Monday, August 29, 2016

Rookie Mistake

Dear family and friends,

We had two pretty big events this week! First, on Wednesday, we had a multizone training in Trujillo with Elder Hugo Montoya.  He talked from about 9:30 to 1:30 with (it seemed like) no theme at all in mind.  Haha he had four scriptures to share, D&C 107:36, one in Matthew 10, one in Mark 10, and one in Luke 10.  And everything else that came to his mind in that four hour period.  And he more than filled it! Tons of experiences, stories, scriptures, examples, and anything else you can think of.  It was pretty sweet!  I saw Elders Chapman and Anco as well, two former companions, which was fun.

Yesterday a member invited us over for dinner, which marked the first time in my mission eating dinner in a member´s home (besides my pension).  This family gave pension before, to the Hermanas, so it was all safe as far as sanitary things go haha;)  But we had hamburgers and they were very American like! It´s always nice to remember just a tiny bit what Amercan food tastes like.  

A little funny story connected with that: so here in Perú, it´s etiquette to greet everyone in the room when you walk in.  So every time we walk in a room (including the chapel on sunday!) we shake hands with everyone in the room.  And the same goes for right before we leave.  Well, as we were leaving last night, I missed the grandma.  And oh boy, she let me have it.  "This gringo missionary isn´t even going to bid me farewell??" Rookie mistake;)

The other big thing this week was the baptism of our two recent converts´ kids, Carlos and Matias.  They were baptized yesterday, three months after their parents, and now the whole family is on the gospel path together! The two kids are already talking about missions, and the mom is serving as the first counselor in the relief society.  She´s been a member for three months! So they´re a pretty strong family.  Here´s to hoping they can continue to learn, progress, and make it to the temple in a year!

Dang, that´s pretty much it for this week.  I suppose I´ll close with my testimony, though like Nephi, I feel like writing it isn´t the same as speaking it.  I know that the everlasting gospel has been restored.  Jesus Christ accomplished the atonement and plays the central role in His Father´s plan of happiness.  He is risen! He appeared to Joseph Smith.  The gospel and priesthood power to administer in it´s ordinances were restored through heavenly beings.  I know it, and that knowledge, which I had before my mission, has grown so much here! Here´s to another 15 months!;)

Love you all, have a great week.

Elder Hart

Monday, August 22, 2016

Eternal Marriage. And Faith. And Math.

Dear family and friends,

We´ve had a super week here on the mish! Just like all the other weeks.  Here are a few of the highlights:

On Saturday we went to help out my ward mission leader with a little math homework before our correlation meeting.  He goes to college but...I think it´s a pretty easy college to get into haha.  Nonetheless, I was getting all "trunky" looking at math problems and starting to work things out in my head.  Elder Ricse is pretty dang smart too; he goes to San Marcos University, which is the top university here in Perú.  He told me that of 25,000 people that applied for his major, only 11 made it, and he was one of them! So we make a pretty fun duo talking about nerdy things, though math in english is much easier than math in spanish haha...

I talked a bit about Christ in my last email and, because of lack of time, didn´t finish that thought.  Some people say we aren´t Christians.  However, as I thought about it, we as a church credit more power and saving grace to Christ´s atoning sacrifice than anyone else!  We believe that He has so much power and mercy that he can even save the dead from the effects of the Fall.  That He has so much power that he not only forgives us of sin, but can make us into gods! No one else in the world believes that! Surely, we are Christians, and credit more power to Jesus Christ than most.

I caught 3 seconds of the USA Spain basketball game in the Olympics.  Did you guys see that rebound?? ;)

We had a baptism yesterday of a little girl in our ward.  It wasn´t a convert baptism, but I´ve grown pretty close to this family in my time here.  We went and took an investigator with us.  Well, as most things here in Perú, they took more of the wing it approach haha.  We showed up with our investigator (just to watch, remember!) and found an empty font and baptismal clothes nowhere in sight! Our branch president turned to us and basically gives us the look of "Well Elders...?" Haha so we filled the font nice and fast, tracked down the baptismal clothes, I directed the service, we both gave talks and were the witnesses.  Haha it´s pretty cool actually how the people here think of the Elders as superheroes almost, able to do anything on a moments notice.  I was grateful for having been able to participate so fully in the baptism.

Yesterday, in Gospel Principles, the teacher went about 10 levels too deep in talking about Eternal Marriage.  There are investigators present here!!! Haha it was all good though, lots of cringeworthy and uncomfortable moments, but we made it through alive and enlightened a little more.  Just know that he was literally telling individual people exactly what was going to happen in their situation in the millenium and kingdoms of glory, and I´m not exactly sure if it was based 100% in doctrine and what the brethren have said.  We may have a little clean up and clearing up to do this week with a few people haha...

To finish, I´ve been doing a fun little thing in my studies.  In the pamphlet we pass about in the third lesson, the gospel of Jesus Christ, it says that faith is "firm beliefs that lead us to action."  I feel like sometimes we just throw that word, faith, around without even knowing what we´re saying.  Now, every time I see the word faith, I substitute "firm beliefs that lead to action." It´s pretty interesting. For example, Moroni 7:33. "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." Or in other words, if we have firm beliefs in Christ that lead us to act, he will give us power to accomplish his will! I don´t know why I´m just finding this out...

Have a great week! Love ya all!

