Monday, February 25, 2013

Sicuani 2.25.13

FAM! How is everyone doing? So excited to tell you about my first week in sicuani,  it has been the biggest change of my mission yet, but a very good change and I am so happy about it.
I got to sicuani at about 12 in the afternoon on tuesday. Honestly all the changes that had to happen to leave izcuchaca were a little heartbreaking. Leaving my kid being one of the biggest! I just wanted to finish his training, he is a little shy and it seems to me that he could have used a little more time with his daddy :) But I know that the Lord calls us to different places for a good reason, and that this is where i am supposed to be.
Getting off the bus in sicuani my first thought was, " Well this isnt all that different." Sicuani is about 3 hours in bus from Cusco, more or less in the direction of puno y juliaca. We are nestled in the middle of a little mountain valley in the highlands of Perú! (Sorry I cant find my camera cord i PROMISE I will send pictures nxt week.)
Maybe the biggest change from my last assignment as district leader was the fact that there is even more responsibility with respect to organization and the temporal needs of the missionaries as a zone leader. We spent most of the first day making sure that the elders made it to all of their sectors without a problem (which can be a task because some of the sectors in sicuani are about 2 hours away in car and at like 4000 m.) Look up Espinar if you want to see!
In terms of the sector... it really is amazing. Working in a ward is a HUGE change that has gotten me really excited for the work here in sicuani. I feel like I can apply and make effective so many more principles of Preach my Gospel that just weren´t possible before. We have the support of the members and already I can see the results of a great effort being made by many people who want to see their good friends enter into the covenant of baptism and become members of the church.
While we were visiting less active members that havent been ordained to the priesthood yet, we came across a family that hadn´t attended church for about two years for work and because they moved from Puno to Sicuani. While we were teaching them, we met their sister and her family and began to teach them as well. I am AMAZED at the difference the support of members makes in terms of the work. The support system was immediately there. When there were questions, the member family was able to help the investigators. And it was also like have two more people in the lesson to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel, and besides this, when the Mother of the investigator family couldnt understand something (because just about EVERYONE here knows quechua in addition to spanish... or only quechua.) her sister was there to help out.... What a great blessing.
I love being a missionary. It isn´t always easy, but I feel the love of my Savior and know that he wants my success and is with me every step of the way. I know that my goals are as important to him as they areto me, and that he wants me to reach every righteous goal to bless his children here in Perú.
Today I taught a Zone lesson without batting an eye. Who would have thought that I would have been here in this situation? I am happy that the Lord has prepared me for the work he wants me to complete while i am a missionary.
EDEN BYU!!!! I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU! Well, you are going on a mission so we will have to wait a little while to study together, BUT I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tell Kip that Perú is the best country in the world. I hope he gets to eat ceviche in trujillo. (I think he has the coast in his mission) Tell him to go to a Peruvian restaurant and eat some lomo saltado or ají de gallina.......... mmmmmmmmmmmmmm................ and to be grateful that chuño, probably wont be on the menu all that often (Even though.... after you getused to soup with chuño is pretty tasty)
Anything else? I have an hour of computer time as zone leader so its a little bit easier to write letters. I wish you all the best! And love you so much.
Elder Neff
p.s. mommy Large Tall ;) sorry i forgot.

Monday, February 18, 2013


JENNNA GRACIE!!!!!! Wow what luck is this? I actually get the chance to email you ON YOUR BIRTHDAY!!! This is a special treat for sure because i only email once a week... how lucky are we?
GOT THE PACKAGE! Havent even opened it yet but i am going to do it right now so i can let ya know what i think............ espere un rato.... WOW THANKYOU!!!!!!!!!!! sorry it just changed to italics and i dont know how to fix it. I uploaded a picture so you could all see my joy from the package thank you :)

I have just some crazy great and sad news.... but excited to tell you all about it.

