Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Izcuchaca 12-24-12


This has been such an exciting week! Cant wait to tell you all a bout it.
First of all forgive me if this isnt going to be too long but i had to create a skype account and my companion(even though i love his guts de verdad) Decided to take a ton of time writing his family and it really wasnt very thoughtful, but i could get too mad and kick him off because #1 I try to keep the companion unity... It is def the most important thing!

This week was a little wack because we had the christmas dinner and an actividad in izcuchaca... So we spent a good amount of time traveling and preparing things for our activity... Which by the was was DA BOMB! We did a talent show and i decided to sing Caro mio Ben for the members and investigators. I know i have sang that song like a million times but it is always so fun to share this talent... especially with people who really only listen to waino (no sure how you spell it) all day long.

The day of the actividad we also went to do service for the president of our family group. It really was a super cool experience... Mommy.... I can not be grateful enough for the experience we had as children to weed in our little garden... THis week i had the chance to weed an entire FIELD OF CORN!!!! Holy it was a ton of work. But we were all really happy to help president out (he lost one hand in un accidente de maquina. So he needs all the help he can get) The other missionaries decided to throw mud balls at eachother halfway through the service activity so i had a lot of one on time with prez to talk. I found out that he served in peru too... but that he backpacked the WHOLE TIME! And taught all of the missionaries quechua... WHile we were talking he told me that i really should try to learn it and that he would help me do it. I have progressed so fast with spanish that i thoug hit would be appropriate so during my language study i am spending half of the time speaking spanish and half of the time speaking quechua. I think i am going to use the money grandma gave me to buy a good text book.

But i would like to say that my learning has paid off! And honestly this story is hilarious. Last night my companion and i were about to sleep, when a band started to play music in the park close to our house... Well it was SO LOUD and of course they were playing waino no mas... But a few of the songs they were playing were in quechua so i decided to listen more closely. AND I UNDERSTOOD ONE! Well at least a part of it. They were all saying piki siki, a decir, Trasero Pulgoso.... or en ingles I HAVE A FLEA BUTT!!!! I started busting out laughing SO HARD And my companion had no idea why. Por fin i have understood something that the latins havent! ( i totally understand the song though i have had a flea butt for 3 changes and it isnt too pleasant ;)
)

One last story, and sorry the pictures are not working but i am going to send a TON nxt week. As you know we have a baptism this week, Hugo is going to be baptised (his wife didnt come to church this week so she still has to wait but she has all of the desires) We have also been talking to his grandson George. He and HUgo came to church this week. and i gave a talk in sacrament mtg and then taught the youngmen youngwomen class. Afterword he came up to me and asked me a question... and boy was it loaded! He told me that he had all of the desires to be baptized in our church... but that he was worried that some day he would never be able to get married if he wasnt legally married in the catholic church... I have a strong testimony of the guidance of the spirit because i knew exactly what i needed to say. I took him back into the classroom and we talked for awhile. He was in tears, and honestly I almost cried as well. It was the sweetest lesson i have had with any investigator on my mission. This kid reminds me so much of myself when i was his age (12 years old) Sensitive and a little insecure i guess you could say, but his heart is so good. I told him about eternal marriage and promised him that if he makes the desicion to be baptized he doesnt need to worry marriage... that the lord ALWAYS blesses his faithful children. He gets baptized on the 5th! I have never been happier.

I love you all! Be ready in the afternoon for a call. Ya Hablaremos pronto! Os Quiero muchisimo mi familia. Pakarincama (quechua. por nos vemos mañana!)

Elder Neff

Well To be

Monday, December 17, 2012

Izcuchaca 12.17.12


Well I hope you love the pictures from this week! If you cant tell, I GOT TO BAPTIZE SOMEONE!!! No she wasnt my investigator (well she practically was, Solis and i found her while we were together) but she wanted me to baptize her and I was more than happy to do it! She is the woman closest to me in the picture of us four. Her name is Isidora Estrada Perez (one of the easier names i have encountered here in Peru.. at least if was free of un apellido de quechua!) The baptism experience was sooooo coool! Right before we entered the font I explained to Isidora that she could plug her nose as i lowered her into the font. ( and i might add that i think my spanish is pretty exceptional by now so you would think she could have understood...) WEll the answer she gave me was "Si papa si papa".... Which is practically the answer to everyquestion we ask her so i should have known better!!! But anyway we both entered the font... and the gas wasnt working so it was kinda cold. I gave the prayer and then lowered her into the water... slowly to give her enought time to close her nose! Well... she didnt, and i pulled her up as she was practically drowning in the water. At least i had the knowledge that if she drowned in this moment her imortal soul was no longer in jepordy only her body... haha but she caught her breath and all was well!

Elder Ferman and I had our two investigators there with baptismal dates as well. I have been so pleased with the progress of these two people. Hugo and Sixta Baca Chilinos. They are absolutely an incredible family. I have been waiting to find a family that understands everything that we teach from the get go... and people who are willing to search for an answer of the spirit and follow it. Hugo is absolutely that person! He is a very smart man, an administrator of a local high school. His initial interest talking to us was to find the strength to lose his desire to drink, but this has turned into a full fledged strong testimony of the gospel. The other day we taught him a lesson and rechallenged him and his wife to baptism... he bore his testimony that he knew the book of mormon was true with tears in his eyes... and then he told his wife that they needed to be baptized, because these things are true! From then on he has begun to talk about the church as "nuestro Iglesia" And his excitment has only grown as we have had the oportunity to teach them about the temples, eternal families and the priesthood. I am so grateful to the Lord for this tender mercy he has given us in this time.

The mission continues to fly by! And i cant believe it is almost christmas. I love you all soooo much and i am so excited for the opportunity to talk to all of you! We are going to talk through skype. And next week i am going to set a time when i can call you up for five minutes so we can plan it all out. Needless to say mom HAVE YOUR CELL ON YOU AT ALL TIMES! I know that i have a skype account and i might need you guys to help me find it. Do some searching and i know that mom ahs all of my old passwords so one of them should work. if not i can try to make another.

I will start wearing sunglasses. I never wanted to do it because i dont want to look like a tourist... I would HATE that. So i will wear sunglasses while you guys get me some glasses with transition lenses (dad that would be the best option i think!) If you are going to buy some... bear with me on this one. I know that costco makes some durable ones with a flex frame. I also would like coke bottle style :)  I you want you can send me some pictures of glasses styles that costco sells and i can pick one.

I had a thought as well... I was planning on giving my companion a tie for christmass but what he really needs is a sweater to wear while he proselites.... do you think you could help me out with that one? I would love to know!


So..... I guess i have to make the decision of when i am going to come home on my own? I wasnt looking forward to that but its ok. We are going to do 3 weeks after because i love the Lord and trust that all will go well.

Love you all! Until next week

Elder Neff

Monday, December 10, 2012

IZCUCHACA 12.10.12

Paigey:

Paige i got your package! my companion and i enjoyed the salted nut roll more than anything i think... The ties are awesome and thank you for the little toys! We are going to share them with all of the little children.

Mom and Dad:

Got two packages! one with my lacrosse stick (just the stick) AND A LEGO STARWARS ADVENT CALENDER!!!!!! That made my christmas right there, honestly i was so excited when i opened it. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I recieved them last week after i wrote my email so you can say it arrived about the 3rd of december.


