Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 50 in the Field: Cave-in-Rock

Elder Peery and Elder Steed

Hi Everyone!  Here is my update:  We had a lot going on this week which was fun. 

On Monday we went over to the Saline County Pioneer Museum (see past updates for pictures) and we saw a stray puppy sleeping uncomfortably on the steps of the office. He was very timid but at the same time a little curious. We walked around with him and found out that the shelter was closed and would reopen the next day. So we had to ditch him temporarily. We went over to the park and Elder Steed went running while I made phone calls. We decided that we would try to find a home for it, even if we had to provide one ourselves.

When we returned, the puppy wasn't there, it was over in the projects playing with the children over there. One kid claimed him as his own, however his father wasn't too keen on the idea. Also technically, you aren't supposed to have pets in the projects. After all his excuses failed, he reluctantly gave us the stray so that we could find a home for it. We set up shop at our house and gave the puppy some food (we bought dog food for it) and then made a bed for him out of some old towels. He was disappointed at first that he couldn't stay with us in our room, but we didn't want to find any accidents in the morning. He was very well behaved even though he was a puppy. He was teething a bit so we came away with a couple small bite marks.

Tuesday we made many desperate attempts to find a home for him because we heard that the shelter in town usually puts down strays. After four hours of no luck, we finally went to the shelter and talked with the people there of his chances for survival. They assured us that they would send him to a rescue where they don't put down any pets. We were satisfied with their information and turned over the puppy to them. He was sad to see us go, but we are confident that he will find a better home.
Cave-in-Rock sunset

Wednesday evening was awesome. After a full day of not getting in too many doors, we finally were able to arrange a double split. Elder Steed went with the branch president and I went with the branch mission leader. It was the first time in a long time since one of these had happened in the branch. With the BML, we went down to Ozark, IL where we saw the former branch president and his wife who were relaxing on their back porch. We had a good lesson with them and then proceeded to Carrier Mills, IL where we tried a less active there who had essentially scared off the missionaries last time they had stopped by a year ago. We knocked on her door but there was no answer, using a trick I had picked up from the elders quorum president in the Smith Springs ward, we knocked on the neighbor's door and found out that she had moved a few doors down. When we knocked on the door one of her first questions was "How did you find me?" Because the BML was there and not another missionary, we were able to smooth this over. In a few minutes she changed from being a "Go away and never come back!" To "Y'know this made me feel a lot better actually. Come back when you're in the area again." It was great.

Thursday was an adventure for sure. We woke up at 5:00am to drive about 2.25 hours to Hopkinsville, KY for a meeting. We went down by way of this place called Cave-in-Rock. Thanks to the ferry that was down there, we were able to cut time in half by using that. 

Cave-in-Rock Ferry. We got to go across on the way to Hopkinsville.

 Cave-in-Rock Ferry in the evening.

Also it was the first time I had ever been on a boat on my mission before. It was really fun. The meeting was some of the same stuff. 

Some of the elders in the zone with President Andersen                                                                     (he is kneeling right next to me)

President trained us on how to work better with members which was good, but unfortunately I don't think it was geared towards the missionaries working in branches like ours where everyone is so spread out over the six counties. 

Looking up at the hole in the cave at Cave-in-Rock

On the way back we actually stopped by Cave-in-Rock and took a lot of pictures. There's a hole in the cave which has been nicknamed "Hole-in-Rock". It illuminates the cave a lot, but it was still pretty dark even still. We had a lot of fun there.

At the mouth of the Cave-in-Rock

Elder Steed outside Cave-in-Rock (walls are about 55 ft in diameter)

Just outside the cave.

Friday was pretty boring. Other than in the evening. We believe we may have ingested some food poisoning from a dinner we had which was not so good. We felt it the next night but Elder Steed had it worse since he ate more of the food that was possibly bad. The people we had dinner with were watching the movie "Noah" which was rather interesting. Might check it out when I go back.

Saturday was rough. We walked around for four hours and didn't get in any doors. Not even the shut ins were there. It was very frustrating. So much so, that our branch president saw us walking and picked us up for dinner. Afterwards, he took us to a play where the son of a part member was playing a leading role. It was an elementary school production of the Little Mermaid. It was so adorable. All the little voices were singing their hardest. We had to leave after intermission sadly though. It was a good pick me up. Later we stopped by our baptismal date and found out he was currently on a ventilator and in a medical coma in a hospital in St. Louis. We were very sad about this naturally. Hopefully he will get better.

Sunday we had a lot of visitors there including some people from some wards up north. Just to add a note, if you're from a big ward that happens to be doing really well and visit some other place that isn't, please don't accuse the missionaries or people around there. They are probably trying their best with what they have. Not all areas are the same. But I digress. I ended up teaching Gospel Doctrine again since not too many people stuck around after the first hour. I taught on Joseph Smith's First Vision which was a fun concept. I remember I stated five specific truths learned from this experience:

1. God's power is greater than Satan's power. When Joseph initially started his prayer, he was seized upon by the adversary to make him stop. But as he struggled to continue, he saw a pillar of light, exactly over his head, above the brightness of the sun. This light forced the darkness away, proving that God's power is stronger than anything.

2. Jesus Christ lives. The biggest truth we learn from the first vision, is a modern testimony that Jesus Christ does live. That He does still speak to man as He did in times of old. Joseph was able to communicate with both the Savior and our Heavenly Father. They were real tangible beings that had bodies of flesh and bones. And not only did Joseph testify that the Savior lives, but our Heavenly Father did as well, "This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him."

3. The heavens are opened. How amazing must it have been to realize that God still speaks to man today? How wonderful is the knowledge that there is a Supreme Creator? God still speaks to His prophets today. This event proves such truths.

4. God knows us personally. When They appeared to Joseph, Heavenly Father initiated the conversation by calling Joseph by name. No matter how insignificant or unimportant we may feel, the Creator of worlds and the universe knows us personally by name and desires to have personal conversations with us through prayer. 

5. The adversary is aware of our potential. Satan knew what Joseph's potential was. He knew that one of the last places he could stop him was right here. He knows how all of us have the potential to live with God again and it is his personal mission to stop that from happening by any means necessary. It is up to us to stay true to the faith and make sure we do not lose sight of the ultimate goal.

And that's just a piece on what I talked on. Hopefully there was some good stuff in there. You can write and ask me questions.  

You can also  read more information at:

Today we plan on making a trip to Garden of the Gods with some other missionaries which will be interesting since it has been raining the past three days. I'm excited but a little bit concerned about safety but we should be fine. 

Thanks again for all the letters I have received. I appreciate them all.

Elder Peery


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