Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 78 in the Field: Thanksgiving, A Baptism, and Transfers

Elder Ihler and I next to the Christmas tree

Okay, so I don't have a lot of time to write, you'll find out why at the end. But I suppose I should get the big news over with first:  We're getting transferred -- and this was probably one of the hardest ones.

Remember when Elder Zwick came to the mission a few weeks ago? Well, among the things he changed here in the mission was he told President Andersen that the AP's (Assistants to the Mission President) "need to be in a more fruitful area." The area they are currently serving in is mostly mansions and with very little success. They were also doing more things for missionaries than investigators. So I suppose, since our area is doing really great right now, President chose our area to place them. I was very upset and angry about the decision, but I tried to not let it bother me. But it's whatever. I'll get to that later on.

Elder Sheffield playing racquetball with President Andersen

Let's start out with Monday. Monday we spent most of the time playing racquetball with President Andersen and our ward mission leader. The court wasn't ventilated properly and so there was much slipping and sliding due to the humidity/sweat. Very gross. I rolled my ankle a few times, but we had a lot of fun. In the evening we went over to the Lee's for dinner. You might remember Rhonda Lee was the lady I confirmed a member of the church a while back. She still remembers it fondly, which is cool--great experiences there.

Tuesday we were on foot a lot of the time, but we still had some success. We went over to a run-down apartment complex and contacted this Indian guy from India, who kept bashing the American lifestyle stating "All you do is eat, drink, (and we'll just pretend he said "be merry")!" I didn't really know what to say, so I kinda bore testimony of the country, which was interesting. Hadn't done that before. He appreciated my courage, but wasn't interested in learning more. We also tried a bunch of other people the zone leaders a year ago were working heavily with. Not so much luck there, but still good people. In the evening I went out with Bro. Fisher to see some people. We got in one place, and the lady talked for like 45 minutes straight. No breaks. Just talking. I couldn't believe it.

1-3. Providencia District
(from left to right: Elder Sargent, Elder Nielsen, Elder Sheffield, Hermana Levitre,
Hermana Hooker, Elder Ihler, and Elder Peery)

Wednesday we had our last district meeting. It was kind of sad because most of the district felt like things were going to get shaken up. Elder Sheffield gave a great training on the Atonement. 

After district meeting we tried a few more people before having dinner at the Elson's. In the evening we finalized some details with Ashley about her baptism. She was stoked.

Thanksgiving dinner with David

Thursday was really fun. We started out the day playing football with the elders quorum and a few other people. Though we lost, it was still a lot of fun to play. It's not very often the bishop of the ward is chasing people down. Our first thanksgiving dinner cancelled on us, but still gave us some food. The second dinner was in the evening and that was at David's. We had a lot of fun there with David and Jesse (the guy who took us to Hard Rock Cafe). It was a great meal overall, but I kinda felt sick afterwards.

Friday we went to go try a referral. Found out they lived next door to the Christensen's and also turned out they were friends. Also turned out that they said they hadn't referred themselves (5th time this happened in 6 weeks), but they were still cool people that we hope will progress. Elder Sheffield also interviewed Ashley for baptism and she was all set to go which was awesome. After trying some more people, we had dinner at an elderly couple's home.

Saturday! Transfer call day! Dun dun dunnnn!! So yeah, you already know what happened, but I'm just gonna take this from square one and play it out. So we went to the church after doing some stuff around the apartment. We proceeded to work on the baptismal program when we finally got transfer calls. We were told we were getting white washed (meaning that both of us will be transferred out of the area), and that's when the initial shock happened. While still grieving about the decision, we remembered President talking about moving the AP's to a more fruitful area on Monday when we played with him.

Somehow, President must've read our minds, because he gave us a call a few hours after the transfer call saying "I just want to make sure you Elders know that you have done nothing wrong to get white washed. We just needed to place the AP's in a better area. We are proud of you guys and want you to know that nothing you did caused you to get replaced by the AP's." It was awesome to hear that reassurance, but we were still sad. Elder Sheffield called a bit later and said the exact same thing. It was good to hear a second witness.
 Ashley's baptism (with Elder McKown)

The bright side of the day was Ashley's baptism. President actually came to it, along with Sister Andersen. Ashley's husband, Paul, baptized her. It was really touching. I played the piano for the baptism, something I hadn't done since August of 2014. I also played a musical number, "A Child's Prayer" which was SUPER spiritual. Like I was trembling. Which is not good if you're playing guitar because it's hard to focus. But it was awesome all around.

In the evening when we got home, we started walking to go get something to eat. The Spanish elders pulled up so we were actually able to take the car. We drove to Cracker Barrel and had a good dinner there. On the way back we discussed everything again and kept wondering why this was happening. When we got home again, as if to further solidify that this was a good thing that was happening, the zone leaders called us saying the same thing President and Elder Sheffield said. Okay, I get it. This has to happen. Still doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.
Smith Springs missionaries (Sister Hansen and Sister Ulivaka)

Sunday Ashley got confirmed at church, which was really cool. I got to participate in giving her the gift of the Holy Ghost while her husband gave the blessing. She was in tears afterwards and was so happy. It will be sad to see them go. Every member was shocked to hear the news about the transfer call. Some thought we were joking. It was just kind of sad to say goodbye once again. Brother Drake got released from being elders quorum president which was also sad. He was probably my favorite out of all the elders quorum presidents I've had on my mission. He'll be moving down to NC State to be a professor there, so I wished him all the best. After saying goodbyes to everyone, we headed off to clean up and pack up our things. Currently I've got two suitcases ready to go with one remaining.

In the evening, David picked us up for one more dinner at his place. He has taken such good care of us it's amazing. He loves the missionaries so much and was so sad to be losing us. I think the most sad person though was Timmy. We said goodbye to him in person last night, too, which was sad.

But yeah, such is life. I'll get over it eventually and I'm sure my next area will be just as good as my other areas. I'm excited for what could potentially be my last area.

In other news, today we have many awesome things planned. For one, I'm recording the second and last album on my mission with Brother Mortensen and Elder Sheffield. Elder Sheffield wrote a really, really good song that he performed at a transfer meeting a while ago and I asked him to sing it on the album which he agreed. I'm probably going to have him do some other stuff too. We're excited. There should be (hopefully) 9-10 songs on this one so it should be pretty good. Some of the songs that will be on there for sure will be "A Child's Prayer", "I Stand All Amazed", and a rendition of "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission/I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" that I had planned back in Thompson's Station.

In the evening we are invited by Tim Gates to have family home evening at his place which should be a blast. I can't wait to hang out with them again. Other than that, we will probably be cleaning and packing.

I've loved serving in this area and I'm so grateful I was able to finish a transfer here witnessing someone being baptized. It was a great way to end a transfer and an area. I know I'll be back someday, and I can't wait for that to happen.
Saying goodbye to Bro. Inscho and Bro. Kessel

Thank you for your prayers and your kindness to missionaries everywhere.
On to brighter futures.

Elder Peery

Write to me at:
Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
1646 Sunset Road
Brentwood, TN 37027


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