Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 99 in the Field: Puppies, Goats, and Olive Trees


So on Monday we went up to Thompson's Station, where we mostly played basketball and baseball. Nothing going on too much, but after that I went on exchanges with Elder Daines, the Franklin Zone Leader in Franklin, TN and we went over to this one member's home where they fed us pork tenderloin and other good stuff. It was awesome. We then played a church version of Scattergories, which I came in third. We then had a super, super spiritual lesson with them and we were teaching the restoration. Even though they were strong active members, it was still really spiritual and almost brought me to tears. We also taught a less-active family where the husband worked for CMT (Country Music Television) and he had worked with a lot of the stars you hear about like Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban.

Tuesday we were kind of all over the place. We started out by having lunch at a seventy's home. He's a lot older now and has some dementia, but he remembers being ordained by Mark E. Peterson and supervised missionary work on stake levels back in the 80's. He was a convert, too, and gave us his conversion story which is like 5 pages long. That was a really cool visit. We saw and taught a few other people too and did some service for another elderly guy.

Wednesday we met back up and I introduced the finding tournament in district meeting. Both sets of sisters are down for it and will be working hard to beat everyone. After district meeting we went to go help out Joe move some things to his shop in Columbia. I think he's really starting to like us which is great! After that we had a lesson with this mom of two and these kids were absolutely crazy. And the mom was pretty good with discipline, but they just didn't care. The mom is still kind of a fence sitter, so we are working with her on figuring out what she wants to do. She hasn't read any of the assignments we've given her, so I literally just gave her two verses on happiness (Alma 27:17-18) for her to think about.

The good news is that I found out that day that I got accepted for that job I was applying for in Herndon, so I should be working within a few weeks of being home!  They will send me an official offer letter soon.

Thursday we went and helped Joe again, but this time we spent some time doing some mulching, which was fun. While I'm writing this, I forgot to mention that last Saturday while we were doing service, I got to ride a riding lawnmower. I think it was my first time driving one since I usually used a push mower. I think I now officially qualify to be a true Southerner. But yeah, after that we went and saw a recent convert and explained baptisms for the dead more. She can't wait to go to the temple! It's so exciting. After that we went tracting, and a little puppy started following us so we took her back to where she came from. But it was still cute.

Friday we did a lot of planning and tracting. There wasn't too much going on that day that I can remember, however, in the evening we went out to eat at Pucketts, thanks to a member. Probably had one of the best burgers and fries I've ever had there. While there we got a text to go help out a returning member with her two year old who was in the hospital with breathing problems. We gave her a blessing and the next day she felt better and was able to return home. We should be seeing them on Monday or Tuesday night.

Goat farm fun

Saturday was kind of an adventure. We got picked up to do some service at this one family's home. They lived way out in the boonies and had their own goat farm which was cool. The goats were awesome and super fun to mess with. It also turned out it was one of their kid's birthday that day, and so we were able to celebrate with them. They were massive baseball fans, and it turns out their favorite teams were the Cubs, Nationals, and Dodgers which are all my favorites too (the other team I like is the Red Sox). The kid got a Bryce Harper jersey, which was really neat.

Members' 12th birthday party!

Sunday we went off to church and attended Gospel Doctrine, since no one stuck around for Gospel Principles. It was a really good lesson on the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5. I really enjoyed the teacher and the lesson especially. The allegory is basically about the scattering and gathering of the house of Israel using an olive vineyard. The Lord of the vineyard has a tree with good roots that he uses to plant other trees in different parts of the vineyard, he then checks on the fruit of each tree periodically and judges whether the fruit is good or bad. If the fruit is good, he collects it and preserves it, or uses it to help trees that are bad. If they are bad, he works with them by grafting the good or other things.

Eventually, all the fruit becomes bad and so the Lord seeks to reclaim it by calling servants to assist him in restoring the vineyard. My favorite part of the story is when the servant asks the Lord of the vineyard in verse 21 basically saying "Why did you plant in this spot of ground? For its the poorest spot in all the vineyard!"

And the Lord replies to him saying "Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit." So no matter what the Lord asks us to do, He knows what He's doing and we shouldn't try to judge or convince Him otherwise. For He can see things we are unable to see because of our finite minds that cannot begin to comprehend what He can see. When we allow our will to become in line with His, we begin to develop an eye single to the glory of God, which allows us to look at things through His eyes, in a minuscule way. Cool stuff.