This week has been a super exciting week in terms of the work! I am happy to tell all of you that we have two people with a date set for baptism ( the 29th) and we hope to set dates on 3 other families that we encounter in the last week.

Honestly for me it has been an absolute miracle the success we have had with all of the families we found in the past week. I have been amazed how the small and simple things in missionary work bring to pass great and marvelous things. For example, one day my companion and i were passing by a soccer field that we wanted to use one p-day whith the entire zone. As we got closer to the field we passed through a chacra where a man was trying to stop his cows from eating corn in vez de grass. Well it was pretty funny as we tried to help him with his cows and then talk a little bit about the field and when we could use it. The thought always comes to my mind when we talk to people... " How can i apply this conversation to the gospel?" Somehow i always find a way (thank you holy ghost!) and i began to explain to the man how the gospel can bless our families in whatever situation we live in. We set a date to return to his house and this sunday we had a great opportunity to talk with his wife, and two daughters. One of which we found out had gone to church activities when she was living in cusco and has a very good impression of the church. I have very high hopes for the family Amao!

The family that has accepted a date for baptizm is the family Baca Chilinos. At first we started teaching only the husband, his name is Hugo and he is an administrator of a local high school. He is absolutely da bomb! His principle reason for wanting to be baptized is the hope that he can stop his addiction to alcohal. His wife has a similar hope and is going to be a great support for him as we try to help him overcome this addiction.

I have one more story to tell that has absolutely changed the way i think about missionary service and really how important of a job we have here helping to stremgthen families and to give them the way to reach eternal life. This week through complete hapenstance we discovered that two families were having problems with infidelity.... I have had a lot of time to think about the reason that we were given such a clear oportunity to know what was happening. I realized that the Lord specifically showed us, the missionaries his representatives in Izcuchaca, that people are having serious problems and that perhaps we are the only ones who can really make a difference in their lives. These families are on the brink of destruction to be 100% honest... but i feel the spirit as i write this knowing that we as missionaries can do something to help them. The gospel of Jesus Christ focused on the atoning sacrifice of the savior is the only remedy for a problem with sin. I know there is power in his docrine, and honestly... I was a little surprised when i found out these problems because i realized that i had the opportunity to show for the Lord´s power here in Izcuchaca, the power his docrine has to change the lives and circumstances of these people. I know it is true and i know that he can do it... wish me luck!


Ok some items of business now. The dates to return home have been changed AAAAAAHHHH! So I have two options 15 of june 2014, or 28th of july 2014. At first the choice was clear to leave the 28th... but i need some eye surgery and i want to try out for the lax team at the y when i get back. Ask doctor meyers... what is the recovery time for a surgery? OR maybe i could use a special contact to fix the brightness problem until there is a good time to do the surgery. I need to know by the 21st so ask this week and write me :)

Also, we are going to talk in about 2 weeks! I have a skype acount... or you guys need to make one and send me all of the info... I am going to advize you nxt week when i can call for five minutes to set up a time on the 25th to talk. Give me all the info.

Wow love you al so much!

Elder Neff

Monday, December 3, 2012

IZCUCHACA 12-3-12

Dad,

Thank you Thank you Thank you so much for your advice. Thank you for that letter i needed it soo much. I have a few things that i want to tell you about it.
I had a rough week because i have been feeling super stressed. Honestly that stress has come from the fact that i feel like i just need to be better. I have felt the way that i do mostly because of somethink that my patriarchal blessing says that has made me feel a great sense of responsibility. It says that I will grow to be a great leader in the mission, that many will look to me for example and strength and that i would change the attitudes of many to serve honerable missions in great measure as a result of the example i would bring to them during my service. I just dont feel like that person. It has been hard up here in izcuchaca to keep all the rules and study on time when half the time we dont have water to shower or get ready, the missionaries are all bummed out and we are struggling to have a lot of success.
 
Being 100 percent honest though, through it all i have felt the spirit of the lord. I know that if he needs me as a leader and if that is his commandment for me than i can do it. I am pretty sure that my plaque in the church says 1 nephi 3,7 right? I have thought about that time and time again here these past two weeks. I have had some difficuties and some short comings, but i knw that the lord knows my heart and that anything he wants from me can be possible if i will just have the faith to do it.
Dad i cannot believe that story about your misson, and how alone you must have felt. Thank you SOOO much for the encouragement. I know that things will get better and that i just need to have faith.


This week we had some really cool experiences happen that i am so excited to tell you about!

One thing that we learn in missionary work is that it is just as important to find by the spirit as it is to teach by the spirit. One night we were completely lost as to waht we were going to do. I looked up a name of a family and i had the strongest impression that we needed to go to their house. My companion was doubting because they completely rejected us one tine, but i convinced gim to go anyway. When we got to the door their was a sticker that said this hous is catholic and we heard people yelling inside... needless to say we were afraid! Well we knocked anyway and they let us in right away! The yelling was the tv and now we are teaching a really nice family that really isnt catholic.

Sorry their really isnt anymore time but i want to say particulary to my mother how much i love her and that paige i got your package.

Until nxt week!
Elder Neff


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Izcuchaca 11-26-12

Hola!

Paige: The boy ended up getting some antibiotics and I have seen him a few more times, it appears that the lesions are receding and he isnt experiencing any symptoms besides that sooo i think they are working. It is hard to see these people and how much help they need both physically and spiritually. The other day we went over to a members house to give a pregnant woman a blessing. She is about 3 months along i think, and everythink was going well until abotu a week ago. She has been having back pain and was taking some pills but the baby seemed agitated when she took them so she stopped. I told her she needed to go to a hospital as soon as possible. We left her a blessing. Sometimes we can only pray for people.

Dad: Ah those photos were the best thank you so much for sending them! I about died when i saw Andy´s costume. My old football practice jersey and a lacrosse helmet. Classic! So happy for Jenna and goalie. So happy for eden and that the play went well. Ben looks like a boss.
Just incase you havent sent the package yet....

Sweat pants.
USB
all your love ;)

Well this week was pretty cool! But it would be dishonest of me to say that it was easy. I am starting to realize though that if things seem easy, we probably need to start working a little harder.
This week i have been trying to work very hard on talking with everyone. We often have to travel to cusco or to little pueblos on buses so these are perfect oportunities to talk to people who might be ready to recieve the gospel. Even if they arent, it is such a cool oportunitiy to give someone the chance to hear about the restored gospel. Taking the first step to begin talking with someone is the hardest part. Once you begin to speak it really isnt that difficult, the promise that the spirit will put the words in your mouth or " that portion that will be meted unto every man" Is 100 percent true.

I had a wonderful opportunity to refocus myself this week, or rather, to put into perspective the real purpose of missionary work. We have a purpose as missionaries, and that is to bring others unto Christ by faith, repentance, baptism, recieving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. In my first two changes here in the mission we had some trouble understanding that and how to apply it to our teaching. I always had a very strong desire to help others, and now i realized that the best was to do it is to help them realize the importance of baptizm, that the doctrine of christ is what really allows us to make important changes in our lives and to experience the joy that our heavenly father wants us to enjoy. Sooooo..... I am challenging a lot of people! A lot of people to get baptized and to experience this joy in their lives.

