Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Week 63 -- Elder Dickman is the man!

Man we all had one heck of a week! I am sorry to hear that y’all have been sick!! I really don’t like being sick, and knock on wood I haven't gotten sick in a while now. But this week has been pretty crazy too. Ii never thought I would be training, and I am. Elder Ahokava is gone, our car, is in Franklin for about 2 to 3 weeks and I have a new comp.   Elder Dickman is 6’6” and about 300 pounds of pure greenie fire. He is from Topeka, Kansas and has been preparing for his mission longer than I have been a missionary!  He definitely is different than me. But I know we will get along fine. Training is interesting, makes me feel old; which I don’t like. Elder Dickman was the exact opposite of me when I came out. He knows his scriptures pretty well and actually read Preach My Gospel several times before his mission. He has studied it! He just needs the experience now.   I look back to when I was getting trained, all that I have learned so far and use that to teach him. So the training is... going. Our investigators are.... going. And the ward is.... going.
None of our investigators came to church on Sunday.. But a couple less actives did! Jeremy came but not his wife... But we had supper with them at the Bradford’s house again. That went really well. They are feeling more comfortable around us now and we should be teaching them pretty soon!
Jessica and Alex went out of town this weekend but we are going over tonight! Jessica loves to hear the apostles and first presidency speak.   She loves Elder Uchtdorf!  So tonight we are going to watch one of his talks and have a discussion on it. Oscar and Bethany didn't come to the party or to church... But he said he would like to meet with the bishop!  This is a big step for him! He is so sincere with all of us.  I respect him in what he is doing... He wants true forgiveness for things that happened in the war. We share the atonement and bear hard core testimony to him, but there is something else. We haven’t bridged that gap yet and we are hoping his meeting with the bishop will bridge that gap!
We had our Christmas party on Saturday too.  We had a reenactment of the Nativity as well. I don’t know if I have told you yet, but there is a guy in our ward named Brother Penrod and he is from either Show Low or Round Valley.  I know he knows Uncle Matt and Uncle Jake. He graduated with Uncle Matt. They are going back to AZ to have Christmas with his parents and I told him to stop by the DQ and say hey to grandma.   It is pretty cool that in every area I have served there has been a connection with back home.
For Christmas we are going over to the Draper's and I think she sent you an email maybe? But I don’t know when we are going to call. I know that Elder Dickman has to call later in the evening, but I will let you know for sure next Monday.  TELL DEVAN TO EMAIL ME. I sure miss him. I started my letter to him, but the last couple nights I have been on the phone...  I will try and finish it this week. 
Well I love you so much! I am so excited to talk to y’all on Tuesday! It’s hard to think that this is my second Christmas in the mission field! After training I am going to hit my 6 month stretch! AHH! IT IS GOING BY TOO FAST.  I love my mission! I love being a missionary! I love how this gospel changes lives! I love to see the Love of our Savior Jesus Christ bring a change into people’s lives. I know my life has changed so much for it. I know missions can be tough, but we go through hard things to find the good things. No one said it would be easy. But they said it would be worth it. I love y’all with all my heart!
 Love your son Elder Vaughn Perkins

Week 62 -- Training, Transfers and Elder Nelson

This has been a crazy week as well down here in good old' Tennessee! First off, it was transfer week.  It  is already in the back of your mind if this will be the last week with your comp or in the area.. But it was a good week. We had a great District Meeting and Meeting with Elder Hymas (70) and Elder Russell M. Nelson!! It was so cool! I was shakin in my boots to shake his hand though!  Elder Freeze, a good friend of mine, as I was waiting in line to shake Elder Nelson's hand, grabs my hand and says "His Hands have touched Christ's... So watch out. Good Luck."  That didn't make it any better.  But it was so neat to see and hear from an Apostle! I noticed that General Authorities are just like us! Except the spirit is crazy strong in them! He taught a lot about opposition and why we go through hard things! The big thing that I got out of all that was said, was that the greatest gift we have is agency. And with our agency we have the choice to CHANGE our attitudes or perspectives and trials in life. Heavenly Father won’t just take them away from us. He will give us strength to CHANGE in order to come out successfully! Pretty sweet.
So this week was awesome because we set a date with Aubrey!! And her husband sat in on the lesson!! We met with Alex and Jessica twice this week! And then Jessica and Alex and their daughter Emma came to church!!! It was amazing! They loved it! They only stayed for sacrament, but she told us "baby steps". So we are so excited for them!!!   I don’t even remember what happened for the rest of the week! I was just so excited that Alex and Jessica came to church this week! They haven’t been in 4 years... So that is a HUGE step for them.
Yesterday we just went around and visited families we were close with. The Bradford’s, Alex and Jessica, The Travis', Morrow's, and some others.. I can’t believe that it is already another transfer... I saw Elder Rothlisberger at the Elder Nelson’s visit! He is at 20 months! He has 3 more transfers left... When I was with him he hit his year mark.. Time is flying!
Well transfer calls were this weekend... And I am super sad to say, Elder Ahokava is leaving me... He is going to Bowling Green!   I was super excited for him! I tell him all my favorite things and people there! And as for me..... I am training!!!   And District Leader in Columbia.   I never thought that I would train.  But I was called to do it and so I will with a smile!  I have no idea who my new comp is or where he is from.  So yeah! Exciting huh! Because I am training, I know I will be here at least another 3 months. And then I will be at 17 months! I can’t believe how fast it is going!  I love this work! I love being a missionary! I am so excited for what is coming up! I love y’all so so so so mucH! I miss y’all as well! Tell everyone I love them! Y’all take care!
Love Elder Vaughn Perkins

