Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 56 in the Field: Hiking in 96-degree weather and other adventures!

Paducah Zone:  
(top row from left to right: Elder Orr, Elder Stevenson, Elder Danielson, Elder Smith, Elder Steed, can't remember.
Middle row left to right: Elder Brown, Elder Fore, Elder Senatore, Elder Rasmussen, Elder Rumsey, Elder Parkinson, Elder Myers, Elder Peery.
Bottom row from left to right: Sister McDonald, Sister Mayer, Sister Curtis, Sister Sumbot, Sister Myers, and Sister Orchard)


Hope you are doing well.  Okay so we had another rough week but did some cool stuff nonetheless.

Monday we went to this nature area thingy that was next to a lake. The main purpose of the trip was to see this statue of the Shawnee warrior/prophet, Tecumseh. He did a lot of things for his people, but most importantly he taught the importance of being unified. One of the things he tried to do when the Native Americans were being pushed west was create an alliance with all the Native American tribes against the Americans. He did this using the analogy of a bundle of sticks with the idea that it is easy to break one or two of the twigs, but you cannot break the full bundle as easily.  He eventually died in battle in Canada in 1813. His favorite tomahawk was also a peace pipe--basically a totally cool dude.

Tecumseh statue. He was a Shawnee warrior as well as a prophet among his people. He used the analogy of a bundle of sticks to illustrate the point that in an alliance, "a single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong". He died in battle at age 44 in 1813.

Also on Monday, we decided to hike to a cave in the mountain. The trail started right near the statue so we started at around noonish. It turned out to be a huge mistake. Walking through tall grass and hard to walk on trails, we persisted through 96 degree weather (not counting the humidity which was also at a high point. All things considered it felt about 102 degrees). We were also wearing shorts so we got plenty of ticks, chiggers, and more. The worse part?

The cave had been closed for years so the trail just kind of ended with overgrown weeds that were as tall as we are. So we hiked it back exhausted and nearly died at the car.

The hike of doom. Here's a tip: Don't go hiking on a closed trail in shorts in 96-degree weather.

Tuesday we went down to Paducah for a zone meeting with all the missionaries in the stake (basically all the areas as south of Paris, TN all the way up to us in Eldorado, IL). It was a good meeting, and it was fun to get trained by one of my MTC buds who is a zone leader now.

On the way back we decided to stop at Fort Massac which was just off the highway. 

At Fort Massac (see George Rogers Clark picture for more info).
Other things that happened here that are worthy of mention include that Lewis and Clark on their trip across the states stopped here for three days recruiting people to join them. They picked up a translator here which was very valuable to them.

Fort Massac, as I explained in my pictures was a fort in the Revolutionary War era. This guy named George Rogers Clark decided that it needed to be taken down, so with permission from General Washington, marched his troops across the Ohio to take it out. But apparently it had been destroyed by some Native Americans already. Clark proceeded to set up areas all across the banks of the Ohio including some in Metropolis. He is credited as the defender of Illinois. Lots of cool stuff there. When we finally came back I almost fell asleep at the wheel. I was exhausted for some unknown reason and when my head hit the pillow I didn't wake up till about 2:30am the next day.

George Rogers Clark statue. He defended the Illinois frontier in the Revolutionary War. His story is basically during the war, he felt that the British were attacking ships and other things from Fort Massac, so he took some troops up to attack it. When they got there, they found the place burned down and ravaged by Native Americans. Washington ordered the fort rebuilt later and that is where Clark stayed and defended.

Wednesday we went to go help out the Baptists again. The Equality barn has officially been destroyed, but this particular trip we went over to this city called Ridgeway to help patch a roof of a single mom. Elder Steed and two others were on top of the roof most of the time as I held the ladder for them. It took awhile but we got it done. In the evening we went over to Raleigh for a birthday party for one of the Primary kids in the branch. I gave him a small Batman statue which he thanked me for. It was really fun to interact with all the people.

Thursday we helped out the Baptists again in Equality this time with the remnants of the barn. Though it is down, we are taking out all the wood so that they can sell it to use the money to help people in need or to supply help for those serving missions. Kind of like how our tithing works. Unfortunately it's mainly one guy heading it and a few people will come help sometimes. He's always grateful for our help.

Friday was very rough. We tried a bunch of people but no luck. We went to the church to plan and then tried to go contact more people, but the only person we really contacted was a kind lady in the local Aldi supermarket who encouraged us to keep going. Apparently a lot of other people noticed us in the stores as we roamed around looking for people to talk to.

Having some fun with Elder Steed with him playing his name tag, while I accompany on piano.

Saturday was exactly the same, except we at least found out that a member/investigator doesn't live at the location where they were listed. We went back to the church again to try and figure out other things to do. It was a rough day altogether.

Sunday was better—much, much better. We had a good turnout at church with 4 investigators. However not enough to teach gospel principles. So while one of the counselors in the branch presidency taught gospel doctrine, I applied my talents to help out the primary. I did okay on piano for most of the songs, till one of the kids selected a song I had only attempted once.  We also taught a primary class (5-7 year olds) which was an adventure. What made it easier was having kids hold stuff and offering a reward for the most reverent kid at the end of class. It was hectic but fun.

