Saturday, December 21, 2013

CUSCO 12.9.13

Wow... it just got so real seeing my best buds in the airport! I am so proud of them and grateful for their good example. See you all in six months!

We have had some great experiences this past week... sorry I couldn´t get to you last week. I was kind of frustrated when the people who do maintenence in the chapel where we have the mission office came in to shut of the internet for the whole afternoon and fix it. Sorry you didn´t recieve an email last week!

The next day, we traveled to Abancay and then to Andahuaylas. Wow, what a beautiful trip. I am always amazed at the beautiful sights to see as we travel throughout the mission. don´t worry, Sister Harbertson took oodles of great photos and  I am sure that we are going to get them soon.

Ryan needs to tell me in what part of Abancay he worked in! I met some great remembers and some of the men from the district presidency mentioned that they remembered and Elder Brunt from a while back. The whole city is just a GIANT HILL. We had a great zone conference with the Elders and sisters. They seemed very excited to get a visit from their mission President. This has been one of the great dificulties in our mission, it is so hard to get out to many of the areas where the missionaries are serving... if you were to travel from one extreme of the mission to the other it would take you more than one day! And not even that... puerto is an other great challenge, luckily we drop the big bucks on a plane ticket and can get there rather easily.

We are also having a small Christmas program with the Elders. It has been such a spiritual experience for the Elders and I am very grateful that they have that chance to have a special christmas mtg. President and I do a musical # for the missionaries. Have you heard the song Still, Still, Still as done by the piano Guys? President plays the piano and I do the ooo´s ;) Its pretty great.

We have an investigator who is ready for her baptismal date on the 14th of December! I think that I have learned a wonderful lesson with this investigator. Her name is Danitza, and she is perhaps the most prepared person I have ever met for baptism. She is so ready. Someone who has investigated the church for an extended period of time and, wow, the experience shows. I am grateful that the Lord has given us such great oportunities to do good in our own area of prosyliting as well as help missionaries throughout the mission.

Elder Neff

CUSCO. 12.20.13

Sister Habertson sent us these photos a few days ago from when they were in Viaje a Puno. Sam says that although all this travel is tiring, he loves seeing all the missionaries and sharing experiences with them.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

CUSCO. 11.25.13


 Happy Birthday Bud! I can´t believe that you are 13 YEARS OLD!!! I am sure that the change has been not so drastic for the family because they have been living with you for the past year and a few months, but I haven´t so the change has been HUGE! You look like a little man now! You are now in your last year as a Deacon and I hope that you are loving your chance to pass the sacrament and collect fast offerings from all of the old people in the ward that have a difficult time making it to church. Keep on serving! You are such a loving kid that I know you do it well.

I saw your new bow and that was pretty great, I hope that you are an expert in archery when I get home.

( note: I feel really weird writing Ben this letter because I feel like when I left we still couldn´t have a normal semi-adult conversation but when I look at the photos I can´t believe how much he has grown!)

Well Ben I love you soooooooo much. Before I go to college we will have at least one month in the summer to do all the fun things we have ever wanted to do!

Can´t wait until you are a missionary and have the same experiences that I have had.

love you bro!

Elder Neff

p.s. Ben you have my full permission to take a razor and cut off ALL of Garrison´s hair.

And Gannons too it looks like it is on its way to get to that same extreme. ;)

Well Mom and Dad, I am way happy that I get to write you today. We were technically supposed to be going to Puno today to have a zone conference with the two zones there, but there is a "paro" or better said strike and they aren´t letting any cars pass through... so we are going to go later on this week.

Want to tell you all about a cool experience that we had this week.

We were able to meet again with our investigators Americo and Jovana. If you remember, they were a young couple that we have been teaching for some time now. They fell off the map a little, as our travel plans and Americo´s work travel made it almost impossible for us to meet with them.

Finally we met with them saturday evening were able to talk about how they have been for this time that we haven´t been able to meet with them. They were so happy to meet with us. and we were able to jump right back into the teaching norm with them in spite of the long break that we had had from regular visits. I had some wonderful feelings as we were teaching them and I feel very strongly that they will be able to be baptized... there conversion is pretty evident... but they still have a few things impeding them from being able to be baptized. The first goal is going to be to get them married. They understand the law of chastity, but it is many times difficult to help people to get married. It isn´t cheap and there is quite a culture of costly weddings with a lot of beer. We´re working on that one!

My new companion is Elder Romer from Paraguay (he is on your right in the photo that sister harbertson sent you) He is a wonderful missionary. He was my zone leader for three changes while I was in Izcuchaca, and so we have been friends for quite a long time.

Sad to see elder Castro go. But he is training in a sector in Valle Sagrado with a new gringito kid Elder Olsen.

Love you all so much

Elder Neff

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eating pizza in Quillabamba

Sister Harbertson sent this picture to us just out of the blue.  What a treat!!  We think Sam looks so good!!!  We aren't sure who his companion is yet........

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cusco 11.19.13

Mom and Dad! Hello! How are you??? I am doing great :)

The travel schedule is getting a little crazy this week so you are going to recieve a letter from me a little early this week. 

There were a lot of neat experiences this week. Mostly that had to do with elder Gomez and his family. I had that blessed experience to be there in the exact moment that he needed... I´m not sure that I quite realized the impact of our relationship on the situation until I was able to talk to president Harbertson and sister Harbertson a day or two after the whole situation. 

President expressed to me that it wasn´t providence that I was serving in the office when elder gomez had to pass through this tragedy. He was already passing through a difficult time in his mission, can you imagine the hurt and pain upon hearing that his mother had passed away?

I have made a LOT of long term calls to Chile in the past few days. I am going to send you the copy of the letter that elder gomez sent to me from Chile. (Elder Gomez returns tomorrow at 6 AM from Chile).

