Thursday, September 30, 2010

In Salt Lake and Lovin’ It!!!

Hey everyone!!

Well it'll will be a week tomorrow since I entered the field in Salt Lake City. I love it here. Now that I have been here a little bit longer I can tell you a lot more about the area, my companions etc.

I am serving in the Cannon area of Salt Lake. It's located South? I think of Temple Square and the area of Salt Lake I am in is known as Glendale. It is no more than 5/10 minutes outside of the temple (We did an endowment this morning). There are a lot of Latinos, so we have plenty of opportunities to teach people in Spanish. We go to a Spanish Branch for Church, and our area covers 3 wards I believe, so it's actually a pretty small area. 

As for my companions, I am loving both of them. We get along great! Elder Romero, who is from Mexico City has been out 6 months and he didn't know any English before he got here. He is also a recent convert to the church. We talk about Mexico City together pretty often. He is still working on his English, haha, so it's cool to see someone who is on the opposite side of the language barrier. Elder Coulston and I have fun teaching him English, especially when he asks questions like "What is a redneck?" and then we have to try and explain it haha. Luckily, we found a couple of good examples to show him. Also, he had his 1st slurpee today!!!! haha 

Elder Coulston is also great, he is the District Leader and has been out 16 months. He's from Washington, and although he won't admit it, his Spanish is very good. He played football in high school too and loves sports. We get along great and I am learning a lot about missionary work from him. He has been in this same area for a lot of his mission so he knows how to do things and what needs to be done. He is also very patient with me and looks for opportunities to get me involved in teaching, even if I am having trouble with the language. He is a great Elder. 

So since this was my first week in the field, I have had a lot of are some of them.

FIRST DOOR SLAMMED IN MY FACE. Yesterday, Elder Romero and I were going door to door and contacting people while Elder Coulston was in a meeting. Most of the doors were English speaking. One door we knocked was answered by an old man who greeted us with a smile. Then promptly told us that he is orthodox. We started to introduce ourselves and ask him some questions when he shook his head and slammed the door. All we could say was "Have a nice Day!!" haha. It's really easy to tell when people just DO NOT want to talk to you at all. 

FIRST BAPTISM. We baptized a guy named Felipe on Saturday. I met him on Friday night, so I wouldn't really consider him my first baptism, since I didn't have anything to do with the fact that he got baptized, but still he was technically my first baptism. He's a good guy, and he was confirmed in church on Sunday and he sat with us at church.

FIRST SACRAMENT IN A REAL SPANISH BRANCH. at this point, I have to focus really hard to understand what people are saying, which is hard to do for like 6 hours (Branch council and other meetings). But hopefully it will get easier.

FIRST TIME FEELING THE SPIRIT DURING MY SPANISH TESTIMONY. Last night we had an amazing lesson. We stopped by our investigator's house. Their names are Erica, Francisco and Francisco Jr. We watched a video about the Restoration with them. The Spirit was so strong. They were open to it, and the Spirit softened their hearts to what we were teaching them. Like I said earlier, Elder Coulston tries hard to get me involved in the lessons even if I am not completely sure what is going on. Erica said something that I couldn’t quite understand, and he whispered to me what she said and told me to bear my testimony. Erica basically said that she feels like Joseph Smith a lot, she is confused about church and she feels like ours is true and that the Joseph Smith story is true. I started to bear her my testimony, and I could feel the Spirit with me as I was talking. In times before, I'm usually concentrating so hard on my Spanish and I'm so worried about saying things right that I don't focus on my message or the investigator. But this time was different, I was calm and I took my time. I was able to express my message and I could see in Erica's family's eyes that they understood my message as well. It was amazing and I can't wait to do it some more. We ended up committing Erica and her family to baptism on the 16th!!! Really awesome.

FIRST MARRIAGE. We have been meeting with Carlos and Marisela all this past week. As is the case with a lot of the Latino people here, they are together and have kids but they are not married. We have been talking to them about marriage this last week and last night we had a Senior missionary with us who specializes in getting people married. He did all the paper work with them and today at about 4 we are going down to the marriage license office with them to get it done, and the branch president will marry them on Friday!! We read through Proclamation on the Family with them and you could just see how happy and grateful they were that we were helping them come together as a family. Marisela was crying at some points. They have two daughters who are 3 and 5 I think. I know that their family will be blessed because they are getting married. God will be with them and bless them for keeping his commandments. It's amazing to see how much this Gospel and all its teachings can bless people's lives.