Elder Hart  

Monday, August 15, 2016

I wish the Olympics were in Peru...

Dear family and friends,

Another week has passed! A few of the events from the week:

I had an interchange with an elder named Elder Cruz on Saturday.  He reminds me so much of Hayden! Just his sense of humor and mannerisms, it´s pretty weird.  Except he´s from Texas and is slightly darker than Hayden.  So I spent the day remembering my brother and getting a kick out of Elder Cruz´s jokes.

I introduced my companion Elder Ricse to smarties this week (or as he calls them, "Inteligentitos").  He´s a big fan haha. 

One big challenge we face in Perú is lack of education and just ability to understand.  Many of these people work in fields and just don´t really have much of a capacity to understand gospel doctrines! I was thinking about it this week though, and wonder if it´s not more of a blessing that way.  In Europe and the US, I´m sure more people are capable of understanding, yet fewer do!  I´m reminded of the scripture in Mosiah 3, verse 15 I think.  Something about "because of the hardness of their hearts, they did not understand."  Humility can lead to understanding! I´ve got to keep praying and searching for the way to help all the humple people here get to that point and understand the restored truths of the gospel.

That being said, we´re working with a person here who has a marraige and baptism date for August 27th! Her name is Flor and she´s been investigating the church for over two years now! She just hasn´t ever been brave enough to marry the guy she´s living with.  Even though they have two kids and have been living together for 20 years.  But now she´s gonna take the leap of faith! Pray for her that she can stay excited and keep reading The Book of Mormon to strengthen her faith!

The Olympics.  Oh, the Olympics.  How I miss them.  They´re not really a big deal here, but that just makes it harder when I catch a two minute glimpse of someone´s tv.  The next time the Olympics roll around, I´ll be 23, married, with one kid and another on the way.  Calling it;)

To finish, I just wanted to testify of Jesus Christ.  I love something that Neil L. Anderson said in the missionary worldwide training, that thanks to the restoration, we know more about Christ than anyone else.  I love being able to testify of Him every single day, and seeing Him change people´s lives when they humble themselves and come unto Him.

Talk to you next week!

Love, Tanner

Monday, August 8, 2016

Go Cougs!

Dear family and friends,

The highlight of the week was probably the good ole B-Day! It´s fun once a year to eat cake and have people sing to you.  I wasn´t expecting anything this year since I haven´t really told anyone, but people are so good.  The day started out normal, I opened the package from home after the studies (candy and peanut butter baby!) and then all was normal.  The zone leaders called me from MLC and all the zone leaders and assistants and President and Sister Rios sang to me, which was pretty unique! We had a few good visits in the afternoon, just like normal, and then the festivities started.  We had agreed to go to a member´s house for a "little piece of cake" before dinner.  Well, it was a little more than that. Tons of sweets and cake and Inca Kola and a few people from the ward all came and sang and it was sweet.  We got full.  And then we had dinner! My pensionista had asked me what I wanted, I was feeling like I wanted to be different, so I told her cuy.  Not everyone can say they ate guinea pig for their birthday dinner right?? She had also made a cake, so we filled our full bellies with dinner and Coca Cola and more cake haha.  AND THEN! An investigator just found out and bought us a whole other cake! I´m amazed at how good and loving people are, and am eternally grateful to Heavenly Father for letting me be around such good people.

We´ve had a few interesting discussions this week as well.  Lots of people who, it feels like, want to kind of get contentious.  It´s just misunderstanding really, but people get frustrated when there´s misunderstanding haha.  It´s been a great experience to try to help people understand the doctrine of the priesthood and the idea of one true church and gospel, as well as the ordinances of baptism and the sacrament.  Really trying to focus on their needs, try to give Christlike answers and be a Christlike person.  The Holy Ghost is such a necessary part of this work.  Sometimes, it´s easy as a missionary to feel that guide and know what he´s telling us.  Other times, we just have to trust Elder Bednar´s statement that we don´t have to know we´re receiving revelation to receive revelation, and that if we just be good and do our best in planning and discerning, we´ll say the right things! It´s been an interesting thing to be apart of, and I´m continually learning more.

I´m well aware of the start of college football fall camp, and respectfully ask that anyone and everyone with any college football news, especially BYU related, to send that news to me.  The schedule especially haha.  It´s better to get the same report 5 times than to not get it at all.  That is all. :)

To close, we´ve had a crazy week with our couple of recent converts.  Isela, the mom, called me Saturday night and let me know that Carlos, the dad, was drinking with his brothers and dad.  She was just devestated and upset with him for that decision and on the brink of tears! We got that news and really started praying and pondering to know what to do.  I also called an audible on my fasting purpose haha (can you do that??).  Well, the next day, Isela showed up at church with her three kids.  Fast and testimony meeting.  She gets up, near the end, and bears this testimony that had everyone in the Branch Council talking.  "Did you hear Isela´s testimony?? That was so good! Wow, she´s so strong!"  It was so good to hear that testimony and see the Holy Ghost guiding her along the path of conversion.  We´re gonna keep on working with Carlos and see if he can use this humbling moment to draw even closer to Heavenly Father and really feel the power of Christ´s atonement. 

Thank you all for the letters and prayers and everything! Hope you have great weeks!

Elder Hart

Showing off a few of the presents and remembering fall camp and the approaching start of college football at the same time.