Here is a link to Jacob Chapter 5 in the Book of Mormon, so you can read it, too:

Here is a link to a video of seminary students tending an Old Testament olive vineyard:

Here is a link to information on the allegory:

After church we had a good lunch at a member’s home and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ to her non-member husband. He doesn't seem too interested at this point, but we will see what happens. We then did some studies and then later had dinner with the family who's daughter is getting baptized this Sunday. She has a hard time retaining things but hopefully she'll be fine.

Incidentally, some of you may remember Hermana James who was in my district for three months in McMinnville. Anyways, she had to go home a week ago because she may have lymphoma in her windpipe and lungs area. President Andersen asked us as a mission to fast and pray for her, so I'm forwarding this to y'all to please pray for Hermana James. She's a good friend of mine, and I really hope she can recover quickly and come back out soon. Thanks a lot.

It's so weird next week I turn 22, and then three weeks from then I go home. It's all coming so fast. I'm excited to see what'll happen these next few weeks. I'm trying my best to stay focused, but I'm extremely excited to begin the next phase of my life.

See you in four,

Elder Peery

Elder Peery’s mom here!  If you would like to send Elder Peery greetings for his birthday 
on May 3rd, he WOULD love to hear from you!!!  Here is his contact information:

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


Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 98 in the Field: Ancient Treasures and My Birthday Wish for May 3rd

"Trailers for sale or rent..."

So Monday we started off by going fishing in TSTAT (Thompson’s Station Ward) with Elder Jensen and Elder Crawford. We went to this neighborhood pond and ended up catching some catfish. Like I said last week, I didn't know catfish had spikes underneath their fins, so I got stabbed a few times which kinda hurt. We then went down to Columbia where we got a ride from a recent convert family from Linden, TN to go to Hohenwald, TN so that Elder Jensen could say goodbye to some members down there, since he would be getting transferred to Nashville. Hohenwald was cool, not much there. It's mostly famous for a church history event where missionaries in the 1800's were killed as well as the bishop and a few other people. I spent most of my time with the missionaries down there. Linden, Pulaski, and Hohenwald missionaries all showed up there, so there were about 12 of us altogether. After a while down there, we drove back up and dropped the TSTAT missionaries off.

Saying goodbye to Hermana Kilgore (pictured in the center)

Tuesday we went to see Joe and he's been progressing which is great. He really wants to learn the gospel, which is awesome. We also went and saw this guy from the Middle East who's a Christian. He likes our church, but we aren't sure where he's at.

Wednesday we had district meeting, and it was cool to meet the new members of the district. Sister Woods replaced Sister Wayment, which is interesting because Sister Woods is going home this transfer as well. And Hermana Hooker replaced Hermana Kilgore, which is fun because she was in my district in Nashville 6 months ago. Elder Hinds wants to do my idea of the finding tournament so that's what we will be doing this transfer. Later on we went up to Spring Hill with the TSTAT elders (which are now Elder McClain, Elder Meldrum, and Elder Crawford. Elder McClain was in Manchester as my DL when I was in McMinnville).

Looking at the explorer's research

A piece of "Noah's Ark". It's fossilized wood, which was pretty fascinating.

We went to this one place where this lady lived, and she is the widow of this explorer named Ron Wyatt. Anyways, she said that he claimed to have found Noah's Ark, the place where Moses parted the Red Sea, Sodom and Gomorrah, the hole where Jesus's cross was, and the ark of the covenant. Basically a modern Indiana Jones. He died in 1999, but they still have many of the treasures he found. They had us watch a video detailing all the stuff he did, and the main thing that was really plausible that he did find was probably Noah's Ark. They showed the diagrams and pictures and even a piece of fossilized wood which we were able to touch. So if it turns out to be true, I touched Noah's Ark -- haha. The ark of the covenant was harder to believe because there wasn't any proof or anything other than his word. Still fascinating.

Here is a link to some information about his research:

Here is the link to the video about his research on the Ark of the Covenant:

Thursday we had a meeting with the WML (ward mission leader), and we also went and saw our most recent convert at the church with the bishop's wife. She had a lot of good questions after Elder Thompson's visit at stake conference. So it was pretty cool to see growth there. We also went over to a member's pie shop, where we helped them out with getting some things done, since they were swamped with work. It is in the center of Columbia, which is right near a cool courthouse that you can see a lot of the time.

Columbia Courthouse

Friday we had some planning and we also went to go teach that one family with the daughter who just turned eight. She should be getting baptized in a few weeks, which is awesome! We also saw a recent convert who is still recovering from hip surgery. We had a good visit with her, and she had one of my favorite kids books with her that someone gave her. I think the title is You Are Special, by Max Lucado, and it's about a puppet, who is degraded by others in society because there are no really good features about him, but then he goes to his creator, Eli, who teaches him why he is special to him. It's a good story for sure.

