Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Almost Didn’t Get to Write…

[Look what was waiting in my inbox right after I posted!]

Hey everyone!!

So I couldn’t write on Saturday.  Long story with lots of travelling and a power outage.  This is the first moment I could get to write you.  I didn’t get the chance to read your letters, I’ll read them next week...at some point....

This week was interesting.  On Monday, we left Iquitos to go visit Tarapoto and Moyobamba.  We were there until Saturday.  On Saturday we flew from Tarapoto to Iquitos, but then we went straight to a car and went to the City of Nauta.  It’s a little tiny city an hour and a half outside of Iqutransportationitos where there is a relatively strong branch with 4 missionaries.  We got there at about 6 o’clock and we will didn’t get back until this morning.  It was a full week outside of the offices and it was nice. 

When we got to Tarapoto on Monday night, we got there with just enough time to meet up with the missionaries we were staying with.  The next day we went to their district meeting and then got to go out and work with them the rest of the day.  Wednesday, we had a special training with President, which went really well, and then went out and worked the rest of the day.  On Thursday, we left at about 5:30 to get to Moyobamba and repeated the special training at about 8.  We worked the rest of that day and Friday as well.

On Thursday, after the training in Moyo, I went to Rioja teamed up with two elders (one who has been out for a year, and one who is his first transfer). President Gómez teamed up the district leader.  President has started doing things like that a lot now, but he always puts on a nametag that says Elder Gómez.  I think it’s kinda funny because even a lot of members don’t realize that he’s the mission president, they just think it’s a little strange that he’s a little bit older than us.

Nauta was also pretty cool.  I got to go out and work for a while there and went to church there.  Both Elder Limon and Elder Anderson had been there for a while so I had heard a lot about Nauta, but it was the first time and probably the only time that I will get to go out there.  It’s a nice little place with a lot of people and the church has grown a lot in the past few years.

The upcoming week is going to be somewhat crazy as well.  We have to get everything ready for the Leadership Council on Thursday, and we’re planning to get out and do a visit with a missionary while here in Iquitos.  Then, on Friday we’re heading out to Pucallpa for the weekend for interviews with President.  There will not be any meetings in the church on Sunday and we can’t even get together to watch General Conference [twice a year our Church leaders hold a worldwide conference that is broadcast throughout the world] because Perú has elections that day and it is the law to not have any meetings that day.  I won’t actually get to see conference until the 18th and the 19th of October because there are no meetings on the 5th and on the 12th we have stake [regional] conference in Iquitos with Elder Uceda and Elder Godoy both of the Seventy (Elder Uceda is the area president).  Elder Anderson won’t actually get to see conference until he gets home because that weekend he is finishing and wants to go and visit one of his wards in Iquitos that Sunday.  By then I will already be with a new companion.

I’m really a fan of this new way of doing things, where we get to go out and work almost every day with other missionaries instead of being in the offices.  We’ve been changing things a lot recently.  We want to get away from trying to convince people that the Church is true through memorizing information.  People often mistakenly believe that people in the jungle just can’t understand as quickly as the people in Lima and that teaching must be a lot simpler.  Instead, we’re trying to put the main focus is on having the people read the Book of Mormon and pray about it to find out for themselves if it is true.  I feel like it is such a simple concept.  In the Book of Mormon itself, we are promised that if we read the Book of Mormon, meditate on the message it contains and ask God if it is true with a sincere heart, having real intent and faith in Christ, He will give us the answer.  In the same way, He can teach us the truth of all things.  In a lot of the visits that we are doing with the missionaries, we’re focusing a lot on this point, teaching so that the people can really receive a testimony for themselves.  I really love this way of teaching, I’ve been doing it for a few months now and I feel it is so much better for thThe Book of Mormone people and more interesting for me as a missionary.  [Click HERE to request a copy of the Book of Mormon for yourself, or you can view or download it for free HERE]

This promise is true and for all of you that are reading this, and I would like to extend that same invitation.  A lot of you have already done this, and I’m sure there are more than a few that haven’t, but by all means, the invitation is for YOU.  I invite you to read the Book of Mormon daily, meditate in your hearts the message that it contains, and ask God if it is true.  Whether it is the first time or the thousandth, I promise that God will answer.  My favorite part of this is that through that answer, we can know all things.  There is no limit to what we can learn through the testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I would love to hear comments from any and all that accept the invitation on how it went.

