Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year from Hendersonville--Life in the Mission Field Week #30

Our Christmas picture.


Hope you had a great Christmas – here is what we’ve been doing this past week:

Last Tuesday we went to serve at the Bishop’s storehouse, and so many youth also showed up to help the poor and needy. It was great to see people as far away as Murfreesboro (pronounced just like it's spelled) which is like an hour and a half away helping out--very busy indeed. Later that night we went over to visit a lady who is slowly dying of an illness. She lives alone so we stopped by and gave her a medium sized picture of Christ. She loved it and held onto it. She's not a member but was really grateful for us stopping by.

Wednesday we stopped by some other homes where members were sick. We blessed them and offered our service if they needed anything. Later that evening we had dinner at a member's home and made Christmas cookies for Santa with their little daughters. I tried to make a missionary, but then it turned out to be the incredible hulk (got carried away). And so to make up for that I decided to make a sun burnt Winnie the Pooh since there was no yellow sprinkles. We then read Luke 2 with the family and said goodnight. 

Here is the photo of the Christmas cookies! (the Incredible Hulk and an orange Winnie the Pooh)

Christmas Day we went over to Gallatin English-speaking and Gallatin Spanish-speaking missionaries’ apartments, which are about two doors away from each other. We spent the hour opening presents and having fun with each other. It was a lot of fun.

The Christmas Party (left to right: Elder Colver, Elder Hansen, Elder Peery, Elder Black, Elder Womack, and Elder Stutz)

Gallatin district (left to right back row: Elder Peery, Elder Cullum, Elder Colver, Elder Womack, Elder Hansen, Elder Owens, Elder Hohneke, Elder Nimmer. 
Front row: Sister Traughber and Sister Squire)

Gallatin Spanish District (left to right back row: Elder Cullum, Elder Hohneke, Elder Stutz, Elder Black. Front row left to right: Hermana Stokes, Hermana Dansie, Sister West, Sister Dixon, Sister Brown, and Sister Williams.)

Elder Womack who's a cowboy from Wyoming got a lasso toy and so he spent most of his time on that. I got loads of gift cards and letters, which I bound together. It was awesome reading so many letters. Thank you so much for thinking of me and praying for us.  It means so much.

Some of the letters and cards were from people who got the CD that Elder Leavitt and I made way back in Antioch. I am glad that members and non-members like it. One of my neighbors in Virginia who is not a member told my mom she has listened to it three times and loves it. That was pretty cool to hear. 

Skyping with my family on Christmas was fun. It was great to see everyone and fun talking with everyone. After I ended my call with my parents, I started trying to contact my dad in California. Because we started late they had stopped checking Skype. But maybe I'll get the chance some other time. 

Friday we went tracting and found a fun guy who was into theories and such. Other than that not much else happened.

Saturday night we played basketball with a bunch of youth from Gallatin and one from Hendersonville. It was pretty intense but we won a couple games. It was very entertaining to play against girls because it's always awkward defending them. Elder Hansen blocked one and everyone said "SHE'S A GIRL!!" And then later when she scored on him and everyone repeated "SHE'S A GIRL!!" You can't win in that situation. 

Sunday we had a family we are teaching come to church. That was so great!  The parents are members but the kids are not.  The kids are over 8 years old. The dad came up to us after church and said that he wants the kids baptized by February so we will be more than happy to help with that and look forward to teaching them.

Later on after church we went home teaching with a member named Brother Hammond. While we were in a lesson he talked about how his brother in law who just got out of prison had read the entire Book of Mormon while in prison, and after coming to church for the second week straight, said that he wanted to be baptized. IT'S INSANE!! We have THREE potential baptisms for next month so we are very excited. 

Hendersonville is booming, and I'm loving it. Hopefully this will continue!  Happy New Year, everyone!