We had changes this week.... and something really interesting happened. I have a change! But we can hardly count int as a change because i was moved from izcuchaca I to izcuchaca II. Elder Ferman and I just finished our training and we are now companions! So.... co-companeros we are in izcuchaca II. I am so excited for the oportunity to work with him. He is a great missionary and really all around a wonderful person... we plan to have a lot of success in this upcoming change!

lots of love

Elder Neff

p.s. I have to say all the news i have been recieving about my amigas getting ready to serve missions has been really inspiring. (Especially you little sis ;) The lord is merciful and has so many blessing for all of you willing to make that sacrifice! I am proud to call you my friends and hope you know you have made the best decision of your life.
p.p.s. Hope thanksgiving was SWEET! Unfortunatily dad... we didnt get any cuy.But! We did have sweet potatoes (camote) and it was fried, try it sometime it is delicious

 









Monday, November 19, 2012

Izuchaca 11/19/12

Dad: Dad thanks for the compliment about my written spanish! I am really working hard on all aspects of it so i hope it is getting better. Ya we heard the news about the eleccion here too. What a shame, but like you said the only thing that really matters is the way the gospel is moving forward... in the end it wont matter which nationality we represent only that we are strict obeyers of the word of God. It is pretty cool to be an American, but it is even cooler to be a part of Zion!
 
I felt bad that i couldnt enjoy the package grandma sent. Holy cow beef jerky and trail mix sounds incredible right now! Im super happy that the boys enjoyed it.
 
If you got my letters this week that means it takes about 3 weeks to send. Not sure how it will be in other sectors but i am positive that cusco is the best area so lets hope it isnt too much worse.
 
Elder Bednar´s talk was incredible. I am so happy that you are enjoying your calling Dad. I can imagine that it hasnt been easy. For me it has been really tough to leave my comfort zone and try to talk to everyone that i meet here in peru... but i know that the Lord blesses us when we valiantly try to keep his commandments, and I am so happy to have the oportunity to serve him.
 
Mom:
I didnt get the chance to see paul and dana! I was super bummed, but the missionary handbook advices against those types of visits so maybe it was for the best. They dropped off a package huh? That sounds sweet! Looks like i will be going to the mission office today to pick it up then.
 
The eye is fine... it appears that the fleas are endless. No worries though they are loyal friends and i think we have come to enjoy some sort of a symbiotic relationship... They drink my blood and I get some battle wounds.... Lo maximo.
 
For Christmas? Idk i mentioned to dad that i wanted exercise bands, some workouts and my lacrosse stick. Other than that i am 100 percent content. Surprise me! But dont spend to much and dont go overboard. Whatever you give me i will be sharing with my comp so lets make it good to share. :)
 
Paige: That is sweet that john is in new york searching for internships, i hope all goes well. Have so much fun in Island park! I cant believe we were there together almost five months ago... feels like yesterday.
 
I have a question about a disease. If a little boy has a fever and lesions are spreading all over his body what is it, bacteria I would guess? Give me some advice! Lots of love.
 
Well this week has been quite the week to reflect on our labors and what we have been able to accomplish in Izcuchaca. Falta one week until my trainer most likely will have a change and i will chill for one more change here in Izcuchaca. Really the time has absolutely flown by and i have had the best time learning the ways of missionary life and getting myself aquainted with peru (Insert flea bit here that i told to mom hehehe).
 
This week was difficult. For a number of reasons. We had three baptisms planned. The parents of a family, and one sister who lives with her 3 little boys. All three of them are wonderful people. But for a number of reasons the baptisms fell through. I couldnt believe my feelings this week. As we walked away dejected from these people who had come to know the only true gospel of Jesus Christ only to reject it for one reason or another.
 
I think that i was a little too dissappointed in my heart, thinking about what more i could have done for these people to help them make this important covenant with their savior. After a lot of thinking and praying i realized something. We will never be "perfect" In this life. I will never bring the message of the restoration to the people that i teach 100 % perfectly. What does the Lord ask of us? To become the most effective advocates of the truth that we can possibly be, and he promises to help us lograr that commitment he asks of us. My new goal is going to try with al my might to become and effective teacher of the restored gospel, and to do all that is within my power to become that.
 
This week i also had the opportunity to give two blessing of health. One to an investigators little boy who is suffering from a fever and lesions all over his body (so sad) and also an old lady who owns a store de abarrotes ( a convenience store more or less) I was blessed on both ocasions to give the second part of the lesson. I am grateful that my spanish has bettered enough that i could give the blessings and listen to the spirit without being to worried of what i was going to say in spanish.


I love you all! Have a wonderful week

elder Neff

Monday, November 12, 2012

Izuchaca 11-12-12

Hey Family!

Well... I have some pretty sad news. It seems that my companionship with Elder Doxey was meant to be short lived. last tuesday (or algo así) He had an emergency transfer to the sacred valley which is another zone in the mission. He was transfered to a town called Calca (creo) and I hope he`s doing great although I wont get the chance to find out until the change mtg which happens in about two weeks. Oh! and dont worry he wasnt transfered for any kind of iniquity, the mission just doesnt like to keep trios running for any longer than they have to.

We had a great time together though... I never thought that i would have the opportunity to preach the gospel in a foreign country with one of my very good buds. WE worked hard in Izcuchaca for two good weeks, unfortunately, he wont be here to witness the three batisms we are going to have next week! But we are going to count them as his converts anyhow. Maybe when i put up pictures of the baptismal service his parents can email them to him or something like that.

My thoughts on missionary work have changed a lot this week, and through the experiences we had with a few investigators I was able to think a little bit about my own personal conversion and how i came to know that this gospel is true.

The gospel is not easy. It isnt easy to accept, it isnt easy to live, and it isnt easy to share with your friends or neighbors, or even to live it in the midst of others who think that the book of mormon was written by the devil himself! I think this is how a lot of the people in Peru feel. I mentioned that we were going two have three baptisms next week. Well, they were originally planned for this week. What happened??? There was some opposition, and our investigators just couldnt hack it.

The first person we were going to baptize was the Sister Celestina. She is a single mother with 3 kids. We love to go out and help her herd her sheep, and then have a little lesson in her chakra. She has been an investigator for almost 3 months now. We almost left her, well actually we did... one night we passed by her house and told her that we would love to continue being her friend but that we could not continue having regular visits. She told us that she was going to attend church, and we almost shrugged this committment off thinking that we had committed her to come to church many times, and she had never come..... Well she came! And ever since we have been working toward baptism.

I thought a lot about what made the difference in her life, what was the key to her conversion, and in effect, what is the key to anyones conversion who wants to come to know the gospel of jesus christ? We had zone study this morning and something that was beat into our heads was the power of the book of mormon. Before, I´m not sure that i had put enough emphasis into the power of this book, and what significance it can have here in the work of the lord.

The book of mormon is the keystone of our religion. It clarifies all docrinal discrepancies that could be formed by hundreds of religions who all study the same book (bible) but interpret it differently. Most importantly, the promise that we find in moroni of the book of mormon is real. If we read this book, and meditate in our hearts what it says, and then ask heavenly father in the name of jesus christ if the book is true, we will recieve an answer.

