Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 91 in the Field: Falcon Rest and Fun Times in McMinnville!

Side view of Falcon Rest

Okay so on Monday for Pday we decided to use the car and go up to this place called Falcon Rest. It's an old mansion that has been restored thanks to the assistance of George McGlothin and his wife. We actually were given a guided tour by George since no other tour guides were there, and it was great! It was essentially like going through the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, except it was a mansion, not an estate. It was built around the turn of 20th century but still in the 1800's so it had a lot of Victorian pieces. It was also haunted and I got a picture of two ghosts. It's just hard to tell. After that we went to try a few people and met a shut in family who were Braves fans, so Elder Barrus loved that.

Gardens at Falcon Rest (the fountain is original. Also from here you can see the entrance area.)

This is the haunted picture. If you don't like looking at ghosts, other than the ones at Disneyland you can just scroll past this. This was taken while we were waiting to enter at the front door of Falcon Rest.  While on the second floor, George told us that the middle window was famous because the mother in law of the man who built this home enjoys looking out that window. The man also is known to haunt the place too. (If you zoom in on the middle window, you should see two faces. Pretty creepy huh?)

The gardens around Falcon Rest. Kind of has a Great Gatsby feel to it.

Tuesday we went out to Woodbury area to try a few people. One of the families we met were really cool and they had a son who was preparing to serve a mission. We then had to drop the car off and walked down to go to an appointment. We then had a REALLY good dinner at the recent convert family, the Majors. Sister Major makes a seriously good lasagna. After that we saw Debra and answered a few of her questions.

Wednesday we had district meeting, and Elder Tracy forgot that he was supposed to train so that was fun--but he recovered. Elder McClain focused on getting rid of distractions which was good. After that we saw the Mathis's and then later went out teaching with Bro. Street but weren't able to contact anyone sadly.

Chickens!!  (In the hills of Woodbury)

Thursday we went over to the flea market to talk to our investigator there. Hard to tell how interested she is there but we are working with her. After that we saw our atheist friend and his fiancé. We got into a real good gospel conversation there but again it's also hard to tell if they're interested. After that we went with a member up to the legendary land of Smithville, a place my old companion, Elder Harrison, claimed was 40 miles away when in fact it was more like 15. Yeah. He was off a bit. Anyways, we found out 5 member records up there don't exist so that was fun. Other than that we contacted a referral and were able to schedule an appointment. It was also snowing/hailing/sleeting/raining that day so that was fun to walk in. We later tracted into a nice family we hope to be working more with.

Friday we had weekly planning which was kinda boring. We tried contacting a bunch of places but didn't have any luck. For dinner, we went over to the bishop's house and they made us a steak dinner which was awesome! Everything was really good. In the evening I went on a split with an elderly member and we saw Debra again. Turns out they had a lot in common. He talked for a while which is always fun.

Saturday we did a lot more walking and chatted with a nice elderly member. Her husband isn't a member and was having a hard time splitting wood. So guess what we are doing tomorrow? Yep. We also saw another less active family but we weren't able to figure out why they don't come to church.

Sunday Debra came to church and it was a pretty good Sunday again. I got to watch Willy so that his parents could attend the temple prep class. During third hour I took him to Primary because he enjoys singing time. His parents and non-member nephew were appreciative. We hope to start teaching him too! It was Elder Beckett's birthday so the bishop's wife surprised him with a big chocolate pie which was awesome.

Not much else happened this week. We've been trying to work hard and stay focused on teaching. We saw and taught about 15 people this week which was really good considering we've been averaging around 11 per week. I'm hoping things will continue to pick up. Especially since I don't have too much time left.

Talk to y'all next week!

Elder Peery

Clock and water tower in McMinnville

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 90 in the Field

Manchester District (back row left to right: Elder Barrus, Elder Partida, Elder Tracy, Elder Peery,
Elder Beckett, Elder Cox, and Elder McClain.  Front row: Hermana Lutui and Hermana James).

Hi everyone!  Lots to cover this week, which is really good.

Monday the only interesting thing we did for Pday was go to the market down the street for groceries. Turns out decided it didn't want to send any of my emails so I was wondering why no one was replying to me. It was really boring. In the evening we were going on an exchange with the stake patriarch but two of our set lessons fell through. So we went over to see the Mathis's. Their developmentally challenged son, Willy, broke free from his room so Elder Beckett and I were busy trying to corral him while Elder Barrus taught them and the patriarch looked there kind of shocked. After that he took us out to eat at a local restaurant and I got catfish, which was really good.

Tuesday we were supposed to go to a temple class with the Mathis's and the Major's and as we were walking up the road we decided to stop at Subway for lunch and try to wait out the rain. Some random member from Murfreesboro area named Mike showed up and offered us a lift. When we got to the church, he said he needed a blessing so we gave him one. He appreciated it a lot and mentioned it was good he ran into us. The class ended up getting cancelled so we walked all the way back to the southern part of the city to go try one of our investigators named Charlotte. Turns out she wasn't having a good day because she was tested for cancer. She had gotten it at least three times already in her life so this wasn't great news. We felt we needed to go into the plan of salvation and that really reasoned with her.

