Monday, May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017 - VERY LAST LETTER!

Guys, I just want to thank all of you for supporting me over this time on my mission! Its been a long time since I've seen all of you, however I'm looking forward to seeing you guys!

We had a baptism last week! I left my camera in my bags so I can't upload the pic.

Also, Lastly....
Timoteo 4:7

have fought good afight, have bfinished my course, I have kept the faith:

Love you guys,
Elder Pettingill

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May 1, 2017 - Almost home!

Hey guys!!!!!  Guess what?!?!  This last week went by super quick!!!!

We're out here working hard, we might have one last baptism this week!!!!  If he can conquer his temptations for drugs!  But hes come a long way to get here, and we're putting everything into it this week so we can see the fruits of it all!!!!

EL FIN SE ACERCA Y HAY POCO TIEMPO!!!!!!!  Ya me voy en una semana, tengo que TRABAJAR!!!!!

One Week left! I don't think there's much more I can say.....  Lets see, last week......

After writing home last week, literally 3 minutes from leaving the store, I fell in a giant hole and almost broke my ankle and knee........ Ouch!  I was hobbling around for a couple days after that, however with Gods Help I made it through!  Its still sore, however I'm all good now!

Other than that, we had great success in getting 32 references from the ward this last week!!!!  Woooo!!!!!!!  So now we just got to contact them all........  Lots of work to be done, and proud to say I'm leaving the ward better than how I found it! Just like the old saying of boy scouts! Leave it better than you found it! 

Love you guys! See ya'll in a week!!!!
Elder Pettingill

April 24, 2017 - I'm superman!

Hey guys!

So this week went by super quick, however we got a lot of stuff going on!

We received a super cool reference from Rita. (Rita is super converted now, and is doing great!!!!) His name is Miguel, and he is progressing towards baptism, and we hope to see him baptized before I leave!

Its getting hotter still...... The worst part is, I only have 4 shirts left that aren't bright yellow, or have large holes in them, and I can't buy new ones as you already know.... 

Something really cool that happened this week!  We were going to teach some investigators about family history on Thursday in the church!  However, the only problem was we had no idea how to do it either.... So we asked the Family History Teacher of our ward to come teach us, and then once the investigators got there to help us teach them!  It turned out pretty cool, my comp and I learned a lot about Family History, and I even got a couple names reserved for when I get home!!!! WOOOOO!!!!!  In the end, the investigators didn't show up, however it was still a very productive evening!!!!

We're teaching another less active/part member family, and they are super awesome!  They've gone through a lot of hard times, however we feel like we've really connected and progressing pretty quickly!  The cutest thing is that they have a little 3 year old boy, and every time he sees us he calls my comp spider-man, and calls me super-man!  Coolest little guy ever!!!

So, all in all, everything is going pretty well out here in Mexico!  I'm doing my best to soak it all in, and work the most I can out of these last 2 weeks!  ´´El fin se acerca, y hay poco tiempo, debes publicar lo que Dios, os mando!!!!´´  - hymn El fin se acerca.

Heres a photo of my converts doing there family history to prepare to go to the temple this 13th of May!!!!! WOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Elder Pettingill 

April 17, 2017 - Happy Easter!

Rita's baptism

Making muffins

Happy Late Easter!!!!!!
As you can see from the picture below, I'm pretty sure my wonderful mother passed my address on to the Easter bunny.....  Haha thanks mom!

This last week was pretty great!  A lot happened, and it was all great!!!!

At the beginning of the week we started off with Rita asking us about a lot of questions that she had gotten from her family.  A lot of misconceptions that people have about us Mormons, however we answered all her questions and everything turned out well!  

She told us that she was pretty sure what her family was telling her wasn't true, (which it wasn't) however she said that even if it was, sh'ed still follow through with her baptism because she had received her answer from God that she needed to do it.  Another of the wonderful blessings of being part of the only church on earth that Christ fully supports!!!!

So, for her baptism, we made muffins!  Yes, me and Elder Martinez made muffins!!!!!!  We used the church oven while the font was filling up, and honestly, they turned out pretty well!!!  Was super happy with how they turned out!!!!

So another thing we had to do for the baptism was iron skirts.... We had to get them ready since our Mission Leader was out of town for the weekend, and well I can  tell you guys that ironing skirts is very difficult.... 

