So this week has been all over the place and pretty stressful. I'm also in a new area now with 2 new companions so that's fun. But first off let's start with last Monday.
Monday, Elder Steed and prepared and planned everything that we were going to do. We received permission to drive halfway down to Nashville, stopping in Cadiz, KY for the night. But first we went over to have one final lunch at Ponderosa with some of the members of the Eldorado branch. The relief society president came as did her husband, the wife of the first counselor in the branch presidency came, along with a returning member. It was really awesome to see all of them. After a bunch of handshakes and hugs, Elder Steed and I made the final preparations and left Harrisburg as a companionship for good.
The final lunch in Eldorado
We stopped by Garden of the Gods on the way down so I could get a final look at that place. It was super hot outside so we didn't stay too long, but I did find some new places to climb. It was loads easier with a backpack instead of a side bag.
Last photo of Garden of the Gods
We finally left and headed down a little bit more, passing the Bigfoot statue on the way. We stopped by this place called Iron Furnace which is basically a very, very old furnace used back in the day--like 1800's old. Elder Steed climbed on top of it.
After that we headed to see this thing called Tower Rock but couldn't find it. We gave up and made our way over to Cave-in-Rock, which was kind of muddy since the water had been rising a lot.
The Ohio River around Cave in Rock
After exploring the cave again one more time, we left and got on the ferry which took us across the Ohio River to Kentucky.
Last picture of Cave in Rock
Eventually we got to Cadiz around 7:30ish. We spent the night with two other missionaries, Elder Partida and Elder Powell, and slept on the floor.
Tuesday we woke up and went down to transfer meeting in Franklin. On the way down, we were making good time so we stopped by what was formerly known as Baptist Hospital (where I was born), and I got a picture of that and some places around Vanderbilt. It was really cool and a good moment.
St. Thomas (formerly Baptist) Hospital
At transfers, about 28 missionaries were going home. A lot of them were my friends. 24 were coming out. Transfers were interesting. They aren't telling you where you're going or who your new companion will be ‘til they show you on a slideshow.
Eventually, my name showed up, and it told me that I will be in Thompson's Station, TN in the Franklin, TN Stake serving with Elder Bedwell (from Aberdeen, ID) and Elder Nalder (from South Jordan, UT). My district includes the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Kohler and Sister Halbeisen, and the Zone Leaders, Elder Porter (the same guy from my district a few transfers ago) and Elder Danielson. It'll be interesting for sure. I will also be covering TWO wards, which will be very challenging considering we share a car with another set of missionaries. After the meeting I said goodbye to many of the departing missionaries, and then left with the elders to the apartment.
After a very quick drop off, we got picked up for dinner at the stake's family history consultant's place, which was awesome. The ward is hosting a giant family history discovery day at the church, and I may get to figure out more of my ancestry, which will be cool. After that we met up with a recent move-in couple and their kids and signed up to help them with service a few days from then.
Wednesday I had my first district meeting as district leader, which was kind of interesting. It started off a little bit awkward but then got better. I had Elder Porter train on developing the faith to find new investigators, and then I copied a bit of one of Elder Leavitt's trainings on sanctification and followed that up by setting goals. We have a lot of ambitious goals as a district and hopefully we will achieve them.
As a district leader, I get to interview candidates for baptism, which is a huge responsibility. I had the opportunity this week to interview a nice 21-year-old guy in our area for baptism. He had really appreciated the missionaries teaching him and enjoyed everything he felt about the church. He was super prepared already when the missionaries knocked on his door. After I asked all the questions, he asked me if I ever had any doubts that the church was true. I related a moment in my life from March 2013 about how my life spiraled out of control until I received a true confirmation from the Spirit that the Book of Mormon WAS true, and that everything that is found within this church is true, and that I had the ability to change my life around, which I did. That touched him and solidified that desire to be baptized.
Later in the day we went over to an investigator's home and had a solid lesson with her. She has found faults in every church thus far and is giving ours a go. She said that if she found out if the Church was true, she would be baptized. It was pretty sweet. We also tracked into a kind Catholic family who weren't interested, but they let us talk about our church with them.
Thursday we went over to this place called “The Well,” which is essentially like the Bishop's Storehouse except it’s non-denominational. They accept help from all organizations which is really cool. They support the needy through food and other supplies. After that we went over and mowed the yard of the family we visited on Tuesday. We ran into some return missionaries selling pest control, and they gave us some Gatorade, which was awesome. They work for Home Shield, which is a company owned by a member from Hendersonville Ward which was fun. We also had dinner with a family from the 2nd Ward and I got to pet their daughter's pet rat. After we were done, we cleaned up and went to go meet the Ward Mission Leader (now on WML) of the Thompson's Station 1st Ward and talked about the needs of the Ward.
Friday we had a very long weekly planning session that we used to get to know the area really well. We then got to meet up with the baptismal candidate and answered some more of his questions about what happens after this life. We ended the night at a member’s home, which was a lot of fun.
Saturday was awesome! We went over to the church for the baptism. The guy getting baptized was really excited. The missionary who baptized him was Elder Hamling, who came out with me. It was a really spiritual day, and it was super cool. The bishop gave him a set of scriptures, which contained notecards from everyone present bearing their testimonies on them. It was super cool.
The baptism (from left to right: Elder Bedwell, Larry, Elder Hamling,
and Elder Partida on Skype)
Sunday I got to meet the remaining members in the 1st Ward including a family that was from the Herndon Ward a while ago--such a small world. The guy who was baptized was confirmed in Church as the newest member of the Church! Elder Bedwell did the confirmation and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. The 1st Ward WML taught gospel principles on missionary work, and then we went off to opening exercises. It was then we remembered we were over two wards and went for meetings with the 2nd Ward. We got to meet the 2nd Ward WML who is an animator for a relatively famous kids website which is cool. Fast forward three more hours of church; we finally left very tired and overwhelmed.
In the evening we went over to a member’s home from the 1st Ward and had turkey avocado burgers which were really awesome. We talked a lot about mission stories. After that we went back home, and I collected numbers from the two other sets of missionaries in my district for the week. It was really fun but stressful.
We have a Zone Conference coming up that I'm supposed to be playing piano for, so that will be fun. I'm enjoying the area and working hard to establish unity in the tri-panionship. It's very stressful but we are working on it.
Hope ya'll are having a good week! We sure appreciate your prayers.
Please email me at:
You can write me at:
Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
1646 Sunset Road, Brentwood, TN 37027