Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 73 in the Field: Back to the Future? NO! Back to Smith Springs!!!

 Tracting with my new companion, Elder Ihler!

Loads of stuff happened this week.

So Monday we all got packed and headed to the church for three hours of dodge ball (until one kid got hit in the face) and eventually basketball. It was the last time we'd all be together,  so it was kind of sad. In the evening we had dinner with the Shirk's (the family that took us to the Carter House and Carnton Plantation). It was sad to say goodbye to them ‘cause they were a really awesome family in that ward.

Pday crew

Later on we said goodbye to the Krewson's (family from Herndon Ward) which was also sad. To top it all off, we had to say goodbye to the growing YSA group.

Saying goodbye to the Krewson's

Tuesday morning we were picked up by Riley Bria, who is a semi famous guy who went on American Idol, and he took us to transfers. He is still thinking about a mission so it was a good experience for him. It was sad seeing all the departing missionaries go. My former companion Elder Steed also went home this transfer.

Elder Steed's parting advice

For his parting advice he got up there, waited about 40-50 seconds in silence before saying, "Embrace the awkward silence." And then walked off. It was funny, but sad cause that would be one of the last jokes I would hear for a good while from him.

Departing missionaries

What broke the sadness was what was going on for transfers. I watched as they announced the different missionaries going to the different zones/stake. Each stake passed by and only Nashville and Paducah were left. So I figured "I'm probably not going back to Nashville, but it would be nice." Sure enough, they announced that I'd be serving with Elder Ihler in.... SMITH SPRINGS A!!! I was going back to my first area!! I could not sit still for the remainder of the meeting. I was so stoked to head back after so long away. I couldn't believe it. It was so cool!

New companion, Elder Ihler!  He is from Malad, Idaho.

Elder Ihler has been out for about three months, so I'm his second companion or "greenie buster". The second companion usually is the make it or break it moment for a greenie, so this is an awesome responsibility.

We got back to our place thanks to a member named David who was supposed to get the Melchizedek priesthood on Sunday. After unpacking a bit, we hit the road and started tracting. We then had dinner at a member’s home and got to go to their neighbor's. That family is so missionary-minded it's awesome. After that we did some shopping and went home.

Wednesday for district meeting I got to meet everyone in the district. Elder Sheffield (the former AP) is the district leader and he has two companions: Elder Nielsen (he's been out as long as I have, but is a Spanish missionary) and Elder Sargent (who has been out for about three months as well but is still training). The only other missionaries are the Hermanas: Hooker and Levitre. It's a pretty solid district altogether.

After district meeting, we went to go try this lady named Saron. She didn't understand the purpose or even what was the Book of Mormon, so we explained it. Not only did she accept it, but she committed herself to read the entire chapter of 1st Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

Dinner with the Elson's

In the evening, we had dinner with the Elsons. David Elson was my recent convert who was baptized on August 9th, 2014. So it was awesome to get to see them. In the evening we went over to the church to use the bathroom, and I ran into Bro. Mortensen (the nice guy who recorded an album last year for my trainer, Elder Leavitt and me). He told me he wanted to work on a version of I Stand All Amazed with me on backup so I told him I was down. We also ran into Bro. Clark who was happy to see me.

Thursday we taught a ton of people. Like loads. We went tracting for a few hours and were able to find like 5 new investigators and teach like 8 people. Elder Ihler is pretty diligent, but he's also smart and works inspired. He wants to improve and work hard. It's awesome. We even got a new investigator, just by chasing down a cat! In the evening, we had dinner with David and he told us how happy he was to have us here for Thanksgiving. He's planning on making something big.

Absolutely crazy chihuahua we tracted into

Friday morning we went over to the church for some weekly planning. After that we went over to Saron's again with Bro. Clark. She didn't see the purpose of being baptized and just kind of talked a lot, so we said we'd be back another time. In the evening we played basketball with a bunch of guys. It wasn't easy since Providencia Ward had been there before we got there and so we had to wait for them to finish up.

