Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Homecomings & Peruvian Ties


Later that night, Tyler met his new sister who joined the family the previous year while he was gone.  For the first time ever, I had my entire family together = mom happiness.


His grandma and grandpa missed him too.


And Tyler brought back some sweet, hand embroidered ties!


The Airport

  And then, this self assured, happy young man came striding down the hallway…

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It had been a while, but we thought he looked like someone we used to know…


Yep!  It’s him!


I lost my footing!  I love the sweet face of the lady enjoying the moment:)

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And for just a brief moment, the world stopped.  I still tear up when I see this picture.


His dad very patiently waited his turn.



Not everyone got such a warm welcome…  Male missionaries are not allowed to hug women other than their immediate relative.  Since Tyler had not been “released” from missionary service yet [after he meets with the local church leader, which he did later that day], he was obedient to the end and did not hug his “other mother” until he was released.  It was a huge sacrifice.  She’s a hugger.



Side Note:  This was absolutely the most un-white shirt I had ever seen.  In fact, it wasn’t even his shirt, because his were worse and didn’t come home from Peru.  Two years of constant wear in the jungle is tough on white shirts.  We decided this one had given it’s all and was given a reverent burial.


What does a California boy do first thing?  That’s right.  In-N-Out for a Neapolitan shake and a double double.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

And Now. The Rest of the Story.

It’s been a couple of months since Tyler returned home…

Here’s what we did the night before:


Note how scientific we are with the tape measure and stuff.  Also, note the large size.  Very impressive, don’t you think?  We were not going to be outdone again! Fortunately, these guys showed up to add detail and color:


I mean, seriously, look at that detail and color!



Here it is IN the airport!!!  We’re so excited!!!   




Chad at his “first alert” post…


(Of course, he didn’t actually end up coming down that escalator…)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sí, Yo Sé Que Nada Soy

[Email dated 11.23.14]


I am disappointed that I didn’t get any creative spider stories, I guess you’ll just have to make it up on the spot. [His father did send him one, by the way, which causes us to question whether he actually reads ALL of our emails?]

I'm still not sure, but this will likely be my last email that I send home.  If I do send anything next week, it will likely be short.

This week we went to Pucallpa for the last time and I got to see a couple of people while out there, including all of the five whose baptism I missed because I got an emergency change to the offices the week of their baptism.  It was really cool to get to see them, especially the G* family.  I had met them in January right when I got to my area in centenario [the New Year, I’m guessing].  N* was my pensionist [she helps the missionaries with laundry and meals] and M* is her husband who had recently gotten out of prison.  N* had been attending church for two years without being baptized.  M* was a cool guy, but he wanted absolutely nothing to do with the church or the gospel.  He agreed to get married so that N* could get baptized and she did, but he still didn’t want anything to do with the church.  He was just too hardened.  Now, N* is probably the most faithful member that I have met.  She was constantly fasting and praying for her husband and we could truly tell that her true desire was that her husband would accept the gospel and be with the family in church.  When we went to teach them, he wouldn't answer us or really have any intent to do anything with what we taught.  Then around the beginning of June, he started listening to us.  We actually got to teach him and he started answering our questions.  He started to pray, read the Book of Mormon and then he was going to church.  Then, there was an activity in the church and it was the strangest thing.  He started volunteering to help in the activity and take responsibility for things that nobody had asked him to do.  It is something really so small but really was amazing to see here, especially from someone who isn’t even a member.  Then, he told us that he wanted to be baptized and short time after he accepted a date.  He was constantly in church and really was doing it all with just the help of his family.  N* would cry quite often when we went over to teach because she was just so happy.  It was a complete change.  Because of the faith and diligence of this man’s wife, his heart was softened and he accepted the gospel.  She is currently the Relief Society President and I do not know if M* has a calling, but I do know that he hasn't missed a Sunday in church in a while.  It really is a miracle.  I was leaving the Stake Center [a church building which also serves as a the regional center] on Thursday night and they were out front on the moto talking and I got to say goodbye to them along with a few other people.  Then the thing that surprised me (and really never would have expected) is that M* started to kind of tear up.  This is the guy who less than one year ago had gotten out of prison, was bitter at the world and showed zero real emotion.  It was crazy.  I kinda couldn't take it in all at that moment, but really it is so amazing to see how much one person can change in such a short period of time and basically all because of the love, faith and diligence of someone who loves him.  I can't really explain everything that was going on inside me at that point, but it was a really great moment.