Hma. Celestina recieved her answer of the truthfulness of the book of mormon. I though I was going to have time to explain the other families experience and more, but i dont have time! Sorry 30 minutes flys by pretty quickly.

Well Im bummed that i didnt get ONE SINGLE EMAIL THIS WEEK! But i hope that all of you are doing just wonderful and that all is well at home.
oh and p.s.
Im sorry that Obama is president again... looks like i am going to live in Peru for another 4 years ;)

Con mucho amor

Elder Neff.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Izuchaca 11-5-12

Hola! Que tal? I hope that everyone who reads this is doing just great. Here in Izcuchaca we have had the most EXCITING week of this change. I´m excited to tell you about it.

The week started off a little odd. A week ago today, the zone leaders told me and elder Doxey that we would have to travel back to Lima to recieve Targetas de extrangeras. ( I think that is how you spell it!) Or in other words some identification that we were foriegnors here in peru with permanent visas. So we flew off too Lima on tuesday earlay in the morning. And guess who was waiting for me in the airport MY OLD COMPANION ELDER NOLAN! I couldnt have been more happy to see him. He is serving in puerto at this moment and i havent seen him for nearly two changes.

We started by asking the usual questions about each others sectors, how´s the food how are the people, clima etc. etc. Eventually the conversation moved to our trainers and I was happy to tell him just how awesome a trianer elder doxey and i had. While i was telling him just how great my trainer was i could see his face a little crestfallen. He started to tell me who was training him and what type of training experience he had had and i was shocked! He began to tell me how it was impossible to do companionsip study together, and that he practically had to study alone for 4 hours in the morning. That he and his companion usually didnt leave to work until and hour after lunch, and that for the majority of the time they were stuck in members houses for agreat part of the day, and many times just watching football. This coming from a missionary (Elder Nolan) Who is was and excellent Elder in the MTC despite his struggles with the language. I dont think i have ever met someone more interested in serving the lord, and in dedicating all of his time and talents to the work.

I had the chance of rooming with him in the hotel in lima and we sat down for a bit to chat. He told me of his desires to work hard but of his struggle to do so because of his inabilities with the language and a companion who was unwilling to be obedient or work hard. I was able to sit down with him and express my love for him and my confidence that he was going to be a great missionary, and that he was one now. I remember telling him that the lord only asks us to make the best of our circumstances and that as he gives us certain difficulties, it is because he knows our potential and of what we can become... After our little chat he said something so kind that went something like this, " Elder Neff, thank you so much for talking to me, It always helps me so much because you just give me hope."

Hope has been the theme of this week. Izcuchaca has been struggling the last few weeks and we couldnt figure out why. Members weren´t asisting to sacrament mtg. Families were expressing their concerns about their troubles at home and how the gospel was supposed to be helping them to live better lives but it just wasnt working that way for them.

I remember one story of one family in particular. The family Payma Davila. It is a family of two parents and 5 girls! (honestly it makes me think of the wards a little bit minus walk dog) They are the cutest and honestly i love to visit them and share messages of the gospel. One night we were having a family home evening with them and some feelings (that i could tell had been brewing for a long time exploded!) The parents began to argue and i could tell that they had strong desires to share their problems with the missionaries.

In the moment when they were angry and their was some shouting i realized what a great responsibility it was to be a missionary. Here i was sitting in front of two grown adults and their were confiding their very personal problems with me and the other missionaries, confident that we had the answers to their questions. I am so grateful to our father in heaven for his blessings, and the call to be set apart as a missionary. I knew exactly what to say to this family and so did the other missionaries to help them resolve their very personal problems.

I know that this gospel blesses families. It is the only through living the gospel that we can live happily and enjoy strong family relations here on this earth. Our heavenly father is preparing us and our families for happiness now and on into the eternities. I am so grateful for my mission, it has strengthened my testimony of the divinity of the family. I am grateful for the blessing i have at this moment to know on what principles to build my own family! I know that we are blessed as we follow the council of our heavenly father.

I sent some letters last week! I hope they get to all of you soon.

Les Quiero muchisimo :)

Elder Neff

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Izachaca 10-29-12

Wow this has been such a cool week! And i think that i have some of the most exciting news yet to come from my time here in the mission. More on that in a sec.

So we came home from the change mtg, and yes nothing had changed. Elder Solis and i were continuing work as usual. Wed. morning though, we got a call from the zone leaders that nearly stopped my heart. All i could get from the conversation that solis was having with them, seemed to indicate that he was going to have a change!!! And i was seriously about to cry. Every moment i have had with elder solis as a trainer has been a treasure.He is for sure one of the best missionaries in the mission and i would be so sad to have our time as companions cut short. What happened for real however, was such a pleasant surprise! He told me that Elder Galves (ZL) told him that he would be training TWO missionaries... there was one missionary who had arrived to the mission a little late because of visa problems. In this moment i was thinking who could that be? A missionary that was from the states waiting for a visa. I dropped the big question. Was this missionary serving in chicago?And elder Galves said yes! I started jumping up and down screaming ITS ELDER DOXEY! WE ARE GONNA BE COMPANIONS!!!!!! and sure enough i am looking at elder doxey right now! He i and elder solis have become a trio.... When we got our mission calls we always used to joke about how cool it would be if we got to be companions. Well here we are sure enough as companions... being trained together! I couldnt be happier.

Elder Doxey has brought a completely new excitment to our companionship. He has so much energy and that is the best because at times elder solis and i get a little pooped out. It sounds to me like he had an awesome time in Chicago, but i am so happy to have him here with me.

Well i am almost out of time but i would like to share something that elder solis told me during companionship inventory. He told me that this week he had noticed that i had taken the initiative in most of our contacts and interaction with people on the street ie: setting appointments, starting lessons, etc. etc. He told me that this was a strong indication that i had used the time of my training well and that he thinks i will be ready to train after the end of this change (the new in field missionary training program has this goal in mind, to have the new missionary ready to train another after their first 12 weeks) This was such a huge compliment to me and i hope that i can live up to the expectation.

Love you all! Have a wonderful week

Elder Neff.

pics. not much explanation. We are all goofs, i took some pictures of some chacras. (those are potatos)i and elder solis is gooooooood looookin´
 





 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Izcuchaca 10-22-12

(This first bit is for our ward primary president and a sharing time next week)

For Andrea Johnson

 

Have you ever been so sick that your dad gave you a priesthood blessing to help you feel better? As missionaries we have the opportunity to help others receive the blessings of the priesthood who don’t have priesthood holders in their homes. I have been in the mission field for almost four months, and every month I have had the opportunity to exercise my priesthood! The other day we were with one of our investigators and all of her little girls (she has three) were sick with a type of chicken pox. My companion and I had the chance to give all of her children blessings of healing. I anointed the children, and my companion (who is from Peru and can speak Spanish better than I can) sealed the anointing and blessed the children. When we returned the following week they were all feeling much better and over the chicken pox! I know that it is a blessing to exercise the priesthood, and I am so happy that God has shared his power with me to bless his children here on the earth!

 

Ok I hope that is what she wanted.