Elder Peery
We are working hard and walking a lot!  On the left is a normal shoe.  On the right is a shoe after about 7 months of use.  Time for a new pair?  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas from Elder Peery

1. Big dog who knows how to really beg.  Would you say no to her?

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Here is an update from Hendersonville:

On Monday I went with some other elders to go disc golfing which is essentially frisbees and golf mixed together--great idea and concept and loads of fun to play…Unless you're Elder Black. The poor kid got injured while WALKING towards his frisbee. I think he sprained it, but by his performance of screaming, you would've thought the whole foot came off! It was quite dramatic but I can't blame him for the injury.

However, we can make fun that he was injured playing such a casual sport, which is precisely what we did on Tuesday at the bishop's storehouse. Elder Black and his companion were not there due to the injury but once the sisters and Hermanas heard about it, everyone was laughing and suddenly "breaking their ankles". It was a lot of fun and when we told him about it later on his only reply was "Ya'll are jerks!" Followed by laughing.

The storehouse on Tuesday was insane. We got there at 9:00am didn't leave till 5:00pm. It was so busy, that the entire stock would have run out had it not been for one of the members feeling prompted to check the supply order the day before.

Just to give you an idea of how much stuff there was, we gave out over 250 gallons of milk. It was insane. Afterwards Elder Womack, who is the district leader, and I went on exchange and were treated to a steak dinner at Longhorn which was amazing. After that we went over to one of his member's place where her non-member friend was there and pretty much asked us why we do what we do. It seemed so incredulous to her that we come here "giving up women?! Jobs?! Women?! School?! WOMEN?!" She didn't understand the whole don't-date-on-your-mission thingy. She also grilled Womack because he's a cattle rancher in Wyoming and she used to be a vegetarian.  It didn't help his case when he let slip that he enjoys hunting. 

On Wednesday I gave a training on the importance of using the Book of Mormon. I had a box inside of a box that I used for this demonstration, and I am going to try to explain how this worked. Let me know if you are confused. So first off, I took a big box and I opened the bottom of it making sure that it wouldn't stay shut completely. Then I took a smaller box and taped it on the inside. So like a box inside of a box. Then I had people place some of the reservations they had heard about the Book of Mormon in the end that had the other box in it while holding the bottom of the box the entire time. I had someone get up to teach me using the Book of Mormon and when he showed me the reference in the Book of Mormon I quickly let go of the bottom of the box and grasped the handles on the big box. The force of the gravity change caused the bottom of the box to open and candy fell out that I had placed in it the night before. Everyone minus a few were stunned at what happened. My companion who had watched me create the box explained how it worked. The whole idea was to show that when you show an investigator hidden treasures in the Book of Mormon, hidden blessings will blossom in their lives. I thought it was pretty clever. Later that day we did some tracting, and the only cool thing I guess was that we found an Irish man named Paul who was from Belfast. The guy was in the middle of a lot of the rebellions going on so he moved here. Cool story and hopefully we will go back. 

Thursday night I got to have dinner with my cousins at Zaxby's, which is a fun fast food restaurant. Since I figured I may be getting transferred in a week, I wanted to have one more dinner with them before they left for Georgia for the holidays. We also had a good meeting with Bro. Rose, our ward mission leader who is helping us create a revolutionary idea on member missionary work. If it works, this could change the mission.  I'm not 100% knowledgeable about the details but essentially it's all about getting members excited about talking about the gospel. 

Friday I came down with a sickness which I still have now which really sucks. And then Saturday we had dinner with a missionary couple from the office staff who brought us some packages and goodies.

Sunday was pretty cool cause that was when we had our Christmas program. There's a little girl with a disease that basically has her paralyzed for life. She's in primary and wanted to go up and sing with the primary kids but there was no ramp. Two brothers (15 and 13) were prompted by the Spirit (or their mother), walked swiftly up the aisle and carried her chair onto the stand. She was so happy, and it was so touching. I also joined the ward choir and was the solo bass of the group thanks to being sick. Normally I'm a bari-tenor.