These last 2 years have been full of experiences like this one.  A lot of happy ones and a lot of sad ones.  There has to be opposition in all things.  There are families that I have seen come into the Gospel and there are families that I have seen fall out of it.  There are even families that I have seen come in, fall out and come back into the Gospel.  The Lord is always working.  I cannot stay here, they really won't let me.  Also, I believe that my parents won't let me do it either at this point, but what I have noticed recently is that this work will always continue because the Lord himself is He that does it.  "I am able to do mine own work" (2 Nephi 27:20-21).  He will always work miracles with his children "God has not ceased to be a God of miracles" (Mormon 9:15).  Although my part in this mission is coming to a close, the work is never over.  I may not be here, but that is not what is important.  What is important is that the Lord is working here and that those who still need the help will receive that help in a miraculous way.  I have seen the hand of the Lord in this work and He will never take His hand out of it.  This is the Church of Jesus Christ, the only one with the fullness of His Gospel and the only one that has what we need to come unto Christ and to come unto salvation.  I don't think I truly understood anything about this Gospel when I came out here but now, the little that I do know is that Christ lives and He has atoned for our sins.  "I say unto you that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent" (Mosiah 3:17).  I have learned of the ways to truly come unto Him and helped others to put those things in practice, I have seen the real effect that it has and the real importance that it has for the family.  There really is nothing more important than living the gospel as a family, after all, that is our purpose here.

When I came out here, I came with a type of goal, maybe not the most specific goal, but by all means, a goal.  I don't know that I even really understood my goal.  It's based on one of my favorite scriptures : “Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."  I wanted to really just understand this feeling that Ammon had.  We can tell that he had had great success from his attitude, but that he recognized that he didn't do any of it.  That is what I have really come to understand.  I, of my own strength cannot do anything to help these people, other than allow them to really receive the help from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

There was a family that was baptized in March of 2013 that is another family that is really special to me.  A few months after I left the area, they started to have a lot of problems as a family and then they separated.  I had had a few missionaries let me know what was going on with the family and I was really sad about it.  I saw the wife at a Stake Conference [a regional conference] and she hadn't had contact with the husband for a few months at that point and I just felt completely helpless. That was about 2 months ago.  Last week, I was on my way to the offices in a motokar at night and I heard someone yell from behind me "ELDER PEACOCK!"  I turned and I saw the dad driving a motokar with his wife and all 4 of their children on the moto with him.  They were all smiling and looked so happy.  I cannot describe how I felt to see them together again.  It was probably one of the best moments of my mission.  I'm sure they still have a lot to work out, but just to see them together so happy for those 2 seconds, was amazing.  I could do nothing, but I didn't have to because the Lord feels an even deeper love for them than I do and he will never leave them alone.  He will never leave anyone alone. 


"And now, after  the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: that he lives!"


Elder Peacock

Alma 26:12

"Yo sé que nada soy; en cuanto a mi fuerza, soy debil; por tanto no me jactaré de mi mismo, sino que me gloriaré en mi Dios, porque con su fuerza puedo hacer todas las cosas!"

Monday, November 17, 2014

Craziest Week Ever!

[Email dated 11.15.14]

Hey everyone! 

So far during my time as the assistant, things have been fairly calm in that there haven't been serious problems with anyone—not many emergencies or surprises.  Well, early on Monday morning, President and Hermana Gómez went to Colombia for a seminar for all of the Mission Presidents in the area and so we couldn't really contact him from Monday until yesterday afternoon when he got back here because of roaming charges in Colombia.  So naturally, these were the 4 days when every emergency imaginable (and some that I never imagined) occurred.  Probably more problems than I had even heard of in the entire rest of my mission combined.  

