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!


Saturday, July 8, 2017


Dear family and friends,

What a week!!! It's been the longest/fastest week of my mission! There are just a billion things on my mind I don't know where to begin.

Last Saturday, President Rios gave the office permission to go the temple Saturday night, the last session! So we were all super pumped.  Well someone said the last session was at 7:00 and no one thought to check, so we showed up at 6:30 all ready to go! Well the confused looks on the temple workers faces told us that there was no 7:00 session haha.  They suggested that we could maybe do initatories, which we agreed to.  The only problem was that the temple workers were in training, so we had to wait a few minutes.  As we were waiting for them to call us back, one missionary realized he didn't have his recommend, and another realized his recommend had expired the day before.  So they agreed to wait for us.  That is, until the temple informed us that the training would last pretty much until the temple closed, and that there was just no way to even get us in.   So that whole thing was pretty much a fail.  Even the pictures we tried to take turned out bad haha! 

Monday we sent off the group of going home missionaries which was another crazy thing to experience for the first time! I knew most of them: Elder Anco (my second companion), Elder Tuares (lived with him in Virú for three months), and just a bunch of good friends that I've been in zones and districts with.  Tuesday, we welcomed the new missionares! Two from Argentina, one from Colombia, one from Bolivia, and two from Perú.  I felt so bad for those poor missionaries; they were up since two in the morning! They were pretty nervous (I remembered the feeling well) on top of being dead tired! But they were champs and kept their legs moving haha.  I got to direct the meeting and introduce them to their new companions, a meeting that I also remember well from the trainer and new missionary perspective! 

Thursday, we went to Huaraz! It's a mountain city seven hours from Trujillo, the most far out city of the mission by far.  It's all within about three hours, and then there's Huaraz.  President Rios picked us up at 8:30 in his car and we made the seven hour trip! Again, the theme of the week was new experiences.  It was fun hearing some of his mission and life experiences, listening to the recent mission president training, and seeing the scenery! There's a mountain in Huaraz called "La Huascarán" (not sure if I spelled it right), but it's the mountain that the Paramount Pictures logo is based off of!  I was colder than I've been in a long time and saw my breath for the first time in 19 months! The chapel doesn't have heaters of course, so I was pretty cold as we trained the missionaries Thursday night during interviews and Friday morning for the zone training.  I've turned into a wimp during my mission when it comes to temperature.

We're teaching a couple named Robert and Laura, and they are such good people! They told us this week how much their lives have changed since the missionaries showed up just four weeks ago.  They said they probably would be divorced right now if not for the gospel, but because of the missionaries they feel more love in their relationship than ever.  I just thought it was so interesting, because the missionaries never gave marriage classes! They surely never taught from their own experience about how to fix relationship problems.  They just taught true doctrine, and the Holy Ghost told Robert and Laura all things which they should do! True doctrine understood changes behavior, I know it! They'll be married on July 26th and baptized on August 12th, the day before Elder Rice goes home.  Laura went to her home town, Tumbes, this week to get all the paperwork, so we're hoping that everything goes smoothly with that!

I love you all so much and will talk to you next week! We got permission to go to Hermana Kattia's baptism (who I taught before coming here) so we're headed over there right now!

Elder Hart

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Breaking Peruvian Myths

Dear family and friends,

This week we found a lady named Stefany, the wife of an active church member.  She's been going to church for 2 YEARS, and the missionaries have never visited her! They used to live in a place called "La Esperanza," and for some reason that we don't know, the missionaries never made it to their house! Well, they moved here to Monserrat about 3 months ago, we talked to them and they invited us to their house, and she's pretty prepared to receive the gospel! She's been to a baptismal service, has had lots of gospel questions answered by her husband, and, that we can see, has no impediments to joining the church.  It was a little miracle! 

Also, when people hear "Perú," I think I know what comes to mind: adobe and dirt houses, poverty, heat, etc.  Well in this part of Trujillo, called Monserrat, that's prett much false.  People have so much money here! It's a rich area.  For example, Stefany and Luis' (her husband) house is huge! It's super modern, giant, and probably the nicest house I've ever been in in my life, including in the states!! And about the heat: it's getting cold at night! I've been using a sweater pretty much every night, it dips down to probably 40-50 degrees! 

On Wednesday, we had to print off some document and take it to some sister missionaries so that they can change pension (the lady who feeds them).  Their area, Salaverry, is about 20 minutes away from our area in a taxi. At least when there's no huge crash on the freeway....which there was on Wednesday.  The trip there was 45ish minutes, but luckily the taxi driver (a member who we often call to take us places) knew a shortcut to avoid the traffic on the way back! It was a little tiny barely-two-lane road that about a thousand other people other knew. The way back? An hour and a half.

We were in a lesson on Thursday night, teaching Hermana Kattia about tithing to prepare her for her baptism on July 8th.  As we were starting the lesson, President Rios called us and told me I would be headed to the office as his assistant this transfer! They gave me 24 hours to pack and say bye to members and investigators, and yesterday night I was at the assistants' house! Our P-Day is on Saturday, which is why I'm emailing today haha.  I have mixed feelings for sure: nervous about change and the unknown, but super excited to learn and serve in a new capacity! I'm with Elder Rice from Provo until he goes home in August, then I'll get a new companion and most likely finish here in November! 

I love the numerous times in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Savior states; "I am in your midst and ye cannot see me"; "There will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you" ; "I myself will go with them and be in their midst"; and so on and so forth.  What a comforting promise! I myself will go with them! There certainly has to be some element of faith and confidence that enters our mind when we consider that the Savior himself will be with us! He is in our midst, even though we can't see him! I have lots more to learn about the topic, but it's been on my mind lately.  

I love you all tons, have a wonderful week!

Elder Hart