Monday, December 27, 2010

He’s outta here…(finally)

That sound you heard at 11:25 a.m. PDT this morning was Elder Justin crossing into Mexican Airspace for the first time.  Mexico at last.  Delta Airlines flight 513 from Salt Lake City (SLC) to Mexico City (MEX).  Non-stop.  But we’re sure it was coach, and more than likely a middle seat!

Justin Enters Mexico (Finally!)

We got to talk to him (all of us) for about an hour on Christmas morning.  And again this morning Mom and Dad got to talk with Elder Justin for about a half an hour from the Salt Lake airport.  (The brothers don’t get up before 9 a.m. during the holidays.)

He is in excellent spirits, and SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to finally get to his real field of labor.  He was so stoked this morning that his two suitcases weighted exactly 50 pounds each—so no excess baggage charges.  However, his one carry-on weighed “about 100 pounds”, so he was not excited about schlepping that all the way to his new apartment.

He was traveling with a number of Visa waiters, including (at least) three missionaries from his MTC district.

From the rear-view mirror perspective, we think the Salt Lake City experience has been a wonderful soft landing into being a missionary.

[posted by Jeff]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Jig In Honor of Some of Our Favorite Missionaries

(Thanks Cassandra!)


Elder Collin Gingrich – Colorado-Colorado Springs (Spanish)

Elder Justin Peacock – Mexico-Mexico City West (Spanish)

Elder Mitchel Morris – South Africa–Johannesburg (English)

Elder Patrick Spiker – Argentina-Salta (Spanish)

Elder Tanner Dahl – Australia-Brisbane (English)

(I think I got the mission names correct—apologies if not!)

December 27 2010--9:48 a.m.

Is the time of my flight to Mexico City!!!!!!!!!!!

It came. My Visa came and I am going to Mexico.  Just when I was starting to think that it would never come. I was told on Friday and yesterday I went to sign at the Consulate. I signed, everything went well, and today I got my flight itinerary. I will leave on Monday. Elder Juker and Elder Reynolds from my MTC district will be on the same flight, along with two other elders here in Salt Lake. It is a nonstop flight and I will arrive around 3:00 local time. So, there you have it. Looks like Santa Claus came a little bit early this year right?

So that was the BIG news of the week, not really anything bigger than that haha. But as for Christmas, I don't really have an exact time for the call. It will come. Just stay by your phones. No time limit, President Winn just said that it should not distract us from our service. If I were to guess I would say it would come in the morning between 10-12 here in Utah which would be 9-11 in California. But like I said, just stay by the phones.

Peace Gardens, one of several theme areas built for 2002 SLC Olympics

This is in Peace Gardens—one of several theme areas built for the 2002 SLC Olympics

As for the week, it’s been pretty good. It's been raining/snowing off and on all week. On Saturday we had our Christmas Devotional for the whole mission, and it was great. Elder Hinckley from the 70 came and spoke to us. He spoke to us about 10 "gifts" we will be able to take home from our mission that will help us for the rest of our lives. Apparently, he was the Salt Lake mission president from 2001 to 2004, which is pretty cool. There were also a number of Christmas Musical numbers. An Elder and a Sister Missionary sang “O Holy Night”, with another sister on the piano and one playing the violin as well. REALLY good. Made me miss [Bishop] Nate Aina's annual solo, even if he didn't do it this year (Why the heck not?). After the Devotional we went and did some service at a little rec center where they were having a toy drive, and we helped families get some clothes and toys that had all been donated.  It was a really good experience.

IMG_0064After service, we had Everds's baptism. He is so great. Elder Gomez baptized him and the program went pretty well, except for the part where I had to direct the music (still don't understand what I'm doing really).  Everds looked very happy. He received the Holy Ghost in church on Sunday, Elder Gomez confirmed him as well, and he has made a few friends in the branch, so I have no doubt that he will stay solid. He's the best.

The rest of the week, was pretty normal. Waking up, studying, and preaching the Gospel until it's time to go to bed. Then I get to wake up and do it all over again. It might sound tiring, and at times it is, but there is nothing else I would rather be doing with my life right now, especially at this time of Christmas. There's a reason we celebrate the birth of our savior during this Holiday Season. He was our Savior. He died and suffered so much pain for us that he bled from every pore. Only he could take upon himself all the sins of the world, he was perfect and was the Son of God. And it's only through this eternal sacrifice that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again someday with our families. I am so grateful to give something back to our Savior, because He has given so much to us. I am eternally grateful for His sacrifice and for everything He did for us. And I know He lives today, He loves us, and wants the best for us as well. I am happy that I get to help people come unto Him each and everyday.

I love you and miss you all.