For obvious reasons, there are some details that I cannot share just because of their nature.  But, let’s just say we had to deal with missionaries getting an emergency transfer from another mission, a missionary’s mom deciding that her son was too sick to be in the mission so she just came out here and took him home with her to be treated there, problems in Pucallpa, a missionary wanting to go home, and last but not least:  a tarantula in my room!!   It was a pretty crazy week and most of this stuff had never happened before so there really was no protocol on it and we kinda had to make things up as we went on quite a few occasions.  You guys know how it is that when you’re a leader, everyone just assumes that you automatically know everything.  Sometimes you have to know when to say that you just don’t know and when you just have to go with your gut.  It is pretty crazy sometimes.  In normal circumstances we would have to deal with all of the same things but we just wouldn’t have to make the decisions because President would be doing it.  However, we basically couldn’t communicate with him except sometimes at night when he could get some internet.  For everything that happened this week, I think that we handled it fairly well.  At least nobody died right?

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So about the tarantula, it is a long story but to make it shorter, we were planning at night and I saw a gigantic black spot on the wall and it turns out that it was a tarantula.  Our capture of it entailed 2 brooms, a large wooden stick, a trash can, a mirror, a booklet thing, a little box, and a freezer.  You might be asking yourselves:  why on earth would they need a mirror or a freezer to capture a tarantula and not just kill it with the broom?   I, too, have asked myself those very questions and I have yet to be able to answer them.  But I would like you all to just try and to think about what method we possibly could have used to include all of these items in the capture of a large 8 legged creature and I'll get to see what you post when I get home or when you send them to me.  Haha and just to assure you *cough**cough**mom**cough**cough**Eva**cough* nobody was harmed in the capture of the creature.  Also, some of you may note that in some of the pictures there is also a second spider, I would love to hear your ideas on that one too. How did we get a second spider?  Just play along, next week might be the last time that I actually get to write, I'm not sure what my schedule is actually going to be like  at this point but I’d love to hear some interesting renditions and the person that has the most interesting version will receive a special prize when I get home.


We also did service in the morning painting the walls of a Catholic elementary school that was in bad shape in my first area.  We did it with the 3 stakes and all of the missionaries in the city.  While painting, we figured out that we couldn’t get all the way to the top of the wall and there weren’t enough ladders for us to use one, so we just found a solution.  I told Elder Overstreet to just get on up on my shoulders and paint from up there.  Haha it was probably the best idea that we ever had.  We formed a megaperson!! Haha It was a really fun service.


This week really was a cool one and kept me on my toes.  I've been seeing some real miracles lately and I will be commenting more on those next week or the one after probably.  Really, I have just felt so blessed, even with everything that is going on, in these past few weeks and especially days.  I cannot believe that it is almost over, 2 weeks and a few days left.  Off to Pucallpa this week and my last week will be spent giving trainings here in Iquitos, while my replacement is already going to be here....that'll be an interesting development, having my own replacement with us for almost a week.  Love you guys and I will talk to you next week!

Elder Peacock

Alma 26:12

Two Years!

[Email dated 11.8.14]


For those of you keeping track (Mom, Dad and Eva), I hit 2 years yesterday.  Seems pretty crazy to think that I      have been a missionary for 2 years now and I'm really glad that I still get to be for another 3 weeks.  Also, we made Oreo milkshakes yesterday.  Pretty delicious.

I didn’t get to write much last week because it was really hectic and I got a little bit of time on Monday, but not a whole lot.  Since I last wrote we had the leadership council and then we went out to Tarapoto on Friday.  We were there through the weekend and then had training on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, we went out to Moyobamba for training on Thursday and then we returned to Iquitos last night.  We've really been pretty busy and really, we're always pretty busy.  We also are almost always doing exactly the same thing, just with different missionaries in different cities.  So I don't really know that I have all that much to say about what has been gong on out here, because it's really a lot more of the same.