We ended this change without a baptism. That was pretty dang hard for me, especially because i was trainging elder gomez and i wanted him to have the experience. A few days ago i was sitting in my room, (I dont know if you saw the news but i had to stay in my room for two days because their was a false report of a terrorist uprising in Cusco.) So i had a good amount of time to do some contemplating. I literally spent a lot of time pondering the question... Did i do a good job here? Have i really done all that i can? And besides these questions i had to sit in my room and couldnt do any work... that made it even harder.
I remember reading about patience (Cap. 6 de preach my gospel) And that as I read... the greatest feeling of warmth washed over me. The thought came to my mind that, perhaps everything that i wanted didnt happen, but everthing that the Lord wanted me to do, I did in Izcuchaca. It is true that he blesses us immensly sometimes just with His Spirit... and even though the times have been difficult, this small impression of the Spirit meant the world to me. I am so happy that the Lord is pleased with my work!
Some GREAT NEWS!!!! my companion was waiting for a very exciting thing to happen in his family life back home in Chile. His parents are faithful participants of the church. Participants is a weird word i know but they arent members yet because they cant get married until his dads divorce goes through from an earlier marriage. Well, this saturday THEY GOT MARRIED!!!!! I read the letter from my companions Dad and it was the sweetest thing I have ever read. They are a HUGE part of the branch where they live even though they are not members yet. Such a big part that the whole stake presidency went to their marriage and an area 70. What an incredible blessing! I am soooooo happy for elder gomez. Se bauticen este sabado.
Well.... i did tell you there would be some sad news.... well it is sad and good. The zone leaders called me last night to give us the transfers... and i have a transfer! Cant believe it... and i feel bad because, as we say in the mission, I had to abort (sorry that sounds really harsh maybe you shouldnt put that one on the blog) my child elder gomez... I was asking why all last night and this morning! Well I got my answer in the change mtg. Can you guess? I have been call to be one of the zone leaders in the Sicuani zone!!!!! I think i about died. My Zone leader told me that i am the youngest missionary in the mission to have been called as a zone leader... a penas de 6 meses.
PRAY!!!!!!! DO LOTS OF PRAYING FOR ME!!!!!!!! But one thing i do know is that the Lord qualifies us for the call. I love the mission I love Perú and i love all of you!
Hold to the Iron rod.

Elder Neff
(Ami notes:  The Sriracha and new glasses were in the package.  It's a good thing since the first picture shows that his old glasses were covered with paint....I think from when the Elders painted the church.  These new glasses have transition lenses so that should help his eye with the light sensitivity.  He sounds happy!)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Izcuchaca 2.11.13

Mommy! I am going to the office today, we will see if they have a package waiting for me, not sure.... but im hoping! I currently am not walking with my coat so im not sure what size it is. I will let you know nxt week, in the meantime dont worry about it. And remember that the peat part is fine, i am only missing the outer shell. 

Love hearing from home, about Matt and shannons crazy kids, keep up the great work! 

This week has been pretty interesting..... Wow I always start off así, what do you want to here? How should i model my weekly letters home? Get some info from everyone so that i can have a better idea of what will be more valuable to write. 

We worked hard this week, there cant be any doubt about that. And besides this I also tried to make our work a lot more organized. I began to communicate with all the members and investigators about every day by phone. The people here aren´t very comitted people... If we want to have any form of success or a set plan with them i feel like i have to be reminding them every day of the things we have planned. I feel bad about my old life! I am starting to realize now just how difficult it is to set an appointment and then to have someone tell you just as you stop by to pick them up that they arent going to be able to make it. We had an experience like that this week i want to tell you all about it. 

We are teaching a family of three people. Their names are Sorayda, Jose, and Edwin. They were a reference of a member and from the get go I was super excited about the family. We only had the chance to teach the mother at first, but with time, some acts of service and other things we have had the chance to speak with everyone. This Wedenseday we taught the message of the restoration and then challenged them for baptism. We are challenging just about every single person that we meet and really it has helped me to grow in faith, it is difficult to invite someone to be baptized, but if we really love them we desire their happiness and want them to grow and progress during their mortal probation, we know that the moment they decide to be baptized will be the most important moment of their lives. Well we challenged the family! Of course at first, they said no. :) In the mission we have developed a way to almost make themselves comitt to be baptized without realizing it... And this may seem a like taking away their agency.... but just read the story of Ammon teaching the Lamanite king in the book of mormon and you will now what I mean. so in the end they accept, on the condition that they recieve and answer. This is where I begin to question a little bit, or.... I shouldnt say question, because i know that what my leaders say, and what the lord says more than anything, is true. If we follow the inspired council we will be so blessed, and even if it takes time for the blessings to come, they will come and we can trust that our heavenly father is very very mindful of us. 

Well, i tell you all of this to give you a little bit of background information. We had a lesson with this family saturday night. We stopped by their house to pick them up, and we only found the wife at home... she told us that she wasnt going to be able to make it to the appointment and that her husband had traveled that day. This is AFTER we had called them repeatedly, and passed by their house the very same day to remind them of the appointment and to do their comittments. Aparte de eso, we were going to have the lesson in the house of a member and the wife had prepared food specifically for the lesson. 

