Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 82 in the Field: Christmas Week!

 Christmas time!

So not much happened here due to Christmas, so this will be a pretty short letter.

Monday we really didn't do anything. Just kinda chilled. We later went out to go see our insomniac investigator and set up a time to go see them the next day.

Tuesday all our appointments cancelled and nothing really happened. Fun fun.

Wednesday for district meeting Hermana James trained on Chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel which focuses on mainly how to start out teaching and some other useful tips. Elder Catherall then basically trained on Christmas by having each of us bear our testimonies about Christ. It was a very spiritual meeting and I noticed for the first time that I was the oldest missionary in the room at that time which was weird. In the afternoon, we tried a bunch of people but again, no luck. At least we had the bishop take us out for dinner at the local China Wok which was fantastic. Will revisit in the future.


Thursday we were again unable to see anyone after trying a ton of people, but at least we were able to have a good time at the Ward Mission Leader's home. The Caten's invited us to come over and spend Christmas with their family and another family. During the party, Santa came, they did a live Nativity, and I performed my musical number again. It was a lot better than when I did it in church last Sunday.

Live Nativity (narrated by the missionaries)

On Friday we got up and opened presents. I was grateful for all who sent or are in the process of sending mail to me. It was awesome to see a lot of familiar faces. We also got to skype our parents which was cool. After that we didn't do too much until the Shoemaker's came. We had dinner with them which was fun.

Our Christmas tree. A blanket over a coat rack with lights and a squirrel on the top.

Saturday we tried a bunch of people but struck out yet again, until the evening when we finally got to see one of our investigators and see how her Christmas was. We invited her out for the New Years party, and that was about all that happened that day. It was also pouring down rain most of this week which was fun.

Spring Castle at Rock Island State Park

Sunday one of our members was giving his missionary farewell talk, but that was about all the highlights that happened then. After church we went up to Rock Island to see the Pennington's and the Hennessee's for lunch. We had a mini jam session in the basement and it was fun to shred on an electric again. After that we drove up to the State Park there since it was on the way to a member's home. There were a lot of waterfalls, so that was cool.

Today we aren't doing much again. It's kind of a boring area for Pdays, but we are hoping to go exploring next month. Should be fun. Anyways that's about all that's going on this past week. Wish you all the best and hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a have a happy new year!

Elder Peery

Little hidden gem we found while tracting

Great Falls and Dam at Rock Island State Park

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 81 in the Field: Wishing You a Cool Merry Christmas!!!

Companionship Christmas picture from the Nativity

Alrighty then. Here's the week.

Monday we really didn't do anything honestly. Just kind of chilled at the apartment and I worked on some guitar stuff. Nothing really to report there.
Working on the member's floor

Tuesday we went over to a member's home where we worked on fixing up their house. So a few weeks ago we went there and helped out and discovered that an unusable chimney was weighing the whole thing down, so we destroyed it (Sorry Santa). That helped, but the problem wasn't totally fixed, so we ripped up the floor boards and discovered termites and ants. After fixing that, we used a jack to lift up the floor which helped dramatically to level the house which was good. That took awhile so that was mostly what we did that day.

Wednesday we biked over to the sisters to pick up the car, but unfortunately I had either eaten something funny or over worked the bike ride, but I got sick so we had to stay inside and make calls instead. Very uneventful.
Performing the WW1 Presentation at the McMinnville Rotary Club

Thursday I was up and rolling. We first went over to a meeting called the Rotary club. Still not 100% on what that is.

(Insert from Elder Peery's mom:  Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated human rights purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a secular organization open to all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. There are 34,282 member clubs worldwide. 1.2 million individuals called Rotarians have joined these clubs.[1]
Rotarians usually gather weekly for breakfast, lunch, or dinner to fulfill their first guiding principle to develop friendships as an opportunity for service. "It is the duty of all Rotarians," states their Manual of Procedure[2], "outside their clubs, to be active as individuals in as many legally constituted groups and organizations as possible to promote, not only in words but through exemplary dedication, awareness of the dignity of all people and the respect of the consequent human rights of the individual." The Rotarian's primary motto is "Service Above Self"; its secondary motto is "One profits most who serves best.")