One cool thing was that I got to head out to Nueva Cajamarca one last time and got to say goodbye to a lot of the people out there.  That was definitely my favorite area and it is definitely the prettiest one in the mission too.  As far as I understand, they should be receiving a chapel in this coming year, which should be awesome for the branch and it should grow like crazy.  One of the pictures is the family that I baptized my last week out there.  They actually live right in front of the plot of land where they are going to build the church.  That family is the best!  They have been members of the Church for about 10 months now and their lives have changed so much in the time they’ve been in the church.  They were always good people and didn’t change all that much about themselves other than just a few little things, but they are just so much happier right now and it is just so easy to see the blessings that they have received in such a short period of time.  It was really nice to get to visit them again. 


Also, I got to see Keisy (Casey) Open his mission call.  He was baptized like a week before I got there the first time and he was always working with us.  He’s going to turn 18 on January 15th and on the 21st he is going to serve in Guatemala.  It was really a special trip to get to go out there again and see everyone and how the branch is still just changing ever so slightly, but still the same branch.


In this picture I am with the branch president and the prior mission leader in Nueva Cajamarca who is now the elders quorum president.  They're brothers.  The EQPs son is the 2nd counselor of the branch as well... this family has been a large part of the structure of the branch since the day it started.  The EQP was the first branch president there.  They're the coolest.  It’s been weird, because I've already said goodbye to an quarter of the mission and one of my old areas.  I happened to be there on the day that I finished 2 years...


During the upcoming week, we’re going to be here in Iquitos, visiting a bunch of missionaries and of course doing more of the same, and I love doing it.  Sorry for the short letter but there are pictures today so that makes up for it right? They do say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so really this is a long email.  Love you guys! Hope you have a great week!

Elder Peacock

Alma 26:12

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom!

Hey everyone!


This week was interesting.  We started off with the farewell of my group on Monday, and then the newbies got here on Tuesday and the rest of the week was basically just like any other week that I have here:  going out to work with other missionaries and long meetings with president.


On Monday, we had the farewell in the morning for my group...the whole time I was really just thinking that I was glad that it wasn’t actually my farewell.  [Meanwhile in California, I spent all of Tuesday thinking, “he could be home today…”] Not that I don't want to see you guys, but I really am glad that I still have a little more time here and I feel like there is still more that I have to do.  That night when we took them to the airport I had an interesting feeling... I sent off a couple of good friends there and it was a weird thing....next time it'll be my turn... that’s weird.


On Tuesday, the new missionaries arrived and we had the same program as we always do, they got fairly confused and it looked like they were all 70 percent asleep as usual.  When the meeting finished, I went with one of the companionships to take them to their new room because the trainer had just gotten here from Nueva Cajamarca.  Their room just so happens to be my first room.  It was weird.  It was like the same situation as when I got there.  We both got there together and I was being trained.  It's like he's me but 2 years ago....that's weird.  But other than that, it was fairly normal for the newbies and the farewell.

In our meetings with president, we've planned the calendar through December....I won’t even be here for that!  We’ve also planned all of the trainings from now until the time that I leave.  This week in the Leaders Council I am going to be training on the use of family history work with the plan of salvation.   In the coming month in the zone conferences,  I will be talking about la esencia de la obra misional.  I think that is the essence in English but that kinda sounds really strange to me.  Either way, if you’re a returned missionary you’ll understand what I am talking about...kind of.  If you’re not a returned missionary it'll probably just be better if I explain it after I get home.  Haha, so today, I don't have all that much to do.  By the time next week hits, I will be busy with travelling and trainings until I finish.  I'm going to make the most of the time that I have left.

Now, just a shout out to my mother.  Happy Birthday Mom!!!  I am thankful for everything that you have done over the years and for everything that you do for me now that I am here in Peru.  You are the best mom in the world and I'm looking forward to seeing you soon.  I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for you mom! I love you!!!

Elder Peacock

Alma 26:12