Another really fun thing I was able to do this week was study my patriarchal blessing.  For returning missionaries the church has you do a program to help you make plans and goals for the future, and part of that is studying your patriarchal blessing to help you plan ahead for the future.  I've read my blessing hundreds of times, however I've never actually studied it.  The revelation that I was able to receive was incredible, and I'm really looking forward to all the new trials and adversity that will come after this period of my life. I'm happy, and working hard out here, however I'm not so worried about what comes next.

Love you guys a ton!
Elder Pettingill

April 10, 2017 - Book of Mormon promise

Alright guys!  This last week was going pretty well! We had a training meeting as 2 zones with our mission president, practicing and bettering our teaching skills and extending invitations.  It was great!  Then at the end me and all the other missionaries who are leaving in 4 weeks were caught by surprise as we were asked by our mission president to give our testimonies/last advice for those who continue on after us.....  Not a fun moment.... It still hasn't hit me completely that I'll be home digging a ditch in the backyard for my dad in 4 weeks time...

In other news!  This week we're going to have a baptism!!!! Rita finally made it to this day, and is super excited!  She's sharing the gospel with all her family now, and with friends and we're teaching several of them now.  Many are now reading the Book of Mormon and want to find out for themselves if the book is true! I'm telling you guys, its a 100% for sure way to get an answer!  The only reason people don't get their answers is when they get lazy and decide they have better stuff to do than receiving answers from God!  Every person out here who has started to read, and meditated over what they have read obtain the desire to ask God!  Then when they ask our Father in Heaven, in the name of Christ with true intent to follow through on the answer they receive, they receive a special manifestation from the Holy Ghost.

100% of the time.  I honestly couldn't be more serious when I say that.

Personally, even though I've already received my answer, I like to keep asking, and keep on searching.  When I do, I still receive answers, whether it just be about the Book of Mormon, or about any other issue I've wanted to ask about.  

I love you guys a ton, and I ask you to truly begin to rely on the Lord for strength, guidance, and counsel.  As you do, you'll begin to see the Light of Christ grow in your life.  Every struggle and trial in your life will be easier to bear, and you'll find the paths that you have so desperately searched for.

I love you guys a lot and hope this week is even better than last week! For you and for me!

Elder Pettingill

April 3, 2017

Hey guys!

All is well out here in the mission field!

General Conference was amazing!  Learned a ton, and super excited to study them more in detail to teach to our investigators!  

This week we worked pretty hard, yes, my foot was all healed!  All is good now!

No, I'm not getting trunky, however thank you for asking.......

A great story is that another investigator who's really been struggling to get their answer from God finally told us in Sunday that she received it!  We're going to find out in Tuesday what message she got!

Love you guys a ton!  Have a great week, and I'll try to give you guys some better stories next week!!! 

Elder Pettingill

March 27, 2017 - foot fungus...ewww!!

Hey guys!  This week went by super fast again!!!! Which kinda scares me since I only have 6 weeks left..... Yikes!

Well thankfully I'm still training Elder Martinez, so we're still killing it out here in Mexico!!!!  Though this last week was a little slow......

I'm sure many of you recently heard of my buddy out there in the states who has cancer, which got a lot worse cause he never went to check it out.

Well, I applied his story to my life and went to go take care of a foot fungus thing I got at the beginning of the mission!!!!  Yeah.... Ew....

I figured I should probably get it checked out since it was there for so long, and well what they call it here is Ojo de Pescado (Fish Eye).  No, I wont go into details to spare you the trauma.

I went to the foot doctor, and she said that because I had waited so long, my foot nerves had grown into it. Which only meant that it was going to be a lot more painful process of taking it out..........  and guess what she used to take it out?!?!?!!  YES A DREMEL!!!!  

Oh the pain!  As you can surely see in the pictures it wasn't a very comfortable process.  Not to mention that I had to hold my own foot down so she could do it.  At first it tickled a lot, then it started to hurt, then it started to burn.   

No, I didn't yell like a little girl.  Those are just facial expression of what was going on in my foot!  Anyway, I finished off with a rather large hole in my foot....  They gave me a mandatory 3 days of rest, (I took 2, because we had a lot of work to do), and that's it!

So that's the ´´highlight of this week´´.  I'm all good now, and walking at 100%!  Ready for another weeks work ahead of me!

Now on a better note, we've received several great references from members recently!!!  These are all people and families who are steadily progressing and really have the desire to try for themselves what we're saying!  GO MEMBER POWER!!!!!!