 Hola Elder Neff, estoy muy bien, ahora comprendiendo mas las cosas y tranquilo aunque se extrañe tanto, nos consuela saber que nos volveremos a ver, mi madre a la cual amo y que aprendí amar mucho mas en la misión lleno mi vida, tenia grandes planes al volver como te contaba de darles a mis padres todo lo que tenia y lo que nunca les di, pero aun así he encontrado la paz que necesitaba, fue muy difícil todo desde el viaje en el cual tuve tanta oposición y el llegar por lo menos unas dos horas antes de que le sepultaran, ella es tan especial, la mejor persona que he conocido en toda mi vida y toda la gente lo sabia y le amaba, fueron tantas las personas que nos acompañaron que parecía una gran conferencia llena aun hasta la calle, todos preocupados de que llegara a tiempo, mi padre estaba muy triste pero no por que ella se halla ido a otro lugar porque sin duda esta bien, es que tendremos que esperar un tiempo sin su risa, consejos, amor y servicio que entregaba a todos conocidos y no conocidos así es ella, para mi, la mejor, la mas fuerte y especial hija de dios con la cual he sido y soy muy bendecido, las familias son eternas esa es nuestro gran tranquilidad y tendremos que trabajar duro aunque es muy difícil seguir el camino, pero si duda es posible porque no estamos solos, querido amigo tienes un gran futuro, tienes que seguir adelante fuerte en tu misión, con todo, cumpliendo tal como lo estabas haciendo y tendrás mucho éxito, de verdad no sabes cuanto te quiero y agradezco tu gran paciencia

sorry... gota go :( Dad pls translate! 

More nxt week

Elder Neff

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cusco 11.15.13

This day, has been, really tough. What I have to say is a little delicate, but I have learned so much from this experience. Yesterday afternoon my companion and I were leaving the pension after lunch when we get a desperate call from presidents personal secretary E Brey (p.s. my best bud ever Elder Brey) He had just gotten off the phone with the branch president of Elder Gomez (elder Gomez is the missionary that I trained while I was in Izcuchaca) His mother had suffered a severe complication from her pancreatic cancer and they told us that she was at the point of death.

We went RUNNING from the pension, which is about 10 minutes from the office. I started to call frantically to all of the members in Sicuani That I knew, hoping that they could find elder gomez and his companion working in some part of there sector. When we got to the office we got the phone call that Elder Gomez´s mother had passed away right after they called us.

 Later that night, I had to call Elder Gomez to inform him about what had happened. I remember when he would always talk about his mother and how much he loved her. He is an only child and doesn´t live with his father. His step dad is a wonderful man, but I couldn´t get my mind off how much elder gomez had lost.

 This morning Elder Gomez arrived from Sicuani, and we talked for a long time in Presidents office one on one. I was amazed by his strength and understanding about the plan of salvacion in this difficult moment. He has always been a missionary of dedicated service and excitement about the work. I was quite nervous about what his reaction was going to be. I was afraid that his feelings were going to bring him to want to end his mission. After a conversation with president harbertson and Elder Gomez's stake president, the decision was to send him home for a short period of time to be present at his mothers funeral.

 This afternoon I am trying to work out flights and tie up other loose ends so that we can get him to his mothers funeral.

 Often times, I miss being out 100% of the time working in the streets, but I get to dedicate about half of a day every day to that type of work. I am happy to say that my investigators progress in spite of the fact that we dedicate much of our time to other issues. I am also grateful for that constant feeling my father in heaven gives me to strive to proselyte as much as possible. I love the people of Perú and am grateful for the opportunity to serve them. The missionaries are wonderful. It is so great to have the opportunity to serve them together with president harbertson. I am grateful for the personal relationship that I have with him as well. As we were waiting for news from Elder Gomez´s stake president, President and I talked for a good little while about the trials in our lives and how the Lord molds us and puts us, often, through a fiery furnace of affliction,

 I just love E Gomez sooooooo much, my heart is really hurting for him right now. more on that later,

I am basically stuck in the office. And need to let E Gomez get on to give him a chance to send some emails, but I really love all of you and hope you are all doing great!

 Elder Neff

Sunday, November 3, 2013

CUSCO 10.31.13

President Harbertson has given me some amazing thoughts/teachings on faith that have been so great. Basicaly it goes upon these lines. We should always hope that our dreams se cumplen and that we have all of our good desires come true... many times it seems like what we are asking for is very justo, when really the Lord can see the whole picture from the beginning, and maybe we need something else.  That´s why I love realizing that he really does answer all prayers if they always end with "thy will be done".  True faith can be hoping for the best but knowing that "the best" comes from God and that only thing we can really have faith in is Jesus Christ and in his will for us. 

We JUST got back from Puerto today. I will send some great pics your way. (If we can ever get this drop-box thing to work).  I was really impressed with our trip to Puerto this week. The missionaries are really doing a wonderful job. I have a lot of love and respect for missionaries who have never known anything of church administration, and of course haven´t ventured to overstep their bounds, but who have learned so much simply to help local church leaders who may not get it 100% yet.  These missionaries are troopers who are helping not just people who do not know the gospel, they are helping less actives, recent converts, and even just everyday members keep and make covenants. 

We had the oportunity to attend the District Presidency mtg with President Harbertson and the zone leaders. Great mtg. lots of talk about coordinating efforts to reactivate and retain.  

We had two great days of training with the missionaries. Elder Castro and I give a training about becoming missionaries accordign to preach my gospel while President interviewed the missionaries. The next day we helped president do a zone conference with the zone leaders. One of the practice sessions that we have is practicing doing a ward council mtg. It is so interesting! I never thought that so many changes would come about in my mission in just the short time that I have been here. 

Truly, the time has felt short. I feel like my feelings are deepening every single day, about this work, about my goals for later on in life, about my family, and especially about the savior. I love being a missionary because we try to emulate the Savior in every act, thought and deed, I feel like I get to know him more the more that I try to be like him. 

While we were in Puerto the quick chance I got to escape and go and work we went to a family home evening or as the members called it "noche de hermanamiento" (fellowshipping night) with a less active family. The thought that impressed itself on my mind was that many times we don´t know why people have left the church, or why they aren´t coming. I think many times we would be surprised to find that they aren´t there for a problem that they really needed a helping hand to get out of. In this family that was the case. The mother had a big tumor growing next to her eye from an accident, they seemed to be in financial problems, and simply some circumstances had changed.  They needed people to come and tell them that they were loved and needed, that someone was there looking out for them and that they could count on us to fullfill the promise that we would "mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those in need of comfort." 