Well, i wasnt angry, or anything like that. But it has been difficult. It is hard to do so much for someone and then have them think that it has little or no value for them. Mom, I know how you feel when we dont do what you ask right when you ask us... More than that, I know somewhat how the lord feels when we dont obey his commandments.... and we all have to do better at that. 

The challenge is exhilarating, I love to learn about the gospel through my personal study and experiences in the mission field. I have learned to be happy about the problems... at the end of everyday when i pray to the lord and account for the days work... it is great to have the good feeling of " you did a good job today". I am happy that the Lord loves me enough to tell me that. 

I love you! sorry there arent any pictures... I didnt take any this week 

Elder Neff

Monday, February 4, 2013

Izcuchaca 2.4.13

YES! you got my package! Soooo happy about that. happy that you got the chance to see ALL of the pictures and por fin some of the videos.... Just to let you all know, was trying to capture a baby pig for my first 3 changes and when i finally did it i was so proud of myself :)

Paige! So great to hear that you passed your boards. NCLEX or whatever, now i am going to pray that all goes well with the birth of my new neice! Cant wait. Hope you and jenna liked your gifts as well.

Such an interesting week Elder Gomez and I had. Cant wait to tell you all about it.

I started out this change with a lot of hopes for the families that we are teaching. Honestly I have never prayed so much in my entire life, or felt such a strong need to excercise my faith. I remember entering my room the night after the change mtg, helping Elder Gomez unpack, and then getting into my bed..... My thoughts went back to my first day in the mission field (Ironically I am sleeping in the same bed where I started and was trained) I remember that I thought, "How in the world am I going to do this?" Haha and my thoughts after I was assigned as trainer and district leader were, again, "How am I going to do this?" I´m happy to say that the Lord answers our earnest prayers. I learned an amazing lesson this week, and this is a thought that perhaps I have shared a few times, but I have realized in my service as a missionary that we ask things from people that are near impossible for them to do. The steps of faith that are required for the people to take to change their lives and live according to the gospel standards are an amazing change... and when I say amazing i mean BIG! HUGE! The world is in a serious dump right now. You could say that the country of Peru is a country of mostly christian people... but it really isnt so. They do not live Christian values, they do not obey the commandments, and saint worship is almost worse than any other type of idle worship because it destorts the true nature of Christ and his relationship with us... When people think of Jesus Christ here in Perú, they always refer to him as suffering and dying on the cross. His loving nature and character is overlooked and only his dying and suffering are emphasized. I have talked to many people who think that Jesus Christ is dead, and never resurrected.

Sorry I dont mean to rant but you can imagine the work that is required to change the "false traditions of their fathers" of the people here in Peru. I love reading the respective stories of Ammon and Aaron in the book of Alma... read them when you get the chance! I have tried very hard to follow their example and their way of teaching to help overcome similar problems among the lamanites here in the latter days.

Story about trials of faith. We took a BOMBIN´! family to a baptismal service this week. Everything went super well and they felt the spirit... I just knew they did. We passed by yesterday to invite them to church... They told us that they wouldnt be able to attend because while they were at the baptismal service someone stole two tables from their store............................................................ I honestly did not see that one coming. They dont blame us obviously, but it is difficult to keep people excited about the gospel when difficult things happen like that.

Well I am out of time, and i wanted to explain more... but suffice it to say I know one thing. Nephi built a ship. He was never trained before to do a thing like that, but the Lord saw it fit... to teach him and give him the power to do it so that his great purposes could come to pass. I know the lord can "teach me" to be a good missionary, and not only that but to be the person that I absolutely need to be to complete my mission in this life. His "teaching" more than anything comes through the trial of faith... I have learned to be so greatful for that trial during this last change.

No time left, here is an explication of the pics.

not in any particular order.

Pics in the plaza de armas in Cusco.

Cristo Blanco with those NUEVOS MISIONEROS!

other cool pics hope you enjoy

Mom i just got your letter... if you want me to get something for sure send it to me before 10 oclock my time here.


Elder Neff
(note from Ami....I think Sam sent the pic of his eye because we were wondering how he was doing with it.  We sent him a good pair of sunglasses and also a new pair of glasses with transition lenses to hopefully help with his light sensitivity and also to help protect from the increased light that will cause some damage.  All in all, I think it looks really good!)