There are a lot more firsts but those are the most exciting ones. I have already gained a great love for the Latino people here. A lot of them are struggling here in America with the language barrier especially. Believe me I know how that one feels so I feel for them.  Our whole goal as missionaries is to show our love for these people by bringing them into the Gospel and helping them come unto Jesus Christ. If they do that, God will bless them and help them out with anything and everything that they may be struggling with. I love the work, and I don't even know Spanish very well yet. It's such a blessing to share the gospel with other people. Our goal for the Cannon zone for the month of October is 50, and our personal goal for our companionship is 9, we have 3 on date, with 4 or 5 more hopefully on date in the next week or so. I know we can do it, with the help of Heavenly Father.

Ok, so as far as mail goes, I get mail on Tuesdays, and the address I gave you is for the mission office, so it is sent there and the zone leaders pick it up and deliver it on Tuesdays, I got a letter from Cassandra and Grandma/Grandpa Peacock this week, so if anyone sent me mail, I have  not received it yet. As for, I don't know how those work here, so you would probably be better of sending an actual letter because I will for sure get those every week.

I love you all and I miss you, but there is nothing else I would rather be doing right now. I love being a missionary and doing the Lord's work. I have the opportunity to bring such great joy and happiness into other people's lives right now. I am loving serving here in the Salt Lake mission, and I'm so excited to be able to hear from our Prophet Thomas S. Monson and all the apostles this weekend. It's such a blessing that we have them to guide us here on Earth. They are leaders of God's church on the Earth and they receive direct revelation from Him. They are inspired. So, take advantage of this weekend it's only twice a year!!!!

I know that this church is true, I know it with all of my heart. And I love sharing that with the people here in Salt Lake City!!

Amor Siempre,

Elder Peacock

Friday, September 24, 2010

Here We Go!

Hola mi familia!!

It's P-Day here in Salt Lake City. However, usually the P-Days are on Wednesday, so expect emails on Wednesday weekly. I got on the bus at 7:45 this morning, and they took us to the mission home in Salt Lake. There are about 20 other Elders who were reassigned while waiting for their Visas from Mexico. When we arrived, we met our Mission President, President Winn. He's very cool and he challenged us to work hard. We had a testimony meeting, and then President Winn and his assistants chose the companionships off of our testimonies!! Then we went outside to the parking lot where all of our new companions were waiting. I am in a three Elder companionship, with Elder Caulson (from Washington, been out 16 months) and Elder Romero (from Mexico City!!). They both are really great Elders and I can't wait to get to know them better and learn from them. I would tell you more about them and more about the area we are in , but I've been here for only a few hours, so I don't really know much yet haha.

Here are some things about the Salt Lake Mission in general that I have learned. The borders of the mission go from Nevada to Wyoming, but most of the Elders are in Salt Lake City because that's where all the people are. Also, I will be teaching in Spanish.  There is a lot of English around, but I will only be teaching in Spanish and working in Spanish branches. Also, we WILL get to go to the Temple and General Conference for sure so I am definitely stoked about that. And Salt Lake baptizes A LOT, so I should be doing a lot of teaching which is AWESOME. I get fed pretty much every night as well.  Oh also, here is my address for mail and stuff:

Elder Justin Peacock
3487 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, UT

After I met my new companions, we grabbed my stuff and jumped in the car. That's right, we have a car. It's a Mazda. We drove to our house. We live in a member's home (can't remember his name). We live in the basement, which has a bedroom, a couple desks, a few tables and a couch. My closet is in the food storage, and we had to remodel in order to use it as a closet. Not the nicest place I have ever seen, but it doesn't matter to me, I'm a missionary and won't spend much time in the house anyway.

After I dropped my stuff off, we went shopping at WalMart for food and other things we need for the week. Then we stopped by and got free Tongan food at this restaurant because I guess missionaries eat for free there!! It was really good, never had Tongan food before, but I liked it. And now we are in a little internet cafe place, full of Elders, everyone emailing their families. After this we're going to go play basketball at the Stake Center for P-Day.