After sacrament meeting, President Abernathy, the Madison stake president, announced that our ward boundaries are getting realigned and it will shorten our area. 18 active families are affected and it was a big shock to everyone. But he also said that this is just the first change and that because our ward is booming, it is likely there will eventually be a building near Hendersonville for us to go to. Later on that day we had dinner with some members of Nashville Tribute Band, and it was super fun.

Today we had an adventure when a little kitten kept meowing at our door shivering from the cold. Elder Hansen doesn’t really like cats, but I made sure to find it a good home by giving it to a member who knows of some no-kill shelters. It was super cute, so no doubt it will get adopted soon.

2. We had a little friend come in this morning so I gave her some milk. Very small kitten.

That's about it. I plan to create a gigantic Christmas thingy for the people who email me so that will be fun.

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Elder Peery

3. The crew:  (From left to right: Elder Hohneke, Elder Stutz, Elder Cullum, 
Elder Womack below Cullum, Elder Hansen, Elder Colver, Elder Black, and me)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 28 in the Field: It's Almost Christmas!

Beautiful day on the dock at Drake's Creek

So this week was awesome.

On Monday after awhile we were kind of over on Sanders Ferry Road and Elder Hansen heard that I was a decent photographer, so he put me to the test. 
Elder Hansen on a park bench in the Sanders Ferry park

I picked a place and told him what to do. The results are shown throughout this blog. 

More of Elder Hansen on a park bench in the Sanders Ferry park

It was a lot of fun, and I think I did a pretty good job. 

Elder Hansen on a dock on Drake's Creek

Elder Hansen on a triceratops at a playground at Sanders Ferry park

I chose the location and told him what to do.  He said he might've given me $15 for them so there's a possible career – haha!

Elder Hansen and I are in the picnic area at Sanders Ferry park.

On Tuesday we went to go work at the Bishop’s storehouse at 7:30 am and didn't leave until about 4:00 pm. There were many orders and walk ins that we were able to fill, and had there not been as many volunteers helping as there were, we would not have finished in time.
Elder Womack and Elder Hansen at the Bishop's Storehouse. We were there for about 9 hours on Tuesday. 100% worth it.

But what was really cool was that one of our investigators showed up and helped out! She had heard from the Church Employment Missionary couple (The Bird's) that the Church helps out with the poor and needy. Instead of just telling her about it they decided to bring her in for a guided tour.

We followed up with her afterwards, and she said she had loved every second of it and will be back tomorrow! Also, all the members and missionaries were very happy to meet her and loved having her there. It was great to get her involved with the ward. After we finished, Brother Wolfertz announced that there was a surprise for the missionaries in the back. We found four big boxes of candy and snacks as well as boxes of cereal. I took home a bag of candy and a box of rip-off Cocoa Pebbles boxes. (See below)

Great day indeed. Also at the storehouse I got to meet the Peery's who are from Winchester, TN.  That was great.

On Wednesday we helped out the Hansen family with their carpet. We got to rip out a lot of the upstairs carpet which was a lot of fun.

On Thursday we went up to Hopkinsville, Kentucky to receive training from Elder Runland, a Seventy. The website states:  There are currently eight quorums of the Seventy in our Church. Each quorum may have up to 70 members. Members of Quorums of the Seventy are often referred to simply as “Seventies.” Seventies are called to proclaim the gospel and build up the Church. They work under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Presidency of the Seventy.

Some Seventies are assigned to headquarters administrative functions, but most live and work within a specific geographic region of the Church. Like the Apostles, they also travel frequently to visit and teach congregations of the Church.”

Here is a view of the beautiful farmlands in Kentucky

Elder Renlund of the Seventy came and trained us on how to be better missionaries. It was a really sweet experience.  The spirit was strong, and we all got to shake his hand. Even though he messed up on my name at first it was great to meet him personally.