Love you guys!!!
Elder Pettingill

March 20, 2017 -

Hey guys!
This week was a whole lot of work in the sun!  The temperature is rising steadily, and everyone is changing into spring mode out here!  Only sad thing is that there's no spring style for us missionaries..... White shirts and a tie.... Not the best apparel for a hot day, however we stand out even more now which is great!

We had a whole lot more success this last week, thankfully!  All a blessing from God, I don´t even know what we did, this last week went by super quickly!  

Fun story, in some of the training videos that I show my comp, the quotes are in portuguese, so I'm having to roughly translate portugese to spanish/english for his training!  Haha its super fun, and 'Im able to translate about 90% of it!  Speak it, still can't do.

Another sad story.....  The bishopric here has now scheduled my farewell speech here in their ward for the last Sunday in April.....  Where did March go?

Oh!  Another fun story from this last week is that we were en-circled about by 5 dogs this last week as we were walking down the street.  The funny part is, is that as I was getting my water bottle ready to fight them off, I dropped it.  Then I picked it up again, and dropped it.....  Thankfully the dogs could see that I meant business and none of them attacked, so all was good!  We kept on walking and they left us as we neared the corner of the street!

Also, Rita got her answer from God this last week!!!!! WOOOOO!!!!!!  She knows the book is true, and that everything we say is true!  Super excited for her!!!!!

Hmmmm, spiritual thought for this week.....

Well, something me and my comp do in the mornings and at night.  Instead of listening to music, we listen to BYU devotionals.  We download them onto a USB drive on our phone, then hook it up to a speaker and listen to it as we're getting ready for the day, or getting ready to sleep.

All I can say is that you should never stop learning.  We have a mental capacity that has limitless proportions, and we're only wasting this great gift of God if we stop learning.  Now, as the modern revelations in Doctrine and Covenants states, we must learn from all the best books as well as by study and by faith.   We have a great gift to be living in these last days where there is so much information out in the world for someone to obtain, and to use it for the benefit of others!  To waste such a gift..... Well, we see how people like that are who spend all day binge watching Netflix.....  All of you have the great opportunity to be connected to all this information, so learn what you can while you can.  Because this life is short.  Also, as stated in the scriptures, there are only 3 things from this earth that we can keep after we pass on.  That is, our relationships, our experiences, and our intelligence.  ´´Whatsoever intelligence a man gains in this life, will give him that much more of an advantage in the world hereafter´´-paraphrasing from a scripture of which the location, I do no know.

Love you guys a ton!  Have a great day!
Elder Pettingill

March 13, 2017 - Challenges and seeing blessings

I forgot to take pictures last week... Sorry!!!! But to make up, I'll write a longer letter! ;D But be warned, it is very long.  Cause only 4 people wrote me today....  Woo!!!!

So, we're just out here working, having fun, sweating, and teaching with the spirit. And sweating some more.  

The sun has now come in full vigor!  At least that's what it feels like right now, and I know that its just going to get worse from here.....   Good News!!!!  My clothes are now too big!  Again!  Diets and walking A LOT really does work!!!!  Still not going to buy new clothes, since there's only several weeks left.....

So, message for this week.  God gives us challenges and problems in life so that we can grow and become stronger!  This last week we literally (almost) worked holes into our shoes!  We're finding, teaching, praying, fasting, making small little ward activity cards and doing everything single thing I can possibly think of or have heard of to bring others to Christ and complete with our purpose out here in the Mission field.  We had plan after plan of how we were going to complete with every little challenge that our Mission President has given us, and it has all worked out!  Until yesterday.

We were 100% positive we were going to see some big miracle yesterday, see throngs of investigators in the seats, all enjoying (or sleeping like one of our investigators the week before....) the morning services. 

And what ended up happening?  Nada.  Zilch. ZERO!!!!!!  I was dumb-founded!!!!!!  I thought to myself, ´´Como es posible?!?!?!?!´´ (Crudely translated to, How is this even possible!?!?!?!) 

I didn´t have an explanation.  I felt like all the effort and work we had put into the week had gone down the drain.  I even felt many doubts and accusations towards my own self begin to sprout inside my head.  I felt as if I had done EVERYTHING right, and had no explanation as to what possibly could have gone wrong!

Now, I understand about free-will and that the investigators made their own choices.  I know that the success of a Missionary depends on the level of commitment he gives and if he feels the spirit as he teaches.  (All of which I can happily give the affirmative towards).