Week 61 - Exchanges and Great Blessings

Hey mom!

It definitely is a great morning when I read emails! I am doing just great! Elder Ahokava is a stud and just great! The work is good! The district is wonderful! And exchanges were amazing! First missionary work
So the beginning of last week went pretty well. We met with Aubrey twice and it went great.. The first time we saw her we wanted to set a baptismal date with her that morning. We were going to see her after supper that day, so all day we thought and prepared to teach a awesome spiritual powerhouse lesson with her! We went over and within the first 10 minutes she said that she was ready to be baptized! It was crazy! It was exactly what we had role played that morning in our studies! And after she had said that Elder Ahokava and looked at each other just in shock. We were truly blessed for that experience.
Then the next day we had district meeting here in Columbia. That went well, I always love district meetings. Then we switched and I went to the Linden area for a couple days with Elder Thayne! Elder Thayne was trained by Elder Rothlisberger so we talked about him a lot. But the Linden area is like an hour away from Columbia, so we stopped on the way in a small town called Holenwald.   That is where the Cane Creek Massacre took place. The Cane Creek Massacre is where the mobs killed those two missionaries back in the day. But don’t worry we only got dirty looks and rejections.  It was kind of cool to preach the gospel in a place where there has been some history there.
But after working there we finished our road trip back to there town where they live, Parsons Tennessee. Parsons is way cool! It is super backwoods out in the sticks area.  The elders there actually live in a Trailer! It is pretty cool.  They live out in the woods too. It was like camping almost. But the work there is kind of hard or different since everything is so spread out. And the people there hate Mormons. But it's all good. The good news needs to go everywhere! We met with a Church of Christ preacher who "taught" us about the Melchizedek priesthood and just a bunch of crazy stuff. 
On the exchange I wanted to focus on contacting and it turned out that it was more on effort, obedience, and confidence. The elder is way sincere and is a great kid, just hard on himself. But the exchange had helped both of us out! I learned a lot from him and I am sure he learned a lot from me.
The next big thing that happened this week was we met with another part member family, who we had role played for in companion study, and the same thing that had happened.  It was waaaay sweet! We talked about freedom of religion and how we need to take advantage and have more gratitude for the things we have. He served in Vietnam and has a lot of bad memories there... He feels like he can’t be forgiven for things he has done. He is hard on himself and doesn’t want other people to go through what he has gone through.. But it was definitely one of those times where the spirit just carries you to bear hardcore testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It touched his heart.  He is a nice guy, because he is always encouraging us about this work and always thanking us for what we do. Hopefully he will come to church this next week.
We drove down to Mt. Pleasant to see the Morrows! They are awesome family. Sister Morrow has got to be like in her 80's and her husband is home bound. So we try to visit them and the family each weekend and tell them how the work goes and stuff. I love the old country people and their stories. Then yesterday for dinner (lunch) we went to the Nobles and had some interesting Mexican food.  it was way good but I have no idea what was in it. Then after that we went to the Bradford's, an active family in the ward, and we went with the Van hooks there. The Van hooks are Sister Bradford’s parents. We had a party for Sister Van hooks birthday and two of her kids, who are less active, came. They just wanted us to be there with the family. They are a nice family. After supper we watched the Christmas Devotional. It definitely is always a blessing to hear the first presidency speak! I love how president Monson said "true love is a reflection of Christ"! This week was great! And we got to go to the Farmer's market this week for supper!
 Tell Devan to email me when he has the time please!  I am glad you like the pictures. I am trying to take pictures more often. The picture next to the car was our car by the way. We got in an accident last week, but as you can see we are fine.  I sure love y’all so much! I can’t believe how fast time is flying! Rhett goes home this month... That is weird. But I guess that just means I got to use my time wisely and kill it this week! I love being a missionary with all my heart! I love everything about it!  I am so glad I gone through the trials I have, because that is what has made me stronger. I love my mission! I love you mom and Dad! Hope you have a wonderful week! Stay safe! Love Ya!
 Love Elder Vaughn Dee Perkins