Saturday we Skyped into a baptism that was being held in Crossville. It was a unique experience for me but it was cool to watch. 
Skyping into a baptism which was held in Crossville which is Elder Hansen's last ward. (We had to use the wifi at our office and the room with the best wifi was the gym)

Afterwards we went over to one of our investigators. We had been warned by a Sister missionary that he had gotten a little crazier than usual, and so we went to check on him. We had not seen him for awhile and I felt we needed to pray beforehand.  Glad we did.

When we got there, we could see the hate for the Church and the confusion he had. He looked really kind of smug as he threw anti at us. Eventually I felt this surge of energy and love for him, and bore my testimony of the gospel to him. Even though it was probably the most powerfully I had felt the spirit, it still was like throwing a ball against a brick wall. He didn't care at all. We left him after that. Hopefully he will see the truth some day. Until then he will have to be a frustrated and very unhappy person.

On Sunday one of our investigators came to church with her 5 kids. It was a little hectic during the sacrament meeting but afterwards it was better. She seemed to enjoy it but I am not totally sure because she left before we could follow up. It was cool though to see them all there.  

At the end of the week even after all the service we gave and training trips we made, we still taught 20 people which marks 4 weeks in a row teaching above 20.  We are working so hard.

In other news, today we got the call that we have been approved as Facebook missionaries which is really sweet to hear since I've been waiting for almost four and a half months. I will post what's going to happen on my Facebook and set up my own soon.

I hope you are having a great week, too.  Please write and keep in touch.  My contact information is below. 

I can’t wait until Christmas!

Elder Peery

Here is my contact information:
Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 Westpark Drive, Suite 190
Brentwood, TN 37027

Elder Sanders holding a member's pet snake.

Monday, December 8, 2014

7th Month in the Mission Field!

Here I am with an African Serval. This one is only 5 months old,
but they can grow up to be 4 ft height wise.

Hi Everyone!  Hope you are doing well. Okay, now for the news of the week!

On Tuesday we got to go over to one of our investigators and we got into a conversation on how she doesn't let the JW's come in and talk with her but she lets us come in. When we asked her why she replied something along the lines of "I just feel your church is more accurate and true than anyone else's." We were stoked! She promised to come to church but one of her kids got sick.

Wednesday we got to go see a retired Santa Claus. He is 76 and has been Santa for about 30 years but had to hang up the suit for someone else due to health issues. He's probably one of the nicest men I have ever met. We showed him the new He is The Gift movie and he chuckled and smiled throughout the entire thing. It was so cool.

Later that night we went over to a member’s home who had an African Serval. The one I played with was only about 5 months old so not full grown yet, but still freakishly awesome. One of the little daughters in the home really liked me, and it was super cute to watch her draw love letters and pictures for me. I hung the biggest one up in my room.  Isn't this picture sweet?

Picture from the little girl

So African Servals are wild cats found in (obviously) Africa. This one family we had dinner with on Wednesday somehow had one and this is basically what one looks like at about 5 months old so still just a little baby. Servals can grow height wise up to about 4 feet and can jump up to 10 feet in the air. They mainly can jump that high to catch birds. This one apparently loved my watch. I have pictures of it holding on to me just to be near the thing but he also seemed to favor me more than the others, which was awesome. 

Here is a picture of Elder Hansen with the cat.

Below is a video which shows what happened, though, when I took off the watch. He's really soft and is surprisingly really good at letting you pet him anywhere vs most cats. Probably one of my most favorite cats I've ever met. This was really, really fun.

Friday we had a rough lesson with one of our investigators. He tries to use the bible against the church but basically just takes bits and pieces from certain chapters and throws it at us saying "Well what about (this)?" Without actually reading the entire chapter. The same chapter would easily disprove what he was accusing us of. It was very frustrating to see that he would refuse to listen to the Spirit and just has so much hate and confusion inside.

Saturday we had our Ward Christmas Party, which was loads of fun. The primary children all sang songs and the audience would also sing as well. Then certain members would represent the angels, the innkeeper, and Mary and Joseph and talk about the true meaning of Christmas. It was really, really fun and we had some good conversations with some members, too.