 

Well we have started another change here in Peru. Izcuchaca is better than ever! And WE are starting to make some great progress in the work here. At the end of this last change I had a lot of thoughts about what we could do to make this sector a better place. Honestly, I had a little bit of fear in my heart about how our efforts to make Izcuchaca una rama were going to turn out and whether or not we were going to be able to do it. But we continue to work hard and I know that as we put in our best effort and trust in the lord, we can be tools in his hands to bring great blessing to the members and people of Izcuchaca. My spirits have been lifted in a couple of ways, Ill share with you a couple of the most exciting stories of the week.

 

There is a sister here named Hma. Mantilla. She lives about 20 minutes out of Izcuchaca in a little pueblo called compone. I’m sure when you think of the name Cusco Peru you would imagine in your mind something like the little town of compone, where all the houses are made out of mud bricks.....(well scratch that practically ALL the houses that have seen in the mission are made out of adobe including ours) and the people go out to work n their fields all day with their cows and sheep and potatoes. Anyway the son of Hma mantilla was hurt in a mototaxi accident in puerto maldonado, and then her entire family became ill. She called us on thurs day in tears asking us to come and visit them. Unfortunately her husband only has the aaronic priesthood and as of yet hasn’t received the melkezidec. (hope i spelled that kind of right.) We went, the four of us, to give them priesthood blessings and some words of comfort. The priesthood is an incredible blessing. As we were giving them blessings and visiting with them, I couldn’t help but be grateful for the infrastructure of the church and the blessings that we have in strong wards and stakes. I know that if something like that had happened in a strong ward there would have been home teachers and visiting teachers and priesthood holders, and mothers bringing meals to the afflicted, yada yada the list would go on. Hma Mantilla called us in tears because no one had been there to help her in her time of need. I am grateful that I get to be a holder of the priesthood of God, to bless his children when they are afflicted.

 

We also had the opportunity to challenge a lot of people this week for baptism. Baptism is the end goal for all of our teaching, we teach not just to help people live better lives but to help people be saved in the kingdom of god, receiving all of the ordinances and keeping all of the commandments to receive all of the blessings. Everyone should stop for just a second to think about all of the things we need to do to be saved... before my mission I never really thought about how different our lives our from the rest of the worlds but HOLY COW WE ARE DIFFERENT! And it is tough to help people believe in the gospel, let alone change their lives completely to live it. However, this week i had the blessing of seeing that these things are 100% possible and that this is the way God intended it to be. We have an investigator named Jesus. :) Who is quite set in his evangelical ways. Yesterday we had divisions and elder Tavoian and i went to his house. During the lesson we challenged him, and he pulled out the famous answer that has become the absolute bane of my existence here in izcuchaca. He said " Bueno Hmos, entiendo todas de estas cosas, pero realmente no me importa, porque nosotros SOMOS la iglesia" Meaning that, " we are the church and that its not important to assist to any church in particular. I knew this was coming, and i felt sad when he said it. I was so discouraged, and prayed so hard just to know what to say to help him understand. I though of the words ·"just open your mouth" and the promise in DyC that tells us in effect that god will put the words in our mouths and help us say what needs to be said. I bore firm testimony to Jesus that this was the church of jesus christ here on the earth, and that salvation would come by no other way. I have never spoken in spanish more clearly and with more confidence, I am grateful for the promises of the lord! they are real. He is praying about his baptismal date for the 10th of nov. i hope he accepts!

 

Well i have run out of time, love you and miss you! here area few pics :)

 

Elder neff

 (Sorry!  No pictures came through)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Izcuchaca 10-15-12 Last week of the first change

Well here we are ending my very first change in the field. I dont think any of you would be surprised to hear me say that it went by quickly! But also that it was an amazing time of growth in terms of spirituality, my knowledge of the language, and in my love for the people here in Peru. This truly has been the most amazing and exciting 6 weeks of my life to date!

Before we talk anymore about the work here in Peru, I want to talk a little bit about my dear friend Jim Webb who passed away this past month. Mom thank you so much for sending me those funeral remarks. I am so honored that my thank-you letter was read in his funeral. As i read the remarks made by brother christensen, I was so touched by his words and the spirit that i felt i started to tear up in the internet cafe here in cusco. It gave me a chance to reflect on how great of an impact Jim had on my life, and also to strengthen my testimony a little more about the plan of salvation and our purpose here on this earth. Every day i walk down the street in Izcuchaca i have this same thoughts pass through my mind, that there are millions and billions of people here on this earth that have a incorrect knowlege, or no knowlegde of all as to the nature of God and their personal relationship to him. The first thing that i want to say to investigators when we get a chance to sit down and talk is that " le ama mucho!" he loves them. The devil has a tough hold on the hearts of many of God´s children, but i am so grateful that we are here with the power of the priesthood and the gospel message to change those false teachings and beliefs that have so many people in confusion.

No one in Izcuchaca has a change! So it seems like we are all going to be here working for another 6 weeks to hopefully change this small town in Peru and bring some others into the fold. This week we had some AWESOME success, I am super excited and think that this nxt change is going to start a new day for the members and investigators here in izcuchaca.

This friday we had changes and Elder Ferman and I had the oportunity to work together for a day. Elder Ferman is the other latino here in Izcuchaca from Honduras. We started out by heading out into the boonies, the end of Izcuchaca, to go and have some lessons with a few references from the week before... unfortunately, as usually happens, when you have a super long time between a contact and a set lesson, the people forget, or have conveniently planned not to be there when you arrive. So yes, all of our citas fell through. As we were walking back to the town center we decided to pass by a house of an investigator to say hello and perhaps have a little lesson. We didnt find our investigator, but we did find a little panai with her 6 children. She was brushing out here hair on the ground while here six children were running around chasing chickens. I started out by saying that we had taught a lesson to her neighbors and that we would also like to share this message with here. Well she didnt talk very much and we couldnt figure out why. usually when that happens i start to think its and error of my spanish, but it turns out that she spoke practically ONLY QUECHUA..... Yet again we are having trouble with this darned second language that a lot of people speak here in the mountains of Peru. BUT I have started reading the BOM in Quechua and, though it is nothing like spanish, or english, or any other language in the world! I hope that i can learn at least enough to have a simple conversation with these people before we can bring a member who can speak it fluently.

We have had quite a few troubles with getting investigators to church here as well, but guess what happened this sunday. 5 INVESTIGATORS SHOWED! I was so happy. The mtg was about to start and they all just started to file in. I just sat there in shock. Usually i am praying in my mind that people will come and we spend all morning and the early afternoon (mtg starts at 2 pm) trying to get people to show up. Well a miracle happened and 5 showed! We are planning on putting dates on all of them and i am so excited to see what is gonna happen.

The rains here are just starting to pick up. And I wasnt sure what that was going to mean until halfway during the lesson i was teaching in sunday school (p.s. it was on eternal life! everyone should take a little more time to read 1 nefi cap 8 y 11 super cool) IT STARTED TÖ HAIL LIKE CRAAAAZZZZY. People couldnt even hear me teaching the lesson.... and then the whole primary ran out of the primary room and we had to go and bring them back.