As I pondered, and struggled to control my emotions and not allow any bitter feelings to appear towards those I taught or even God, I remembered a hymn that we had sung early during the sacrament meeting.  That of ´´Sweet hour of Prayer´´.  I remembered our Lords promises in comforting us in our times in need, and I poured my soul unto my God, pleading desperately for comfort and counsel that I needed in that moment. 

Shortly after I began to pray, I was amazed at the peace that I began to feel spread throughout me.  It started as a small feeling, which quickly grew into something much larger.  I then remembered many messages I had shared to others about adversity, and how it was there to make us stronger, and grow into a being more like our Savior Jesus Christ.  I knew then that there was something special I could learn from this experience, which I didn't learn till later in the day.

As we ate lunch, (a member had given us food to eat in our house cause they had to leave town that day), I was listening to a talk of Elder Holland. (Recently I've really enjoyed listening to BYU devotional speeches in the house when we're not doing anything, its always a highlight of my day!) The speech wasn't even that spiritual of a talk, it was a speech he had given about Mark Twain.  More of a biography than anything (yes I was surprised too).  However, as I listened about the life of Mark Twain, which from my understanding was a long list of sad events and failures. I began to ponder about how, even after everything, Mark Twain was able to use everything he had learned, to make one of the greatest books that is still examined by every school in the nation till this day.   

Anyway, to make a long story short.  I came to the realization (AGAIN) that failure and adversity are just components to success in the long run.  I looked at the few goals that my companion and I still had to complete that week (goals that we had never accomplished before), and decided that we weren't going to enter the house that night until we accomplished every last goal we had.  Which we did.

That night God blessed us to find many of the Elect.  We worked hard, and did the very best we could until the end.  I can proudly say that as the week ended yesterday, I could say as Paul of old ´´I fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.´´  Even though I didn't obtain the fruits I was hoping for yesterday, I obtained a treasure far beyond compare.  

That of a resolve to always give my best effort until the end.  I hope this experience helps some, and that this lesson can be learned in the poor grammar and broken English I can muster for this letter to you all. I love and wish for a great week for all of you! 

Con Amor,
Elder Pettingill

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 6, 2017 - Paintball!

Lightsaber war... the little guy looks pretty tough!

We got to go paintballing! Wahoo!!

This week was another great week of hard work, and hot sun.

Winter never came here in Chihuahua. We had about 3 weeks of cold, then Spring, with a few cold weeks now and then. It's kinda funny, however, now its getting way too hot, and honestly I'm super glad that I won't be here when summer hits fully!  It's going to be a brutal summer for all, and I'm just barely missing it!!!!!

We're teaching lessons a whole lot more now, (thankfully) and we're finding more and more people to teach!  We have a really cool family who are preparing for baptism!  They are super sweet, and really just want to do what's right. Their name is Family Hernandez, and we'll see what goes down in these next few weeks!  They just need to get a response from God about the Book of Mormon, and then from there we will keep on going!

Shout out to my super brave sister Amber back at home!!!! Shes a true example of a Member Missionary!!!!  She stood up for her beliefs in an incredibly difficult situation, with peers on all sides mocking her beliefs. However she stood firm and defended what's right!

In the mission field we see stuff like that a lot!  People shutting doors on us, others ignoring us as we pass.  Today I stopped by a store to ask for directions to the paintball field (yes we got permission to play paintball!!!!!), and were met  with hard stares and a ´´what are you doing here?´´.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, we stand out from the crowd.   We stick to the word of God as it has always been, and we won´t deviate from that.  As we follow what we know to be true, there will be many who will make fun of us, try to shame us, and speak badly of us. 

We need to put our faith in God, and hold to what we know to be true in all situations.  Our example will be a beacon for those who desire the further light and knowledge of their Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Then, when the world accuses us of not being like them, we can proudly say ´´Good, I don't want to be like the world.  I'm trying to be like Jesus.´´  In that there is safety, peace, and happiness.

Today, we got permission to play paintball!!!!   It was great!  The last time I played was with Ammon the Saturday before I left for the mission!  With him, we were crazy, running around shooting everyone up without shirts!   

This time, yes, I kept my shirt on.  However I still went crazy running around shooting the other team up!  Haha a little bit of nostalgia of the old times....  However I am now psyched and pumped for another week of hard work in the service of our God, Jesus Christ!

Love you guys a ton!!!!

Elder Pettingill

(ps..... after today.... you'll only get 8 emails left from me....)     :(