Monday, June 5, 2017

Soccer

Dear family and friends,

Mabye the biggest event this week happened on Wednesday.  I went into the mission office to finish up the work for my Brazil visa, and just happened to see the Whitneys (a senior missionary couple) there.  I realized when I saw them that it was their last day in the mission and that they would be leaving later that afternoon.  So it was a pretty lucky thing that we were able to be there and say goodbye! I lived a floor above them for about 7 months in VirĂº and did lots of stuff with them then, and it will be sad to see them go! 

Elder Alarcon likes soccer a lot, and few days this week we've gone out to the sand soccer "field" in front of our house for exercises.  He has a little ball and we've been kicking it back and forth and running around a little.  Let me just say....I have a long way to go haha.  I'm definitely more comfortable with my hands! It's been fun playing though, and I may be 0.001% better now than last Monday!

To stick with the soccer theme, the championship game of the Champion's League was this past week, and everyone was home watching! It reminded me of big sporting events in the US (I'm concious of the current NBA finals, for example) and made me remember all the games at home! It was a little tough to enter houses during the game for sure!

Sorry for the lack of email this week, I got started on the group email a little later than usual! But I love you all lots and hope you have a great week!

Love, Tanner

Monday, May 29, 2017

Peru vs. Chile

Dear family and friends,

Leading the area! It's been a fun challenge. We only really got lost one time, which is better than I was hoping, but we've walked a ton! I've always wondered what our total number of steps would be if we were to wear one of those step-counter things.  I swear we walk like 8 miles a day.  

Elder Alarcon, my first Chilean companion! He's pretty cool, definitely my quietest companion I've had! He's a hard worker though and super duper humble.  As I was getting ready for church on Sunday I noticed that he had shined both my pairs of shoes for me! It'll be fun to work with him for a while, most likely until August at least! And then he finishes in September. People here give him a hard time for being Chilean, though.  There's an old Peru-Chile rivalry based on land I think...haha funny.

One of the worst feelings as a missionary is working hard all week to get people to church and having no one there! That happened yesterday and I felt like a complete failure of a missionary haha! To add insult to injury (never knew what in the world that phrase is supposed to mean but I'm pretty sure it fits here), the other two companionships in our ward didn't have anyone either! The bishop, who teaches gospel principles, came in the classroom, saw us six missionaries with our ward mission leader, and said, "Well, let's just go to Sunday School.  There's no point in being here."  Ouch!! I'm so motivated to just get out and run around sharing the gospel with people this week.  If only it were that easy! 

In moments like that I'm inspired by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who said: "What can we do to manage these vexing feelings of inadequacy?....We can know that when we have truly given what we have, it is like paying a full tithe; it is, in that respect, all that was asked. The widow who cast in her two mites was neither self-conscious nor searching for mortal approval."  It's hard to not SEE success! I love the principle though, that when we give all that is asked, it's always enough!

Love you all, have a great week!

Elder Hart

Praise to the Man

Dear family and friends,

Starting out with transfer news: I'm staying here! Not too big of surprise since I've only been here six weeks.  My companion, Elder Salazar, is off to the cold mountains of Huaraz.  It'll definitely be sad to see him go, he's a great companion and I only spent four weeks with him! My new companion is named Elder Alarcon, from Chile! I'm actually pretty nervous to lead this huge area after just four weeks, so wish me luck! It'll be interesting to see what this means for my future in the mission, too; Elder Alarcon finishes one transfer before me, so it's pretty possible that I'll get changed one more time before I finish! Haha we will see...

Last Saturday, we were having kind of a rough day.  Things weren't really going our way, and lots of appointments were falling through.  As we walked to another appointment, a guy in the street casually said, "Elders," as we passed by.  It seemed kind of strange to us (lots of people do that, but most are drunk people that are trying to be funny, I guess, while he was obviously not), so after the appointment fell (of course haha) we went back a talked to him! He was cleaning an adobe brick wall out of his house, so we helped him as best we could in our shirt and tie, and as we worked, we talked.  Turns out the sister missionaries visited his family two or three years ago, and they were getting ready to be married and baptized when they found some unfavorable information about Joseph Smith on the Internet.  They stopped progressing and, when the wife was hospitalized for a sickness, the visits with the sisters kind of came to an end.  We visited them twice this week and they're such a great family!! We connected with them right at the start.  Many of the same doubts arose in these first two visits, but we're determined to help them! 

We were up super late every night this week, getting our room 1000% clean for Sister Rios and finishing our whiteboard project, which took way more time than we thought! It looks pretty dang good though! And we have a new rule of no shoes to keep it perfectly clean haha.

