Monday, March 3, 2014

I Feel Spoiled - Elder Jake Avery

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

(Note to reader: Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking highlighted words will link to additional information.)

This is my email from last week that you didn't receive:

We are doing very good in the Rosales. We had stake conference and had someone from the Seventy came to speak to us. Two investigators came to conference, and lots of less active members. It was a HUGE pay off for two missionaries who have felt like we're speaking Quechua when we tell these people that they should go to church. Even better, the R** family came to church. Some of them are members of our church and some are not, but we've been teaching them for about a month and now they're going to church more regularly. Yesterday we happened to meet one of their brothers who is inactive, and his family. That's like five people from one family there.

My mission president and his wife came to speak in our stake conference, and Sister Archibald said something very interesting. She said, ''Satan doesn't have a family and will never have a family. He's trying to destroy the family so that everyone becomes miserable like him.'' She talked about the importance of family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening. She encouraged the people, ''Even if your children are already teenagers, start tomorrow.'' It reminded me of President Packer's talk when he said that children who are exposed to the scriptures when they're young are much less likely to go down a wrong path, and those who do go down a wrong path will have the spiritual strength to some back.

My mission president also said in priesthood session that fathers are the patriarchs of their homes. The fathers need to teach their children from the scriptures, send them on missions, and keep them on track. It's not the responsibility of the bishop or the young men's leaders. This is the duty of a father.

I feel spoiled to have such a great family because when I look into the crowd in my ward here, I see one or two families with a mom, dad, and children. That's out of 120+ members who attend church in our building. I'm so thankful that you dragged me out of bed for 18 years to go to church, temple, and seminary. I see some parents who are push overs and their families are wrecks :(

The Elder from the Seventy told a story about when his daughter was 12 years old, and she was crying because he wouldn't let her do something that the other teenagers were doing. He explained as she cried on his shoulder, ''You're crying now so we both don't have to cry later.'' I just wanted to thank you again for being a good leader and not making me have to take myself to church, the temple, home teaching, etc. because there are young men here who have no example of a priesthood holder or patriarch in their house.

I got to play guitar with Renzo!
This is my letter for today:

Hi Mom,

We had a baptism this week and I got to baptize her!! Her name is S**. She's 24 years old and her mom is already a member the our church. Her mom was fasting last month that her family would listen to the ''hermanos'' and now one of her kids is baptized. The Lord answers prayers.

Missionary Mommas seems exciting, but I like our blog better. Well, maybe I should make it a little more interesting :P Sorry, I don't have pictures from the baptism, but I'd love to get some later this week.

I've really noticed that only people who really understand all that the Lord has done for us are the ones who are willing to serve Him. Lots of people say, ''I believe in God. Why do I need to do anything else?" Obviously they don't understand what God expects from His children, or what Jesus Christ did to make God's goal possible. Sometimes I rush through lunch, rush to an appointment, or rush around in the morning to get out the door. I have come to a deep understanding of what God expects from me as His representative, and I find myself annoying my awesome companion because I rush us around everywhere.

Mom, tell my brothers and sisters that I miss them now more than ever, and I'm sorry for torturing a few of them. I feel like a flipping oldie. When I get back, you'll be 40. HA! You and Dad are welcome to come to Peru when I'm finished here, if you want to blow your mind in this world I've lived in. There's actually a returned missionary who came by the other day from Reno. He wants to live in Peru.

Dear Dad,

This is where we study :)
This week I had very many similar experiences to what you described. We lost several work, planning, and study hours for training meetings and interviews with the mission president this week. On top of all of that, we had a baptism, did service by helping a family with their wedding, and had oodles of appointments we missed. I think on Thursday I was about ready to give up, but I persevered. Yes, I was stressed, but every day we could check of another big event. I got to baptize S** on Friday, then we did the wedding on Saturday, and J** was ordained an Elder on Sunday. What a week!

The baptism was tricky. It was scheduled for 6 o'clock, with all the district in the church building at Miramar. We had interviews with the President in the stake center. My interview was at 1 o'clock, but when we got there 10 minutes early, there were three missionaries before me. We had to pick up S** in our area at 4 o'clock, and the Elders that were behind me in line had to go to Miramar to turn off the water in the baptismal font. We ended up doing splits, and I went directly to Miramar while Elder Calderon went to pick up S**. The best part was that President decided to come to our baptism, so we had that extra bit of pressure to not mess anything up, haha. Long story short: We ran a few times, almost threw our cell phones against a brick wall because they weren't working, and thanked the heavens when the night was over :)

S** brought two of her sisters to her baptism, so we did a tour of the church. It was cool. We basically went from painting to painting and explained who is Moroni, over here Jesus visited the people in America, and here is Christ being baptized. It was neat. Hopefully we can get a few more of her siblings to learn more about the gospel.

In my interview with President Archibald, it seemed like he was indicating that I'm not leaving my area yet. I've been here for seven months, so that surprised me a little. He did say that a few problems came up, so he's not sending sister missionaries to our ward yet :(

Anyway, I had a great and busy week. Right now the nights feel like naps and the days feel way too short. Some of the most important things I've learned so far in my mission: Study the scriptures every day, don't go inactive, don't marry a non-member, magnify all callings, and this church is true. I'll see you on Mother's Day!

Oh and Dad, I'm surviving very well on the mission money. I spend 50 soles on food every week, and this month I had 30 soles left over. Woot! That means more ice cream :) I love you.

King of the Mountain (February 24, 2014)

New Area - Yungay, Peru (March 17, 2014)