Monday, February 23, 2015

The Miracle of Forgiveness

Week Fifty-six!

This week I have studied a lot about forgiveness.  If it feels like I have been talking about that a lot it’s because we are working with a guy.  I can’t share a lot of information right now because it is a sensitive subject but I will say that He has legal problems.  So for that we have been focusing a lot on how we can help him because they are legal problems that are preventing him from receiving the baptism that he wants.

While searching the years of Liahona Magazines, that we have stacking in our room, I found a beautiful talk by Jeffrey R Holland that he gave at a devotional at BYU.  It is in the 2013 September Liahona in a talked called The Justice and Mercy of God.  He started with this example of a graduation ceremony:  “It was unlike any other commencement or baccalaureate exercise I had ever attended or in which I had ever participated. There were 44 graduates, all male. They did not have traditional academic robes or caps or gowns. Each man wore a light blue denim shirt and dark blue denim trousers.

“The ceremony was not held in a field house or a stadium or even a lovely auditorium. It was held in a modest interdenominational chapel at the Utah State Prison. The graduating class had successfully completed a year’s course of Bible study, which was sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but open to all who cared to participate.

“The opening prayer was given by a young man who looked more like a mere boy. He was frightened to death, but he gave a prayer from his heart. He was in prison for 10 years to life on an armed robbery charge. The closing prayer was given by a man who was 45 or 50 years old and who looked as if he could have been somebody’s uncle. He was in for a life term on second-degree murder.

“A young man who had been released from prison had come back to get his certificate and to encourage his colleagues. He said, “Guys, the perspective in prison is really bad. It really looks better on the outside. Try to remember that.” Then he turned to the outsiders, to the friends and families who had come, and said, “You people are a light in a dark place. If it were not for love like yours, we would not be able to get from where we are to where we need to be.”

When the service was over, the inmate who conducted said, with some emotion in his voice and a little mist in his eyes, “This is the most auspicious occasion of our year.  It’s better than Christmas.  It’s better than Thanksgiving.  It’s even better than Mother’s Day.  It’s better because we’re enlightened, and that’s as close as we come to being free.”

I love what this last man said, because it really describes what freedom means.  These men are in what is considered the worst moment of their lives where they are literally incarcerated, but they felt the freedom because they took the opportunity to get closer to Christ. To be FREE from their sin.

We are all aware that God is just and sometimes that scares us to death but Elder Holland describes that perfectly when he said "Then, ironically, I had a comforting realization that my first thought—that God is just—wasn’t as painful as it sounded. However frightening it may be that all of us have sinned, however frightening it may be to contemplate a just God, it is infinitely more frightening to me to contemplate an unjust God."

But we know the sins that we have committed and we know that there is something that has to be done to fix it.  Sometimes that is what we have the most fear of.  To confess our sins to the world, more often than not we are fine confessing to God but to go to man and confess to the world we find a bit harder because we never know what the consequences are. 

But as Jeffrey R Holland said "We have our own little penitentiaries, I suppose, all around us. If going there is what it takes to make us truly penitent and to enable us to lay claim to the gift of mercy, then we have to do it."

And that is what stands out.  This man who we are working with has more fear than faith that the Lord will help him and is waiting for the mercy to take action now, but here it explains to us that we need to take that leap of faith and repentance to truly be open to the mercy of God.

I know that this is true. I know that God helps us to always do the right thing and the Holy Ghost will testify and help us when we have done the right thing. I know we can be forgiven but first we just need to show our desires to do what is right.

I love you guys

Monday, February 16, 2015


Week Fifty-five!

We had cambios this week. I am now with Hermana Sutton from Mesa Arizona.  If you never thought there could be another person like me, think again because I’m pretty sure that we are clones.  Which means that we get into lots of trouble, (but the good kind).

I’m still in Tarapaca which I am so grateful for.  We are starting to work a lot more with Family History.  And this week in the Gospel Principles class we learned a bit more about why, we were talking about the millennium and it says that "There will be two great works for members of the Church during the Millennium: temple work and missionary work.  "Temple work involves the ordinances that are necessary for exaltation. These include baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the temple ordinances—the endowment, temple marriage, and the sealing together of family units.  Many people have died without receiving these ordinances.  People on the earth must perform these ordinances for them.  This work is now being done in the temples of the Lord.  There is too much work to finish before the Millennium begins, so it will be completed during that time."

So in super simple terms we want to do as much as we can right now so that we can rest in the millennium, right?  But also because of all of the blessings that come from this work like getting to know our ancestors and striving to be worthy of the blessing of the temple.  These are all important things and I am so happy to have the opportunity to start putting a focus on them for these next few weeks.

Family Martel

Monday, February 9, 2015

hermana PETERs

Week Fifty-four!

When I first started my mission one of my teachers in the CCM asked my name, and of course I said "Hermana Peters" and she looked at me and smiled and said "Peter in Spanish is Pedro, like the great apostle, you have quite the name"

Those words ring back to me now as I study a bit more of the New Testament, Peter not only was an apostle of Jesus Christ, but after the Christ returned to dwell in the presence of his father, Peter was left in charge of the church, as a Prophet of the Lord. 

In Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk to New Mission Presidents in June of 2014, He shines a little more light on this prophet and the change that Peter had in his lifetime when he said "The great senior Apostle Peter is of particular interest to me. Here was a man who was no stranger to adversity- he was a man's man. How often had he steadied the rudder of his small fishing vessel during a threatening storm? How often had he bartered with shrewd merchants for the price of his fish? And yet, what do we see in this ‘rock’ of a man prior to the Resurrection? Among other things, we see fear! When he stepped out of his boat on the Sea of Galilee and walked on the water toward the Savior we see the beginnings of great courage and faith. "but when he say the wind boisterous, he was afraid and beginning to sink he cried saying Lord Save me" (Matthew 14:30)"

And not to mention that hour’s before the death of Jesus Christ he denied his relation to "Jesus of Nazareth". "Mark writes of Peter's denials and even says that Peter "began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak"(Mark 14:71) Peter later wept and agonized over that betrayal. With a Broken Heart he pleaded with God for forgiveness. How could he have been so weak? How could he have allowed fear to make him deny the man whom he knew was "the Christ the living son of God?"(Matthew 16:16)"

I think we all start out like this Peter, with fear of rejection, with fear of man. I have seen countless numbers of people who have had the fear of rejection sufficient to hide the gospel of Jesus Christ with their own families. But there is something bigger and greater than that, something that made Peter stronger, something that made him a leader. He was changed from the moment that he saw his Lord resurrected.

After the resurrection of Jesus Christ "From that Easter Sunday morning on, Peter was a new man. He had been born again. For the rest of his life, Peter faced threats, ridicule, hatred, and humiliation. But he did not back down. He feared no man. Nothing kept him from fulfilling his mission to raise his voice as a witness of his Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Maybe I still have fear. Maybe I’m still not as strong or fearless as the renewed Peter. But we can all make that change, and I know that through the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can all be made strong. That when we know that He is our Savior and Redeemer that we cannot have the fear, we won’t have the fear to say "I believe in Christ, He is my King" (Hymns #135). 

Every day of our lives we are faced with choices similar to what Peter had to make. Like Peter, we have the same question before us: What Kind of witness will I be?"

Peter is the greatest example we have of true courage and true change of heart. Taking something good and making it better, and then changing it into the best. So that he could be a great example not only to the people of his time, but all the generations after.

I hope one day I can feel worthy to have the names of two of the greatest men to walk the Earth over my heart, on my nametag, Jesus Christ, and PETERs.

I love you
Hermana Peters

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Week Fifty-three!

Well this week I received a nickname, I am the Latinga, because I’m the only white girl who speaks in Spanish and hangs out with the Latinas. It’s because I don’t have a lot of time left here in Peru, and I don’t really want to waste my time knowing people that I can get to know after the mission when we assist the same school, I would rather get to know people from all over the world.

And on that note I would like to talk about the book of Mormon. Why? Well first off because Joseph Smith said it was the keystone to our religion when he explained “Si quitamos el Libro de Mormón y las revelaciones, ¿dónde queda nuestra religión? No tenemos nada” (Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have nothing) so that is pretty important and it is so true.

Everyone is probably wondering why missionaries gain so much gospel knowledge on their mission and I can promise that it is because they read the book of Mormon. Something I have been able to see is that there is a lot of contention about the Book of Mormon, and as shared by one of my best friends the last week, in the 2nd book of Nephi, the 2nd chapter, and 11th verse says, "porque es preciso que haya una oposición en todas las cosas. , se podría llevar a efecto la rectitud ni la iniquidad, ni tampoco la santidad ni la miseria, ni el bien ni el mal. De modo que todas las cosas necesariamente serían un solo conjunto;.." (For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, … righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.)

As we have explained many times, there is much contention towards the church because there always needs to be opposition against something good, something from God.  And as said by Jeffrey R Holland in the General Conference of October 2009 "In light of that, it has always been significant to me that the Book of Mormon, one of the Lord’s powerful keystones in this counteroffensive against latter-day ills, begins with a great parable of life, an extended allegory of hope versus fear, of light versus darkness, of salvation versus destruction—"

In this time I have received something more than a testimony of the book of Mormon, I have gained a love for this book, I know that it is truly from God and is here to help us and we can, every person in the world, can know that too if they just choose to read it with a real desire to know.

And I know that I’m not the only one who knows, many prophets and apostles have said and shared their testimonies of this book, two of the greatest shared by Jeffrey R Holland when he said, 

"Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.” That phrase—taken from Moroni’s final lines of testimony, written 1,000 years after Lehi’s vision—is a dying man’s testimony of the only true way.

May I refer to a modern “last days” testimony? When Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum started for Carthage to face what they knew would be an imminent martyrdom, Hyrum read these words to comfort the heart of his brother:

“Thou hast been faithful; wherefore … thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

“And now I, Moroni, bid farewell … until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ.” 

A few short verses from the 12th chapter of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Before closing the book, Hyrum turned down the corner of the page from which he had read, marking it as part of the everlasting testimony for which these two brothers were about to die. I hold in my hand that book, the very copy from which Hyrum read, the same corner of the page turned down, still visible. Later, when actually incarcerated in the jail, Joseph the Prophet turned to the guards who held him captive and bore a powerful testimony of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.  Shortly thereafter pistol and ball would take the lives of these two testators...  In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?

Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon."

We all have this wonderful opportunity to know the truthfulness of this Book, we all can get closer to God through its divine power,

"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so"

I testify that this book can bring the Salvation of man, that it was written by a prophet of God and that by the hand of God it was protected for more than 2000 years from the time it was beginning to be written to the time that God felt the world was ready and in need of these revelations. I know that this book is the keystone of our religion and that by its power we can know the Plan that God has for us in this life, we can find the comfort we need and we can truly know His ministries, I know it can change your life, and I know there are lots of you reading this blog who don’t know these blessings of the gospel, you have shared with me (or my mom) your love and concern and I hope you can feel the love I have for every one of you, you can give it a shot, just see of who it speaks of and what it teaches.

I love you all so much.

Hermana Peters