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 60 -- Elder Ahokava's first Thanksgiving

Mom and Dad,

Oh man this week has gone by fast! The exchange with Elder Lofthouse went pretty well! Learned a lot from that Elder. Thanksgiving was great! It was Elder Ahokava's first Thanksgiving so it was pretty fun. We didn't get to play football though.. But its alright its freezing now!!! It was like 35 degrees the other morning. Super chilly, but it will build character. So for thanksgiving we went to the Draper's, He is our ward mission leader, and that was good. Then we went to a part member family, The Jordan family. They are really nice people. They don't have much, but they fed us a lot. And gave us a lot to take home. I am glad thanksgiving went well. Thanksgiving at grandpa's sounds so fun. It will be great.

The championship game sounded intense. What a way to end the game.  I still don't remember much of when our team played state... I wish i did but that's okay. I can't believe it is almost Christmas. Elder Ahokava says this is his first cold Christmas. In New Zealand they have Christmas during summer, so his family goes to the beach on Christmas. 
Time is picking up. It is pretty wild. I still have the tree y'all sent last year and then I got the package this week and have the new tree. It definitely makes the apartment have the Christmas spirit. Thank you for the letters as well. They were awesome. 

So the work is starting to pick up. Yesterday at church, I felt so happy to be a missionary at this time. We had 3 in active families come to church! Then one part member family came as well! It was so great to see the hard work come to play on Sunday. Just to see that those people felt the spirit and they were smiling throughout all church made this whole transfer. It was amazing.
We went by two older couples home this weekend. The Travis's and the Morrow's. The Travis' live way out in the sticks. I love it. Their home reminds me of grandma and grandpa's a lot. Just the feel of it reminded me of them. He was telling me all about his farming days and hunting days. It was great. We got to share a spiritual thought with them about doing the "small and simple things" that which makes us happy. They really liked it. Then the Morrow's are awesome as well. We try to see them one night a week. They love having the missionaries over. Well i hope y'all have a great week! I sure love y'all! This week will be a great week! I love my mission so much! Y'all be safe!

Love Elder Vaughn Perkins

P.S. Hey could Y'all pray for sister McKee, she is pretty sick but nothing to worry about. That would be great.

Week 59 -- Elder Perkins of the Seventy and answers to Prayer

Dad and Mom,

This week was pretty good. It was pretty busy with finding people, teaching, and the elder Perkins visit.
First off the visit from Elder Perkins was awesome. It is so neat to see General Authorities crack jokes and be themselves, when sometimes I think that they have to be all stern and hard core. When really they are not fake, they all are themselves. They are humble and definitely more than willing to do the Lord's work.
He said that his ancestors settled parts of the Arizona in the mountains. I thought that was pretty neat. His message was clear, and an answer to prayer… a good attitude and having faith that leads to action. I have learned so much these last 6 or more months on having a good attitude and being excited for the work. He talked on how we can gain faith that people will actually listen and accept our message. And when we gain that faith that we need to act on that. It was cool because that is exactly what I needed.   One of my favorite talks ever that I have found on my mission is by Elder Wirthlin "come what may and love it". It is amazing. It is how I look at my mission and definitely how I will look on life after.
Aubrey is doing well. We went over with Brother Dale, the Elder's Quorum President, and dropped of "our heritage" and the doctrine and covenants dvd with the church history stuff.  She came to church again without her husband, but only stayed for sacrament; which is better than not coming at all. But we are going to try to go see her sometime this week.
Jessica is doing alright. We went over last Monday night and taught a pretty legit lesson. It was very bold but loving.  She had a lot of her questions answered which is really good. But she didn’t come to church... again... But it's her husband Alex. Which I feel bad for him since his ex wife goes there, but its all good. The Lord will provide a way.
The weather has been crazy here. It will be colder than anything  and then be in the high 60's the next day. Today it’s about 55 and feels great. This week I am doing exchanges with the Lawrenceburg elders until Wednesday. They are below us down by the border of Alabama kind of. Actually there is a town call Pulaski and that is where the KKK originated.  Not a word I would use haha.
We have three families that invited us for Thanksgiving.  And they all have people who are not members of the church. SO it should be a great day, and its Elder Ahokava's first thanksgiving. It is going to be great.
It was so goood to see those pictures! It was good to see Skylar and all them. And Scott and Carlos with Devan. Carlos looks huge! Maybe i won’t tease him anymore when I get home. I am glad that Dad had a good birthday! I sent him a card last week; he should be getting it soon.

It is crazy to hear that there are ten wards in our stake. McMinnville was one ward with a 2 hour radius all around.  The south is just different than back west.  IT is its own country to be honest.  But I love Tennessee. I love to have this opportunity to be a missionary in Tennessee! I love my mission so much! Love you a lot. I miss you tons and am so thankful that I am your son. Know that you are a huge support to me in all I do. Have a great week and y’all be safe.

