Saturday, September 2, 2017

Always Remember Him!

Dear family and friends,

I know I always talk about how nuts the weeks are, but holy cow are they nuts! The main theme of this week was interviews! We were in Virú, Chimbote, and Casma interviewing and training missionaries for about half the week.  It seems so relaxed, so chill--you just simply sit there and let missionaries come to you, give little training, repeat a few times, and you're done! For real though, it gets you tired! I have way more respect for all my high school and seminary teachers after running through the process a few times! 

We went to a "Matrimonio Masivo," like a mass wedding, this morning because we're teaching a couple who was getting married! Wow, what an experience! We walk in and it's in this basketball arena-type place (it was actually the first time Elder Stroud or I had been in a basketball stadium since being here so we were getting pumped about that!) with a bunch of cheap plastic chairs set up and strange music playing. Our investigators, Robert and Laura, told us it would start at 9:00, so we showed up at 8:55 to get good seats.  Empty.  There was hardly anyone there! We were the first "spectators" and not one couple had shown up yet.  Well, they started filing in and by about 10:30 we could finally get started! To start they do about everything except get the people married! This old guy starts singing, then a band does a few numbers, then these salsa dancers came in, and finally by 11:15 or so they were on to the actual ceremony.  The guy stands up, announces the rules/laws about being married, says, "Girls, do you accept?"; "Boys, do you accept?"; everyone says yes, and he announces, "Alright, you're all married, kiss the bride!"  It literally took less than a minute!! Then these waiters dressed up in tuxedos started passing out the Inka Cola in paper cups to all the marriages haha!

The language in the sacrament prayer, "always remember Him," has been on my mind lately.  We commit to ALWAYS remembering the Savior when we are baptized, and recommit every week during the sacrament.  Mormon's invitation to Moroni is similar: "May Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever." I wonder how different our actions would be if we truly always remembered Him, as we covenant to do? How different would I be as a missionary? What would I think about, what would I do, and say, and be? How much more could I bless others around me if I let his sufferings, death, resurrection and post mortal appearances "rest in my mind" continually? It's something I'm doing my best to do, and will surely be striving the rest of my life to master! 

I love you all:)

Elder Tanner Hart

PS It's gameday baby!! Opening day of college football, we're definitely very aware!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Area Work

Dear family and friends,

It's been quite the week! Yet again! The best thing right now is our area! It's been kind of a tradition in our mission that the assistants' area wasn't that great, but we're doing all we can to find the right balance between office-type work and field-work.  I think we're making some progress! I love being with Elder Stroud; we're setting some high goals for ourselves and it's fun always trying to improve the way you do missionary work.  

We've seen some serious blessings this week! For example, Claudia (our date for the ninth) is rolling.  She's super set, reading in 2 Nephi 6, and can't wait for her baptism.  We asked her for references this week and she talked to us about her 17 year old niece, Cielo, who she proceeded to invite to the next lesson.  Well, she's also super prepared! This week they both came to church and had a great experience.

We also got contacted in the street by a lady named Cecilia! She just came right up to us and explained that her brother is a member in Utah and advised her to "go find a Mormon bishop" to feel peace in her life! She searched for a church building in Chiclayo, but they were all closed! She kind of gave up hope and came back to Trujillo.  This week, she went to buy bread, but for some reason felt to go to a different bakery than usual! Well, there we were, right in her path! We taught her today and she's really humble and willing to act on our message! 

We had a Leadership Conference Thursday morning, for which President had us translate a bunch of documents from English to Spanish.  You'd think that would be simple, but the problem was keeping the same look and format while adding a bunch of words (Spanish usually uses lots more words than English)!  So that was another interesting task haha! The conference went really well though, and then we capped off the week by giving six one-hour trainings yesterday during interviews.  You'd think that just standing in one room and training all day would be easy, but it's strangely draining! We came back from Chimbote pretty dead yesterday haha!

Thanks again for all your love and support and prayers! I love you all and hope you have great weeks!

Elder Hart

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Talkin' Sports

Dear family and friends,

It's been an unbelievable two weeks!! My word I don't even know where to start.  I wasn't able to write last week because President last minute asked one of us to go down to Chimbote with him for the open house activity, so I've got lots of recapping to do! 

The biggest thing was probably transfers.  Elder Rice, my companion, is now at his house doing who-knows-what, which is weird to think about! I'm now with Elder Stroud from Washington and it's been a blast so far.  He's a huge sports fan so we've done quite the amount of sports-reminiscing the past week.  From Keena Young and Austin Ainge, to Sam Cassell and Kwamee Brown, to Darren McFadden and Manti Teo.  Haha we've talked lots of sports.  And he's a big BYU fan to make things even sweeter! We've also done lots of talking about our work though, both our area and our work with zone leaders and missionaries.  I'm super excited for the next two transfers!

There are just a million things that have happened this week, which overwhelms me so much that I probably won't write about any of them...also because I'm about to hit the hour mark.

