View of the Ohio River from Paducah, Kentucky!
Hello friends and family!
I had a crazy week filled with disappointment and miracles. I hope you all enjoy it!
On Monday we drove down to Paducah, Kentucky to go on exchanges with the district leader (Elder Porter) and his trainee (Elder Senatore). I drove back up with the trainee and we had a blast. But prior to that, we had so much fun with the missionaries down there. I'm a little jealous at how much fun they all get to have in Paducah with so many missionaries down there. We played basketball, volleyball, and kickball. Very energizing. I think I lost like 7 pounds just from that day.
On Tuesday we went over to this lady we had been teaching every week or so. She kind of went down the whole "I've been saved" thing which was interesting. Technically, all who believe in Christ are saved and will be resurrected. It just depends on how much you follow His commandments for what kingdom you will get to be in after this mortal life. (For more information, you can read a great talk given by Elder Dallin Oaks, which better explains what it means to be saved. Just go to: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1998/04/have-you-been-saved?lang=eng).
We also went out to go with our branch president to see our law of chastity lady friend who came to church on Sunday. What we thought was a miracle turned out to be a nightmare. Due to some legal issues with her and the member who drove her, she has officially dropped off the face of the planet. We have not been able to see her since Sunday and I fear that this will not turn out well. It's frustrating. She was making great progress in learning and understanding the gospel.
Wednesday night we had dinner with one of the counselors in the branch presidency. Their daughters were hilarious. The oldest one is a big reader and totally out-nerded me. The youngest liked to collect rocks and loved showing people. She proceeded to dump her collection all over the kitchen table. We had a fun dinner with them.
We also got to see our Spanish investigator, Carmelo, who still has a baptismal date for May 17th. Elder Senatore is from Venezuela, so he talked with him in Spanish, and I listened with whatever Spanish knowledge I had through the spirit. They got along really well.
Thursday I went down to Paducah on exchanges with the zone leader Elder Nez. Elder Nez is a Navajo convert from Arizona and a spiritual giant. We had a blast on the exchange and had a bunch of miracles, including finding a less active who had just gotten out of prison and wants to get back in the church, a cousin of the missionary that taught Elder Nez's siblings, and also set a soft baptismal date for an investigator who is in prison for a time 12 years from now. AWESOME!
Elder Nez also had my trainer's crutches which was awesome to see them again. The crutches had been taken from the Smith Springs apartment when the area closed nearly 9 months ago.
Friday while still on exchange, we got to talk more about finding the faith to find people. It was great to learn insights from him. He also talked to me about how I'm doing and said he could see me as a missionary leader soon which would be cool, but not desired. I'm happy where I'm at. On the way back to Eldorado we talked about each other's futures. I really hope I'll get to serve around him again someday.
Saturday I was finally back with Elder Stange. We dissected the old paper Areabook that had a ton of investigators in it. Our object was to clean up the Areabook and to find some way to see those in it. We later went over to the "saved" lady again with a recently returned sister missionary. I would later make her family cookies the next day. The lady said she would come to church with the member, but backed out on Sunday.
Sunday at church we had a very small congregation for some reason. Only 29 people were there. I ended up teaching gospel doctrine on obedience. It was strange teaching a bunch of well seasoned individuals, but I feel it went well. I was complimented by the branch presidency.
In the evening we went over to the home of our investigator who is quitting smoking and found out she hadn't smoked in a week. She had been eating candy to keep the temptation away. One of her non-member friends gave her a coffee bar. To help her avoid temptation to break the Word of Wisdom, I offered to bake her cookies in exchange for the coffee bar. She consented and traded, and I went and chucked that candy bar as hard as I could into the dumpster. It was fun.
A pretty stressful week, but a good week all around.
Special thanks to all of you who have written me with birthday greetings. I've been receiving several emails fulfilling what I requested for my birthday. I am very appreciative of the ones I have received. I am excited for my 21st birthday this Sunday, May 3rd!
To remind everyone, the main thing I'd like for my birthday is for ya'll to send me a story where you saw the hand of God in your life or when you did something nice for someone else. I am also grateful for all the many prayers on our behalf. We do appreciate them.
Thanks so much!
You can contact me anytime – here is my information:
Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 Westpark Drive, Suite 190
Brentwood, TN 37027