Saturday morning Bro. Inscho and Bro. Kessel took us over to clean the church. Bro. Kessel (the elderly man we used to mow the lawn for) is now in a wheel chair and lives in a retirement home. Both remembered me and took us out to Golden Corral afterwards. I've decided that place is probably my favorite buffet restaurant. Later on David picked us up and we went to DQ. He had a question on who Korihor was in the Book of Mormon, so we showed him the video "All Things Denote There is a God" on It basically talks about how an antichrist went up against a prophet and got beat pretty bad. But it's also a great story in general. Here is the link:  
Take a look at it.  Let me know if you have questions.  

In the evening we went to the church for the chili cook-off/trunk or treat. It was awesome. So many people recognized me and were happy to see me. After that we played basketball with a very cocky 14 year old.  Fun!

Sunday was weird. And crazy. At church there were so many different faces and not that many people. I was told a lot were missing. However, several people were happy to have me back.
Nashville Tribute Band concert

David was unable to receive the Melchizedek priesthood at church because no one from the stake was present. He was sad about that. After church we had an early dinner with the Clarks and then went off to Green Hills with David to see the Nashville Tribute Band perform their album Redeemer. It was sooo awesome. Once again I got to see a lot of familiar faces. Some of them actually remembered me which was awesome. The show was great and cheered David up. Also the stake president was there and agreed to give him the Melchizedek priesthood the next day which will be awesome.

It's so good to be back in Nashville. The entire week has been one giant welcome home party.

I am so happy here and I can't wait for the work to improve here. It'll be awesome. Tonight we are having dinner with President and Sister Andersen and then going on exchanges with him. I'm looking forward to it. I'll talk to you later!

Elder Peery

If you have any questions, or just want to say hi, you can email me anytime at:
I would love to hear from you, and I will write you back on Monday, my P-day.

Thanks for all your prayers and support.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 72 in the Field: Transfers this Week!

TSTAT (Thomson's Station) District. (From left to right: Elder Loveless, Elder Powell,
Elder Bedwell, Sister Halbeisen, Sister Kohler, Elder Porter, and Elder Peery)

Well there were a lot of surprising things that happened this week. So I might as well start at the top.

Monday:  I can't really remember all what happened during p-day, but for the most part we did the usual stuff: basketball, dodge ball, piano stuff, all with the Spring Hill missionaries. After that we went on splits with a youth from TS1 who went with Elder Powell. While they went tracting, Elder Bedwell and I went over to see a TS1 family who was pretty cool. They were singers so that was awesome.

Cleaning old records at the archive building in Columbia

Tuesday we went with a lady down to the Columbia Archive building, where we spent a few hours cleaning papers that were from the mid 1800's.  The earliest one I received was an 1832 execution order. Now when I say execution, you probably thought a death sentence. But actually it turns out that vocab was different back then. What these things really were, were orders of payment from the court. Kind of like getting a ticket--so not all that cool, but still awesome to handle documents from the 1800's.

What most of my old records looked like.

After that we went tracting in order to have a shot at the finding challenge I had going since the beginning of the transfer. We found two families, one of which was actually pretty interested. But after that, not so much happened. We went on a split with a member and then ended the night having correlation for TS1.

Wednesday we had a great district meeting. Elder Porter trained on “finding,” and I concluded by also training on finding. The results of the tournament were the zone leaders won, we came in second, and the sisters came in last. The zone leaders received pizza, we took the title belt and a batman mask, and the sisters took candy bars. After that we went back to the WML (Ward Mission Leader’s home for Thompson’s Station 1st Ward) TS1 family and put the shutters back on their house which was fun. I was on roof duty again so that was great. We then went exploring around the social areas and tried contacting people.

Thursday we went to the Well and had a semi busy day there. Mostly just stocking the shelves. After that we went finding for a bit but had a lot of cancelled appointments. Thankfully, one of our appointments was solid and we got to see them. Also, he was a baseball fan, so I had some fun talking about the Cubs. In the evening we had a Bible Study at the church. It was our first attempt and went about as far as most attempts do that start off on a bad week. We had one person show up. She was an investigator from TS1 which was great. But no members showed up which was sad. We had a good study though and learned more on what her religion believes and how ours is similar. We answered a lot of her questions on the Creation which was cool.

Friday we had a planning session. We were all under the impression that Elder Bedwell was leaving so we mostly just told him good luck. After that we contacted a former investigator who is doing well and set up a return appointment. We saw our recent convert, which was cool. We also helped out at a less active's home, planting trees. It was entertaining.