At the Rotary Club, we performed a WW1 presentation there with some other members. The presentation involved singing carols, other hymns, and the narrating of the story of the Christmas truce of WW1 where British and German soldiers played, sang, ate, prayed, and gave gifts to each other during the Christmas of 1914--basically to show that peace was possible even on a battlefield. It was very cool. We also saw a lot more of our people that day. We've been showing the new Christmas video the Church put out called A Savior is Born and it's pretty cool. It brought some of our investigators to tears, which was super cool. Here is the link so you can watch it, too:
After that we had dinner at a pizza joint and went contacting some more.

Friday we had some planning and then we went off to Tullahoma. It was cool to see President and Sister Andersen again. President appreciated that I had come to terms with leaving Smith Springs (still not 100% there but close). We also talked about other stuff too. I also trained at this district meeting on working with less active's and bringing them back to church by giving them a vision. It was cool.

Saturday we were on foot and were only able to see one family but it was good. We shared the Christmas message and then left. We walked up to the Walmart so that we could rest a bit and then caught a ride back from a member.

Sunday during sacrament meeting, I played my rendition of "What Child is This?" And apparently it went over really well. I got loads and loads of compliments. So much so that people asked for my home address to write my parents saying how good it was. It was fun. During church the youth invited us to a brunch with them which was awesome, but then we found out we had lunch at a Samoan family's home. They had a bucket of fried chicken, loads of other stuff, and basically by the end, we were so stuffed that we had to suppress laughing when they said "Do you want anything else?" After that we rolled ourselves home and then went to try some people but no doors opened.

I'm excited for 2016 but definitely excited for Christmas. This is my last Christmas as a missionary, so it's bittersweet. I wish I was spending it in Nashville, but McMinnville's a good town, too. I hope you all have a good time with your friends and family. I can't wait to talk to my family this week. We will talk to you next week!

Elder Peery

Please keep in touch!  I would love to hear from you!  Here is my contact information:

Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
1646 Sunset Road
Brentwood, TN 37027

The dam overflowing

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 80 in the Field: Zone Conference White Elephant and Fun in McMinnville!

 Zone Conference

Hey guys what's up?

Okay so Monday was kinda boring compared to Pdays in Nashville. We pretty much went and grabbed food with a member for lunch, hung out at the church for a bit, and then got the car back.

Elder Harrison and the 40oz frosty. He literally went up to the Wendy's and asked what their
 largest cup size was, and asked them to fill it with frosty. In case you were wondering it takes
two large frosty's to fill it up. He finished it a few days later.

We helped out a lot taking down from the Nativity. Majority was packing fake Christmas trees into little boxes. That was fun. I also practiced for the Christmas sacrament meeting musical number that I'm doing. I'm playing my own arrangement of "What Child is This?" on piano and I'm also playing guitar for the New Years Eve Ward talent show. Excited!

Beginning of the White Elephant. I'm on the far right of the picture next to Elder Powell.

Tuesday we went to the "Assembly Hall" basically a large gym owned by the church, used for stake conferences and youth basketball. We had our Christmas Zone Conference there which was fun. What wasn't so fun was having black boxes installed in our cars to monitor our speeding. The ol' Demaree lead foot will have to hold back a few more months. Thankfully I'm not driving this transfer. We also had a white elephant gift exchange. I gave the game Phase 10 and technically got a Christmas "man satchel" which a sister missionary quickly asked me to trade her for a bike pump. So I got a bike pump. We also received a Christmas card from the First Presidency which was cool. After that, I spent time talking with Elder Powell and we all went out for dinner together. It was cool seeing him again. We tried a few people after that and that was it.

Wednesday we went over to a member's home to help them work on their new house. I must've been breathing in something weird cause I got sick right after lunch. Not having too much to do, I set out working on cleaning up the area book. I hope to have it manageable by the time I leave here. We didn't really do too much except rest.

Thursday I was feeling better and off we went. We got a bit of a late start, but as we were walking down the road, Bishop pulls us over and asked us if we could help him move a fridge which we agreed to do. He was happy for the help and also bought us lunch. We walked over to this area south of town and on the way there, I saw this really, really cool dam or something. The bridge over the dam had been built before the Civil War and was used by troops in like 1862 or something. A lot of it is really worn but it was really cool. We tried a few people, but most of them were no longer interested. We then went north of town (still walking) and tried people up there. We found one person but she wanted us to meet after the holidays. We ended up walking about 13 miles that day which was fun.