Hmm...what else, I'm not sure what else to say, it's crazy that I'm out in the field now and I will be teaching real people now, not "investigators." I'm nervous, but super excited at the same time. President Winn said we would be teaching TONIGHT, so I will probably be a part of my first discussion tonight...crazy.
Well, I'm just going to bear my testimony in English, for the sake of time. I know that this church is true. I know it with all of my heart. It is the same church that Jesus Christ himself set up while he was on the Earth. And we have a prophet in Thomas S. Monson, who leads and guides our church just like the prophets of old do throughout the scriptures. I'm so excited to be out here in Salt Lake City serving the Lord. I have no doubt that this is where I am supposed to be right now and I cannot wait to start bringing people unto Christ, because "this is my joy" (Alma 29:9).  It is my joy to bring the Gospel into people's lives, the same Gospel that has brought me countless blessings and happiness in my life. This Gospel is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I know it's true. I say that In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I will have a lot more to write about next week I'm sure, but for now, this is about all I have to talk about. However, judging from the last 4 hours or so, I'm going to love it here. No Doubt About It.

Les Amo muchisimo (I love you guys a lot),
Elder Peacock

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

9/17/10: A Mission “Call”

Elder Peacock called home with the news that he will be reassigned to the Utah-Salt Lake City Mission pending completion of his Visa effective 9/23/10.  It was great to pick up the phone and have him there.   Unfortunately, only Tyler and I were home so Jeff and Bryce missed out (which did not make his dad very happy!)  He will be going with Elder Juker and Elder Reynolds from the MTC, while his companion Elder Jacobs is being reassigned to California-San Bernadino.  We will post his new address when we get it!


A Mission 2-Fer

So....I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that I will get to call home very soon!! And that's because of the Bad news. I still don't know what the plan is for my departure...and if they let me know in the next couple days and I leave before the next P-day, I will get to call home to let you guys know what is going on.

There are a couple of things I can tell you however, about this whole situation. First off, I am getting reassigned. We talked to the travel offices on Monday and nobody going to MCW has their Permisos yet...which is the first/longest part of the visa. And, travel offices said that we would be getting reassigned and they had put the request in already so we should know soon. On the other hand, the 4 Elders in our district going to MCE do have their permisos. So they will not get reassigned, and will leave as soon as they go down to the consulate in Salt Lake and sign a paper...which could be tomorrow or in 3 weeks we just don't know.


So, I am hoping to know very soon where I am getting reassigned to and am still hoping to leave next week. I have no clue where I might go. Missionaries in the zone that just left got reassigned to Texas, Minnesota, and Cleveland, and the Elders that got reassigned before that went to Colorado Springs, Las Vegas and Sacramento. I can't wait to find out, its like getting a mission call all over again. And I am not upset or anything like that so there's absolutely no reason to try to cheer me up. This isn't a bad thing. I get to serve a mission in 2 locations!!, experience people from two different cultures, work on my Spanish in a little easier setting before I am just absolutely immersed in it, and most of all the Lord has a purpose for doing this. There's a reason I'm getting reassigned and I'm excited to find out what it is.

Now that I got that out of the way, I can talk about the week. Thank you everyone for the letters, especially Grandpa Bruce and Grandma Joyce who sent me a package full of food and what not. On Monday at the latest, I will be sending a package home which will have printed out pictures, memory card with all the new pictures, tape recording for you, letters and some other stuff. So you won't get your letters as soon as usual, but they will all be in the package when they get home.

Our TRC this week went well. We taught the Plan of Salvation again, this time to a recent convert. So, it was more of a review. We also taught the law of tithing and worked on sharing personal experiences. It went well. I used little pictures that I made to represent the Plan of Salvation, with little circles representing each step of the Plan. It makes it a lot easier to visualize I think. And they are all laminated and everything so they should be able to last me my whole mission as long as I don't lose them or anything.

As far as the progressive investigator goes, we taught Julio last Saturday and invited him to church and he said he would come. So we got him to come to church which is good and we should be meeting with him soon again...we were going to meet with him yesterday but a doctor appointment came up at the last second for Elder Jacobs so we had to cancel.

So, in case this is my last email at the MTC, I just want to bear my testimony about the MTC. It's great. It really is. The spirit is so strong everywhere you go. In 2 short months I have noticed a change in myself. I know so much more about the gospel, and my testimony has skyrocketed since I have been here. If I were to compare it to something I would have to say it's like EFY on steroids, without the silly little games and distractions, for 2 months instead of just a week. Those of you that have been to EFY know that there is a great Spirit there, but in all honesty it is nothing compared to the spirit at the MTC. Being surrounded by thousands of representatives of Jesus Christ everyday is unreal. the devotionals, testimony meetings, hymns, everything is so powerful and awesome. It's sad to leave my district who I have grown to Love, but at the same time I am so excited for the field. I can't wait to bring people unto Christ and change their lives.