She unfolded how she had lost three children prematurely and wanted to know if she would see them again. We all testified that she would and showed her where in the Book of Mormon it says that. She was very happy which was great. In the evening we went out with Bishop to go see the Majors, and we had a good talk with them about getting the priesthood so that they could go to the temple. They are very excited about that, which is great!

Wednesday we had district meeting and I trained on using ward members focusing on using the bishop as well as helping members gain the desire to find people to teach and Elder McClain trained on the Book of Mormon and how we should use it more in our teaching. After that we went and had lunch at this place that had been highly recommended by a few members. Turns out it gave me food poisoning. Yay! But I persevered a bit and we were able to see a few people even with me feeling very sick.

Manchester District (back row left to right: Elder Barrus, Elder Partida, Elder Tracy, Elder Peery, 
Elder Beckett, Elder Cox, and Elder McClain.  Front row: Hermana Lutui and Hermana James).

Thursday we had the temple class but only the Mathis's were able to show up. Bro. Wade went into really good detail about the plan of salvation and what it means for us today as well as applying several parts to the temple itself. After that we walked over to a flea market to contact one of our investigators there, followed by walking farther and contacted an atheist guy. He's probably one of the nicest atheists I've met out here. He's very open minded but prefers to look at things from a historical concept vs. the spiritual concept. We will be working with him later on this week. In the evening we went to try some less active's and actually got picked up by one of Bro. Caten's brothers who gave us a lift. Turns out the house was deserted so he took us for dessert at DQ (nice little play on words there eh?).

Friday we had weekly planning after hoisting some couches from Bro. Wade's to the Mathis's. After that we went out to see Debra and had a really good conversation with her about a lot of things. After a bit, we decided to bring up baptism. She wants to be baptized, she just has to quit smoking. After a bit of talking, she opened a drawer and gave us one of her fresh packs to get rid of so she could start quitting which surprised us since we didn't ask for it. We later took the pack and smashed it with a baseball bat for fun.

Blasting a packet of cigarettes with the bat.

On Saturday, Elder Beckett went with Bro. Shoemaker to go see some people while Elder Barrus and I went to go help someone move.  The move itself was pretty dang strenuous because the lady had a lot of heavy furniture. Whenever I buy a house I'm going to make sure everything weighs under forty pounds haha.

Transfer Update:  After that we met back up and waited anxiously for transfer calls. But they didn't come till about six o'clock when we were driving back from those New Jersey people. Turns out we are all staying together for seven weeks. Still doesn't mean I will finish my mission here yet though. We will find that out in seven weeks. At this point I hope I do.

Sunday morning at church I gave a talk in sacrament meeting. I had to essentially use about 25 minutes of time for a talk I had prepared about twelve hours before. We had been planning to have whoever was getting transferred give it, but since no one left, I, being the most senior companion in the area, volunteered. I spoke on Elder Renlund's latest conference talk on seeing people "Through God's Eyes".

Here is the link to Elder Renlund’s full address from the October 2015 General Conference:

Apparently my talk was really well received and I got a boatload of comments. I had about eighteen minutes written and had to fill about 10 more, so the rest of it was bearing testimony. Which I'm starting to call "spirit bombing" when you do it over five minutes. Since I included a lot of personal stuff, if you'd like it, just email me.

Later during church, Elder Barrus and Elder Beckett were struggling to watch Willy, so I took him so that the Mathis's could attend the temple prep class and their various meetings. Willy and I walked all through the church, around the church, outside the church, and basically everywhere for about an hour and a half. He eventually got tired and plopped down in the hallway. We happened to be near the primary wing and one of the members of the Primary Presidency recommended singing time. Turns out he liked it a lot so that was good to sit down after walking for an hour and a half straight.

After that we had lunch with a Samoan family so I ate a lot. I've noticed I've gained weight back in this area since we aren't biking. Hopefully Elder Barrus will get his bike that the AP's promised to get two months ago. In the evening we went tracting but didn't have too much success, except for contacting a nice less active lady.

I'm excited for my second to last transfer. Yesterday was my 21-month mark. I'm now at the point Elder Leavitt and Moeller were when they got me, which is essentially the final stretch. We are working hard on our goals and trying to be good examples to members. Hopefully the area will turn around. I'm seeing it already, though, which is great.

An Apostle will be coming to this mission in March accompanied by a Seventy from the Church. No idea what's going on but this will probably mean I get to shake hands with an apostle. And yes, I'm stoked.

Have a great week!  Talk to you later,

Elder Peery

I’d love to hear from you!   Please contact me at:

Elder Andrew Peery
Tennessee Nashville Mission
1646 Sunset Road
Brentwood, TN 37027

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 89 in the Field: Cold and Snow Can't Stop Sunday Success!!!

Snow out in the country.