My next e-mail will be from MEXICO CITY. I have loved my time here in Salt Lake and I have learned so much here, and I'm excited for the next step of my journey. Wait to write me until I have my address.

And this is my joy (Alma 29:9)
Merry Christmas!!
Elder Peacock

Monday, December 20, 2010

Phonecall from Elder Burbidge

Wednesday morning I got a call from an unknown caller in the 801 area code…

Could it be?


A call from my missionary telling me he has his Visa…?


Next best thing, though.

Elder Burbidge and his wife are serving as a senior missionary couple in the Salt Lake Mission and as you can see from Justin’s letters, they clothe and feed the missionaries as necessary.

He called me to tell me how wonderful my son is.  Always time in my day to hear about that!

He said that since Elder Coulston has been transferred, Justin will be “the guy” for the little Spanish branch they serve in…he’ll make sure the Sacrament Meeting speakers are set and do translations, etc. etc.  He said he thought Justin is a little nervous about this new responsibility but Elder Burbidge knows he is totally ready for it and will do great.

When I said that Justin is afraid his language is not progressing as quickly as he’d hoped and that he is really stymied by the rolling R’s which apparently he is genetically incapable of, Elder Burbidge pooh-poohed the whole thing.  He said Justin has the language down and that he is too tough on himself.  He also said that he works hard and is very generous.  Music to a mother’s ears. 

Now David Burbidge is my new best friend too!

Transfer Day #2

[Email dated 12/15/10]

Hello family and friends!!

As usual thanks Mom and Dad for the emails. Great to hear how everything is going. Also glad to hear that you got the Christmas card. Make sure you keep that because I gave all of mine away. They are classic!! Everyone here at the branch loves them, and Elder Burbidge was laughing like a little girl when we showed him haha. And Mom you guessed it...the sweaters are courtesy of DI, $5 each, I mean c'mon where else would I get a sweater like that? I definitely didn’t bring one haha. But yeah, glad to hear you liked the cards.

IMG_0052Glad to hear that Elder Burbidge was able to get a hold of you. He took all the Spanish missionaries out for breakfast today before transfers and he asked for all of our moms’ numbers so he could call them. I'm glad he thinks so highly of me. He is a super nice, humble guy. The best. Speaking of transfers, they were today, and as it sounds you already know that I am staying. Elder Gomez is also staying and Elder Coulston left. I'm definitely going to miss him, we got along great and he's a great missionary.  So we got a new senior companion. His name is Elder Flaquer and he is from.... Spain also!!! haha. He has been out about 8 months and is from Barcelona. So, I will be speaking pretty good Spain Spanish at least haha. As far as the Visas go, there is a lot happening. About half of the 20 Visa Waiters that came in with me signed with the Consulate on Monday and they will actually leave tomorrow...So...I'm thinking it has to be pretty soon for the other half of us right?? But we will just have to wait and see. I'm thinking that it can’t be too much longer but who knows.


{No Tie Picture: When we met with our new zones we all gave up the tie we were wearing to pledge to be exactly obedient in the month of January. Kind of a title of liberty kind of thing...the zone leaders held up big poles with ties on them...pretty intense.}

IMG_0055Ok, now for the work. We have had to drop a lot of people the last week. Just not willing to progress or make time for what we teach. But, we continue to work with Everds from El Salvador. He is super solid and we have a very solid friendship with him. He will be getting baptized this weekend, so we are very excited about that. There is no doubt that he was prepared by the Lord. We knocked on his door about two weeks ago, and he invited us in right away and he told us he has always wanted to go to church but was a little afraid because he didn’t know how it would be. We told him that's why we're here. To teach him about things like church, and help him know that what we teach is true for himself. He is very willing to do things like read and pray and we have no trouble with him keeping commitments. His faith is increasing daily and we are very excited for him.

Also, something else exciting is that Vincent is on date to be baptized. He is the 11 year old boy who's grandmother Elder Gomez and I contacted in the front yard a few weeks ago. She was the one whose son had been killed (Vincent's father). The English Elders have been teaching him and told me the other day that he is on date for baptism. Very Exciting. Another person that the Lord prepared for us and was ready to hear and accept the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Weather wise, this week has been pretty warm to tell you the truth (So don’t worry about the cold, parents). I have been perfectly fine walking around in just my suit. We've had the occasional rain as well. It's been around 50 degrees (which is warm for Utah). BUT, it snowed last night, so maybe winter is back, who knows?? 

IMG_0058Funny/Weird/Gross thing for the week. We went to a member's house for lunch. He lives in the basement, and the people that live on the floor above him have this vicious, loud dog. He is always locked up on the patio. We have always seen the dog at night and this was the first time we saw him during the day. We saw that his owners NEVER clean up after him. There were PILES and PILES of poop on the patio where he is always locked up. No wonder he's such an angry dog, he has to live in his own filth haha (see pictures).