The greatest missionary work is done as we serve in the way that Christ would have served. I love thinking that we can shout out the gospel to all the world simply by the way we treat our fellow man. 

Ok this isn´t my sermon, even if it may sound like it. I just LOVE THIS. I love it all! And most of all I love all of you. 

Oh ya happy Halloween.... wasn´t to exciting here..... 

So much love!

Elder Neff

Thursday, October 31, 2013

CUSCO 10.18.13

The other day, I made a big realization.  I have never been happier. Really never been happier in my whole entire life. I am realizing the blessings that come from service and faithful dedication to the work of salvation... its not what I expected it to be, but it is really even better. 

I thought that the happiness you felt as a missionary would be smiles on your face, perfect teaching situations and baptizing MILLIONS! haha, but thats not it! Its personal peace mom. It is feeling clean from your sins and helping others to do the same, the best that you can. 

And the other part is this strong desire growing in me to always, always serve the lord and make that my main priority for my whole life! I understand very well that most of that work will be done with my own family, but sometimes I get scared thinking about the end of my mission because I will miss this oportunity so much. Its not that I dont want the mission to end, I know very well that it will. But I don´t want to stop serving the Lord. Ever. Period. That is what makes me happy right now. So that is my ulitmate goal for when I get home.- 

I miss the family, very very much. Some times it has been difficult... a lot of times actually haha. But I love you all and think about you often. 

Much love 

Elder Sam Neff

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CUSCO 10.15.13

Ok mom and dad.... conference thoughts!!!

first of all, a little frustrated because I took a lot of notes and am not sure where my journal is where I wrote them all down, but I will give you all my thoughts from what I can remember.

Mom I loved your comments on the priesthood and honestly I had NO idea about that woman´s movement. What a shame. Someone who thinks they can change the Lord´s mind through a  protest... doesn´t understand revelation. And how sad because I feel like their worry comes from the fact that they haven´t even taken the time to really understand what the priesthood is, and that it is our unique oportunity to serve as men... President always talks about this.... and how he believes that men need the priesthood, it is the "program" that helps us learn how to be servicial... something that woman have before they even come to this earth. More and more everyday I realize the great blessing it is to hold the priesthood and help spread those blessings specific to the priesthood in Cusco Perú.

And all I´m saying is that men aren´t going around looking for the way to have kids.... well, I haven´t been home for quite awhile so I hope that the world hasn´t gone that far down hill since I left.

Some things from conference that really impacted me were Elder Richard G. Scott´s talk about  the power of the atonement for us personally and guarding ourselves from past problems.  Also Elder Ballard´s talk about just opening our mouths to preach the gospel... that has affected me a lot, and I have been making extra efforts to open my mouth this week.

More than anything after conference my desire to be a faithful follower of Christ is always strengthened... but this time it felt so distinct.  I felt the importance of this faithfulness in my calling as a missionary, and in all of the challenges we will face in these last days. I can´t imagine many of the difficulties that we will need to face.  I think the most valuable lesson of my mission has been realizing that being faithful to the Lord is all that matters. I feel good as I make good decisions... and that never has to end. It will be especially important as the world continues to move farther and farther away from the principles of the gospel... we don´t have to "hacerles caso!"

The mission has been a tough experience... but I think that the other day, I realized why that was so important.  I don´t think that my mission would be any good to me if it had not been so hard. The Lord had to teach me, I think, that he needs me to love him more than anything else.

The calling may not be that easy, but its my calling, and callings rarely are convenient.

Mom and Dad your examples have been soooooo good to me, when I read about Dad in mtgs all sunday and Mom juggling the lives of 7 children 1 grandkid and working at the  highschool.  I think about how we are all doing something for the kingdom of god.  It makes me happy :)

I am going to be honest. I´m not sure what days I will be writing but Ill try my best to make it constant!

Love you all :)

Elder Neff

Friday, October 11, 2013

CUSCO 10.5.13

Mom and Dad, I am a little tired. We just got back from a work visit to Ollantaytambo, which is about an hour and a half from where I am serving right now in Cusco. We went to go and check on the Elders there and see how they were doing . 

Olllantaytambo is a little tourist town and is part of the valle sagrado zone. We went to go and get a feel for how the elders there are doing and how the work is going. When we got there I was really quite impressed with the elders, I couldn´t believe the amount of challenges that they were facing. Look it up on google earth, ollantaytambo is a little tourist town, that probably exceeds the population of actual inhabitants everyday the amount of tourists that come through to see the ruins or take the train to machu picchu. 

We went to the rescue! I hope that you have read the first presidency message for this month. It was a wonderful experience and we also found them a few new investigators, which is really difficult to do in such a small town. 

Earlier this week we went to Juliaca to have the zone conference and interviews with president. We were able to do a training mtg with the missionaries and it was such a great experience.... the interviews seem to be taking quite a long time with president harbertson as he is trying to get to know better the missionaries. We talked a lot about the importance of preach my gospel and how the missionareis should use it as a tool to help them be better prepared. We also talked a lot about ward council, and how it is the connecting moment between the missionaries and members to coordinate the work of salvation! 

I know that I am sending this right as conference is starting, I am about to go and watch it. I love you all so much! and hope that you have a wonderful conference experience! 

Love you

Elder Neff

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CUSCO 9.23.13

I am going to write you all more tomorrow.... I was having P-day but now I have to go and help a companionship in another zone.... kind of an emergency so I have to get going here pretty soon. What I do want to do is give you some pics of my trip to the real JUNGLE. It was amazing and I had so many great experiences that I will tell tomorrow... for now just a spiritual thought. 

 Read a talk from Elder Holland from the Ensign of last month about the difference between justice and mercy, freedomand captivity.... it made me reflect so much about my time as a missionary, and howthe greatest blessing has been my understanding of the importance of the commandments. My whole concept has changed of my relation of my Heavenly Father and of what he expects of me... every day things are getting better because I am trying to give myself more and more to him. 

President has talked to me a few timesabout how when I go home, if I haven´t changed, I have missed  the whole point.... I have realized that as I try to change, I am learning more, understanding people better.... the whole gospel of Jesus Christ has taken on a new meaning in my heart that I never ever want to lose. 

