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.

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