[Viewer Discretion advised…]





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That’s about it for the week. Thank you everyone for all of your love, support, and prayers. I know that this is the Lord's work because his true church has been established once again on the Earth today. I feel so honored to be able to serve Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and carry on their "Great and Marvelous Work." This Gospel changes lives. I'm glad I have the opportunity to share it with others. I love you all, and I love being a missionary. The Lord Jesus Christ did so much for us, the least I can do is give him two years of my life.


{This is Elder Gamberdella. He is another one of the Visa Waiters in my zone the last 2 transfers and he left 12/16 for the Mexico-Mexico City Northwest mission.}

Hope you have a great week and I will talk to you all very soon!!

And this is my joy (Alma 29:9)

Elder Peacock

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not Everything Changes…

We received this lovely, very spiritual card in the mail yesterday from our missionary…

christmas card

with this message:

“…I know you all think I’ve changed so much in the last 5 days months, but this is just a quick reminder that I haven’t COMPLETELY changed….”

It’s funny how amused one boy can be by fake mustaches…(and by pictures with “thumbs up”! I may have to make a collage of all the “thumbs up” pictures!)

And, if David Burbidge also loaned him that sweater, he’s no friend…just saying.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Warming Up

[Email dated 12/8/10]

Hello everyone,


I am writing today with a VERY FULL STOMACH. For lunch today after the temple, we went down to Tucano’s. Elder Morris's (an elder in our district) parents offered to pay for his whole district for Christmas. So, we went to Tucano’s, ATE A LOT and Elder Morris paid for it all.  It was sweet, and I'm full for the week. haha


This week has been pretty normal. Nothing too out of the ordinary. We have found a couple of new investigators. One is from El Salvador and he came to church with us on Sunday, and Sunday night we went with him to Temple Square. We checked out all the Christmas lights with him (amazing, highly reccomended). Then, we watched the Joseph Smith movie with him. Afterwards, we talked to him about baptism and put him on date for the 18th!!

The weather has done a bit of a 180 this week. It has been in the 40s this week and has actually felt a little bit warm at times. It even rained a couple days, instead of snowing. Most of the snow from the big snow storm is gone by now, so I'm hoping this can last until I go to Mexico. Speaking of which, still no word on the Visa. I have heard rumors that they are expecting to get them sometime in the middle of December, which would be next week, but who knows could just be a rumor. Also, Elder Juker, who you may remember from my MTC district, said that an Elder in his zone got his Visa this week. So, who knows they may be coming in. Next week is also transfers (Wednesday), so I may be getting transferred to a different area in Salt Lake. We will just have to wait and see.  [We also independently heard of another elder who was in the MTC with Justin, and who just got his Visa, so there does seem to be some activity on that front…]

Hmmm, lets see ...So the weeks are going by fast and I swear all the days are just blending together. Oh ok, we had district meeting on Monday, as usual. But this time its a little different. The District Leader interviewed the senior companions and got to know who the investigators are in the area right now...meanwhile the Junior Companions got to train. So I got to train everyone else in the district for about 20 minutes on asking good questions. So, we went through the section in Preach My Gospel and then did some role plays to practice. It went well for my first training. Luckily it was in English haha.

I also have started doing something a little bit different for Language study this week. I have been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish out loud to help work on my pronunciation and reading. I also have been doing those exercises to work on my R's (Thanks Mom) and then I end doing some grammar practice in a workbook I got at the MTC. So, I feel like that has been helping me with my Spanish.

I will just end with my testimony that I know that this church is true. Sin duda. I know that we have a prophet today that leads and guides us, and with his guidance we can stay on the straight and narrow path that will lead us back to our Heavenly Father. If we follow his teachings, we will find happiness. Some things may look like fun or like they will make you happy, but in the end "wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10). You will only find true happiness by following the commandments of God. He doesn't give us commandments to bind us down or make us feel restricted. He gives us commandments because he knows what is best for us and he knows how we will be happy in the end. We need to trust Him and His teachings and commandments and I can testify that if we do that we will find more happiness and receive more blessings than we can even imagine.
I love being a missionary, and I know this Gospel is true.

And this is my joy (Alma 29:9)
Con Amor,
Elder Peacock

Muy Guay

[Email dated 12/2/10…sorry a little slow to get these posted!!!]

