana! 

Love, Elder Peters

Enjoying Fajitas made for them by some students from Weber St Univ. in Ghana doing some humanitarian work.

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