Love you guys have a great week!!

Elder Peacock

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Non-Refundable Ticket

We received an email last week from the Church Travel Office giving us details on Elder Peacock’s flight home on December 2nd.  My favorite line:  “This is a NON-REFUNDABLE TICKET”.  Excellent!  Now he has to come home!

Tyler had just enough time to respond to a couple of emailed questions, but not enough time to send a proper email this week, but with itinerary in hand, somehow I’m not feeling cheated!

Monday, September 22, 2014


[Email dated 9.20.14]

I think I forgot to mention something about the changes last week.  You know how in elementary school you have those logic problems where you have corn, chicken and foxes and for some strange reason you have to get them all across the river and there are just some weird qualifiers for how you can do it?  Well I think we all thought that that would never actually be a needed skill, or maybe that was just me, but as it turns out I had to do that the other day for the changes.


We had to make sure that everyone has a companion to be able to get to the airport and to get picked up and to do a few other things during the day.  We also had to coordinate 4 zones of missionaries, with 3-6 changes apiece with the missionaries leaving and coming in at different times with the trainers having to be at a meeting at one time and the newbies at another time.  There were just so many groups and nobody can ever be without a companion so it was just kind of crazy.  It actually took about an hour and a half to coordinate all of it....haha.  Who would have thought that that type of logic problem would actually be a useful skill?  I definitely could not have guessed it.

We were in Pucallpa this whole week.  As I mentioned last week, we’ve kinda changed how we're doing things and we had extended the trip a lot.  Normally, we would have gotten there on Wednesday, had the training on Thursday and left on Friday.  This time, we left on Monday and were there working with missionaries out there on Monday night, all day Tuesday and Wednesday, had the training on Thursday morning, worked with missionaries later that day and left Friday morning.  

DSC_0024Apparently, the Zone leaders hadn’t told anyone that we were showing up a few days early and when we showed up on their pday..... SURPRISE!! haha I guess people naturally freak out when they unexpectedly run into the assistants, especially in a city that we don’t live in. We went to Tottus (Peruvian Walmart) where there is also a Pizza Hut and a KFC and we ran into a couple of missionaries there.  Haha, one of them just acted all normal and said hi to us like it wasn’t a big deal but everyone else was clearly just surprised and confused.  I remember when I was a Junior Companion and later a District Leader, I thought that the assistants were like a big deal and I definitely freaked out when I saw them.  Now that I am one of them, I feel like it’s not even a big deal--perspective changes a lot of things.  But yeah, there were quite a few scared and surprised missionaries, even though I really don't understand why.  It is definitely funny to see reactions like that though.

So the whole week was spent working with missionaries and just one morning of trainings.  It was so much better and I feel like the trip was actually worth it this time.  I got to go out with one companionship of zone leaders in my old area, 2 companionships that are training newbies and another one where they are both relatively young missionaries.  With both of the companionships in training it was fun because the new missionaries were both American.  Both of them thought that they were somewhat lost.  The funny part is that both of them spoke better Spanish than I did at that point in my mission.  A lot of these new missionaries, especially the ones from this group, get here really prepared and just need to have more confidence.  I think that's the thing I probably saw this week.  The Lord really prepares us to do what He calls us to do.  Really, if we have faith in Him, we'll do it with confidence because we know that the Lord has already done the preparation for us.

This week we're headed out to Tarapoto and Moyobamba.  We leave on Monday and we will get back early afternoon on Saturday.  Right when we get back to Iquitos, we're going to take a car to Nauta, a little city with 4 missionaries.  It’s about 1.5-2 hours from Iquitos by car.  We won’t get back to Iquitos until next Monday.  ( I have no idea when I will actually be able to write you again, I may or may not find time on saturday morning...).

Well, I love you guys and hope that you all have a great week! I would have pictures but really I haven’t had many opportunities to take pictures recently...maybe someday.... [someday?  how many times will  he be in Peru on a mission? aargh.  Thanks Google for the pics to spice up this post.]

Elder Peacock

Alma 26:12

P.S.  As far as the flights go, I have no real control over them.  How they typically work is I’d leave here at 7ish to go to Lima and then during the early morning (1-4ish) the flight leaves to the US.  They usually send the flights to Atlanta first and then from Atlanta to everywhere else.  The flights are purchased in Salt Lake and the Personal Secretary has already made the request.  The only other thing that might affect it is the possibility that I would stay an extra day in Lima to go through the temple with a family that I taught. They already have been members of the Church for more than a year [a requirement to enter the temple] and they’re awesome.  It just depends on getting it scheduled.  Absolutely nothing is for sure yet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I’m a Grandpa!