Santa Fe (pronounced Santa Fee) town square

Saturday we went up to Santa Fe which is a small community in the middle of nowhere near the middle of the boundaries. We were trying to contact a referral and a few less actives but didn't have much luck.  And apparently the only interesting thing about the city was some Confederate troops moved from there to fight. 

After that we went and helped the Columbia sisters move a lady who was going to Alabama. She didn't have too many things packed yet, so majority of the time was spent helping her pack. Before we started she showed us her cows, and I was the only missionary brave enough to hop the fence. The outcome? Four of them came up to me kinda surrounding me and I got licked by a cow. It was gross. In the evening we helped a less active out with his yard, and he took us out to eat.

Sunday, we had regular church meetings, and it was fun to see the ward finally. We had a cool sacrament meeting where the Bishop called up people to bear their testimonies on the importance of the Sabbath day. The missionaries teach gospel principles, so it was fun to watch Elder Hinds teach a small group of people about honesty. What was also fun to see was the Crawfords, who were over the YSA (Young Single Adults program) in TSTAT.  They moved to Spring Hill Ward and they were happy to see me again. After church we headed up to the top of the area and tried a few people up there.

Also, exciting news we found out last night is that McMinnville Stake is splitting! The stake currently covers four states (TN, KY, AL, and GA), and now will be split into the Cookeville Stake and McMinnville Stake. That's huge news and missionaries are really excited for it! The change should happen the first week of May.  The Church is growing!

I still haven't heard from the place I'm trying to work at this summer after I get home, but I'm not too worried. It's weird how fast time is going right now. I'm kind of in the mix where I can't wait to go home and at the same time it'll be semi-difficult to leave. I'm sure it would be harder if I were serving in Europe and not in a place that is only about ten hours from home. I'm excited to see what the transfer brings.

Also, some of you have been wondering about what I would like for my birthday in a few weeks.  I’d like to hear what people were most impressed with from my mission. Either stories or things you saw me do that you were touched by. What has the Lord taught you by the spirit?  I know I’ve learned a ton.  I'm just curious to see what you guys thought. I hope to hear from you guys!  My email and mailing address are below.  Please write if you can.

See you in five,
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
Blog Archives:

You can email me anytime, and I will read your messages. Due to mission rules, however, I can only email you back on Mondays.  Thanks for your patience. I am not on Facebook at this time. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 97 in the Mission Field: Fishing and Being Fishers of Men

The Spring Crew
(From left to right: Elder Draper, Elder Hinds, Elder Ihler, Elder Peery, Elder Story)

So Monday we went up to Springfield with a member, so that Elder Hinds could say hi to some people he taught. We also hung out with Elder Ihler and his companions. It was fun seeing him again. We spent most of our time fishing.

Fishing in Springfield

I caught the first fish but not much more than that. After that we went and had dinner at this really nice restaurant in Springfield. 

The plains in Springfield

Tuesday we had a lesson with this guy named Joe, who is wanting to see if the church is true, thanks to his girlfriend, who is a member. He had a lot of concerns, but the lesson went really well. We went with our ward mission leader, too, and he's fun to work with. After that, we drove up to Spring Hill, where we went on exchanges with the Thompson's Station missionaries, and I got to go back to my old area. We tried a lot of the people that I knew before, but we didn't have much luck. What was fun was to see a lot of the members that I knew while I was there in the evening. It was cool to see that I did have some influence on them while I was there. 

Spring Hill District
(from left to right: Elder Peery, Sister  Wayment, Sister Crossley,
Hermana Kilgore, Hermana Hill, Elder Hinds)

Wednesday we met back up for district meeting, and I trained on working with part-member families and less-actives, which went okay. It was Hermana Kilgore's last district meeting before her mission ends this week, which was kind of sad, but she didn't seem to bothered by it. After district meeting, we met up with the zone leaders and had lunch with them, which was fun. We then had a few lessons, but the highlight was teaching this one girl whose mom is a member coming back into activity. The girl seemed really interested and accepted to be baptized if she found out if it was true or not. But later on in the week something interesting came up, which I'll get to in a bit. For dinner we had these giant burgers made partially by a member and Elder Hinds, which unfortunately led to...

Thursday morning around 3am Elder Hinds had a bad encounter with food poisoning. I somehow dodged it, which made me sad, ‘cause I wanted to lose some weight too, ; ) but for real, it pretty much knocked him out for most of the day. He was able to come and teach for one lesson, but that was about it. The coolest thing though was that the job I am applying for this summer after I get home, contacted me and set up a phone interview for the next day.