I'm running out of time.

Estoy muy animado por el campo y estoy agradecido por la C.C.M. (MTC) y el espíritu está aqui cada día.

Yo sé que obra misional es la obra de Dios y estes años serán el más importante experiencia en mi vida.

Les amo muchísimo

Elder Peacock


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Week 7: Getting the Mail & Directing Traffic

This has been another solid, great week in the MTC.

First off, I want to thank everyone for the mail! It was a great to get two packages (Family & Cassandra) and lots of letters!   Thank you for that, it really makes my day.

This week was very eventful for our District. First, the district older than us left so we are now officially the oldest district in the zone. As a result, Elder Juker and Elder Reynolds were called to be the new Zone Leaders. Elder Reynolds was released as District Leader and I received the call as the new District Leader. So, that's pretty exciting. I get to check the mail, go to Branch Council, conduct class and so on and so forth.

As far as teaching goes this week, our task was to give directions to church, talk about the Word of Wisdom and teach the Plan of Salvation in Spanish. I thought it went really well. I thought we did a better job of adapting to our investigator's needs instead of just saying the same things we always do. The investigator's wife had just died so the Plan of Salvation is VERY applicable in that situation. Also, this week we contacted our progressive investigator Julio--finally. We taught him the Plan of Salvation in Spanish and we laid down the law of how he neeeeeds to keep commitments or we have to stop teaching him. If he doesn’t keep commitments then there is no way he will gain a testimony for himself. We stopped by and visited him again yesterday and gave him a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation and told him to read it before our next visit on Saturday. So yeah, everything is going good with teaching.

This week our district also got to HOST. I know, right?  We're pretty experienced now I guess. Elder Jacobs and I got the privilege of directing traffic instead of hosting, so we got to direct all the cars where to park and things like that. It was very interesting to see the reactions of various parents while dropping off their kids from an outside perspective and as one who just recently did that a few weeks ago. Some were gleaming with pride, others couldn’t stop crying, others seemed just mad, and some seemed like it was no big deal at all. I thought it was very interesting and I'm glad that you (my family) showed love, pride and sadness all at the same time and weren’t mad about it like some others were. I also remember that it all happened so fast, we were all laughing because Elder Spiker was my host, and then we were sad saying goodbye, and before I knew it Elder Spiker was leading me too my room. It happens very fast. Ohh, and while I was directing traffic, I got to wear an awesome orange vest big deal haha.

As far as travel plans go we still haven’t heard anything. There's rumor that we might hear something tomorrow because tomorrow will be 10 days until we leave, but nothing is for sure. So I will keep you posted next week if anything happens.

My spiritual thought for the week is Alma Chapter 5. Awesome, amazing, inspiring chapter that I really love. I especially want to point out verses 45-46.

45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I aknow of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?

  46 Behold, I say unto you they are made aknown unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have bfasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of crevelation which is in me.

Alma is talking about how he has sacrificed and worked very hard to know that what he is teaching is true. But the point is that he does KNOW, through the Holy Spirit. I want to testify right now that I know this church is true as well. Just like Alma I have worked for my testimony, but through the Holy Ghost I know with all my hear that it is true. That's why I'm serving a mission right now. I also want to testify that if you have questions or are unsure if this church is true, you can know. You can know by praying and reading the scriptures. As you abide by the scriptures teaching in your life, you will feel that you are coming closer to Christ. If you show faith and do these things, you will know that they are of God and that they are true. In 3 Nephi 14 verses 15-20 it talks about how their fruit ye shall know them, whether they be good or evil. The Book of Mormon is the fruit of this church. If you test it for yourself you will see that it is good....I promise you because I have seen it in my own life.

Ok so I'm running out of time as usual so here's my testimony:

Yo sé que Cristo vive hoy. Él es mi Salvador y Redentor.

Hay solomente una manera podemos tener la vida eterna y esta manera es a través Jesucristo.

Esta manera es el Evangelio de Jesucristo. Este Evangelio es un gran bendición en mi vida y puede cambiar las vidas de todas personas.

Yo testifico que este mensaje es verdadera con todo mi corazón. Digo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén.