Really cool carving off the path of a trail

Friday we were absolutely exhausted from walking. Elder Harrison was sick and so was I. Once more, we spent time cleaning the area book. In the evening however, a member came and took us to Cookeville, TN which is basically restaurant heaven. They had everything from Olive Garden to Golden Corral. They took us to Outback and had us order steak. It was hard to eat that kind of stuff after being sick, but we dealt with it. They also ordered a bloomin' onion which made me think of Matt Frederickson.

Saturday was interesting. We tried loads of people with little success. I then felt we should go try some people in the northern part of McMinnville. There are a ton of partial addresses in the area book, but we found a few homes. One of the guys we found was Ronnie. He wasn't interested, but he referred us to an excommunicated member who lived upstairs. The guy was pretty cool, but not interested in coming back to church, but he gave us Christmas presents which was nice of him.

Sunday, we actually had a pretty normal Sunday. We had a few less active's show up which was great. One of them had to bring their kid who has down syndrome. To help the less active attend Elders Quorum, we babysat his kid. It was kind of stressful at first and it reminded me a lot of dealing with my little brother David, but then I got an idea to start walking with him. So holding his hand, we walked for about 15 minutes straight all around the church inside and outside. He would giggle and smile, but he never screamed or anything when we walked. When I stopped he would try to run off screaming, so we ended up walking. And walking. And walking. And walking. All the while I was talking with him and joking with him. We ended up walking for about 45 minutes straight before it was time to go. His dad came out and said "Well it looks like he listens to you more than me!" It was cool.  Afterwards we tried a boat load of people, but not one door opened.

In the evening I found out some pretty bad news. Hannah Brown, one of my first and favorite solid investigators in Smith Springs back in July-August of 2014 who had a baptismal date but backed out, passed away some time in the past 48 hours. She was a little younger than me. I don't know what happened, but I found out thanks to my trainer. If you guys could pray for her mom Rachel that would be awesome. I can't imagine how she must feel. I had tried to see them last transfer, but Elder Ihler told me that he had helped move them out the transfer before I got there. That was really hard.

On that sad note, that's pretty much what happened this past week. We have interviews with President Andersen coming up which will be fun. Also Star Wars comes out this week which will be depressing. If y'all could do me a favor, please don't spoil anything till I see it in five months. If you spoil it, I might not talk to you guys again haha. Anyways I'll talk to you next week.

May the force be with you,

Elder Peery

Please contact me:
Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
1646 Sunset Road
Brentwood, TN 37027

Barren Fork dam and Bridge. Incidentally, the guard tower looking
thing off to the right was a mill back in the day when the dam was
made. The dam generated power to it for awhile, until a giant flood wiped it out. All that remains is what you see here.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 79 in the Field: Recording music, Transfer to McMinnville TN, and the Nativity

With the giant Nativity set in the lobby area

What's up y'all?

So a couple little announcement thingys. So first off, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) announced that as of March of 2016, missionaries that will be speaking their native language (for example English speaking missionaries going to English speaking areas) will now spend three weeks in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) vs the twelve days it used to be. The purpose was that it helps missionaries get more training, and it also used to be like that. This change, however, effects missionaries in the field currently in these areas. So now instead of ending my mission around May 18th, 2016, I will be finishing on May 18th, 2017.


Okay I'm kidding. It's just a week later. I will be finishing on May 25th, 2016. Also our mission is getting black boxes in our mission vehicles now, which will monitor how fast missionaries go in cars, So a lot of lead foot people won't be on the roads anymore--probably for the best haha.

Anywho, here's the weekly update.

Recording vocals with Elder Sheffield

Monday we went straight to the Providence elders and then took Elder Sheffield right to Bro. Mortensen's house where I prepared to record like crazy as many songs as I could. We planned for ten, but due to a very, very long vocal session, we got like 6. I was disappointed, but the six we got were really good.  We recorded "Me, My Suitcase, and a Red Chair" (written by Elder Sheffield), "Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy", "A Child's Prayer", "I Know That My Savior Loves Me", "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission/I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go", and "Where Can I Turn for Peace." 

The best one was probably "Me, My Suitcase, and a Red Chair." Elder Sheffield sang it, and I played the guitar and did back up vocals. It was awesome.  (If you want listen to the MP3 file of this song, just email my mom, and she will send it to you.)