[email dated 9.13.14]

Hey everyone!

There were changes this week and we got a huge group of newbies (16).  We picked them up in a giant bus that only exists here in the jungle.  [wish we had a picture of the bus!] We took them to the mission home and ate lunch with them. They were a really happy group and didn’t seem as scared as the last one.  It might have had to do with the fact IMG_0530that there were so many of them.  Elder Belnap (my 6'9" MTC companion) just so happens to be training the smallest Peuvian I think I have ever seen.....haha that just seemed too good to be real but it was funny [I really wish there was a picture of that!  But, here’s one of Elder Belnap in the MTC with Tyler, who is 6’ and generally looks like a giant himself next to Peruvians]. 

Also, Elder Lee, the missionary that I got to train back in November/December is now training one of the newcomers, Elder Portocarrero.  So, I have a Peruvian "grandson"! He obviously isn’t actually related to me, but it's still cool to see that the missionary that I trained is now training another one.  The meeting with the new missionaries takes a lot longer when there are so many of them, it was basically an all day thing.


After the newbies got in, we had a few trainings right away here in Iquitos where I talked this time about the Book of Mormon.  In the past, the missionaries had been really focused on "teaching well" in the way that everyone should gain a lot of knowledge about the doctrine and the details within the lessons. Well, I've never been a huge fan of that way and neither is President and he has really wanted us to be able to apply a principle taught be Elder Bednar to seek learning by faith and to be able to help others to be able to learn by faith focusing more on commitments and really teaching more simply.  It really is a much better and also easier way to teach.  As an application, I talked about the Book of Mormon and the way to use it to help people to learn by faith that the church was restored through Joseph Smith.  It's one of my favorite trainings that I’ve done, actually.  This week, we're going to be out in Pucallpa for almost the whole week to be there and visit with the missionaries and see how all is out there and give the same trainings.

Here is a quote from the Elder Bednar talk referenced by Tyler, which is really good and can be found in its entirety HERE:

Nephi teaches us, “When a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth [the message] unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1). Please notice how the power of the Spirit carries the message unto but not necessarily into the heart. A teacher can explain, demonstrate, persuade, and testify, and do so with great spiritual power and effectiveness. Ultimately, however, the content of a message and the witness of the Holy Ghost penetrate into the heart only if a receiver allows them to enter. Learning by faith opens the pathway into the heart.

In this mission, the assistants were basically always here in the offices doing things--little projects, and hardly ever getting out into the field.  When they did get out into the field, they would just go to their area and work with what they could with the time that they had.  However, we have encouraged the President to add a secretary and to allow the secretaries to get out and work too.  This allows us to do what we were always supposed to be doing-- go out and work in the field with other missionaries.  This whole week, we weren’t ever in the offices, except for a few hours for some things that we had to do, and the rest of the time we were picking up the newbies, in trainings or going to work with other missionaries to help them out.  It is so much more fun and fulfilling to get to go out and work and to actually help other missionaries and their investigators.  This also means that we have extended our trips to serve the missionaries in far away areas, so we won’t be in our own area very much.  I’m just happy that we'll  actually get to do something outside and be able to really help them with real things and not just try to do it all from here in the offices.  

I hope that you all have a great week!! Talk to you next Saturday!! (maybe I'll have more pictures next time)...

Elder Peacock

P.S.  According to what I know, I should be arriving home on the 2nd of December in the afternoon/night, more or less.  I actually should have flight plans in a short amount of time.  Nothing 100% yet but that's what I can tell you at this point.

Monday, September 8, 2014

This Office is Really Cold!

Hey everyone! benefit-trunks

At this moment, there is a group of missionaries finishing their missions and having their last interviews with President Gomez.  In mission terms, they’re all TRUNKY and its kinda funny.  Trunky means they have their minds on putting their stuff in their suitcases (trunks) and taking them home... its really a dumb word.  [Tyler says I’m trunky.  He’s right.]