Saturday was a little stressful since it was transfer call day. We started out our day helping out at a TS1 member's home with their yard. It was fun destroying a table and cleaning up, but we then had to go help someone move from Spring Hill Ward to TS2. We stayed with Spring Hill missionaries most of the time which was cool. At the end, we received notice that we would be getting transfer calls in the evening. But that was far too late for us ‘cause we were anxious and wanted to know at that time. So the zone leaders gave us the information, and we were completely shocked.

Elder Powell and I will be leaving Thompson's Station and Elder Bedwell will be receiving two new companions. Completely the opposite of what President told us he was planning to do. At first we thought it was a joke, but then we found out it was true later on. The sisters will be staying the same and Elder Porter will be leaving. In the evening we had stake conference, but we were still shocked.

Sunday we went to stake conference still shocked at the call. There were a ton of talks about gaining testimonies and missionary work. It was great.  After that, we mostly spent time packing up but were able to have dinner at the TS2 family's home (the one that took us to the Loveless Cafe). After that we went to try a few families to say goodbye. We then went over to the church where we joined in on a mission prep class. We were talking about the apostasy and then the restoration of the gospel. The teacher was emphasizing to the pre-missionaries on how they must teach the apostasy -- and stress it before they teach about the restoration, because it is important for people to know that at the time of Joseph Smith, there was no church on the earth that had the fullness of the gospel.

Many were close, but they didn't have the full understanding yet. We then watched the Restoration movie, which was, as usual, very spiritual. It is comforting to me to know that when transfers come this Tuesday, I have a testimony that I know I am going to a place where I am needed, just a little sooner than I expected. 

Today we are mostly packed and ready to go. It's very sad to leave this place after such a
short time. We are expecting Bedwell to step it up. Hopefully things will improve from here on out. Can't wait to see where I'm going tomorrow.

Thank you for your prayers and your support.  I really appreciate it.  Have a good week!

Elder Peery

Below are 3 more pictures of the TSTAT District (Thompson’s Station District) with Batman and mustaches (Missionaries having a little fun!)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 71 in the Field

So no real pictures were taken this week save one. I will send more when I can. Here's the only one right now.  
Me and my winter coat. As you can see by the thermometer, it's a good thing I got it.  And yes that's not a legit smile.

What's up?  This week was kind of interesting. And a lot of things were going on.

Monday all we basically did was go down to Columbia. The missionaries in Spring Hill had to go give someone a blessing. It was kind of depressing, but important, because it was for a person who was dying. After lunch went to their church and played various activities. In the evening we went to go have dinner with a TS1 family. They were kind, and it was a great time.

Tuesday we walked over to a less active's home and checked on their elderly parents. Their dogs were really happy to see us because it was kind of hard for them to get attention. After that we walked over to the library to return the wifi hotspot that we had borrowed. While we were over there we tried a few people and went tracting, but we didn't have any luck. In the evening we went on two exchanges where one of us went with one member and the other one with another. It worked out okay but neither exchange had much success. Whoever wasn't going on exchange was helping me get contacts from our old phone to our new phone. In the evening I got sick which wasn't fun.

Wednesday was stressful. We were supposed to get to Franklin, but we were without a ride. The car was in the body shop but was supposed to be done by that point. Around noon, Spring Hill elders were notified it was ready, so they drove it up here, we drove them back, and then we continued on up to Franklin for interviews at 4:30 p.m.. The district meeting/interviews went over pretty well. I had Elder Loveless train on daily contact and then I trained on diligence. I used the Battle of Franklin story as my background for the story with the idea of "Don't get caught sleeping on the battlefield cause you might just lose the war." 

During my interview with President Andersen, he asked me a couple questions about how I'm doing and other things. I got my answer about going up to Eldorado. He told me to pray about it and that it was my decision. I was also unable to determine based on that interview whether or not I'll be transferred this next transfer. So that'll be interesting.

Thursday Elder Bedwell and I went on exchange with Elder Porter in Spring Hill while Elder Powell went up to Franklin. We essentially did a ton of contacting and tracting and found a few new people which is always good. One of the new people that we met  was a police officer, who was trying to find a better life. We invited him out to a Bible Study and we hope to see him next week. I also went on exchange with a member to try some people but without much luck. Hopefully things will be better next time.