And that means that these changes have to be permanent. And I know that it might be a little hard to always do, but its my new goal forevor and always!!! 

I love you more tomorrow,

Elder Neff

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CUSCO 9.16.13

Well hello my family!!!!!! How are all of you!? I got a letter from quite a few of you so I assume that everything is going really really great! I am doing great as well :) 

Ok, so as you can see I sent you a boatload of photos! We went to Quillabamba this week and were able to have a training mtg with the missionaries and do a work visit with the zone leaders. I was able to have a great visit with my old companion from the CCM, Elder NOLAN!  I was more than excited to have that oportunity.  

The trip to Quillabamba in itself was quite the adventure, going up to over 4000 meters and then dropping down quickly into a valley at 1000 where it is basically the " seja de selva" o sea, eyebrow of the jungle was quite chevere. 

The work visit with Elder Nolan was so great. It was such a cool moment to remember how we had taught together in the CCM knowing hardly a lick of spanish and then having this oportunity about a year later to see how far we had come. He is a wonderful missionary and am so glad that he is trying so hard to help the missionaries in Quillabamba. 

Mom I read the newsflash about elder Cook in Perú and I couldn´t help but think about what his reaction would have been to visit Quillabamba. It is a small district with three branches and a family group.... i feel like the area could just explode with a little more leadership and a good focus on reactivation as well as teaching non members. A city where 600 people are more or less "active" and there are over 3000 people registered as baptized on the records of the church. I believe it is time to rescue! And while we were there we talked a good while about all of that. I hope the missionaries can embrace the new focus of the work of salvation and be able to find even purpose in this new type of focus. 

As for me and my companion we are doing sooo great! Elder Castro is from Lima and he is the kindest person. I can´t believe how much he has served me in just the few short weeks we have been companions. I hope to learn so much from him and I am assuming that we could be companions for a good little while. I expect to enjoy every minute of it! 

I love you all soooooooooo much. I feel blessed more and more everyday for my service. I am getting off now trying to be more obedient with the time rules.  But I cannot believe how much has been able to change in such a short time of my life. 


Elder Neff

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

CUSCO 9.10.13

Great week. here are some of the great things that happened. 

We taught the first lesson to a member family and their two nieces who are not members. (references;)  It has been a great experience teaching member references. Can you imagine the difference between someone who is surprised with missionaries on their door step and with someone who has been carefully prepared by members to recieve the gospel! It is a very big difference. 

We explained the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, and I think few times in my mission a lesson has gone to smoothly. It was great to take a moment just to think and realize that the Lord has given me such a blessing to learn and understand the language, and I feel so good being able to express myself easily to explain the gospel. 

The two investigators had already seen the video of the restoration of the gospel, but I felt the need to go over again the first vision, and tell the experience of joseph smith looking for the true church. 

As I was finishing telling the acccount of the first vision, I felt the strong impression to look into one of the investigators eyes until I finished speaking. I was on the part of "one of them spake unto me calling me by name..... ) so I felt like I still had a ways to go before I finished the lesson. BUT I KEPT EYE CONTACT, I listened to the spirit and it was the right thing to do (its always the right thing to do) she looked intently into my eyes too and i know she felt the spirit.... she seemed to be affected after I told the acount and the rest of the lesson was much more receptive to what we taught. 

Well.... tomorrow we are traveling. It is and exciting but difficult part of being an assistant. Pray for my investigators while I am gone from cusco because I get back on Saturday and they need to read the Book of Mormon! 

I love you all so much, and will talk to you soon! 

Elder Neff

Pics of the trip to pisac.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

CUSCO 9.2.13

CRAZY!!!! week! but so rewarding. The visit that we had from Elder Grow was something else and I am so happy that we recieved such a great blessing.

He talked about many important things, among them how we need to change our focus from just missionary work to, the work of salvation. It was explained to us many times how important it will be for us to take care of less actives and recent converts.

The whole week was spent with many mtgs and for me SO MANY different things to learn... honestly a little stressed and I am going to enjoy this p-day tooooooooo much! haha, but I love you all, Im sorry the letter will be better next week.

Closing thought, Elder Grow said something very special, he said that this moment in the history of the church is a moment tan significante (sorry I can never think in english) as the first vision, or as the restoration of the church, the priesthood etc. and that everyone will look at this moment and say " that is when everything changed!"

Can you believe this? What a blessing we have to be at the forefront of this great change.

I love you all! Que el señor les bendiga

Elder Neff

Friday, August 30, 2013

CUSCO 8.26.13

Ok... so I bet you are all a little surprised to be getting an email from me on a saturday, the truth is I am a little surprised too.

Not too much to say, I guess that I will be able to write more when we go back to normal p-day schedule on mondays. (It will be the monday in two weeks not in 2 days).

I had an emergency change, and now I am serving in the office. I got a call from President tuesday night telling me that I needed to get my bags packed and that i had to be in the office at 7 30 in the morning and that I would be replacing the assistant who went home that same day.

Kind of nervous Mom and Dad, but I am just trying to keep things real and be the same missionary that I have always been.

We are a little nervous as well because in about 3 days Elder Grow a 70 will be coming to the mission and we have to get a lot of things ready for his visit.

I am sure that there will be a news flash or something about Elder Cook visiting us, stay tuned for that on the church web site!

Elder Neff

Thursday, August 22, 2013

CUSCO 8.22.13

Ok.... big confession. 

I did not tell you EVERYTHING that was going to happen this past week in my last email... the truth is that we something VERY exciting happen.....

About two weeks ago I was in the chapel where the mission office is located waiting to teach a lesson with a few missionaries in my zone ( they needed a little help) but as I was waiting for the investigator to arrive the missionary who is personal secretary to the president came and said that president wanted to talk to me. 

Uh oh

Mentirita! I wasn´t THAT scared... until I stepped into president´s office. He told me that he had a special announcment and that it particularly had to do with me. UH..... I had no idea what i was thinking at this point, one of my first thoughts was that they were going to open a remote sector somewhere off in the mountains and that he wanted me to go there... or emergency transfer... yada yada who knows. 