Friday Elder Hinds was a lot better, but not exactly 100%. But he was able to manage. We went and helped mow the yard of a recent convert family, which was fun cause they were Hispanic, so I got to practice more Spanish! After teaching a recent convert at the church, I had my phone interview with the job I'm hoping to get, and it went really well. It was weird being called Andrew again, since on my mission I am called “Elder Peery,” so I'm sure that will be fun in six short weeks. But the lady was really nice, and I'm very hopeful that I'll get it. After that we went and met a recent convert who's recovering from a total hip replacement in the hospital. Turns out she was from Maryland so we had a lot of cool things to talk about. She converted to the gospel after her husband died while they were living here in Columbia area and then Elder Plant tracked into her. After that, we got a call from that one part member family we saw on Wednesday asking us to come over. 

Turns out her daughter had a lot of emotional and mental issues. They had been fighting the entire day and the daughter had locked herself in her room. To make matters worse it was the mom's birthday night. I pretty much pulled a Dr. Phil and sat both people aside and talked with them. Eventually they stopped fighting, but I fear that a more permanent solution may be coming up. It was sad, but hopefully the girl will be able to get some help soon.

Saturday we were invited to be a part of an 8-year-old’s baptism. It was sweet.  I said the opening prayer and helped confirm the kids as members of the church and give them the Holy Ghost (see Acts 8:14-17).

14. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
 15. Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
 16. (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
 17. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

That was a cool experience. After that, we got transfer info, and it turns out that I will be finishing my mission with Elder Hinds in Spring Hill Ward. I was a little sad about it at first, because I had wanted to train a missionary like my trainer and his other trainee, but I'm happy to finish in a good ward with good members and spectacular recent converts who love the missionaries. Plus I really enjoy working with Elder Hinds. 

We also received news that Elder Jensen, the missionary who replaced me in TSTAT (Thompson’s Station Ward) was going zone leader in Nashville, so we went up to see him, as well as do some service.

The Well was asking for the missionaries to help out with their community event, which involved the mayor, alderman, and judge of Spring Hill. We ended up getting invited to participate in this contest to build a food fortress. Though we didn't win, we built what the mayor and judge called "the 8th wonder of the world". How the thing was standing I have no idea.

3. The 8th Wonder Of The World
(compared to other contestants.)
Surprisingly, it never fell. But it did fall 3 times while making it.
This was constructed by Elder Crawford, a TSTAT missionary, and me.

After that, we went and did some service for a less-active member in the area. In case you're curious, I've probably been doing more service here than McMinnville because Elder Hinds really enjoys it.  I do too, honestly, ‘cause it is still a good form of missionary work. Plus it's a lot more fun than tracting, haha.

Elder Stephen E. Thompson, Area Seventy

Stephen E. Thompson, 59, Naples, Fla; partner and real estate attorney, Roetzel & Andress Law Firm; former bishop, bishopric member, high councilor, stake presidency member,
mission presidency member and stake president; wife: Donna Ruth Thompson, six children.

Sunday we were invited with our recent converts to attend a special meeting at the stake center right before stake conference. Elder Stephen E. Thompson, a member of the Seventy, invited all the recent converts to ask him questions that the missionaries hadn't answered or needed further clarification on. It was really neat to be in that setting. There were like 15 of us total, members and missionaries.

Here is the link to an interesting article about Elder Thompson:

After that we drove down to Spring Hill and attended stake conference in the TSTAT building. I got to see a lot of friends and members there, which was awesome. After that we had a good lesson with another part-member family.  Their daughter is 8 years old and preparing to be baptized. We focused a lot on repentance, which is one of my favorite principles of the gospel:

I guess the way I look at repentance in particular is:
Think about a friend who takes you to this all-you-can-eat buffet.
They pay the bill for you, and you just sit at the table and don't eat anything.
Is the bill paid? Yes.
But did you show appreciation for the gift you've been given? No.
Repentance is not only becoming better, but showing the Lord how grateful you are for the gift you've been given.
By daily repenting, and not just "oh hey sorry about that," but sincere repentance, we show we want to be better disciples of Christ, in word and in deed.

So yeah, lots happened this week. Another minor highlight that happened today, I caught a catfish! And also discovered that catfish have spikes under their fins. I got stabbed a few times so I think it was a fair trade. I wasn't able to get s picture cause my fingers were bleeding, and I was trying to get the hook out. 

Anyways, hope y'all have a good week. It's weird that this is my last transfer as a missionary. 
I'm hoping to make it a good one.

See you in six,

Elder Peery