Okay so this is the last week of the transfer which means transfer calls is this weekend! This will mark my second to last transfer call of my entire mission. Basically meaning I have about 14 weeks (1week extension for all native speakers) left of my mission starting tomorrow (3.5 months left). Yep. That's pretty crazy. Hopefully this last week of the transfer will be good!

Monday, in a very large contrast from last Monday, we literally did nothing for Pday. Like seriously we just stayed in the apartment and emailed. No card games, no church movies, it was just a pretty boring day. It was also very cold. In the evening we tried two people but no luck.

Tuesday was very cold. In fact it snowed. But not enough for it to stick to the roads, so we decided to use the car. We went out to this area near Woodbury, TN and tried some people in the area. It was very cold as we knocked trailers trying to contact a referral. We also contacted some less-actives in the area. We then went and tracted some places in this suburb area where it was around 15 degrees and one guy agreed to listen another time though because of our determination, which was good though. Later in the week a few members called asking, "Did we really see you guys tracting in that weather?! Keep up the good work!" Made our week.

More snow – winter wonderland in McMinnville.

Wednesday we had district meeting and Hermana Lutui and Elder McClain focused on reactivation. Elder McDonald, who's from South Africa was there, and it was kind of cool ‘cause he trained McClain and McClain was training Elder Cox so it was basically a family reunion. After that we took the car to get it fixed and while that was happening, I encouraged us to go tract the nearby area. The main door that opened was another Church of Christ lady who bashed us. This marked the third time in eight days we'd been bashed. New mission record! After that we got the car back and later on went to see Debra. We watched the movie Mountain of the Lord which basically talked about the building of the Salt Lake Temple and the various sacrifices associated with it. She enjoyed it and had a lot of great questions.

Thursday we struck out all over the place but the highlight of the day was when we were walking down this road near the projects and this dude yelled at us "Hey! Are you guys Mormons?!" We said yes and then he was like, "Come on over here!" He turned out to be this less-active guy who had a very big grudge against the bishop because of various reasons. He invited us in and introduced us to his wife who was also an inactive member. She was very fond of giving missionaries nicknames, however the nicknames she gave us didn't make any sense whatsoever. Mine was "brat" because my step dad is a retired Army Colonel... Even though he was already retired by the time I even heard of him... But anyways we get to talking with him and he went on and on about how he has so many financial struggles as he proceeds to smoke an entire pack of cigarettes while he's speaking... Not to mention the eight dogs in varying sizes who were all over the place... And the at least 10 liters of soda in the fridge... When we asked him if he ever thought of quitting smoking or cutting any of the unnecessary expenses to help his financial situation, he kind of laughed and said "But I like it!" *face palm* He invited us back on Saturday and his wife also wanted us to come over for dinner this Saturday... Yay.

Friday we did a lot of weekly planning and then we had dinner with Sis. Wayman who made us soft tacos which were awesome. She basically enjoys taking care of the missionaries because of the blessings she receives for doing it. She's a really nice lady for sure. After that we went to try some more people but the only house we were able to get into was Bro. Mathis. He's one of my favorite members I've worked with here for sure, and he was very happy to see us. We talked about the things that give us exceeding joy. He talked about his son and how even though he has downs syndrome, he's brought him and his family a lot of happiness. "He could put me in a headlock fastern' any of yuns can!" Fun family for sure.

Saturday the Hennessee's were finally moving into their new and furnished house. Looks 100% different. But since we had some set appointments, we had to split up. So we sent the Ox of the companionship, while Beckett and I went to go to the appointments. Literally every appointment we had set cancelled. EXCEPT for the good ol' less active. Literally the same thing happened. The same show was even on the tv. It was funny. We later talked about the experience with bishop, and he cautioned us to be careful with the guy. So we will visit him every now and then.

We also saw Billy that day and I noticed he had a guitar. When I pointed that out he told me to strum something while he followed on a violin. So I played most of the song Hotel California since it has more chords than most songs I know (It's also Elder Barrus's favorite band) and he played along with the violin. It was really fun but sadly during the lesson, he told us that he wasn't really going to progress really. We were sad but told him we'd stop by again to say goodbye when one of us would be leaving the area. We then tried to visit with Debra in the evening but she was asleep. Which was actually a very good thing because...

Sunday in the morning Debra texted saying, "What time is church?" We literally exploded. Well not literally but you get the point. It had been 20 weeks (about 5 months) since an investigator had come to church. But sure enough Debra showed up and we finally had an investigator at church! We had a good Sunday and Bro. Caten was released and Bro. Woodruff was sustained as the new Ward Mission Leader. We are excited to work with him starting next Sunday. In the afternoon we went teaching with Bro. Burt and struck out. And in the evening we went with Bro. Hale and... Struck out. Bright side is that we have three exchanges set up for today and tomorrow and then one more on Saturday.

Hopefully we will go out with a bang this week. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with transfer calls. If I'm staying, I could finish in McMinnville. If I leave, I will finish wherever I'm going. Either way this week will probably be stressful.

Talk to you guys next week with the big news.

Elder Peery