I was very surprised when he said that we were going to recieve a visit from a few general authorities..... A few? THREE. Elder Cook, Elder Calister, and Elder Wadell. 

" And Elder Neff, The assistants here tell me that you have a lot of musical experience."

"Thats right President" 

"Elder Cook has asked that there be a choir in the program, and I want you to organize it." 

"Ok, How much time do I have?" 

" The mtg is in 10 days."



Maybe that gives you an idea of how I felt in that moment. I knew I needed to say yes because there was no one else who could do it, but I had NEVER directed a choir in my whole life! And there were going to be three general authorities in theis mtg. I was at least a little nervous. 

Well faith always precedes the miracle, and that is exactly what happened. Faith + Sally Deford music and a quick translation from spanish to english of "oh my father" and we were good to go.

There were about 20 elders and 20 sisters in the choir. Well, it wasn´t perfect but the Elders and Sisters sang SO WONDERFULY. I was proud, and grateful that they were ready and willing to put something together under such short notice. 

Well enough about the choir, what did the general authorities say! Such wonderful messages, they all spoke and so did everyone of their wives. I felt such a strong spirit, and was particularly grateful for the Apostolic blessing the Elder cook left for us, he talked about all of our loved ones being blessed for our service as missionaries. Elder Calister talked about the apostasy and how important it is that we teach it as missionaries. Elder Wadell speaks very good spanish and bore a simple but powerful testimony. 

I think my spiritual batteries got recharged for the rest of my mission! 

Sorry I couldn´t write on monday, the mtg was that day so we were pretty busy. Mom I promise I am OK. I hope paige and john made it back to UT alright. 

Edna I write you in one week ok? ;) 

loves and bye! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

CUSCO 8.12.13

Hey Fam!!!!! 
What can I tell you all. I am doing so great! Loving the opportunity that I have to be serving here in Cusco. 

Yesterday in church I had to give a talk on Sacrifice and it made me do some real thinking about the principle… and especially how it applies to missionary work.  As I was preparing the talk, I began to think about the many things that missionaries need to sacrifice… Yes I thought a little bit about you guys, and how much I miss you… the things I left at home… my studies, but none of these things stood out as much as one particular thought that I had.  The greatest thing to sacrifice as a missionary or member who desires to share the gospel are our own selfish desires to hold onto the natural man. I thought back to all the many people who I have taught and how important it has been that I could lose my own selfish desires and give all to help them gain a testimony of the gospel.  One of the greatest ways that we can honor the Savior is through testifying of the great sacrifice that He made for us and not just being satisfied that the power of the Atonement has had an effect on us, but that it can have an effect in many other people and bring them the peace and happiness that so many desire to have in this life. 

The other day we had a lesson with a recent convert that is a member of our ward. She is a great convert and always asks very interesting questions. She began to ask us questions about the difference in religions and how she had been to a religious panel the other day where they talked openly about religion and different beliefs. She expressed to us that the feeling from the panel was that in spite of our differences, we all try to reach the same God who loves us and wants us to be happy, and that in the end we would all be united in the same belief. 
To me it seemed like the conference was full of a lot of “feel good talk” about how we all need to be one. Great, I love it. We do need to try to be unified, we do need to love each other in spite of our differences… but a thought came to my mind exactly in this moment of an experience that Elder Packer shared in “Our Search for Happiness” about when he visited a similar religious panel. .. and I think perhaps a similar feeling was present… but Elder Packer was able to testify boldly of the truth in spite of the fact that perhaps there would be a little of resentment or discussion on the subject.

I applied this principle with our recent convert. I told her that we could be tolerant, but that it is ALWAYS important to say the truth… we might have to sacrifice some friendly feelings, but the important thing is that we can be TRUE friends and show that true friendship by helping others understand the one and true way to happiness. 
She was really impacted by what I said. And we saw that change in her this Sunday. She came up to me and started talking about how she now has a desire to serve a mission, where before she had been telling us that a mission was SO out of her plans that she was not even considering it. 

I am happy that the spirit helped me to say the truth in the moment when it was so important. 

Elder Neff

Monday, August 5, 2013

CUSCO 8.5.13

Is it a guilty pleasure that it is playing right now "Walking on the Sun" by Smash Mouth in the internet cafe and I am singing along in my head? I remember when i was way little and Mom would put that on in the house and I would Say "play it againg! play it again!" ..... maybe don´t put that guilty pleasure on the blog..... :)

GREAT Week! I just feel so good. So pleased with all of the great things that are happening in the zone, in my sector. The zona inti raymi is doing so great.

This week my companion and I had a lot of success in finding new investigators. I love the way the Lord prepares people to recieve the gospel and how he guides us to these people so that we can help them.

Remember the story of the lady on the bus? Think of that example, and then think of the example that I am about to share with you.

For many days we had put a man named Gilbert Arias, as a plan b in our planners simply because he lived close to some of our plan A´s and we wanted to have the oportuinty to visit with him.... well for many days it seemed to be in vain that we had even put him on the list of things to do becasue we could never find him.

Yesterday, we had an appointment that was about 20 minutes away walking from our apartment towards a rather poor part of my sector. The `person that we were going to meet with wasn´t home and afer some vain attempts to find other worthwhile things to do in the area, we started to head off to our nxt appointment.

en camino, we run into a very drunk lady that pleads for our help and we stop for a minute to consol her and see how we could help (normally I avoid talking to drunk poeple but she was a woman so I felt bad and we talked to her.) After sending her off in the direction of the police station to get some help, we realize that basically all of our plans for the early afternoon have been ruined... and the looking at my planner I though to myself... "well.... lets go look for Gilbert" (I promise you most days are NOT like that)

So we went to his house, his car was there, we knock on the door and the first thing that he says is, Hermanos! Pasen! He was very excited to see us.

he is a laywer who concidentily works in Izcuchaca..... we had a great talk about that and then we asked him what he expected from us and what he would like to learn. He had many questions about the plan of salvation and what we believe as mormons. His wife has a tumor and it seems like they are passing through some real dificulties in their lives. We gave him a copy aof the book ofmormon and he promised to read and pray. As we ended the lesson he offered a prayer in which he asked to know if the book was true.