Friday we switched back and after doing some weekly planning, I got sick. This has been my sickest two transfers which stink. Hopefully things will get better.

Saturday was fun but no one answered to us. We got a call to go help some less active's plant some trees which was fun. After that we had dinner with the second counselor in he bishopric for TS1 and had amazing chicken and rice tacos. It was sweet. After that we tried one of our investigators, but instead met his wife and had a great conversation with her about her dogs. They were super nice and wanted us to come back next week.

Sunday was a blur for the most part. We had Ward Council both wards. During second Ward the less actives we helped out came to church. We were happy to see them and I gave them a tour of the church. The son wasn't too thrilled about church; he mainly came to show his appreciation for the help. I guess we will just keep helping then! In the evening after a dinner with TS2 members, we called it.

This Saturday we find out transfer info. I don't know what's going to happen, but President tipped we are probably going to be there. I'm excited for something new, but sad to be losing one of
these guys or both. We'll see what happens.

Talk to you next week.
Elder Peery

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 70 in the Field--Elder Renlund, General Conference, "Ponderizing," and Local Tours

At the Carter House in between the farm office and the smokehouse with the Shirk family.

What's up!

Man this week was full of amazing things and people. I was super happy to watch General Conference as well. This marks my second to last General Conference on my mission. My next one will occur when I am about a month and a half away from finishing my mission. Crazy. Before I begin what happened this week, let me share some cool things that I took away from Conference.

1. Elder Renlund is the 100th apostle of this dispensation. To many people, Elder Renlund is known for mainly being a former member of the Seventy who spoke last conference on how Latter Day Saints are Saints who keep on trying, but to me he is a little more than that. About a year ago, Elder Renlund came to our mission and I got to personally shake his hand and his wife's hand. He asked me where I'm from and remarked that there weren't too many Virginians in this mission. But he also remarked how he had lived near there back when he was a doctor (Cardiologist). The power behind him was amazing. The trainings he gave us were spirit driven and we looked forward to hearing him speak. When I heard he was called, I was elated and remembered that time when I got to meet him. Truly, I know he is an apostle of the Lord.

2. The idea of "Ponderizing" the scriptures (80% pondering 20% memorizing), as taught by Elder Devin Durrant in his Conference address, is a great tool to always keep the Savior in your mind. The first scripture that came to my mind was John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." I'll be working on that one this week and pick a new one next week.

3. President Monson is amazing. For those of you who were watching live Sunday Morning, the fact that President Monson, an 88 year old man in his over 50 years of being an apostle, was able to get through his talk was absolutely amazing. More people were praying for him than ever before. And it was great to see that he was still able to finish. (If you don't know what happened, go watch his talk at

Just a few insights that I took away from this weekend. But anyways here's my week.

The Carter House from the front. This building was used as the headquarters for Union Major General Cox. Well, for about a day or so. (More about this place in the email)

On Monday we went off with a TS2 family (the Shirk's) who took us up to Franklin for a tour of the area kind of. Our first stop was the Carter House. The Carter House is shaped like a flipped "L" from the street. It was essentially the location of most of heaviest battle during the Battle of Franklin. While the battle ensued on November 30th, 1864, the family took cover in the basement where they were miraculously spared. The only family member who died in the battle was a son who was fighting on the confederate side and received nine bullets. 2000 died, 6500 were wounded, and 1000 were missing or captured.

The back and side of the farm office at the Carter House. What you see here are not knots in the wood, but bullet holes. These bullet holes are from the Battle of Franklin. The building faces North so this is fire from mainly Confederates.

It was only a five hour battle but one of the most devastating in the Civil War. Because the Confederates lost however, the Union secured the victory and that was basically the last chance of Confederate victory.

The back of the smokehouse at the Carter House. Parallel to the farm office is the smokehouse where mainly pork was smoked here. The chipped brick is also from Confederate fire.

We also went to this place called Pucketts for lunch. I had this thing called Piggy Mac which is mac n cheese on top of pulled pork. It was awesome. Still not quite as good as horseshoes though.

Front of the Carnton Plantation.