After church we went over to our investigator's home in Galatia where we talked to him about how close he and his girlfriend are to getting married. He really wants to be baptized, which is cool. We also saw a couple other people, which was a big boost to the week. 1/3 of the lessons we taught this week happened on Sunday.

The Russell's new puppy, Dixie--part beagle, part hound--and yes, adorable.

We are doing okay for the most part. It's hard right now, but that's how life is sometimes. I'm grateful for all the experiences I've had here and look forward to more adventures this coming week!

Elder Peery

ps.  So today Elder Steed and I are going to basically hike the area.  Most of the pictures will be in next week's email. I don't think there will be any sheer cliffs this time.

Paducah Zone--silly picture:  (top row from left to right:
Elder Orr, Elder Stevenson, Elder Danielson, Elder Smith, Elder Steed, can't remember.
Middle row left to right: Elder Brown, Elder Fore, Elder Senatore, Elder Rasmussen, Elder Rumsey, Elder Parkinson, Elder Myers, Elder Peery.
Bottom row from left to right: Sister McDonald, Sister Mayer, Sister Curtis, Sister Sumbot, Sister Myers, and Sister Orchard)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 55 in the Field: Feet are Healing and More Adventures in Tearing Down Barns

We found an old phone booth in Equality and had some fun.
Hi Everybody!
Hope you are doing well.  I'm really, really tired after today's journey, but you will hear about that next week. For now, here is this week's entry.

Monday I still couldn't do too much because of my feet. So we just chilled at the church and hung around there for a bit. It kinda stunk not being able to do anything, but such is life after surgery. I have gotten many emails from you guys since then--THANK YOU!!!-- and since the procedure happened about 10 days ago or so I'd like to say that everything is going better. I can walk a little better than I could before. I just don't want to overdo it.  Thanks again so much for your kindness.

Tuesday we went to go help out the Baptists again. This time was a trip down to Ozark, IL very near the place I went last time I was down there. He barn was slightly larger than the last one and a little more dangerous. Black Widows roam free on the inside so I chose to work on the outside. It was very, very hot that day and I almost suffered from heat stroke. I probably drank over 9 water bottles that day. Elder Steed and another kid almost accidentally pulled down the roof a little earlier than planned, but it didn't collapse. Later in the evening our Elders Quorum President gave us a call saying one of his non-member friends bought a mirror at an antique shop and since then her kids have been having nightmares and seeing stuff. It freaked Elder Steed out but I said we would be happy to go and give each member of the family a blessing like he suggested. But the family cancelled so we didn't have to go. Just some advice, be careful what you get your hands on ‘cause stuff like that is crazy.

Wednesday we had our district meeting in Eldorado. The only new missionary in the district is a guy named Elder Orr from Idaho. He replaced Elder Spiker. Elder Parkinson is the new district leader so it is possible that I may get to visit the last area in Illinois I haven't been to on exchanges. In the evening we went down to Carrier Mills to see some people and then came back to go out with our BML (Branch Mission Leader) to go see the former member and her son for an FHE. It was loads of fun playing games with them. The son hadn't seemed too interested, but he had a blast from the looks of it. Elder Steed and I then split up and I went with the BML to go see the investigator who was recovering from a coma. We had a good lesson with him and he knows that he's still here on the earth for a reason.

Thursday we went and helped the Baptists again this time at the Equality barn. It has changed a lot from the work we've done on it. It came down the next day when we weren't there. I also decided that my all-time favorite restaurant in this area is the Red Onion. We go there with the Baptists every time we work with them. It's awesome. Second favorite would probably be Ponderosa though which is kind of like a Golden Corral--fun stuff all around.

Firefighters two doors down putting out a random fire

Friday we saw the investigator with the baby and this time we didn't really read with her. I could tell she just wasn't understanding this stuff so I asked her how she learns best. She said visually so we will be bringing by more visual stuff to teach her. It's awesome to know that we can finally make some progress there. Later on we saw our Galatia investigator and taught him the Plan of Salvation, which was admittedly rough but he understood it.

Back of the Equality barn

Saturday was really rough. We had been planning this picnic in Carmi for months and then we had to cancel for some reason. It was really annoying but we decided to go try and find other things to do. We contacted a referral in Equality who was really nice and polite and let us into his home. He wasn't interested but was very friendly about it. He also had an adorable pug that shed a lot haha. We toured Equality a bit since we don't go there too much. Found out more about Southern Illinois history in general--very fascinating stuff but it's just sad how much has been forgotten. First settlements turn into ghost towns. I certainly have a stronger respect for the people here, that's for sure.

Sunday we had a good showing at church, though it didn't appear to be at first. The only downside was that afterwards I got pretty sick, and we had to go back home. In the evening I was well enough to go out and give a shut in the sacrament. She thanked us for that and was also grateful we answered her questions on the plan of salvation.

Other than that the week has been kind of slow but we hope it will pick up. We've got some fun stuff planned for the rest of this week, so we will be looking forward to it.

Have a great week!