This man was a refereral from a member who was really never expected to progress, but I am so grateful that the Lord prepares his children and that dilligence is a wonderful principle we can apply in missionary work. The Lord never gives up on us and we should never give up on others either.

I love you all! I am so happy  have all of you as friends and family!


Sorrry there aaren´t any pics.... I dont have a picture adapter and the elders that have them already left because I had to spend time sending key indicatores,

NXT week Fo sho.

Elder Neff

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CUSCO 7.29.13

Ok..... My bad for not writting more last week.... Ill give you all a WAY GOOD CARTA this week!

Ok so ya I am in CUUUUUUSSSSCCCOOOOOOO!!!! Por FIN! I am loving it. Even though I have only been in the department of  Cusco for the first year of my mission, I have loved every second of it and couldn{t be happier that i am here in inti raymi.

We are 26 missionaries, but all close here in the city which i really like.... I don´t have to go very far to see any of the missionaries in the zone and that is way fun because it is so much easier to help someone out if they have a need.

Last week I was on a bus.... (aka bus = teeny toyota van that they use are transport here a lot of the time and when there isn{t a seat i basically fold in have and hold on for dear life to a little metal bar that keeps me from squashing the little peruvian people with my big gringo form)

anyway I was in the folded in half position, and honestly a little bugged that I was having to ride así, when a woman asked me if she could hold my backpack. My first thought was, " I think she will take it and run when they open the door...." (I am ashamed I thought that at first) But something told me to tell her yes and she took it with Mucho Gusto. The person sitting at her side got off the bus and I decided to sit down next to her. I just had this strong feeling to talk to her. So I did! Her father in law is a member in the stake and she and her daughter began to show some interest in the church a few months ago.

They didn{t live in my sector but I decided to do a work visit and present them to the missionaries who live in their sector. The lesson was yesterday and it was just such a great experience. The mother was experiencing some health problems so we gave her a priesthood blessing and explained how priesthood power blesses families and that this was exactly the blessing that they needed in their lives at this time, Theyboth commented that they were sure the Lord had sent us to them at this time in their lives to bless them.

Ya I think so too!

I love you all! Hae a wonderful week and I PROMISE that I will slowly improve in my writing.

Elder Neff

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

CUSCO 7.22.13

Sam didn’t have a lot of time to write this week L so he sent us the update that he sent to his mission president.  Perks of being a zone leader I guess!  Sam is now in the City of Cusco, Zona Inti Raymi.  He says, “google maps Tupac Amaru…. I live there.”

Presidente Harbertson:

Hoy día traté a dar una clase que edificaría a la zona y ayudar a los misioneros a empezar el nuevo cambio con muchos ánimos. Al tomar los logros ayer en la noche, nos dimos cuenta que las fechas de la zona están muy bajos por la cantidad de compañerismos que tenemos. Creo que tiene que ver en general con la actitud de los misioneros y que piensan que las metas de excelencia están más allá de su alcance, sé que no tienen que sentirse así y yo y elder Castellanos tratamos a animarlos a esforzarse para lograr la meta. 

También tuvimos una reunion con los obispos y el presidente de la estaca. Hablamos del tema de que cada barrio necesita tener la organización misional. Hablando sinceramente, algunos de los obispos no nos creen que es importante y dicen no más que trabajamos por nuestra propia cuenta. Pero tenemos el apoyo de algunos y vamos a empezar por allí. 

Thank you for your advice the other week about attitude and how it determines everything.  I’m doing my best to apply that and hope the zone can do the same.  I was here a long time and I am grateful for it, it has been the greatest growth opportunity I have yet to experience in the mission and I am looking forward to doing the same in my next area.

Monday, July 15, 2013

SICUANI 7.15.13

Well I am sending a whole bunch of pictures right now, I hope you all enjoy!  There are a few pictures of Sicuani, Pitumarca (Yes I did baptize someone in that river!) and the Watia I told you about last week.

Mom that is totally nutz about the bear.  Happy that no one died and that Brent Henry is da man with his Bear Horn!  I hope you are all enjoying Powell even with the boat issues, send me some pictures next week!

I think that the saddest news I have is that I found out yesterday I have a change.  Can’t believe that my time in Sicuani has ended and that I am off to a new sector.  Who can say where I will be writing you all next?

One thing I can say though is that I am very pleased with the work that I have been able to do here in Sicuani.  I have learned so much and despite of all the difficulties I am happy that I have been able to grow as a missionary and feel even more my conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful in particular that I have been able to learn how to be valiant in the face of opposition even when things seem going all wrong!  Many times the work here in this zone has been less than exemplary, but I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to learn how to be a good example to others who might not be as dedicated.  

I am sad that I will be leaving my investigators, many of which are progressing and the members are becoming even more excited with the work and helping us with references every single week.  I am so sad that I have to leave the wonderful converts that mean SO much to me.  Percy and Soledad in particular.  I think that when times were rough here in Sicuani that was one of my greatest comforts…. They have not missed ONE SINGLE DAY of church since they were baptized.  They both have callings and are trying every day to live the gospel.

Love you all so much!

Elder Neff

Monday, July 8, 2013

SICUANI 7.8.13

Ok…. I am going to send this but I need you to promise me that you are going to UPDATE THE BLOG!  Haha Family how are you!!!  The pictures were awesome.  Yes I was there last year in the “front yard of fire” or whatever we called it.  Don’t you all remember that one of the mortar packages fell down and Brandon and High had to go and kick it in the other direction?  Which ended up being in the direction of a super dry field so we pointed it to the left and one of the mortars pegged the Glaittli Suburban… ya good times!

Ok let me tell you how we are doing here in Sicuani.  I have been here since February, can you believe it?  At this rate I am going to have only two more sectors before my time runs out…. Oh well.  If I don’t make it to the Jungle or Lake Titicaca I will at least be able to say the I am “cerano (mountain person) for life!”