After that we went over to the Carnton Plantation and took a tour of the house there. The place had been used as a hospital to care for the soldiers in the Confederate army. Many amputations took place, but most people didn't die from infection. There are still blood stains on the upper floors, which was really amazing. The tour guide, however, was really kinda weird and cocky. It was annoying, but for the most part he was okay.

Another view of the front of the Carnton Plantation

The front of the Confederate Cemetery at the Carnton Plantation. 1496 Confederate soldiers are buried here.

Also at the Carnton Plantation was a large Confederate cemetery where over 1,400 bodies are buried there from the battle of Franklin. It was a very interesting feeling walking down the rows of so many soldiers.  Reminded me a ton of Arlington National Cemetery.

From the back of the Cemetery looking to the front. The top of each of the small rectangle tombstones has the
initials of the soldier and the unit number.

After these two places, we went back to the church and got to participate with the YSA's playing ultimate frisbee and watching a devotional talk by Elder Rasband about Religious Freedom.

Tuesday evening was probably the most eventful thing that happened. After having dinner with the TS1 Elders Quorum President and his family, we went over to a new part-member family's home where the daughter wants to be baptized. She wasn't there, but we were able to talk to the parents and had a great meeting with them. In the evening we went over to the church and talked with the Mia Maids (14-15 year-old girls) about what life is like on a mission. It was kind of fun.

Wednesday we went to district meeting in Franklin. I trained on iPad usage and Elder Bedwell trained on being genuine. He's getting a little better at training. I showed a video about how we should be living up to our full potential and then likened it with iPads. After district meeting, since our ride worked in the temple, we got to go in the temple which was very rare for us, since our mission president wants us to proselyte more. After the temple we went over to a TS1 family's home where they kept teasing me about how I'll be married within like 3 years of getting back. It was entertaining. Reminded me of Eldorado.

Thursday we went to the Well and got there early. After taking our usual time there, it was around that time that the sky wanted to rain. Hard. It rained hard for almost an eternity it seemed. We were able to get lifts from members and non members but still went tracting in the rain which was fun. After flash flood warnings and dinner with a TS1 family we had to call it.

Friday we did a lot of planning and while Elder Bedwell went on exchange, Elder Powell and I had a good time discussing what we were going to do in the area while walking around in the dark. It was also very cold this week. Combined with the rain it wasn't too fun. At least we were able to see some people.

Saturday was fun cause it was General Conference weekend. This happens twice a year--the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October.  There are 4 general sessions—two on Saturday and two on Sunday, along with a Priesthood session for all men and boys over the age of 12 on Saturday evening.  (The Women's session is held the previous Saturday evening for all sisters ages 8 and up).  During General Conference our Church Leaders speak to the world.  Videos of Conference are available to everyone online at  Watch it!

For the Saturday morning session, we attempted to watch it at our place but the wi-fi was acting up. So we walked to the church and watched the second session there. Again, it was awesome that Elder Renlund was called to be an apostle. During all sessions I felt super sick to my stomach, which was really annoying. We had a great dinner with the TS2 family that took us to the Carter House. After the Priesthood session, we called it.

Sunday morning we spent with the same family that fed us dinner the previous night. I was super scared about President Monson but had a ton of respect for him. Every talk that morning and afternoon was great. In the afternoon we went over to a group of YSA's and watched Conference on a glitchy TV which was entertaining, but annoying. It was a lot of fun the entire day though and we had a great experience everywhere.

In the evening we had dinner with a not-so recent convert, who told us some great spiritual experiences he had when he joined the Church. Right around that time I got a call from Harrisburg, IL. It was the lady I had taught who was an ex-member coming back to the church who gave up smoking. She was telling me that she got approved to be re-baptized on October 17th. Instantly the not-so recent convert shouted, “Road trip!” and immediately volunteered to take me the three and a half hour trip to Eldorado. But President said it was too far of a trip. I hope to try and talk to President to let me go ‘cause I taught the lady every week for six months. We'll see what happens. But I would love to have a return to Eldorado at the end of the transfer.

So yeah, great experiences all around, super happy now and can't wait to have some more fun in the near future. Talk to y'all next week!

Elder Peery

Back of the Carnton Plantation. The area that kind of looks like it is destroyed on the left was where the first home on the plantation was located prior to the large house being built in 1826. It was then converted into a kitchen. However, it was destroyed in 1909 by a tornado.