Sunday, February 17, 2013

Challenger Jan. 1989 and 2013 (sent to them in Jan.)

Elder and Sister DeCoursey,

When we were in Salt Lake City in December we were able to stop by the Pedersen's and visit with them. I found out that they had three daughters out on missions the same time they were out on their mission as Pres. and Sister over the New Zealand, Auckland Mission in 1987-1990.   One of his daughter's was in the England, London South Mission just before I got there.  She went home in Nov of 1988 and I got there in March of 1989. So with you and your brother out and Dallin, likely going to be going out by next fall, we will be similar in that respect. 

Dad and I were talking about his mission, and the amazing experiences he had listening to Pres. and Sister Pedersen.  He also remembered he would receive a monthly newsletter from Pres. Pedersen, called "The Challenger".  Dad was able to find them and we want to send you a copy of them out at the beginning of each month for you.   This is January's newsletter and it could not be more fitting for both of you but especially Amicherie.  Beginning your mission takes some getting use to and the story he shares will help. 

We love you both,

The Challenger-
New Zealand Auckland Mission,
January 1989 Pres. Herschel N Pedersen

As we go through the experiences of life we find that our lives take drastic turns and shocking experiences are encountered which we never contemplated.  Our carefully planned lives, the hopes and dreams we built are shattered from time to time.  We are led to believe that some things are one way when in actuality they are the opposite.   We wonder and ponder why those relating the experience did not tell the truth. 

A mission is sometimes that way.  We hear the glowing reports of returned missionaries, and their spiritual experiences and feel of the spirit and we desire to serve and experience those same things.  Then when we get to the mission field we find that our conduct is restricted by many rules that we find difficult to accept.  Some seem trivial, uninspired and unreasonable.  We find ourselves being held responsible for records, cleaning the flat, fixing meals, being told to be obedient.  We even have rules as to when to get up and go to bed.  This sudden change in the lives of people is not the easiest thing to adjust to.

As we consider this area and begin a new year, I would like to write about a few experiences that are personal and I hope will give enlightenment, hope and above all a spiritual understanding of some of the reasons “Why?”

When I went on my mission to Denmark I experienced the same frustrations and difficulties you do.  I found that the first few months were an eternal hell as I fixed my meals, made the bed, washed my clothes by hand, and never in that 30 months time did I ride in a car of any kind.  All my missionary work was done on a bike, and when we transferred it was by train or boat from island to island.  The greatest frustration came from tracting six hours everyday and being told where to go and how to get there.  This became a burden and I had a terrible struggle as did my companion in trying to answer all the little questions I could ask.  He became so frustrated with my incessant questions that he finally gave up and said “I do not know why it has to be this way, so just forget it and be obedient and everything will work out.” I was always obedient, but I still wondered why this or that?

Then one day my mind went back to home and what my uncles and relatives would be doing at that time of year.  I remembered the times we had gone to the western desert to catch wild horses.  We would make corals and lock them so the horses could not get into the water holes.  After several days of thirst the horses would be weak, and we would open the gate to the water hole and then at night the horses entered to drink.   A long rope tied to the gate would permit us to close the gate and trap the entire herd.

With the coming of daylight the horses would want to return to the desert in search of food.  In finding no exit and people around they would panic and run against the wire and poles that kept them entrapped.  Many were cut and bruised badly as they fought against the enclosure.  Then we would rope them, tie them down, place a hackamore on them, and then a team of horses would literally drag them from the corral and force them into a truck.  They squealed, whined, kicked, bucked and tried to jump out, but there were secured.

At home we placed them with tame horses and little by little they accepted the feed and water and lost their fear of us.  The wounds healed and they accepted being led around and fed and seemed to enjoy their new life.  Then came the day to begin breaking them.  This brought a closer association with us as we would spend several hours each day with each individual horse. Finally they could be trusted to refrain from bucking and could be used as cow ponies or a cutting horse and became beneficial to the farm. 

Those thoughts had a profound effect on me as I realized that the rules and questions and frustrations I was experiencing were a training and breaking period for me and that the more I fought against the inspiration of the Lord and His ways of doing things the more I would be injured and the longer it would take for my wounds to heal.  This was the day I finally learned to understand John 7:16-17 wherein Christ spoke of knowing if the doctrine, whether it was from God or from man, by doing.  I resolved to do rather than fight against it.  My life was immediately blessed. 

I found that many times in my life I was discouraged and thought there was no way I could succeed but I was always blessed, and gradually I learned that the seed spoken of by Alma in Alma 32 applied to many things, not just faith.  We overcome gradually and it may take weeks, months, and sometimes years before we realize the results we hope for.  
(Skipped area).......................
Paul kicked against the pricks as did Alma and the sons of Mosiah.  Each has had times when they had many problems and fought to overcome.  My favorite happens to be Peter in the 22nd chapter of Luke.  It was the last supper, and Christ was addressing the apostles.  He looked at Peter and said “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”  Peter was chagrined and told the Lord he was ready to die and go to prison for him, upon which the Lord told him that he would deny Him thrice. 

If you can imagine the thoughts that have been in my heart over the many years concerning this scripture.  Peter was the Chief Apostle, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve and was to be the President of the Church.  He had been with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration and had seen Moses, Elijah, and had witnessed all the miracles, and then to be told, “When thou art converted…” Many of us are in the same position.  We have testimonies; we have witnessed many blessings and evidenced; but somewhere we still struggle as did Peter.  Think how Peter must have felt when he realized that Christ had been crucified and that he was now alone to guide the Church.   Christ was no longer there to give the daily direction; there would be questions and problems, and he was not converted.  

In Chapter 19 of Matthew, the Lord was speaking to the rich man and after the conversation the Apostle then asked, “then who can be saved?”  Christ answered that with men things are sometimes impossible, but with God all things are possible. 

The change in companionship, working with missionaries from many parts of the world, disciplining yourselves in areas never before necessary are all shock and designed to help you learn about yourself and what you have the potential for.  Peter never knew how to be an effective missionary and had little success until he understood on the Day of Pentecost when he and John baptized 3000 souls that day.

During the year 1989 (or for us 2013) let each labor to understand him or herself and recognize the power of godliness in each of us.  We commend you and love you.   It is a joy to see each of you grow spiritually and we know that you are all growing in the Lord.  Do not despair because of the trials or difficulties, and do not feel failure or quilt; but read Alma 32:42-43 and know this, that we commend you to God and know that many of you have already reached great heights and will continue doing so. 
You will all succeed, and we hope and pray that God will bless all of us as we continue. 
Herschel N Pedersen.