Les amo

Y este es mi gozo

Elder Peacock

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And now, the rest of the story

extract from letter dated 9/2/10…

I have to apologize for not talking about the Pillow Room.  I have no idea how that slipped my mind for the last couple weeks.  OK, so here’s what happened.  Every floor has a room that for whatever reason is used to store pillows.  For obvious reasons, these rooms are ALWAYS locked.  One morning after service, Elder Haskell somehow got into this room, and it was one of the best things to ever happen to the floor.  The rest of the day was filled with pillow fights, pictures, and relaxing in the Pillow Room (of course only when we were in the dorms, which isn’t more than two hours per day, not including sleep).  So that’s the story of the Pillow Room, and yes it is as awesome as it looks.  Unfortunately, our zone leaders locked it back up after just one day.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Week 6: Healing

Hola mi familia~

Thanks for the email Mom! and for the package I got. All the stuff you sent me will definitely come in handy. Other things to send in the next package - IMG_0849

Small sized Preach my Gospels!!! I have seen some Elders with them and I don't know where to find them, maybe online, but if you could find some (English and Spanish) I would be eternally grateful. [This is a mystery…I looked on-line—UT relatives, have you seen them?]

[I have no idea who this other elder is but I liked his tshirt]

A stretchy exercise band -  Elder Duffin has a pretty sweet one.

Pictures of family and recent events are always good.

Ties of course, never can have too many.

Dad asked about lead for my scripture marker - pink, yellow, royal blue, green are the colors I use the most.

Those little post it marker things that you gave me when I left. they're the little clear sticky things to mark pages...if you can send me more of those because they don’t have them here in these colors - blue, yellow, orange, light green, pink

My Nike sweats - the grey ones. I miss them. [oooo I hope I didn’t give those away…they’re probably in the bottom of the vacuum pack bag, curse my efficiency!!   ]

IMG_0847And mom this will make you happy - you said you miss hearing my voice. Apparently we get to call our families at the airport, so IDK how pay phones work but do i need a calling card or something??? Anyways that will be exciting =]

[ya, no idea who this is either—he needs to label his pictures when he sends them!!]

Now to the week.

Wow!!! There was the most awesome spiritual experience today.

So Elder Haskell hurt his back the other day, which worried everyone because he had surgery on it before he came, and had his original mission call delayed. He was in a lot of pain. He got it checked out by a doctor yesterday to see what was going on, and in the MRI it didn't look good. The doctor told him that he was going to need surgery and would have to go home from his mission for a couple more months for rehab. He told us when he got back and we were all devastated, and he was in tears. He is such a great Elder and part of our family.

So Elder Haskell spoke to President Cameron about it last night and he said he would be going home today. Last night the whole district gave Elder Haskell a priesthood blessing. And most of the zone decided to fast for him today and we wrote his name down for the prayer in the temple. He was in meetings all this morning with people, trying to get everything done so he can go home and get his back better. After the temple this morning, Elder Haskell and his companion were waiting for us out front of the MTC. Elder Haskell told us that a back surgeon at the hospital had looked at the MRI since yesterday, and called the MTC to tell them that his back would not require surgery after all. It turns out that scar tissue is really the only trouble and he will get a cortisone shot tomorrow which should fix it. He is allowed to stay here at the MTC and leave for Mexico on time!!

We were all so sure he was going home, but we put our faith in the Lord. And through the power of faith, priesthood blessings, prayer, and fasting Elder Haskell gets to continue in this great work. I know that this all happened by the hand of God and our prayers were answered. SO amazing what God can do in your life if you have faith.


So I'll go ahead and make this email super spiritual and share with you what has just become one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. 2nd Nephi chapter 4.

Such a great chapter, Nephi in verse 17 expresses how he feels inadequate, but then he recites some of the most beautiful scriptures I have ever read throughout the rest of the Chapter.

17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great agoodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O bwretched man that I am! Yea, my heart csorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

He expresses how he put his trust in the Lord and he will forever. This is like anyone in the world today. They often will feel inadequate. But, as soon as they decide to put their trust in the Lord they will be blessed for following Him no matter what, and by putting their trust in Him forever.

34 O Lord, I have atrusted in thee, and I will btrust in thee forever. I will not put my ctrust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his dtrust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

  35 Yea, I know that God will give aliberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I bask cnot amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the drock of my erighteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

I invite everyone to read that chapter...really amazing.

Running out of time

Yo sé que oracion es real, y Dios escucha nuestras oraciónes.

Si tenemos fe en Jesucristo y Dios todas cosas es posible.

Y este es mi gozo.

Les amo (I love you guys).

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Con amor siempre,

Elder Peacock AKA Pavo Real