Hello everybody,

Sorry the email is later this week. On Monday the AP's (Assistant to the President) decided to move P-Day to Thursday this week because there were leadership meetings for a lot of the missionaries on Tuesday and Wednesday. So that is why you didn't get an email yesterday, but don't worry everything is fine here in Salt Lake. [Gee, was it the frantic emails I sent when his email didn’t arrive by 5 pm on Wednesday, then hurriedly turning on the news to see if there had been a natural disaster in Salt Lake that I didn’t know about…?  I know he’s fine, but I did have just that little gnawing fear when I didn’t hear from him.]

So this week was a good one. We had Thanksgiving on Thursday. We played sports in the Stake Center in the morning as a zone. It started off with football, then we moved to volleyball and then later we played dodgeball, so it after Thanksgiving Dinnerwas a good morning of sports with the zone. Then we did our shopping and wrote some letters and then President Winn picked us up for dinner. We ate at the mission home with about 8 other missionaries, along with some of the Winn family. It was very good. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, stuffing, cinnamon rolls and all the other usual stuff. Elder Gomez enjoyed his first Thanksgiving, he said it was "muy guay" or cool (pronounced "why"). Also we found out that President Winn is a Laker fan, which made him instantly like 100x cooler than he already is ahha.

Yamel & Brittany with family at baptismAs we had planned, we had 3 baptisms on Saturday. In the morning we baptized Yamel and Brittany into the English ward. I got to perform my first baptism!! I baptized Brittany who is 10 years old and is a very sweet, humble little girl. The whole program was in English though, so I still have yet to do a baptism in Spanish but it was definitely a great experience. And at night at 7:00 we baptized Jesus R, who is a hilarious 11-year old kid, frankly a giant for his age. He looks very out of place in Primary haha. Elder Gomez baptized him, so he got to do his first baptism as well. I gave a short little talk at the baptism (Spanish) about the Holy Ghost, and it weJesus Ramirez bapismnt great. Based on that alone, I can tell that my Spanish is definitely improving, even if it doesn't seem like it a lot of the time. But yeah, it was a great Saturday.

On Sunday, they were all confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost in Sacrament meeting. I confirmed Brittany in English and Elder Coulston confirmed Yamel in English and Elder Gomez confirmed Jesus in Spanish. Remembering my 1st confirmation, doing it in English is a lot easier haha.

On Sunday, it also snowed ALL day. No joke. When we left the house to make some visits before church, at 8:00 am, it was snowing, and it was still snowing when we went to bed. All in all, we got about a foot of snow I would say. It's still on the ground and its definitely not too much fun to walk around in haha.

The last two days, Elder Coulston has had leadership meetings all morning until dinner, so its just been me and Elder Gomez working in the area. We've been having a lot of fun haha. We have a fun time communicating to each other since I don't know Spanish to well yet and he doesn't know English too well yet. We've been trying to find new people and we've been doing a lot of contacting because we need some new people to teach, because our teaching pool is getting pretty low again.

I had a neat experience contacting the other day that I would like to share. We were walking around at around 11:30 in the morning trying to contact some people in the street. Elder Gomez and I came across a lady shoveling snow in her front yard. Naturally, we offered to help, but she said she was OK. We just got to know her and asked her where she was from and stuff like that. We started to talk to her a little bit about what we do as missionaries, and she told us she has her religion and she's not interested. We talked to her for a little bit more and gave her a Christmas DVD called Joy to the World and invited her to watch it with her family. She accepted the DVD and thanked us but again told us she wasn’t interested and that she has her religion and she's not going to change. Ok, we said. Before we left, I remembered that our leaders have told us over and over again to ask for referrals from everyone. So before we walked away, I asked her if she knows anyone that, especially in the Christmas season, would be interested in learning a little bit more about Jesus Christ. She looked at me and broke down in tears. She told me her grandson needs Jesus Christ in his life. 3 Years ago on Nov 27, his father (her son) was killed and around Christmas her grandson, just feels alone and doesn't know what to do. She wants him to learn about Jesus Christ to help him out. I testified to her that Jesus Christ can help her grandson out. He has experienced everything that we have. He died for our sins and he knows each and every one of us perfectly. Through Jesus Christ and his gospel, her grandson can be relieved of that pain in his life and he can know that he will see his father again after this life, I know it without a doubt. I felt the spirit so strongly and she did too. What a great blessing it is to know about Jesus Christ and everything he has done for us, and to be able to share that with other people like her grandson who really need the gospel in their lives right now. 

I know that this gospel is true, or else I definitely wouldn't be walking around in the freezing cold with snow everywhere haha. The only reason I would ever do that is because I know that it is true and I want to help people receive those blessings that are waiting for them in the Gospel and through Jesus Christ.

I love being a missionary, and have a great week!!!
And this is my joy (alma 29:9)
Elder Peacock