Well that is all for this week! I hope everyone is doing soooo great! I cant believe that i have two cute new cousins. AND PAIGE AND JOHN YOUR HAVING A LITTLE GIRL!!!! That may be the cutest thing i have ever heard! Cant wait to see her in two. And yes I will love her all the more if she comes out a little ginge ;)

les quiero muchisimo!

Elder Neff

pics not in any particular order

top of the museum
me stembride and fuller
us and the pigs
me in front of the cathedral in CUSCO!
dead guinea pigs. (yes we eat them yes the are dellllicious :)
me and a panai
 





 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Izcuchaca 10-8-12

Wow this change has flown by so quickly i can hardly believe it! I am so happy that i will probably have two more changes in my district of izcuchaca. Really because it is an area that is having some serious struggles, and i want to leave it better than we found it, but more on that later here´s a weekly update.

Monday: I wrote you a letter and then we played some soccer. Yes, that is pretty much how it always is here they are all soccer fanatics. Including President, who plays with us every p day. He is SO good it blows my mind! If only we could play some basketball or lacrosse, the latins wouldnt have a chance, but alas, no... siempre jugamos soccer.

Tuesday: BAck to some real work. This day began probably the most exciting week of my mission yet, unfortunately not in terms of our success in the work, but a lot of weird things happened that i have to tell you about. Tuesday we were walking down the main road in izcuchaca. As we walk down the sidewalk we always have to move out of the way for a bunch of Panais (old woman who only speak quechua and have those giant hair braids that are so typical of peruvian woman) They carry on their back these sacks of goods (probably full of chuño... nasty) and so we always have to move out of the way. Needless to say, i am often walking off the side walk. Well tuesday i ran into a parked motto taxi and RIPPED MY SLEEVE IN HALF! Ya i think that shirt is done for. But fortunately my garment was not ripped ( yes a testimony that the protective powers are real!) De todas maneras, later that day we had the oportunity to give a blessing to Hma. Jobeli´s children who have a terrible case of the chicken pox. I only did the annointing, but i felt capable to do the actual blessing so nxt time i probably will.

WEd. THis was a very bizare day. WE were supposed to go to cuso for a district mtg. but all the buses were on strike. When we asked a taxista if he would take us to cusco he simply said " no peligroso" so we couldnt head off to cusco for our mtg. After lunch we went to a funeral for the mother of one of elder tavoian´s investigators. Peruvian funerals are weird. Four men carry a casket UP THE MOUNTAIN to a catholic cemetary high up in a little town called ancha, and a very unpracticed peruvian band plays music the whole way up. The family was so depressed. I have never had a stronger desire to shout out the blessings of the plan of salvation to help ease the pains of people. When they placed the casket in the tomb, (they bury people above ground here) THe band played a sad note and the family started wailing and sobbing. So. Sad. My heart aches for people who have no knowledge of our father in heaven´s infinite plan of happiness that allows us to continue our family relations after we die. These people simply never have though to even consider this, and i think it is because satan has such a strong hold on the culture and way of life here. We are working as hard as we can to bring people here to the knowledge of the savior and how his gospel can bless their lives.

WEll lets skip to general conference because there are a few things that need to be said about that right? ç

Wow the missionary age has changed. That is so incredible! honestly right now i am thinking more for the sisters than for the brothers. WE already have quite a few 18 year olds here because in south america they send missionaries off at 18 for their studies. BUT HOLY COW THE SISTERS! Incredible. Eden your gonna serve right!? I cannot tell you how many of my friends i have spoken to that have told me " i would serve a mission, but waiting until the age of 21 is difficult and i feel like a may be missing out on other opportunities [cough! RM´s and marriage obvi] so i dont know if it is for me" Well i hope the decision is much easier now!

I have such a strong testimony of missionary work. My testimony has grown so much in just these short three months i can hardly believe it. In conference their was a lot of talks given on personal conversion. I particularly loved the talk by elder bednar. His talk helped me to understand the difference between my gaining a testimony and becoming converted. At times a think that we forget that our father in heaven is the ultimate source of all happiness. What "Weapons of Rebellion" are we willing to lay down in order to enjoy his blessings more fully in our lives? I know that obedience will bring these blessings, and i am so happy to continue my personal process of conversion, by having the oportunity to help others begin theirs! I love this work and my father in heaven, and i have never felt so close to him... and i hope that i can continue to feel closer and closer as i bring my life more in accordance with his will.

I love you!

Elder Neff.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Izachaca 10-1-12

Wow! sorry i lost a lot of time reading your wonderful emails. Please bear with me if my responses werent too long, but i want to have enough time to let you all know what happened this week here in peru.

I think i will try to go day by day, that way you can get a little bit of knowledge about the time frame.

Monday, PDAy! We ended up playing soccer most of this p day. Which by the way idk how but i have become bombin at. For reals i scored two goals and everyone was cheering for the gringo. One latin was like "ME ENCANTA A VER ESTE TIPO DE TALENTO!" ya it was pretty funny. Also, i got to talk on the phone with my old companion elder Nolan! right now he is searing in one of the two jungle sectors, in puerto maldonado. I told him that i would be able to see him in one month because, yes i am going to the jungle in one month for the mission recital. Very excited.

Tuesday WE got back into the swing of things, Had a lesson with two of our investigators named Ceferino y Andreas. They are a couple that originally contacted us about helping their son get over his drinking problem. BUt when that fell through we continued to teach them and have had quite a bit of success. I really love them because they are the investigators who seem to understand my spanish the best. Most everyone can understand me almost perfectly... But these guys actually thought that i came from cuba so... ya they are number one in my heart. Neither of them have the ability to read because of eye problems, Andreas has a glaucoma and Ceferino sees double vision Ç( it seems that eye problems are going to be following me my entire mission.....) ya but we read the scriptures to them, and they are very receptive to our teachings. Also we ate some chicken stomach today. Ya its actually nice and tastyu but i wouldnt recommend it because you will be chewing on it for days.

WEd I was a little sick, with a cold. And for this we were kinda bummed. not much to say about today.

Thurs. ÇWE went to to a little town called compone. which is about 30 mins out of izcuchaca. WE taught a lady.. but really swhe only know quechua... It was this day that elder solis and i decided that we were going to try to learn quechua. REally i am doing very well in spanish, so why not!? honestly not a day passes that i dont meet someone who really only speaks quechua (well) so ya that is what we are going to try to do.








Sorry there is no time i have to stop there if i want to be obedient. It is hard to be obedient but i know that only in this way are we going to recieve the blessings. Lots of love! talk to you nxt week.

Elder neff

Monday, September 24, 2012

Izcuchaca - September 24, 2012

Ok newsletter here we come.
First things first, i know that i have given you close to no information about my beloved comp ELDER SOLIS. I feel terrible because really we have become best friends, I would love to give you a little info about mycomp and our roomates.

Elder solis is my trainer. Super chevere guy from lima, born into the church. One thing that is just wonderful HE SPEAKS ENGLISH! Which you might think i would use this as a crutch, but honestly it is an amazing help. We ALWAYS (casi siempre) Hablamos espanol. Pero a veces, quando ha sido necesario para recordar o encontrar un nuevo palabra en espanol, siempre le puede ayudarme para saber este palabra o frase. He also has the strongest testimony and knowledge of the doctrines of the gospel, he has taught me so much in the way of testifying with power and authority. AT times i think we are aprehensive to proclaim that the gospel is true to our vecinos, or anybody we come in contact with, (and perhaps that is ok in some cases because not all of us are missionaries) but for us it is very important, and elder solis has taught me how to do that. He always bears testimony and i always feel the spirit when he does it.