But I love you all!! Me and Elder Stroud are gonna go play some ball at a park with the "best team in all of Trujillo."  I guess they always get together Saturdays and play.  It´ll be the first competitive game of basketball I've played in a long while! Haha wish us luck!

Love ya lots,
Elder Tanner Hart

Friday, August 4, 2017

Bellamar Baby!

Dear family and friends,

Another short week! I'm writing today Friday because we're headed up to Huaraz tonight and will be spending our day tomorrow training! We normally go up with President, but he's going with his family to take a little vacation so we're going on the bus tonight like the normal people.  It's a seven hour ride, so we'll be on the bus from 9:40 tonight to 5:20 tomorrow morning.  President is going to let us go to a place called Lago Llanganuco on Monday with the zone there in Huaraz, so that'll be pretty sweet too! 

The area here is running a program called the Open Chapel, where the whole ward gets together and does a huge tour of the church for investigators and less actives and such.  President Rios trains every ward about two weeks before the activity to teach them how it works, and this past Sunday he was in Bellamar, my old ward.  He had my come with him to...basically just to push the arrow on the computer to bring the next slide on the powerpoint up haha.  But the point is, I was there.  It just so happened that I was able to eat lunch and dinner with my old pensionista and attend church, all three hours, in that ward! What a blessing! Man alive, I love that ward.  I was even able to see Daniela, an investigator I taught all six months I was there, be confirmed that sacrament meeting! It was definitely a tender mercy being there that Sunday! 

We had multizone trainings Tuesday and Wednesday morning which went really well.  We focused on teaching the restoration to meet people's needs and not just teaching the same lesson over and over again in robot mode.  Elder Oaks said that people generally just want THE RESULTS of the doctrine, they don't really care about the doctrine itself at first.  When they start feeling the blessings, THEN they get interested in the doctrine.  We often as missionaries sit down in an investigator's house and blast them with straight doctrine for thirty minutes while they think, "Don't care about prophets, don't care how your church was started or the name of it's founder, don't care about your book that you guys carry around" etc.  They don't care about that stuff, they just want peace and happiness and blessings! So our goal was help people take the doctrine of the restoration and apply it to someone's specific situation.  It seems so obvious but it was really complicated for lots of missionaries! There's definitely more work to be done there!

We were also informed that Elder Uceda from the seventy is making a surprise trip to our mission this coming Friday! Completely out of nowhere, and he's coming and leaving the same day! Pretty weird...we're thinking President Rios is getting called as a seventy.  It has to be that! What else would it be?? He was actually Elder Uceda's assistant in the Lima North mission so they go way back, it's kinda neat.  Elder Uceda also wants to interview the office missionaries (!!) and have a two hour training with all the zone leaders.  It should be a crazy week preparing for that!

Just to close, I wanted to say that everything said about scripture study is true! As a missionary, you take your study time for granted.  We get an hour every day to study from the scriptures and Preach My Gospel.  However, with the early multizone trainings this week, we hadn't had time to study a few days in a row.  Even being a missionary, having studied like 600 days in a row for an hour, there was a difference in my life when I didn't study the scriptures! I felt different.  I was missing a closeness with Heavenly Father and felt a little distanced from the Holy Ghost.  I studied this morning and felt back to normal.  Just like EVERYONE SAYS in EVERY GENERAL CONFERENCE, daily scripture study is so important! My testimony of it grew again this week.

Love you all, have a great week!!

Elder Tanner Hart

Saturday, July 29, 2017

28th of July

Dear family and friends,

It's been the most normal week since I've been here in the office and I loved it! We got some work done in our area and were able to do two interchanges.  I was with Limeños (people from Lima) both times! 

The first one, I went to another area with a missionary named Elder Andrade.  That guy is so humble, I love it.  He's a good hard worker, and was actually one of our district leaders when I was a zone leader in Monserrat.  They just happened to have two baptismal interviews scheduled for that day, so I interviewed a ten year old kid named Ezekiel.  He was a pretty solid little kid and the interview was a good experience! Interviewing kids, or even talking to them, always reminds me of my sisters at home so I had that little image in my mind throughout the whole interview! 

The second one, I stayed here in my area with an Elder Parra, from a district in Lima called San Juan de Lurigancho.  That's the one with lots of people.  He's a really mature Elder, he's 24 or 25 years old and has a really solid view on missionary work.  He's in my old area, Bellamar, so we talked quite a bit about how that's going. I don't know how much I talked about Daniela, but she was an "eternal investigator" that we were teaching there.  Well, she was just baptized this past Wednesday! I was able to call her from Elder Parra's phone and we talked for about 10 minutes, it was really cool! So she'll be confirmed this Sunday, tomorrow.  I'm actually going to attend their ward this Sunday with President to help him train the ward for the "Open Chapel" activity to be realized in two weeks, so I'm super excited to see everyone there!

So it was Peruvian Independence Day yesterday, and I tell you what, they left me wanting more.  No fireworks? No barbeques? Wait, you mean to tell me the way to celebrate is just drink alcohol?? That's already done every day and more on Sundays! I will admit, most houses had little flags attached to the outside of the house, which was a nice little touch.  That was the only thing that was really different about it.  Oh yeah, and the normal 1 sol (Peruvian currency) bus fee jumping to 1.5 for the holiday.  C'mon man!  

Mmm...I kind of enjoyed the whole no-pensionista-for-breakfast-thing this week.  I made french toast a few times, which was the first time I've had that in a while.  I also did pancakes this morning, another little treat. They weren't like Dad's, but it was a decent attempt haha.

I was learning a bit about authority this week.  Many of the scriptures in the topical guide under "Jesus Christ, Authority" mention who sent Him, Heavenly Father of course.  The fact that he was sent by God gave him authority! The principle might be that we receive authority based on who sends us, who commissions us, etc. The reason that we as missionaries have authority is because we were literally commissioned by a prophet of God to preach the gospel, compared to anyone else, who might just "commission themselves".  I might have already shared this, if so, I apologize haha.  It's kind of silly that I'm just figuring some of these things out... 

My mom just informed me that I have 100 days left on my mission as of today.  I'm super excited to make it count, committed to not wasting a single one of them! My last 100 days as a full time missionary!!

Have a wonderful week, I love you all!

Elder Tanner Hart

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Dear family and friends,

I went to Lima this week to get my Brazil Visa which was quite the adventure! Lima is a crazy city, and every time I go it looks bigger and bigger to me.  The population is 11 million--11 million in one city!!--and it has the most populated district in all of South America.  There are 37 stakes, 5 missions, and just a whole lot of cars and traffic.  I was there all day with some nice people who took my to the Brazilian Embassy and got everything done, then just waited in the traffic and airport the rest of the day! It was a fun experience though.  

I was debating whether or not to share the following story, but I feel to do so, at least to possibly make someone laugh.  We found an investigator named Laura last night.  She's about 45-50 years old.  She was kinda being funny with us in the doorstep, trying to speak English and all that. She ended up letting us in, which is when the first weird thing happened.  She pulled the door open and let my companion in, but as I was walking through the door, she went to close it on me and banged me with the door! Not only that, she proceeded to grab and rub my arm and say, "Oh I'm so sorry!" completely exaggerating.  It was weird.  During the lesson she was making lots of flirtatious comments towards me and I was gettin' weirded out.  We then made it to the tipping point.  As Elder Rice was testifying, she says out of the blue, "You are so good looking! It's a shame you're only 19!" I turned so red, I was ready to be out of there. My mind went blank.  I had no idea what to say!  So what did I do? Said, "Well...I already have a girlfriend."  Just completely lied, and made the situation about 100 times more awkward by doing it.  I didn't even talk the rest of the lesson, and we were out in about 5 minutes.    

I am learning a lot about understanding. As Elder Bednar quotes Joseph Smith in the worldwide training for missionaries, "The more we understand about faith in Jesus Christ, the more we will focus on faith in Jesus Christ." In other words, OUR FOCUS as teachers reflects OUR UNDERSTANDING of doctrine. If a missionary doesn't focus on baptism while teaching, it means that he still doesn't understand baptism enough! If a missionary doesn't constantly strive to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, it means that he doesn't understand his roles yet, even if that missionary thinks he does! As Elder Packer says, "True doctrine, understood, changes behavior" I think you could also say, "True doctrine, understood, changes the focus of the teacher!"  The same applies to all members of the church. We often got to church and assume we already understand everything about the themes being spoken about, while our behavior and focus in our lives might tell a different story.  Bottom line: understanding affects focus and behavior, and focus and behavior show just how much one truly understands.

I love you all tons, have a wonderful week!!

Elder Tanner Hart

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Chimbote Interviews!

Dear family and friends,

The craziness continues! This week was another wild one.  The main event was interviews in Chimbote and Casma.  Chimbote is about 2.5 hours south of here in the bus (I'm getting awfully used to taking that bus after 19 months of commuting back and forth!), and Casma is another 45ish minutes.  We headed down on Tuesday night and stayed with some zone leaders down there, Elder Rhoton (Idaho) and Elder Pierce (Arizona).  They're pretty fun guys. Then we were super busy the next two days! There are four zones in all, so we did one in the morning and one in the afternoon both days.  Elder Rice took a district and trained, I took a district and trained, and President took a district and interviewed.  Tell ya what, giving the same training about the area book ten times wiped me out haha.  It was really good though, it was fun being with all the missionaries and feeling their excitement! Also got to see lots of old companions and such; I even saw one of the members from Bellamar when we went to their church which was another highlight!  We've got three more zones this Wednesday and Thursday!

The food situation is interesting as well.  Almost all missionaries have a pensionista for all three meals, where we only have on for lunch.  We do our own breakfast and dinner.  Add in the traveling, and there are lots of nights we're eating in nice restaurants and lots of nights we're eating crackers or soup.  It's a lot more like any other mission in the world, I think having a pensionista kinda spoiled me a little!

Well, that's all for today.  I should have used my hour of internet time better but I didn't, so that's all she wrote! Love you guys a lot, have stellar weeks, and keep living the gospel!