Shauna has been a real trooper in preparing for accepting that we will be leaving behind some very special and precious family members and friends. Yes, it isn't easy but it's necessary and it's because of this love for them and for our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, our Savior that we have chosen to accept this call. It hasn't been without some anguish.
Under these circumstances we experience the full range of emotions--from sadness on one end--that of wondering do we really want to go to the other end of the spectrum feeling a degree of giddiness of this is great, let's get going--let's move on.
This is the culmination of 44 + years of talking about when we would serve together as full time missionaries. The talk and anticipation has turned to reality action. Lot's of talk. Hard to believe we've made it.
On the lighter side, I recently came across this snippet of information I thought was cute--in fact it may apply to you--it's for you to judge. Maybe you've already heard this.It turns out that the Research Department of the Mission Training Center in Provo has made a discovery. (You ask, "Research Department at the MTC in Provo? Never heard of such a thing.") Anyway, it seems they have discovered a third type of sin. (Again, you ask, "Wait a minute, Brother Peterson, a third type of sin? There are only two types of sin.") You judge for yourself--it may apply to you. It was suggested there is a third type of sin. You're already aware of the sins of commission. You're aware of the sins of omission. They are saying there is a third type--the sin of no mission. I think their motive is to prick the conscience of people.
Some interesting facts about the Democratic Republic of the Congo (also known by the acronym DRC):
- There is another separate country adjacent to the DRC, northwest of the DRC called the Republic of the Congo.
- DRC is approximately the size of the western United States.
- It has a population of about 75 million people.
- Of the 75 million people, approximately 51 million do not have access to clean potable water.
- Literally thousands die daily from the effects of consuming dirty/tainted water.
- Among African countries it is the richest country in natural resources by far. Mainly extraction minerals such as copper, bauxite, gold, silver, zinc, and diamonds. Yet, when compared to other countries in the world, the United Nations Quality of Life Index rates the DRC at 183 in the world out of a total of 187 countries in the world rated. That index is a measure of per capita GNP, access of healthcare, potential of education, and several other factors.
Now some other facts that set it apart:
- There has been a temple announced for Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC
- Basically all the Church humanitarian initiatives are being actively pursued and address including wheelchair, neonatal resuscitation, eye care, immunizations, clean water projects, and agriculture.
- There are two missions in the DRC. Our mission—the Lubumbashi Mission was created in 2010 when the Kinshasa Mission was divided.
- In 2010 our mission had four branches—Now in 2015 there are 4 Stakes and 5 Districts.
You may recall the experience related by one of the new apostles, Elder Renlund. While he was serving in the Southeast African Area Presidency he was visiting Luputa in the DRC, which by the way is in our mission. He was speaking to a group of Saints there and inquired of them what challenges they were having. With no response he inquired again as to what challenges as members of the church they were facing. Finally a brother stood and said, “Brother Renlund, we have the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have no challenges.”
I will likely find that my level of faith may pale when compared to the faith of the people we are about to serve.
I can't tell you how excited we are
to serve our Heavenly Father and in some small way try to repay Him for His bounteous blessings that He has so benevolently showered upon us.
To serve the people of the Lubumbashi Mission.
To do it for our family. Selfishly we anticipate Heavenly Father to be true to form--that He will yet bestow more blessings, a good portion of those blessings are directed toward our family and individual members. We would greatly appreciate it and which we will plead for each day. Another portion of those blessings will be directed toward the people of the DRC.
My every thought, prayer, service to others, and even my every breath is driven by my love of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, my Redeemer.
It is our ultimate desire to realize for ourselves and our family the full measure of blessings as outlined, detailed, and promised in the temple endowment and sealing ordinances. I can't stand the thought of any empty chairs.
As we reflect upon what aspect of the gospel drives us most to forward the work and glory of our Heavenly Father of bringing to pass our immortality and our eternal life, I would suggest it being our knowledge of the glorious plan of salvation and redemption as taught in the temple.
It is, therefore, incumbent upon each to allow that motivation and knowledge to have effect on our lives with our actions. It is keeping our focus on the mark of immortality and eternal life.
I am so grateful for the temple, that our Heavenly Father is so compassionate and loving toward us that we can return often—be retaught, recommitted, re-enlightened, and reminded of the glorious plan and our ultimate reward if we hold to the iron rod.
D&C 51:19 reads: And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.