He is the funniest guy to and we love to joke around in english. I have had so much fun with him, and have been so grateful that he has been patient with my as i am trying to learn spanish.

The two other elders that live in our district, that room with us, are elders tavoian and ferman. Elder tavoin is seriously a hoot. SOOOO funny, he is from cedar city so its nice to have somebody who knows a little bit about home to chat with. I somehow encountered an american flag in the CCM and we both sang the national anthem with a lot of patriotism sept 11. Yes i miss the united states, we have it pretty good over there.
Speaking of the US, elder tavoians companion looks EXACTLY like barak obama. Kinda creepy. And i feel terrible because once again i have forgoten my camera but i promise to bring it nxt week and send some pics. He is from honduraz and loves his country almost as much as elder tavoian loves the US. (Let me tell you one of the only things that has caused a little contention between their companionship is where the promised land actually is)

So there is a little info on those cool cats.

This week was a little different... The president of our family group asked us to paint our chapel..... WOW that was not a good idea. We spent about 200 soles on painting supplies so like 85 bucks. and spent every single morning this week painting and cleaning our chapel. goodness gracious that was a bad idea. We had absolutely no time to study, and once you start a paint job you cant really stop. More especially for us because we were preparring for a special activity that we had this friday about eternal families.

Also we had the baptizm of kevin this week! I dont have my camera, so i dont have pics, but i promise to send some nxt week.

All in all things are super great. I am already experiencing some of the classic peru experiences, like getting shocked everytime i touch the shower head. OH AND THE FLEAS!! Mom i need you to send me some dog flea collars to put on my bed posts because the fleas are EATING ME ALIVE!!!! and they particularly like to snack on the insides of my thighs, which is totally weird i know and i am always itching so please send me some of that.
 
oh ya pictures
me and elder solis,

oh and elder tavoin had a birthday.


WEll i think that is it for this week LES AMO!

Elder Neff
 

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

ALrighty lets get an update goin for the folks back home!

Wow the mission is turning out to be sooooo fun! Honestly it is a real blast. After i wrote my newsletter last week we went up and toured a couple historic sights of the city. you will be depressed to hear that i forgot my camera cord this week, but perhaps it is a good thing because there are a lot of viruses that can infect your camera if you connect it directly to the computer with a usb cable, so i am going to buy one of those nifty little sd card connector things to use, sit tight for pics!


Izcuchaca is a super cool place to serve, i had absolutely no idea where i was going to be "born" in the mission, but Izcuchaca is a fantastic place to start out!


Sin embargo we face a lot of challenges here, one of those being that there are very few members here and even fewer that are loyal church attenders. Really it is quite sad. Yesterday we went to go and pick up a few of our investigators to bring them to church. Either they weren´t there.... OR THEY MADE A PROMISE THAT THEY DIDNT KEEP! Honestly we had investigators who i respect very much say "  Si Si Yo voy a estar aquí a dos EN PUNTO!" Ya it didnt happen. BUT we did have one solitary investigator attend and he is going to be baptized this saturday.... and guess where??? In a place called " Los Cataracas" Ya nxt to some waterfalls in the mountains, this mission could not be any cooler!


WE did have some excellent lessons this week though, and I would like to share a few stories about them with you. We have an investigator named Yobeli. She is the cutest mom of 4 kids, one is a teenager and the rest are under ten. Her youngest daughter is named Debora and she may be the cutest brown child i have ever seen in my entire life! I remember telling aunt suzie that i was going to take elija with me to peru, well it wasnt necessary because there are a million adorable brown children here. anyway Yobeli is da bomb, she loves to listen to us, she has many excellent questions and has read the bible faithfully for most of her life. Honestly she is a person preparred. WE have taught her the first lesson and an introduction to the book of mormon, this week we are planning on teaching the plan of salvation. Anyway the story is that she made us some Chuño, or moria i cant remember which is which. Basically waht happens is the woman here preserve potatoes by putting them in freezing water, it also expands the potato so it makes it seem like you are eating more?? IDK WHY ANYONE WOULD WANT TO EAT THIS STUFF!!!! WE were helping a bunch of old ladies peeñçl this stuff the other day and it was very nasty. ANyways Yobeli made us some and it was actually kind of good... todavia this was before i actually knew waht the stuff was so we will see if i can stomach it in the future.


Next story, we were going to teach one of our investigadores se llama Sarit, super chevere investigator. WE were walking into her house, talking to her when some people began to cross their herd of cows across the road. If you now anything about the traffic here you know that the poeple are stupid and dont stop for anything. WEll this cow herder was trying to stop his dog from crossing the road, but the dog wasnt gonna have it and ran aroung him. BOOM! the dog totally got ran over by a truck. It was honestly pretty horrifying, it all happened so fast and was so bizare. Let me tell you that set an excellent mood for the lesson.


One thing i do want to say is that the lord has blessed me abundantly in terms of the language. I cant believe it. It is my second week and i can converse with just about anyone. I rarely have trouble understanding what is said in the lessons, and my comanion and i are beginning to have pretty equal parts in terms of how much each of us teach. One investigator asked me if i was from lima and another from cuba, WHAT?!?!? I am practically a native. I am so grateful for this oportunity to learn spanish, i have never felt so blessed in my entire life.


LOVE YOU ALL! NO TIME LEFT!


Letters take about 2 month and a half to get to you from here so sit tight
jk on the letters more like 1 month and a half

Not for newsletter


Edna dont bug sarah ç, and you letter are comin sis!


Le vaya bien


Elder neff

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sept 10, 2012 First week in Izcuchaca!

Hola mi familia:

Sorry i know it has been awhile since I have sent a letter, we have had over aweek since our last pday so i didnt have an opportunity to write for over a week. here is the update!

WE left the MTC tuesday morning at about 5:30 in the morning. I felt sad leaving a bunch of the friends I made in Lima but i know they are going to be excellent missionaries and i am so excited for them! We got to the airport and had to wait for about 3 hours to catch our flight. Once we were in the air though it only took about one hour for us to get to cusco. I WAS SO HAPPY WHEN WE GOT THERE!!! the sun was actually shining and you could see blue sky (you have no idea how dark and dreary it is in the winter in lima, it was awesome to finally see the sun) The area is a lot like salt lake, a valley nestled between two mountain ranges, and the mountains are about the same size in the near vecinity... and then you look off into the distance and you can actually see the tall mountains of the andes, and let me tell you, THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY HUGE! Honestly massive, it is so cool to be in this unique place.