This week we had the monthly Mission Leaders Council where all of the zone leaders and the sister training leaders come to Iquitos for a day which, due to the flights, usually turns into 2 to 3 days.  We talked about a bunch of things in that meeting that seem completely ridiculous to me.  I won't go into much detail, but it has to do with people not understanding what a mission really is.  With the age change, this being a new mission [July 2013] and everything still getting set up, there are quite a few missionaries that act like this is EFY [a retreat for youth], in that they’re here to have a nice, cute spiritual experience but have fformalblacktie2orgotten about the work part of it all.  The real problem is that it is a contagious idea that has infiltrated some zones.  The other thing is that when President got to the mission, there were some bad habits that were throughout the mission.  He’s recently been correcting some of these (for example, pday in street clothes).  We were all taught that that is how p-day was here because it was the jungle [missionary guidelines stipulate missionary attire for all but sports or service].  Me and a few other missionaries had written President about it a few months ago to ask for clarification.  President reaffirmed the rule, and a lot of people got annoyed.  People often don’t want to give up their habits of disobedience.  Basically, there are a lot of people overreacting and just trying to blame others because the mission has been struggling for the last 6 months.  It was really just a lot of drama about how some missionaries don’t really want to be missionaries....but I think the culture is changing slowly but surely.  

As for my trainings, last month I trained on daily planning and morning studies.  We changed the planning from a lesson every hour to every half hour so that we could be more efficient and work more and focus our studies on our investigators.  The other training that I was doing was a leadership training where I talked about the importance of the District Leaders to help them to take more controlDel_Parson_Jesus_of_Nazareth_400 because before the Zone Leaders really were in charge of everything.  These are subtle changes but they really make a huge difference.  In the Mission Leaders Council, I trained on charity and getting outside of ourselves and thinking of others with an example in Matthew 4:1-11 (with JST) and based it on an MTC talk from Elder Bednar "The Character of Christ".  In the coming month, I will be training on teaching simply and the Book of Mormon.  The subjects I use for training depend on the needs of the mission and what President wants.  Training is a large part of what I do as an assistant.

We live in an apartment about 3 blocks away from the offices and we have a pensionista here in the offices that is a member of my first ward (Moronacocha) and they bring the food here.  She is a really good cook, even though we still eat a lot of rice and chicken.  

This week there are changes and a group of 16 newbies is showing up, which is always fun.  I love the newbies and it’ll probably be a lot more fun having a bigger group so I’m excited for that.  Right after the changes, we go straight back to training here in Iquitos and travelling.  Our travelling will be even more extended.  When we go, we will be staying out in the other cities for longer periods so that we can go out with more missionaries outside of Iquitos.  So, basically, I will never be here.  From now on I will only be in the offices to do reports and for planning.  Otherwise, I will be out with other missionaries.  Even though yesterday, I did a report for like 10 hours without stopping...that’s way too long to be looking at a computer screen....

Well, I love you guys and hope you have a great week!!

Elder Peacock

P.S.  Also, mom, turns out that Sister Simonson’s dad found my blog and told her last week that he loved the picture of her throwing up...hahahaaha turns out my blog really is famous!

Monday, September 1, 2014

More of the Same

This week I was not attacked by any drunk people...

We went to Pucallpa this week to give the more of the same trainings...it is a really strange cycle.  We've been doing 2 different trainings and I have given one of mine 3 times and the other one 5 times.  The weirdest part of it is how much differently the trainings are received in each place.  In some, the missionaries are really open and willing, especially because we're putting in a lot of new things in practice that had kinda been forgotten or done differently before.  In the simplest way, President Gomez is really starting to make more changes in the mission.  For about the first year, he had been letting the mission keep working the way it had before.  He’d made a few small changes here and there, but it seems like now he's really making a lot more changes than before.  

It's cool to be a part of the whole planning and training thing, to get to look at how the whole mission is doing and get to look at how the different cities need different things and yet find a way to make it one system for everyone.  Really, things are starting to get way simpler than they were before and its interesting.  

We didn’t really have any crazy stories from this week which is why I’m saying more of the same...not really sure what to tell you about at this point-- just more training going out with missionaries in their areas, meetings, planning, etc.  I haven't even gotten to work in my own area yet this week...sometimes that’s the tough part--that I don’t really get to work in my own area.  Sometimes, there really just is not any time.  I hope you guys have a great week and hopefully I have some more cool experiences this week that I can share with you next week.

Love you guys!!

Elder Peacock

Alma 26:12