Ward Christmas Party set up

It was an all around good week and we are really excited to have met the Facebook requirements so we should be Facebook missionaries soon. That'll be fun.

We are doing well otherwise. Things have been improving. This week we are going to meet a General Authority of the Church who is a member of the Seventy which should be very exciting. At least two or three stakes of missionaries are going to be there so that's going to be really fun as well. We aren't sure what he's talking on but I will definitely include it in the next week letter.

Hope you all are doing well too!  Please keep in touch.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Elder Peery

Here is my contact information:
Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 Westpark Drive, Suite 190
Brentwood, TN 37027

Me with a close up of the African Serval

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 26 in the Field: Happy Thanksgiving!!

Week 26 in the Field:  Happy Thanksgiving!

1. Rock Castle. Not really sure what it is but it's from the 1800's
and was around there in the civil war.  

Their website says, “Welcome to the world of the 18th century viewed through the life of General Daniel Smith, surveyor, Revolutionary War hero, U.S. Senator, Indian Negotiator and original owner and builder of his family home: 
Historic Rock Castle!

Located on scenic Old Hickory Lake this 18 acre historic property offers much to explore. Join us for a tour of the Smith family home, experience the aromas of the herb garden, wander through the wooded nature trail, browse the Gift Shop and Visitor’s Center or enjoy a lakeside stroll.”


So this week was lots of fun!

It was off to a challenging start when we got the car back on Wednesday due to the fact that we had to drive some elders who were in our district 40 minutes in the opposite direction since they couldn't get a ride in time. While that killed a good chunk of our day, we still managed to teach a few people including a part member family we are now working with. I promised them that I would make them cookies on our next visit.

On Thursday we played in a turkey bowl with a different set of elders which was a lot of fun. I played QB and WR and had a lot of fun throwing touchdowns as well as making good plays. We were very exhausted when we got a call from our thanksgiving dinner appointment who was asking if we could go join them in playing football with their family. There were a lot of people at their game. Since the member we had dinner with was the sister of Dan Truman (Nashville Tribute and Diamond Rio rock star) he was there as was his sons. Two of which are also in the Nashville Tribute Band. Dan played QB and Elder Hansen had fun intercepting several passes which were to me but just a little short.

2. Thanksgiving set up. Dan Truman is in the khakis and blue shirt on the right.

The dinner was really awesome. Dan told us really amazing stories about his ancestry including a story about how one of his ancestors, who while bearing his testimony on the prophet Joseph Smith, felt prompted to state that "As I speak, the great man whom we have been talking about, is being killed by his enemies." This event occurred in the early evening on June 27, 1844 which was the day and time Joseph and his brother Hyrum were martyred. This is an insanely amazing story cause back then of course they had no means of getting information rapidly save by train and horse.

The dinner itself was great until I almost choked on an asparagus. Luckily everyone was watching the football game so I wasn't too noticeable.  Haha.

The rest of the week was about the same as usual and we ended up finishing out the week with 20 lessons which met the Facebook requirement goal. Our zone leaders called us to say congratulations followed by laying more stipulations on us which makes things take longer so we were very disappointed by that. But we are trying to face it like any other challenge.

In other news on November 30th I completed my cover to cover challenge of the Bible. It was very rough but it was a great feeling to know I was able to complete the whole thing in about 3 and a half months. I recommend it to anyone wanting to truly understand the bible. There's a lot of stuff in there that really specifies what we are supposed to do. The Book of Mormon is also a good help in clarifying the bible, too, I found out. When used together, both scriptures are great tools that help set the standards that we are supposed to live by.

Everything else is going great. No real complaints. Thank you for all the letters and pictures! I received one from the Herndon ward and was very happy to see everyone who signed the card. I miss you all and will be happy to communicate with all who write to me.

Elder Peery

3. Dale Earnhardt’s car in Hendersonville