Wewent to the mission home and had an excellent lunch with the president and his wife. I absolutely love the food here in peru... I am pretty sure that a day will not pass in these two years where i dont eat a giant plate of rice and potatoes and some soup. My favorite thing to eat here though is definitely platanos, oh those fried bananas just get me i think they are soooo tasty. Anyway so we ate and had interviews, my interview with president was great... except that somehow every leader in the mission seems to find out that i studied music before the mission. So naturally he asked me to sing for him in the interview, and then later without warning put me in a little choir that sang in the changes meeting. Oh and by the way i forgot to tell you how singing in the choir for elder cristopherson went this week. The mtg was sooo great, and the choir did so well. I was a LITTLE nervous tosing a solo in front of 1000 missionaries and an apostle, but all went well and i felt so relieved sitting down. Ha, then halfway through his talk eldr cristopherson said that it would be nice to hear the choir one more time, he said " is that allowed can I make you sing again?... well of course it is im an apostle so i have the right to ask!" Ya so that was funny even though i had to sing again.

Ok ill tell you a little about the area i am serving in right now. My first sector is about one hour by bus outside of cusco, it is a really neat town called Izcuchaca. Ive sent some pictures so you can get an idea of what it is like. The town is pretty small and probably around 1000 max live in the area.

Mom there is one part about cusco you would absolutely die about if you could see... THERE ARE VOLKSWAGON BUGS EVERYWHERE! seriously i swear i see one every five minutes, and i am happy my latin comp doesnt know how to play slug bug because that would get old rapido.

Ok I am running out of time so i want to share a few stories about the work and how it is going. WE are teaching this lady se llama yobeli. She is a mom of 3 super cute little girls and is very interested in learning about the gospel. This week we had a really great lesson with her in her house, despite the fact that her children were running around screaming, and that flies were flying into my face and other things like that. My favorite moments when teaching investigators is when you feel the spirit come extra strong to testify of something you are teaching, you know that this particulary thing is very important for this person to hear and it is wonderful to see the light bulb click in these investigators eyes and for them to say, "I know that this is true" We have had a couple of experiences like that this week... I know that the mission holds even more experiences for me like this and i am so excited!

ok no time left here is some picture explanation
and no time for that either just the pictures... so love ya and talk to you in a week!
p.s. eden letters are coming, tell sar she needs to send me a letter stat though.









Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29, 2012

Ok I need to get so much better at spending more time emailing my family, but here we go another weekly update from the faraway land of PERU!

Seeing that this is the last week here in the MTC, I would like to just recount a couple of awesome experiences and regular occurrences that happen here at the MTC in Peru. I have had so much fun playing soccer everyday, getting schooled by these little latino kids who somehow can carry the ball through a group of 6 Americans with hardly any problem at all. I love the people already and i am excited to finally get the opportunity to really serve them in one week! I love getting the opportunity to head out into the city every p-day and saturday, crammed in a bus where i have no option but to stand (because my legs are to long and i cant fit in the seats) with my head bent down because the ceiling of the bus is like 5 feet high! I getting a million hugs and salutations from all these latino missionaries who look up to us Americans.  Our first week our teachers told us that we would have to be an example to these new latino missionaries, and boy was that true! Most of them have never been in a situation whith a bunch of other kids there same age crammed in a small space ( ie the college dorm situation) So the first week they arrive usually entails a lot of whooping and hollering and running down the halls, playing crazy games and other things. After they get calmed down though we can all concentrate and get back to work.

My time here at the MTC has been so short, but it has been so precious. I'm not sure I ever imagined missionary work would be quite like this. The biggest surprise that has hit me in my time here, is the seriousness of the work. I think that often we forget the importance of the gospel as we live it every day and it becomes a routine part of our lives. Most of us forget that there are millions of people on this earth who ponder every day the questions of the soul and have no answers. Honelstly it has been a little daunting! Realizing that I have something so precious to share and that I am participating in the greatest work on this earth. I remember the first week here in Peru, coming to that realization and thinking that everything just needed to be going right, 100% right. I have my first lesson with my first companionship, our little trio. I went into the lesson knowing that these two missionaries could barely speak any spanish, and my mindset was that I needed to save the lesson and also the eternal salvation of this "investigator". Well as you can imagine that didnt work! And i have come to realize since that it is foolish to think that someone who has been called to the work cant do their job! I learned so much from these two companions, simply their desire to work has been so amazing and I know that they will be blessed with the gift of tongues in due time, as they continue to have faith and do the work.

Well I am out of here on tuesday! (at three o clock in the morning :(  )   Thank you everyone for your love and support while I have been here. Mom post my adress for the mission home pls :) Talk to you all in a week.

Le vaya bien

Elder Neff

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 21, 2012

Dear Familia

Hello! How is everyone doing! Here is another update from the faraway land of Peru.

This week has brought a lot of changes. New principiantes have arrived, and we are now the advanced missionaries. I cant believe how fast the time has flown by! In two weeks ( more or less) we will be shipped out to our first area in the field, I can´t wait!

We had some medical issues in our district this week. Elder Driggs peed some blood one night, which is never a good sign. We told the president and he scheduled a doctors appointment for the next day. The diagnosis was kidney stones and he has been in a lot of pain all week. Members of the district switch off spending time with him in the residence halls. Well the stones never passed and today he went to the doctor to figure out what the problem was. It turns out his back muscles were in a permanently contracted state and were pushing on his kidneys! Ya pretty crazy huh? This happened probably because we had a challenge to do as many pushups and crunches as you could do in one day. But after a cat-scan and a number of shots he seems to be ok, better keep him in your prayers anyway.

We didn't have the oportunity to go out and prosylite this saturday, they never do it the first week new missionaries arrive at the MTC. We have had some great experiences just with our normal MTC teachers though,one I would like to share.

One was with a man who was struggling with problems drinking and abusing his family. He expressed a desire to change, but said that he felt he couldnt truly repent because he would continually return to the same sin. This made me do a lot of thinking, how can we bring these people to true repentance? How can we bring about a great change of heart in our investigators lives and in the process bring them closer to Christ.

With this man (se llama) Rony, I bore testimony that the Lord will forgive us, no matter how many times we sin. I am so grateful for the infinite atonement of Christ. The opportunity we have to be completely clean, and the fact that this opportunity is always open to us is an incredible gift. I know this man was just role playing, but my companion and I felt the spirit so strongly when his eyes lit up, knowing that he could be clean from his sins.

WE also recieved new latin roomates this week... Oh and this has been a joy! I feel so terrible, one of them absolutely has no concept of personal hygene. Our room stinks to high heaven HOLY COW. Its bad enough when you have 5 semi clean elders living in one confined space, but when you add another one who is from the high andes and probably showers 2 times a year this is a problem. So today, we  bought him deoderant and some shampoo and we are going to try and teach him how to stay clean, well let you know how that one goes nxt week :).

Things here are so good. I am so happy to be serving a mission. My life has changed so much already. I think the biggest change has been an increase in my desire to serve the Lord, and my love for him. At the end of the book the gospels, when the savior appears one liast time to his apostels, he tells them to feed his sheep. I know that I have that same calling, i am so grateful for this opportunity.

I have gotten two letters from mom so far, I hope the others make it here soon! (friends and family)

Con mucho amor

Elder Neff

Pictures

Rapunzel (she gets me through each day :)

Elders nolan warburten and tarabilda



Wierd bear thing (the latins did this, I have no idea why! Sorry its a little creepy. that is elder Castro with me, hes a goof:)