We are twenty missionaries now in the zone and I am starting to realize the great changes that are going on in the missionary program world-wide.  We were a mission with about 180 missionaries?  The Lord is hastening his work and I couldn’t be serving at a more exciting time as a missionary.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the opportunity we have to repent.  It was the first class that President Harbertson gave to the missionaries and I spent a lot of time reflecting on it.  I realized what a great blessing it is to be able to repent.  As we repent we are able to change our current circumstances, and not only that, we can literally erase the past problems and transgressions that we have committed in the past.  It is the greatest gift that our Savior could give us along with the ability to overcome physical death.  I tried my very best to apply this to my teaching this week and to my personal life.  I am grateful that repentance helps me to be a better person and missionary every day, and that the greatest blessing that comes from this is a personal peace that I can show to every person that I meet.

Well what else would you like to know about life in Sicuani.  Perhaps the student strike where the kids left rocks in the street and burned tires so the cars couldn’t pass?  Haha or the other day our lunch was yams and potatoes that are cooked underground with charcoal?  (this type of cooking is called Watia) Its really tasty but you definitely have to apply the “a little dirt don’t hurt” phrase haha…. Now I know why nobody has teeth here….

I honestly love you all so much.  Dad, I was thinking…. The only Christmas/Birthday present that I really want is that when I get home, you have two fly rods waiting for us, and all the nifty stuff that we need to go fly fishing in the Uintas when I come home in June.  I can get home and that same weekend we can jump in that new shnazy CR-V and finally do that trip we were planning before the mission.  That is honestly the only thing that I want.  PROMISE ME WE CAN DO IT!  Remember that I am now responsible and committed to doing things so if you let me down I will be bummed ;)

Oh and when you send the sweater send socks…. All of mine have holes now.  


Elder Neff

Thursday, July 4, 2013

SICUANI 7.3.13

WOW!  SO SORRY THAT I AM WRITING TWO DAYS LATE!!!! I spent the last two days in Cusco and we got hope last night recently…. I had to find the very best day to get to internet and even though we don’t have an appointment right now its proselyting hours so I am going to make it supa quick!

The new president is DA BOMB!!!!!!  I am so stoked to have him here in the mission.

I had the chance to say good-bye to president Calderon last Sunday night… It was a bitter sweet moment, but I felt very privileged that after we passed him the key indicators he took the chance to say goodbye personally.  I will ALWAYS be thankful for his great love that he showed towards all of us.  

Well…. I will have to tell you more next week.  LOVE YOU ALL! 

Elder Neff

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SICUANI 6.24.13

WOW!  All I want to do is talk about the broadcast that we were able to see last night.  How incredible.  I think the greatest message that I was able to get from the broadcast is that we are all missionaries for our entire lives, and that the work the full time missionaries do is something amazing, but that it is severely hindered if we as members don’t do our part preaching the gospel to our friends and neighbors.

I commented to president in my weekly letter that I have been feeling this change come for a long time.  I think the Lord goes preparing us for those changes before we realize that something is about to change!  I had these thoughts all the way back in Izcuchaca when we contacted everyday with very little success…. I am dreaming of the day when, as I believe Elder Nelson said it “The day comes when in one week the missionaries can teach a great number of people and not have to knock on one single door”

And that isn’t because as missionaries we want to be lazy!  We want to be effective, and the effective way is through loving members who decide to give the opportunity to their neighbors to listen to the restored gospel.  I thought a lot about the great opportunity it is to help the members participate in the work of salvacion as well… Think about this for a moment.  We all have received the commandment to be missionaries, perhaps not full-time but in one way or another to participate in the work of salvacion.  I have decided that I don’t want to spend another minute of my time here in the mission working just for myself when I could be blessing the lives of two people at once, a member, and an investigator.  When the members participate in missionary work they are able to work out their own salvacion while helping another find theirs as well.  

I have never found myself in a situacion so challending, but at the same time so rewarding.  Sometime I find myself in very difficult circumstances (well, mostly I find others in very difficult circumstances and it is hard to help them get out!)  but the Lord has always been there to support me in a difficult decision or situacion.  I know that he will do the same for all of you as you do your very best to invite others to come unto Christ.  

I think that the biggest change in my thinking has been, “ok I can accept that I won’t be a full-time missionary forever…. And that is OK”  (Even though it is hard to realize that this time will come to an end)  BUT I cannot ever stop being a missionary, because the change has been too deep and too profound that now the great duty and blessing we have to share the gospel.

I have a request… when you send the next package…. I gave away my sweaters and I am only using my coat…. What I would like is perhaps another sweater?  Pls?  Many missionaries here use cardigans and it is approved.  I would like one because sometimes you go out in the morning to proselyte when it is cold and you need a sweater… but when the sun is out blazing at mid day, the only thing that you really need to do is take off your coat, or even open it up so that its not too hot… I would love that thanks ;)

Love you all!

Elder Neff

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

SICUANI 6.17.13

Hey Family!

Feliz Dia Papa!  Happy Father’s Day Dad!  I hope that the waffles were delicious!  Also the waffle maker was totally not a lame gift!  Haha I would give an arm and a leg to have waffles right now…. But Peruvian breakfast can be quite delicious if you love avocado and fresh baked bread.  (I know that Paige’s mouth is watering right now hehe)

The weather is changing here in the mountains of Peru and also our animos!  We are really doing much better as a zone and I am so pleased with the way the elders are working and improving.

With respect to my investigators, we suffered a few let downs this week.  The parents of Percy have sort of lost their desires to be baptized.  For me this was VERY frustrating because I always have a lot of hope that a member referral is going to be baptized.  I think that I was perhaps a little too optimistic from the beginning with them because they have quite a few challenges to overcome… one of the biggest being illiteracy and a business that they run primarily on Sundays.

So now we are off to look even harder get more referrals from members that can lead to new investigators and baptisms. 

Sorry this week I had to do a lot of things in internet for the zone so sorry if my letter seems really short.  I also had to take a few photos of some of the sectors in the zone so here are a few pictures of the missionaries that are here working so hard here in sicuani.  Pray for them!

Love you all!  Take care and see you next week.

Elder Neff

Monday, June 10, 2013

SICUANI 6.10.13

Family, the first thing that I need to say to everyone is THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF THE LETTERS OF ENCOURAGEMENT! I was so happy to receive so much love this week in letters and pictures. WOW Eden graduated, Paige and John are in Atlanta and everyone else seems to be doing great.