My mind has been super focused on the family I mentioned, the Becerra Guerrero family, and their difficulties this week.  It seems to be a pretty complicated issue, but it really isn't I don't think!  In Christ's day, "Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying (Christ proclaiming himself as living water), said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him."  There have always been, and always will be, divisions among people when it comes to identifying prophets, even when identifying the Christ! People make wrong conclusions based on partial information, and others spread false rumors and twist facts, their only motive being defame the prophets! It's important the declaration that Moroni makes that, in order to know of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and consequently of Joseph Smith as a prophet, one must first have "faith in Jesus Christ." Why?? Because "if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good."  One who truly has faith in Christ will not be able to deny the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and of the doctrines restored by Joseph Smith!  I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith, allowing us to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father! 

Love you lots!

Elder Tanner Hart

Monday, May 15, 2017

Extreme Home Makeover

Dear family and friends,

All the days blend together here! Except for Sundays and Mondays.  The work continues, and we're still trying to get some momentum and movement here in Moserratt!

We had our Mission Leadership Conference this past Tuesday, mainly just focusing in on key indicators; their purpose, how to use them, etc., as well as an actual analysis of the indicators of each zone.  We left feeling motivated to change some things in the zone, and have a plan that includes a huge whiteboard and lots of phone calls. :)

Okay, definitely the most important thing that happened this week: it was a calm Thursday morning, weekly planning as usual and a calm breeze flowing through the open window.  All of the sudden, my companion´s phone rings: Hermana Rios.  She likes making room checks for cleanliness and such.  Anyway, we weren't worried at all because our room was clean!  Or so we thought....okay it was pretty clean though.  The problem was the many desks and furniture we have in there for other missionaries, when areas get closed and stuff.  What followed was a remodel from Hermana Rios and a 20 item list of new things to buy (new beds, dresser, new brooms, new trash can, new curtains, etc.)  Some words she said were, "There will be no PDay for you Elders!" meaning that we'll be cleaning, reorganizing, and shopping all day!  So that's what awaits us after I finish writing haha!

Here's a neat thing I was learning this week, about "Earnest" in the Bible Dictionary.  It says that earnest means "A pledge or security. The word thus translated is a commercial term denoting the deposit paid by a buyer on entering into an agreement for the purchase of anything. As used by Paul (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14) it means that the Lord gives us His Holy Spirit in this life as a foretaste of the joy of eternal life. The Spirit is also the Lord’s surety that He will fulfill His promise to give eternal life to the faithful." In other words, the Lord is the buyer.  When we are baptized and show our willingness and desire to follow Jesus Christ and enter into a covenant with Him and Heavenly Father, they agree to "purchase us," or give us eternal life.  Obviously, the promise is conditional upon our future obedience to the covenant we've made, but to show that He's "purchased" us, he "makes a downpayment" of sorts and gives us the Holy Ghost up front! Sorry for the many quotation marks used in this paragraph, but I think it's such a neat analogy used by Paul! Missionaries help people enter into that agreement that Heavenly Father has established, and thus help them receive 1) eternal life in the future, and 2) the Holy Ghost to help them get there, a sign from God of the agreement.  

Mmm...that's it.  Love you lots, have a wonderful week!!

Elder Hart





Monday, May 8, 2017

Football (The real kind)

Dear family and friends, 

We had a sweet P-Day today! We hiked this sand dune in a place called Salaverry, it´s a little port town on the beach.  It was a fun little climb that definitely killed my legs a lot more than I thought it would.  It was straight sand!! It was fun though, we borrowed a football from one of the missionaries in another zone and threw it around with some of the missionaries.  That was probably the best part of all! It feels good to play that kind of football for a change! We also ate Papa John's delivery, which was a plus.

Elder Salazar and I realized the first week I got here that we didn´t really have any investigators that could progress towards baptism in May or June.  So we pretty muched wiped them all out and started over! We hit it hard and found 15 new investigators this week, many of which have potential to progress! We'll see what happens...

Also, I started my Brazilian visa this week! I mean, it doesn't really mean anything, cause I guess Brazilian visas take a pretty long time to go through, but it was still an interesting feeling! As I was doing that, Elder Salazar was at the dentist learning that he had three wisdom teeth that have grown into the bone somehow.  So he has a possible operation coming up, which sounds quite painful to me.

I continue to study all the references to Jesus Christ, this week I hit his postmortal appearances and ascencion.  He really lives; he actually, physically, literally resurrected and ascended to heaven!  He appeared to the Nephites on the American continent, then appeared to the boy Joseph Smith to restore His church! That strong belief in things unseen motivates me to act and spread His teachings! I know He lives and love serving Him as a full time missionary!

Have a great week!

Elder Tanner Hart


Monday, May 1, 2017

Monserrat!

Dear family and friends,

The first week in a new area! It´s always a challenge getting to know investigators, members, learning the streets and adresses and basically everything all over again! Even just the way of life of a new companion--favorite phrases, funny habits, etc.-- have to be learned again! I like it though.  My area is called Monserrat, it´s basically downtown Trujillo.  It´s by far the biggest area I´ve been in so far, and the nicest as well! The pensionista also volunteered to not give me rice (she knows North Americans by now!) so that´ll be a good little break haha!  My companion´s name is Elder Salazar, he´s from Lima, district Independencia.  He's a hard working, obedient missionary, so I'm super excited to work with him!  