Recording guitar on "A Child's Prayer"

Helping Elder Ihler get his part down on "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy"

In the evening, we went over to the Gates home and had dinner with them and Timmy. Later on, Tim Gates gave us three of his newer albums, signed them, and then wanted me to play one of the songs I recorded that day. So I played "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission/I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go." He was impressed and said I was a good guitarist. His oldest daughter was also impressed cause she was trying to learn some jazzy stuff too. In case you don’t remember who Tim Gates and Timmy are, just click on the link for a short video:

On the way home Tim made sure I tell my mom that "She's a good woman" for keeping me in the loop about Nashville Tribute and with the guitar. Made my mission.

With the Gates family Tim Gates is on my (my perspective) left and Timmy is on my right

Tuesday Elder Ihler and I loaded up, and we went off to transfers. It was a very different transfer meeting. Normally, it was kinda like a pep rally, but this time it was held in the chapel in the Green Hills building. It was very spiritual. The sister missionaries that came out with me bore their final testimonies and gave their advice. After that I found out that I was going to McMinnville, TN with Elder Harrison. Once more I am covering a very large area with limited miles. We also share it with Spanish sisters, Hermanas James and Lutui.  Elder Harrison is from Syracuse, UT (he doesn't know my old companion, Elder Steed who was also from Syracuse) and is really into video games and stuff like that. He also reminds me a ton of Elder Steed in many ways. When we got to McMinnville, we practically immediately went to the chapel to begin helping out with the Nativity party thingy. It was a three-day event on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday where members and non members come to check out loads of nativity sets and see presentations based on Jesus Christ. It's a great idea. But took a long time to set up. We spent most of our time doing that.

Wednesday we met the district. There are four sets including us and the Hermanas that make up the district. Manchester elders, Elders Catherall and Mclain, Tullahoma elders, Elders Partida and Tracy. It's kind of a relaxed district but still has some cool people in it. Elder Partida trained on using the new church video "A Savior is Born". It’s a good video, and I really like the other video on that talks about the need for a savior too. We spent most of the time helping out with the nativity. 

Picture of the angel stand on the giant Nativity set.

Thursday that was also pretty much all we did, too. The hardest thing to set up was the large Nativity. We had to put an angel on the roof of the manger, but the roof was a sharp 30-degree slant. Using some tech theatre skills, I configured a platform out of three small planks and duck tape. It worked for the whole show. 

My favorite Nativity set

Friday we did a little bit of planning but mostly we went to the Nativity and helped out there. It was a good first night with a lot of our investigators coming. I didn't know too many, but it was still cool. President Andersen also came with his wife to see some of the stuff. It was a cool set up. We had an art room displaying a bunch of paintings of Christ as well as a picture location, and a place for kids. It was great all around.

The main Nativity exhibit. There were roughly around 200 or so.  There were also 300 poinsettias

The art room

Saturday was mostly the same thing. We picked out some stuff we wanted for Christmas and then off we went to the Nativity event again. Not too much was different minus a local band that played some Christmas music. It was lead by an elderly guy who was really cool but had an interesting voice. Also that day we got to see two other investigators. One of them knows the church is true; she just can't quit smoking. She had a lot of good questions about church history, which I was able to answer for her. I have really appreciated all the knowledge I've gained in my life. I can't wait to see how I am after the mission.

Sunday I got to meet the whole Ward Council. Turns out the Ward Mission Leader Bro. Caten used to live in McLeansboro, which is in the Eldorado Branch. He went there as a kid and knows some of the members who still live there. It was a crazy coincidence. The bishop asked me to introduce myself both in Ward Council and in sacrament meeting. The ward in itself is a good size. The chapel looks like the one in Asheville, NC, and it's really pretty all around. We only had sacrament meeting since every room was being used for the Nativity. In the evening? You guessed it. We were at the Nativity helping out with it. In the evening we watched the First Presidency devotional. It was a cool experience and we had some familiar faces come.  You can watch it here:

Elder Loveless who is now serving in the Pikeville branch showed up with an investigator, and the zone leaders showed up as well. We ended on a good note. 

Today as I was randomly playing piano, the music director roped me in to play in the Christmas sacrament meeting in two weeks... YAY. I swear I've been asked to play in every location, but it's been worth it. I love the people here, and I really appreciate how kind they all are. I can't wait to see more people.

It's a good area with good people. Hopefully this will continue. I'll talk to y'all next week!

Elder Peery

Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
1646 Sunset Road
Brentwood, TN 37027