The picture with ben garrison and gannon freaked me out, all three of them have grown up a whole ton. I can only imagine what it will be like in another year! 

This computer is terrible and i can hardly type, so i will have to make this one short. But i will tell you a little bit about the new change that started and my new companion!

Elder Calderon went off to be a zone leader in Juliaca. I really loved my time with him, but it was sufficient as we had almost four months together as companions. This change I received Elder Castellanos from Mexico! He is awesome, its a different dynamic then my old companionship with elder Calderón. He is just a way funny missionary with a really great ability to win the confidence of the other missionaries. He often says " no manchas man!" Haha which I love, I heard uncle michael say that quite a few times. 

We have a lot of improving to do here in the zone, and a few difficulties. More than anything we need to make sure that the missionary efforts are supported by the ward and the the members actively participate in the work. President gave us some council and had us implement new plans so that this happens. More than anything it has to do with the ward mission leader and the ward council. So this week my homework is to win the confidence of the bishop and actively involve the ward in what we do as missionaries. I am really excited about the change and think it is exactly what the church needs for missionary work here in Perú. 

Sent you some pictures! I hope you enjoy. You can see my new companion in the photo with the missionaries. And little taste of Peruvian KFC :)

I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week! 

Elder Neff

p.s. Edna, send Sar a hello from me and that I say, GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!
WOW! I forgot to tell you that you dont have to put the pic of my foot fungus on the blog hahahahahahahahahah! I already got rid of it i just though you would want to see :)

Love bye!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

SICUANI 6.3.13

Queridos familiares y amigos....

I LOVE you all so much! And am grateful for the opportunity to write you today. 
I was doing some thinking about what I could send to you today... we had some wonderful experiences this week... all of which helped me to have a better focus about my time as a missionary and the blessings the Lord has given me as I have dedicated this time to his service. 

The first would be what happened this thursday when we got up in the morning... I went to go and fill my water bottle with water from the outside sink that is between our bedroom and the bathroom. To my surprise, whenI turned on the faucet brown water came out.... I started having terrible visions of months in Izcuchaca practically with out water flash through my mind....

and I was absolutely right there is NO WATER on our side of the river in Sicuani and they predict that it will be like that for almost the entire month of June. 
Obviously we aren´t dying, and we can get water when the fire man come around with giant tanks that they sell in all the home improvement stores in Cusco, but WOW it has been a super interesting experience. 
Dad! They need a good civil engineer in Sicuani, we would love it if you would come down and manage the construction project to change the ENTIRE MAIN PIPELINE that runs down the main street in Sicuani. Just remember that perhaps you wont have a lot of heavy equipment and a lot of workers who dont have experience changing pipelines. ;)

This experience helped us reflect on a lot of things. One of them remembering the good old days listening to Elder Harmon sing "I must go to fech the water" from the jungle book.... as we went the few sites in the city where you could find water. 

I started to think how much people stress to have their temporal needs met and how that compares to their needs to have their spiritual needs met. I did a lot of thinking... and realized that the people knew where to find the water that they needed to meet their physical needs, but often have no idea where to find the "living water" that Christ talked about.  The calling to share the gospel is unique and wonderful, I spend every week here in Sicuani trying to find people who will partake of the living water, and also help the missionaries in the zone improve in their ability to do the same. 

I love the Lord and know that He lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it will bring us closer to Him than any other book. I am not ashamed of the gospel, and I try every day to be even less ashamed to live it with all of my heart might mind and strength. Thank you for you love and support! I will talk to you all next week.
Elder Neff

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sicuani 5.27.13

This has just been the most exciting week ever. I really am so pleased. Percy and Soledad were married this friday, baptised saturday, and confirmed on sunday. Surely the most exciting weekend of their life to date! Really every moment of it was precious and I was so pleased that the Lord had given them and their family such an amazing blessing. 

Perhaps I didn´t give you enough information about this family in my other emails... I will try to give you an overview of the experience that we had with the family Hancco Terraces over the past few months. 

They were refferals that we recieved from a member family during my first change here in Sicuani. I remember talking to my companion after meeting them and making a comment like "Wow they are really nice people, lets do everything that we can so they progress." Little did I know that they would surprise me with the rate of their progress and dedication to repent and become members. 

At the beginning they progressed a little slowly and had quite a few doubts... but all of that changed when they made the special effort to pray and read the scriptures as a family, and especially when they asked Heavenly Father if what we had really taught them was true. From that moment on, EVERYTHING changed. They began to assist regularly to church and left their business that they were running selling backpacks and clothing on sundays (when they had the most success during the week I might add). They read every assignment that we gave them from the scriptures and kept all the comittments we extended.

We had invited them to be baptized, and they had all the desires to do it. The only obstacle was marriage, and it proved to be a difficult decision for them to make. Their dificulties came more from the fact that it would be a big expense, and that they wanted a lot of time to prepare. We challenged them with a specific date and they told us that they would pray and discuss about it. 

That lesson when we challenged them, I spoke to them about the doctrine of Christ and his atonement. I told them that the marriage did not need to be something fancy or grand, that they simply needed to get married so that the Lord could bless them, accept their fruits of repentance, and so they could enter into the waters of baptism... and that because Christ had made such a sacrifice for them, nothing else could be so important to them than this, in this time of their life. 

The next lesson, Soledad told us that she had a dream where she was hurring to get marriede the 24th of May. And Percy simply told us "Elders, you dont need to convince us anymore, I recieved an answer." (keep in mind that they said this about 3 weeks befor the wedding date)

Miracles DO HAPPEN!!!!

I love my mission. I love the chance that I have to live by faith and to help others to face difficult challenges. I know that the Lord gives us amazing blessings as we decide that his will is the most important thing in our lives, and as we live according to that will. 

I love you all so much. Summer is about to start! I hope you enjoy it. Here everything is freezing solid in the morning and melting in the blazing heat during the day. But we are loving every minute of it. 

Les Quiero, 

Elder Neff


p.s. I now have permision to email to who i please and can send more than one email a week. If you read this or the blog and want to write me a little by email i would love to hear from you and can respond a little. Call my mom for the email address.