There was an activity this week called "Capilla Abierta," or open chapel.  The public was invited to tour the church buildings, and the missionaries were really involved with the members in making it a success.  There were elders street contacting like crazy, others at a table getting everyone's name and address, while the sisters were assigned the stand-and-the-banners-and-teach position, along with many members.  The ward we did it for got about 25 referrals, and it was so fun to just go contact people in the street for a change! We don't do it very often here, weird as it sounds coming from a missionary.  I thought before my mission that I would do it every day, but we work mostly through references! But anyway, that was fun.

You'd think that in a transfer week there would be a million things to talk about, but I have no idea what else to say!

Oh yeah.  I'm pumped about the Jazz!! They'll probably get beat in 5 by the Warriors, but it's sweet anyway! Next year they're in the finals for sure! ;)

Love you lots, have a great week everyone!

Tanner

                                                                     Leaving Bellamar


































































Monday, April 24, 2017

Opposition

Dear family and friends,

I don't know how many of you actually read this letter, or if you do, remember what I said last week, but if not, here's a direct quote: 

"What a week! Things have honestly fallen into our laps, so to speak. when we least expected it and probably didn't even deserve it.  People just opening their doors and letting us in, investigators reading and changing and progressing, etc.  It´s actually really scary, because "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things."  Who knows what kind of crazy things could be waiting this week haha..."

There was definitely some opposition this week!! Haha our investigators are dropping like flies, so to speak, we've dropped 6 or 7 this week that weren't progressing very much.  And the ones that were progressing aren't really progressing anymore.  It was kind of the opposite of last week, an unusual amount of people were rejecting us.  All is well though, challenges are the best. 

The week ended with a blow: I'm leaving Bellamar! I love the members here so much, it's always such a difficult thing leaving all the relationships made.  Transfers are an interesting experience.  You sit there on pins and needles with the phone always in reach, waiting nervously for a call.  In that call, there's a high possibility that the voice on the other end says, "Pack your bags and say goodbye to all your friends and acquaintances there, you're moving in 36 hours." Is there any other experience in life that relates to that!? There are probably lots of people that have similar situations that I'm just unaware of, but that's never happened in my life before the mission and I hope it never happens after! It's rough, definitely the hardest part of being a missionary.  I'm hoping it's the last time I'll have to do it, and that I can just stay in Monserrate, Trujillo (my new area) for the rest of my mission.  4.5 transfers, so we'll see...

All that being said, however, it just makes you so grateful for the things you know.  For example, I was fascinated this week by Alma 42.  There are so many deep things there that I don't understand yet, but I'm so grateful for the knowledge of the Savior's atoning sacrifice! That was the only possible thing that could have worked; the only way to satisfy justice, overcome physical death, and still give fallen man the chance to conquer spiritual death through a period of probation, agency, repentance, and mercy.  He did it!! Death is conquered, man is free, Christ has won the victory! That knowledge puts my little bitty problems and sadness in perspective.  Again, how great the importance to make these things known to the inhabitants of the earth! 

I'll definitely miss Bellamar, Elder McMillan, and all the good memories made here.  But I know that many good things await in Monserrate! Love you all tons and hope you have a great week! Go Jazz!

Elder Tanner Hart





















Sunday, April 23, 2017

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

Dear family and friends,

Ammon says, "Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance." Elder Bednar emphasized the phrase "it is given" in teaching that it´s Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ that give us success, we don´t earn it or deserve it! That´s something that we´ve definitely seen this week.  What a week! Things have honestly fallen into our laps, so to speak. when we least expected it and probably didn´t even deserve it.  People just opening their doors and letting us in, investigators reading and changing and progressing, etc.  It´s actually really scary, because "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things."  Who knows what kind of crazy things could be waiting this week haha... 

Another fun thing this week has been our exercising habits.  I haven´t had a companion who likes exercise in quite awhile, so I´ve gotten used to running the stairs.  That, however, was getting awfully boring.  This week me and Elder McMillan agreed to get out and take a little jog to a nearby park, which used to be against the rules but is now again permited.  My oh my, it was a treat.  The cool air, getting out and stretching the legs and sprinting and pull-ups, the whole deal.  I enjoyed it.

Also concerning my physical condition, I was playing goalie today and tried to stop a penalty kick.  I dove right in anticipation, but I guessed wrong--he kicked up and left.  I reached my left hand up and that ball zipped right through my fingers like it was nothing.  My left middle finger is now quite sore.  But come on people, are we really gonna play with penalty kicks from 12 feet away from the goal??

Also, can someone explain Psalms 110:1 to me?

I love Easter! It was a completely normal day for us, but I did have in the back of my mind the significance of the day.  What hope the resurrection offers!! I love Alma the Younger´s experience: "And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world....And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more...And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold."  It´s impossible to remain in darkness and despair when one comprehends and remembers the resurrection of Christ! He already overcame death and conquered Satan! I know He lives and directs his restored church!

I love you all!

Tanner