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