Elder Peery

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 54 in the Field: Blessings at Wendy's and Foot Surgery

Monday, June 15, 2015

1 and 2. The district meeting in Foxcroft (from left to right): Sister Curtis, Sister Sumbot, Elder Spiker, Elder Steed, Elder Smith, Elder Senatore, Elder Parkinson, Elder Nez, Elder Rumsey, and Elder Peery


So this week has been kind of interesting on a number of reasons -- namely the fact that I had surgery on my feet. More of that to come.

Here's the week.

On Monday we went bowling since we had a coupon that let us get one free game in. Elder Steed beat me by one the first game but then crushed me the second one. The guy at the bowling alley had some questions so we got to talk to him a little bit which was cool. It's funny how much nicer people are to you sometimes when you aren't wearing white shirts and ties..

Tuesday we went to go help out the Baptists again and this time it was only a crew of 4 including us. We worked mainly on the far back wall of the barn. It was hard work,  but we are making a lot of progress.

Unfortunately we will have to stop for a few weeks due to my feet, which we will get to later. We also had a really delicious dinner at a recent convert's home in Eldorado. They made us some excellent meatloaf and some great mac n cheese which I have discovered is one of my favorite foods on my mission.

Wednesday we had our last district meeting in Foxcroft which was kind of sad based on the upcoming transfer calls. After transfer meeting we decided to go have lunch at the local Wendy's in Marion. Elder Steed and I wanted to go to the Steak N Shake instead since we had just received gift cards from home but we went along anyways. Right about as we were finishing, a mom who is a member of the Church from Missouri comes over to our table and basically says "Hi, this might sound crazy, but my son is currently going through a rough time and we were on our way back from camp to get him some help. We were going to find one of our members back home to give him a blessing, but I felt that we needed to get that done sooner. And I do not find it a coincidence that we ran into four missionaries in the middle of Southern Illinois. Will you help us?"

We were more than happy to. Elder Parkinson started the blessing and I finished it. It was a rather unusual sight for the Wendy's drive thru to witness four guys in white shirts blessing some random kid. But it was still a very spiritual event. The mom thanked us and resumed their trip to Missouri. It was a pleasure to be a part of a sweet miracle.

Thursday was the day of my foot doctor appointment. I was really nervous about it, but the people at the Harrisburg hospital were wonderful despite the rumors. The nurse who escorted me had cousins that were Mormon, and she even used to work as a flight attendant for American Airlines--based in Chicago O'Hare International Airport just like my mom was for many years.  It’s a small world. She was very nice and supportive and gave me and my companion some water bottles.

Dr. Cook was my doctor and he gave me a few choices on what had to happen to my toes. He illustrated that they would have to totally remove the index toenail on my left foot to prevent infection and partially remove another toenail. It was a tough decision but I decided to go through with it for the next day after some more thought and prayer.

Friday morning I went back and had the same nurse thankfully. Dr. Cook had a good sense of humor about it which made the whole ordeal much more relaxing. Unfortunately when he did the procedure he did not have anything to block my view of what was going on. I spent most of my time looking up at the ceiling for good reasons. After it was over I thanked him for what he did and jokingly asked if I could keep the nail. Surprisingly he said yes and so now I have a neat souvenir from Southern Illinois hospitals. It's not as gross as you may think. I spent the remainder of the day with my feet propped up.

An hour post surgery. This was my setup for the day.

Saturday was a lot of the same. Except the branch president asked if we could go be a priesthood presence at the Relief Society social. It was a good thing we went cause one of the sisters had been accidentally locked out.  We stayed out there at the church for a bit with my feet propped up, and the sisters were very kind and fed us some of their stuff.

Then we went over to see the investigator with the baby's house and had an interesting lesson with her again. Since she doesn't read the Book of Mormon on her own, we read it with her when we go over there now. It's hard getting her to trust us but we are working hard. We ended the night after having dinner with the branch president.

In the evening on Saturday we finally received transfer calls. Though the entire zone got shaken up, Elder Steed and I are remaining with each other in Eldorado, which means I will have served here for a grand total of 6 months at the end of this next transfer--slightly longer than my time in Hendersonville. It was very surprising, but at the same time I kind of expected it. I love the members here. I just need to keep trying to love everyone else. It's hard when there's a lot of people ridiculing you and not wanting to listen. I am looking forward to another six weeks. The longest I've heard any missionary staying here was like 9 and a half months or something like that. Who knows what will happen.

Sunday we had branch council, to which we were late due to my feet. It hurts a lot to walk right now. I taught gospel principles on the second coming of Jesus Christ. It's a difficult concept since no man can pin point exactly when it will happen, so I just focused on being prepared for when it does happen. It was a tough lesson but I think it worked out okay. We had potluck afterwards which was fun.

It's kind of been a slow week otherwise. We are working more on finding new people but we are also trying to get those we have to progress. It's really hard but worth it in the end. Hopefully my feet won't be too big of a hindrance this week. 

Thanks so much for all the support. I hope you all are doing well.

Elder Peery

You can write me here:

Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 Westpark Drive, Suite 190
Brentwood, TN 37027

You can send email to me here: