Saturday, November 4, 2017

At the Buzzer

Dear family and friends,

If my mission were an NBA basketball game, there would be about eight seconds left in the fourth quarter.  It's crunch time! 

The Savior invites, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  In what does following him consist? It's loving Him, trusting Him, entering into covenant relations with Him, learning of Him, doing His work, testifying of Him, and emulating His example.  In this time, maybe more than in any other time period of my life, I've learned more about how to follow the Savior, and have tried to follow Him to the best of my ability! I love the words, "I will make you".  He didn't say, "And you will become fishers of men," or, "in order to be fishers of men".  He promises to MAKE US fishers of men! To change us, to turn us into something that we couldn't become by ourselves! I've been able to experience that my whole life, but especially these last two years.  He has made me, or maybe is making me, into a "fisher of men," into a good missionary! There's still a long way to go, and although my full time mission is over, I know he'll continue to help me become a better missionary at home! The work is the same, in Perú and in Provo! 

I know that the Savior lives.  Such a simple phrase, but think of the enormous implications of those words!! I'll continue to follow Him for the rest of my life and look forward to participating in His work with a different responsibility! 

Thank you all for everything, I love you all so much and will see you soon!    

Elder Tanner Hart

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Sheep

Dear family and friends,

It was an eventful week! We were in Huaráz to start the week, doing interviews and the zone conference there.  President Rios was really nice and took us to a neighboring city, Carhuaz, to taste the famous ice cream.  It honestly didn't meet my expectations after ALL I had heard about it, but it was tasty nonetheless haha.  The highlights of those trips are honestly the meals; we ate lunch on the way up and the way back in a little restaurant on the beach called "Costa Azul." It's completely unnoticeable but President always eats there while making the Huaráz trip, and again, it was also really good! A little meal called "Chicarron de pescado." On the way back we stopped to do interviews in Chimbote and I was in the Bellamar church building for the last time! I was able to stop by a few converts in Bellamar before coming back to Trujillo, and even though only one was home, it was still good to be back and at least knock on their doors again! 

That Wednesday night, Laura passed her baptismal interview! There was a huge amount of opposition between the interview and baptismal service, and we were almost ready to call it off because of external forces making her life pretty difficult! However, she told us she wanted to do it anyway, and after praying with her the morning of her baptism, she even told us she was feeling the same excitement she had felt before! President Rios attended the baptism and gave a little 5 minute message of encouragement to the two recent converts, and I played the piano on a super-improvised "He Sent His Son."  The Relief Society president had the confidence to just jump up there and pop out a solo without it even being on the program, so props to her on that one haha! 

We played soccer with the Trujillo North Mission office this morning.  Their president is gone on temporary leave for his health, so they have Elder Wilson Calderon serving as interim-president type of deal.  He's a past mission president and current seventy, and was right out there on the court playing with us! 

I love John 10.  I was reading a bit this past week about sheep and the good shepherd.  At one point, the Savior says, "Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep," I bet there are many people who think or assume that they are one of His sheep, when maybe in reality they aren't! What are the characteristics of one of the Redeemer's sheep??
  • "The sheep hear his voice"
  • "The sheep follow him"
  • "They know his voice"
  • "A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."
  • " known of mine."
It's an interesting list to me! The real sheep of Christ hear his voice by dedicating time to the study of the scriptures and general conference talks, attending church meetings and listening to leaders' counsel, following promptings of Holy Ghost, etc.  They follow Him through baptism, emulating his example, partaking of the sacrament, loving and trusting Him, and doing His work, amidst other things.  They know His voice and recognize that the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price contain His word just as does the Bible! They also recognize and act upon the impressions of the Holy Ghost.  They don't follow strangers, nor do they know their voice.  They don't dedicate too much time to needless things; they don't heed the voices in the great and spacious building; they aren't carried about be trends in fashion or style; they avoid any thing that will diminish their faith in the Savior. They know the Savior! They have a correct understanding of Him, His work, His gospel, His church, and His plan! I want to be one of His sheep!! After identifying the qualities of the sheep, my invitation might be to study John 10 and look at the qualities and actions of the shepherd! It makes for yet another interesting list! My favorite is this: "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand."

Well, I love you all! Have a wonderful week!!

Elder Tanner Hart

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Repetition Fosters Revelation!

Dear family and friends,

Well, the time continues to FLY! This week we had two multizone conferences, here in Trujillo and in Chimbote.  President Rios focused on two talks given in the most recent new mission president seminar: Elder Holland, focused on the Holy Ghost; and Elder Renlund, focused on effective study.  It's an interesting experience being in the same conference twice.  I always would have thought they were exactly the same, which they aren't! President changes things between the two conferences which leads to lots of new things learned and as Elder Walter F. Gonzalez said when he visited our mission, "Repetition fosters revelation."  The repetition of the topics touched on in the conferences certainly helps me receive revelation, which is also a neat opportunity.

As far as other news....that was pretty much the highlight this week! We got to visit the De Los Santos family in Chimbote again (my pensionista when I was there) which is always a treat! It was probably the last time I'll be down in Chimbote, a city I've grown to love a lot.  It's pretty much a repeat of two years ago, with lots of "This is the last time I'll (fill in the blank)" thoughts running through my head.  Such a strange feeling! 

We had a nice thing happen to us this week as we taught Cielo and her mom Roxana.  Cielo wants to be baptized in November, and had a date for the 4th, but is working on Sundays! After attending two consecutive Sundays at least a month ago, she hasn't been since because of her work schedule.  We taught them the importance of the Sabbath Day again this week, and Roxana made an interesting comment: "We should do it! Reading The Book of Mormon has blessed us so much, this commandment is bound to bless us too!" What a good thing for a missionary to hear! The next lesson, we showed up at their house and Cielo informed us that she would no longer be working Sundays to be able to attend church!! If all goes as planned, she'll be baptized in November!

Tomorrow is a country wide census, which means no church, no leaving the house, and definitely no proselyting, until 5:00 PM.  I'm looking forward to getting some studying done and I think we're going to repeat the pancake breakfast from general conference! It will be the first such day in quite a long time though, I don't know how my mind and body will react to just being cooped up all day long! 

Perú doesn't play New Zealand until November 6, so no updates there. ;)

While visiting a very interesting man this past week, he posed the following question: "Do you love all four of your brothers and sisters the same??" I responded, "Um....yes!" He shook his head like he couldn't believe it and yelled, "Mentira!!" the translation of which would be something like "Liar!" or "That's a lie!"  It was so strange! Then, the next question, "Do you love both of your parents the same?" I again said yes, and he again couldn't believe it! I think most people in the world would have responded the same way I did, but it was still an eye opener a little bit.  I think I still take way too much for granted! I'm not sure I realize how much the Savior blesses my family for living His gospel.  I don't think I recognize His hand NEARLY enough.  The deep feelings of love that I have for my family, and many others have for theirs, stem from covenants made and kept and eternal principles, such as those found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, understood and lived by.  What an incredible thing it is to posses a knowledge of the restored gospel! 

I love you all! Have a solid week!

Elder Hart  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Vamos Perú!

Dear family and friends,

I'll get the sports stuff out of the way at the beginning.  This past Tuesday, Perú was playing Colombia for a spot in the World Cup.  They haven't been since 1982, so 35 years!! It'll be 36 when the World Cup happens next year.  We played Argentina two weeks ago at Argentina and tied against the odds, which set up this match up with Colombia.  If they won, they were in; if they tied, they could possibly get in but lots of other things needed to happen.  The environment was crazy that day! Everyone was walking around in their jerseys, getting excited for the game at 6:00 that night.  Me and Elder Stroud were having a fun time remembering sporting events and talking about possible outcomes.  Obviously we didn't watch the game, but the streets were EMPTY that night! Not a single taxi! We were listening intently for any shouts signaling a change in the score.  As we knocked a door, we heard shouts of "GOAL" in a nearby restaurant and rushed over excitedly to see what was causing the ruckus. However, they deceived us: there were a bunch of Colombians there! Down 1-0.  We continued searching for people, but slightly more dejectedly now that we likely weren't going to the World Cup.  As we passed another restaurants (there are lots of restaurants here and every single TV had the game on) we saw Perú's best player, Paolo Guerrero, lining up for a free kick.  And what do you know, he snuck it right in! The streets exploded!!! There was some serious sports adrenaline rushing just hearing all the Peruvians shout in happiness haha! A lady on the second floor opened her window, leaned out, and started yelling "Goooooooooool" which was quite funny.  There were no other sings of life the rest of the night, which gave us the idea that they ended in a tie, which they did.  We were disappointed, thinking that all hope was lost.  Nevertheless, we were informed that they were indeed going, thanks to Brazil beating Chile and Paraguay losing to Venezuela! Anyway, it's been fun jumping on the Perú bandwagon and feeling the World Cup hype! 

As far as all the much more important stuff goes, all is well! We've had interviews this week with 5 of our 8 zones, and we've gone pretty much 100% practices! Lots of missionaries don't like practicing but it's been a really good opportunity to be with everyone and all improve teaching together! Everyone, especially the missionaries, keep asking me, "How do you feel?? Does it feel weird that you're going home soon?"  I honestly feel exactly the same as I've always felt! It seems that I'll be here for another year at least! It's almost the same as when I left: in my mind I know it's happening, but the rest of me doesn't really believe it.

Love Alma 33! It's so unbelievable to me how you can read a chapter so many times and miss something seemingly so obvious! The question of the Zoramites at the beginning: How should we begin to exercise our faith? Maybe as part of that question, in what should we begin to exercise our faith? Alma turns to the scriptures and shows how they testify of the Son of God in three different passages! 

1) Zenos: "for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son"

--Alma's comment: "Do ye believe those scriptures which have been written by them of old? Behold, if ye do, ye must believe what Zenos said....I would ask if ye have read the scriptures? If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God?"

2) Zenock: "Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son"

--Alma's comment: "And now, my brethren, ye see that a second prophet of old has testified of the Son of God"

3) Alma comments, "These are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God. Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live."

Just to make it clear in whom and how we should exercise our faith, he closes, "Cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.

And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith."

The scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, really testify of Christ! I know that He lives and directs His church.  I hope you all can appreciate the copy and paste job from haha!

Elder Hart

Vamos, Perú!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Dear family and friends,

It's been quite the calm week! In Spanish they say "tranquil" a lot.  So it's been a tranquil week! We've had lots of time in our area and made some progress with lots of our investigators and members, so we've been pretty busy with that! It's kinda like the calm before the storm, with interviews and zone conferences coming up it's going to get crazy fast!

Due to the tranquility of the week, and the lack of email time remaining, I'll have to keep the email short!

Just a quick lesson from John: 

"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." I don't know the full meaning of the plead, "Glorify thy Son," but it's at least a petition for divine aid, strength, help, and companionship.  As missionaries, we often ask for the same things in our prayers! However, the Savior's motives are what call my attention: "That thy Son also may glorify thee."  His motives were 100% pure! His sole objective was glorify the Father, fulfill His plan, and help Him in His work and glory! As taught by Elder Bednar in the 2017 Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, "The ultimate confrontation,
especially for a young man or a young woman, with the natural man occurs in examining our motives—that we all like to be approved, we all like to be applauded...the hardest thing in the world for any of us to do is to get out of the way, to push aside those self‑centered motives." Something that I'd definitely like to work on! What are our motives as we ask the Father for specific blessings?

Love you all, have a great week!!

Elder Hart

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Conference Halftime Report

Dear family and friends,

Another transfer down, another one started! We said goodbye to a really powerful group of missionaries on Monday, lot's of good friends and great missionaries.  It was a fun weekend with them, both the testimony meeting on Sunday night and the last lunch on Monday afternoon.  President's always dropping good little dating and marriage advice for the going home missionaries in the Sunday night devotional, which Elder Stroud and I were taking mental note of and having a good laugh about after! We got to the airport super early on Monday and had a long wait there until the sad goodbye as they walked through security. However, the group we received on Tuesday kinda made up for it! Super good missionaries, already speaking great Spanish, with a great attitude towards the start of their missions! I feel like I was there a few short months ago! That first day I remember especially well! Time flies.

Perú's funny.  We were in a taxi the other day with an interesting driver.  He was right in the middle of talking to us about the hurricanes in the US and how (according to him) lots of cities are flat out disappearing haha!! He was like, "Yeah, San Fransisco is gonna be gone, Orlando is going to disappear as well, about half the US is going to go under water!" Haha he was funny! Anyway, during the middle of that interesting conversation, he hit a pothole going a solid 50 mph, immediately after which we heard the air quickly seeping out of the tire.  Naturally, the driver pulled over to take a look at the damage.  He looks at the tire, listens to the air coming out, locates the hole. and pulls a hammer from the trunk.  I asked him, "Do you have a spare tire?" which he neglected to respond haha.  He just took the hammer, pounded the tire rim with a good solid 10 smacks, pulled out a little air compressor, and filled the tire right back up! We jumped back in the car and were on our way! Definitely the most unusual way I've ever seen to fix a flat tire....

A fun little story as well, I saw my trainer's (or dad's, in mission slang) homecoming this week! He was one of the 15 missionaries who went home, but as luck would have it, his parents moved here to Trujillo while he was on the mission! Not only to Trujillo, but here to this very ward where the mission offices are located! So we were here late Tuesday night and slipped over to the church to see if there was anything we could clean.  While there, we took a peak in one of the rooms and there was Elder Guerrero, surrounded by a bunch of members, young single adults, and "Welcome Home" signs! Just sitting, without his plaque, of course, taking it all in.  It was a pretty unique thing that not a lot of missionaries get to experience! He actually came up big in finding mine and Elder Stroud's lost notebooks as well, in a story that I won't share at the moment haha. 

As I'm writing this letter, we're at the halfway point of general conference.  Womens' Session and Saturday in the books, with Priesthood and Sunday still to come.  Let's take a look at the first half highlights:
  • THE HUMBLE BRAG! Groundbreaking concept from Elder Cook that will be part of my vocabulary for quite a while haha, I can already feel it.
  • Lots of references to full time missionaries, which is always fun as a full time missionary!
  • If Sister Bonnie Oscarson was a man, she'd be a part of the quorum of the twelve, I'm convinced of it!
  • Loved Stephen Owen's reference to BYU football.  I feel like it wasn't really related to anything else he said in his talk, but I appreciated it none the less! (Sounds like the cougs are having a rough year though, too bad we can't send President Hinckley to the locker room anymore!)
  • Anxiously awaiting the announcement of Disney's next movie, Inside Out 2, starring sisters Sad, Mad, and Glad.
  • Salvation is a personal matter; exaltation is a family matter. Elder Stroud and I have been breaking that one down since the moment Elder Oaks said it.
  • Elder Holland and Christofferson put in remarkable performances, as usual. 
The thing I've felt the most has been TURN OUTWARD.  Don't be selflish, don't think about one's self, but turn to others and their needs! Multiple speakers have touched on it, and I was reminded of a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants.  "For verily I say unto you, (spiritual gifts) are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me." 

Now the condition about how we are to ask: "that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts." 

The Lord is more that willing to bless those that ask with spiritual gifts, but not if they're just asking for themselves! Not if they're just going to consume, take in, or receive for themselves.  No, the condition of the Lord's blessing us is that we then turn outward and bless others! Something that I felt this week studying and also during conference today! 

I love you all, have a wonderful week!!

Elder Tanner Hart

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Matthew 16:13-17

Dear family and friends,

*Sigh of contentment* It's been such a good, relaxed week.  It seems like we've been going at a thousand miles an hour this past month and these past few days we've been slowing down just a bit! It was good to be back in our area a lot more and see our three converts (Luis, Luisa, and Claudia) for the first time since their baptism! We were with Claudia last night and caught a glimpse in her sketch book, where she had drawn a little quote (in English!!): "it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me" with her own addition in the corner "09/09: mi mejor día!".  Or "my best day!" It was neat to see that! 

We also have a monster change these next two days so we've been prepping for that! Lots of missionaries leaving, lots more coming, and lots of planning to make sure all goes well! We have our testimony meeting tomorrow Sunday, then will say good bye on Monday and receive new missionaries on Tuesday.

Well, since there wasn't much else that happened temporally, I'll go spiritual for a sec!;) I've been learning so much lately but there hasn't been much time to share, so I'm gonna unload a bit here:

Matthew 16:13-17, man! First of all the type of question the Savior used! "When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?"

 I love that question! One that gives his followers an opportunity to bear testimony, say something out loud! Elder Bednar taught in the worldwide missionary broadcast in 2016: "That investigator, making those statements—acting as an agent—invites the Holy Ghost to confirm the truthfulness of what that man or woman said." In other words, as the person SAYS IT, as it comes out of THEIR mouth, the Holy Ghost comes and testifies.  If they just respond with "yes" or "no," the spirit might not be able to testify with as much power! So a powerful missionary maybe doesn't ask, "Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" but, "What do you believe about Joseph Smith?" One, it shows the investigator's understanding, but more importantly, it gives them a chance to bear testimony and feel the Holy Ghost confirm that testimony! 

"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

Surely as Peter made that statement, the Holy Ghost testified to him that what he was saying was the truth! 

Now, one other quick lesson: the guy was with the Savior all the time!! He saw so many miracles!! He walked and talked with Him and everything.  But how did he know that Christ was the literal "Son of the living God"? " Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."  The one and only way that truth can enter into one's heart is through the power of the Holy Ghost.  THE ONLY WAY! We could see Christ, see the golden plates and the Angel Moroni, be with Joseph Smith and listen to him speak, and it could not make any difference! There is only one way for eternal truth to enter the heart, and it's through the power of the Holy Ghost.  It happened to Peter, and we can receive the exact same knowledge, with the exact same conviction, through the exact same way! 

Thanks for letting me share all that! Love you all and have a wonderful week!

Elder Tanner Hart