Baptism on Saturday, 08/09/14
Greetings! Good to hear from many of you this week!
So many people are freaking out about the album instead of the baptism we had, so that's interesting.
The baptism went really well. Tommy, David's older brother, baptized him correctly although he was understandably and incredibly nervous. It was super awesome to speak too, but I feel that my talk in sacrament meeting was a lot better. I was pretty nervous to speak in front of 25 people at the baptism, but could handle a couple hundred in sacrament meeting the next day. I have copied the talk I gave for the benefit of you all below here. I was pretty happy with how it all went down.
The reception area -- ready for the Baptism!
Regarding our album: Well I'm not sure exactly when we will be releasing anything considering that we are still in the recording process. In fact as I type this on my iPad I am sitting in the chair that was pictured in last week’s blog listening to Elder Leavitt recording "A Poor Wayfaring Man Of Grief". We are recording from 9 to 4 and then we have to go to Green Hills where we will be practicing a musical number with Sister Larsen and Sister Tebbs (from my MTC district) for zone meeting. After that it is off to the mission office where we will then car pool to the Sounds stadium. “So much happening so little time.”
We've found a ton of new areas and lots of new investigators. Most of them are families, which is fantastic. One of our families that we've been working with came to church this past Sunday and it was great to see members interacting with them. David E. was also confirmed a member of the church and has been very happy from the looks of it. Hopefully we'll get to see him receive the Priesthood which was one of the reasons he wanted to join the Church!
I went on exchange with Elder Harris who's one of the zone leaders here. He was super fun and we both really enjoyed being around each other. He's a super awesome missionary and we enjoyed teaching the people in my area.
We also had interviews with the mission president who was super excited to see us. He had me teach him which he said was great and we also discussed several other things. It was more along the lines of a longer email to the president but it was a fun discussion on why we couldn't attend the Sounds game. He shared an example of when he had the chance to either go to the St Louis temple, or the Cardinals game and ended up choosing the latter and beating himself up for it till he returned again. He also had talked with the member of the seventy over our area about it and he gave a similar explanation. Hopefully we'll get a souvenir or something though.
Here is my sacrament meeting talk 08/10/14:
Good morning brothers and sisters my name is Elder Peery and it is a pleasure to speak to you today. My companion and I have loved being in this wonderful ward and have enjoyed hearing the envy of other missionaries in this area. When I first came out to Nashville and found out that I'd be in a the Smith Springs ward, I was told by many of the missionaries who have served here before such as Elder Byington and Elder Fore, that I was lucky to have landed in the promised land. It is my prayer that I will be able to stay as long as The Lord allows me to. I also pray for the spirit as I try to express my own feelings on the topic I have been given.
Missionary work has been a marvelous work to behold. From the early days till now, people have been teaching God's commandments and bringing more people to a knowledge of their Redeemer and his wonderful plan he has for them. One of the great things about missionary work is that it isn't just done by missionaries. Many members around the world are helping people and sharing what they believe. Some do it by sharing inspired messages on Facebook, giving out Books of Mormon, teaching a principle, or even simply inviting friends to church. We must realize that the people around us are fellow children of God. By sharing our beliefs, we can help others to gain their own testimony, and plant that seed of faith.
One of my favorite missionaries in the Book of Mormon was Ammon. Growing up, I always marveled at the great feat of strength he showed in defending the king's flock. But I didn't really recognize his motives, teachings, or especially his love of the people. After defending the king's flocks by the power of God, he illustrates to the King the power of the Spirit and how a mighty change of heart can benefit him as well as his people. After a few days of powerfully spiritual events, the King and many of his people are converted. What happens next however is where I want to focus on.
In Alma chapter 20, Ammon discovers that his brothers who were also teaching in the land of the Lamanites, had been taken captive in the land of Middoni. King Lamoni said that he was good friends with the King over there and said that he could soften the heart of the King to let his brothers go free. While en route to the land Middoni, they happen to run into King Lamoni's father. You can imagine the surprise on Lamoni's father's face when he sees a Nephite, "one of the children of a liar," with his son. He commands Lamoni to slay Ammon. Lamoni refuses saying that Ammon and his brethren are "just men and holy prophets of the true God."
Lamoni's father is enraged. He draws his sword and attempts to kill his son, like any other parent would do to a disobedient child I'm sure. However after Ammon jumps in saying if you kill your son you'd be shedding innocent blood, he turns his attack towards Ammon. I guess word doesn't travel fast in the Lamanite kingdom, cause the King must not have known Ammon has a thing with the arms of his attackers. After Ammon disarms the King, the King starts pleading for his life using all techniques. Even offering him half of his kingdom. Ammon promises that he won't slay him on condition that he lets Lamoni govern his own people and that his brothers be released from prison.
I believe at this point the King finally gets it. He sees the great love Ammon has for his son as well as the lack of desire for bloodshed. He is so astonished at this, that he asks that when his brethren are released that they come and teach him in his lands. To quote verse 27 "...For the King was greatly astonished at the words which he had spoken, and also at the words which had been spoken by his son Lamoni, therefore he was desirous to learn them (teachings)"
Brothers and sisters, missionary work doesn't have to be as violent as this example from the Book of Mormon. It can be very powerful to have that third witness of the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ. With a testimony coming from someone familiar, it can be a much stronger experience than coming from two random strangers. We promise you that as you reach out in love towards your friends that your words will be guided by the Spirit. We've heard of and seen people become more curious about the church simply because they have seen their friend testify of it. We have heard of scenarios where the people have later asked their friend more about certain principles and concepts the church has.
To conclude the story of King Lamoni's father, he is taught by Aaron, Ammon's brother. Because "The Spirit of The Lord (had) called (Ammon) another way to the land of Ishmael." Or in missionary terms he was transferred. Lamoni's father believes the words of Aaron and tests it for himself. The result is that he, and many others become converted to the gospel and become a more righteous people than the Nephites.
My testimony is that missionary work when combined with the members of the church is incredibly powerful. We have been encouraged by living prophets to invite more to hear the news of the restored gospel. This is not a secret church. It is a worldwide church. And as we continue to help others come unto Christ I promise that we will feel closer to Him. That we may be comforted, encouraged, and enlightened on how best to do this, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Hope you all are doing well. Would love to hear from more of you! Please stay in touch!
View from a hilltop in Smyrna which is near Murfreesboro.