Love your son
Elder Vaughn Dee Perkins

Week 58 -- the Ward is working hard

I am doing great!! I finally am over my sickness!! I feel so so so much better! Last week was a interesting week! I was pretty dang sick wednesday.. Just crazy beans. But after wednesday it was pretty good! We are teaching lots of Part member families and less actives. It is pretty sweet how much work there is to do here. There are two ladies that are getting closer to baptism. Aubrey Clarke and Jessica Avalos. Aubrey had her birthday on Sunday, so we were wondering if she was going to come to church or not.... And she did! For the full 3 hours!! And the best part is that she made best friends with the relief society president and a few other ladies! The Relief Society president kind of just took her away from us after sacrament haha. Which is fine by us! Jessica hasn't come to church... Mainly because her husband is in active... But he wants to make changes inhis life too! So last night we went over after having an awesome pday in Franklin, and we had supper at their house and after had a super sweeet spirit lead lesson! So at first we ask if she had any questions about her reading in the book of mormon since last time.. she says no.. But as soon as i start to go over what we were going to talk about, she comes out with some great questions! Which lead to the Plan of Salvation! It was awesome! She said that she hadnt had a lesson like that where she felt the spirit and understood it in over 2 years.. So right there it showed us that she is starting to progress.. She is awesome.... Olin Riley, who has a baptismal date for the 24th didnt come tochurch onsunday. Sad day, but we went over before church and got a commitment out of olin and his roomate to come to church! So this week a big focus for him will be to come to church and the book of mormon. We had a good meeting with the elders quorom president and is going to get the members of the church to help out with the work more. We go out with him like once a week. We have a huge list of people to see and find on the ward roster. It will be pretty fun.
I am glad that grandpa is doing better! I sure hope he keeps on recovering! Is brandon still living in eagar? I hope that uncle matt does super well onhis test this week! I know he is a super smart guy. He can do it. I am so excited for devan! Desert Edge is a good team. They have always been pretty good. But i know that WF can win. That would be so cool if WF went to state again.. and won. It sounds like that devan is doing pretty good as well. I am so happy for him. Football is something i sure miss a lot. Make sure he takes pictures with his friends after his games. I sure wish i had done that more often. Pictures make memories! So far for thanksgiving we have two meals to go to! But no turkey bowl... again... So my cleats wont be useed on that day ha. But it should be fun! This week Elder Perkins a 70 is coming to visit the mission. its a huge meeting from 9 to 5. I am excited and nervous haha. I hope that Dad has a great Birthday!!!! I sent his email this morning as well! I bet he wants to go out for chinese that night haha. I would too! I sure miss yall so much! I love you mom! I hope that this week will be great for you! I sure miss you so much! But i am loving my mission! I am learning so much as each week goes by! Sure love yall! Take care!
Love Elder Vaughn Dee Perkins

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 57 -- Columbia, District Leader and Elder Ahovkava

This week has been great! I still have this nasty cold, but it is getting better.. So Columbia! It is a small town, but actually one of the bigger towns I have served in, and it is pretty sweet. There is a university here and not to many farms. In fact, in the town of Columbia i haven't seen one yet. But the surrounding area is pretty much pastures and fields. Columbia is a poor area.  Definitely one of the poorest places I have been in Tennessee. It's got some rich place and definitely poor places. The weather is more cold then McMinnville, but in McMinnville we definitely were out in the open A LOT more than here in Columbia. We are always in the town. Downtown Columbia is where they filmed part of the "Hannah Montana" movie. The farmers market scene where Miley goes with her grandma to sell food.. Just ask Danielle and she will know!!!!  Haha!!!!
Elder Ahovkava is the man!!! He is from New Zealand and is Tongan. He is so humble and dedicated to the work. His family is Methodist except his immediate family. His family got baptized when he was 9.  He plays rugby and gave up a scholarship to come out on a mission!! He has been out 6 months and is going to be a great missionary! Being a district leader is fun! You get to do trainings each week and watch over the Elders in your district. You get to go on exchanges with each of the other areas and provide help for them. Then you work with the zone leaders. I am still learning, but I learn best by experience and just doing what I need to do. It is like when I told grandpa I didn't know how to drive stick, then he put me on the tractor to go plow the fields.  He is crazy! 
The work here is going really well. The member help is awesome! They feed us all the time! Good food too!!! We eat so much, and you will be surprised but we started to go running in the morning.  I can't go very far without stopping to take a breathe because of being sick, but it's getting better. There are about 3 to 4 part member families that we are teaching and one lady has a baptismal date! And we set a soft date with a man named Olin.... But I was afraid that he may have been drunk. But we came back a couple days later and he remembered it all. So we are working with him too!
That's pretty crazy about Tenley serving a mission. She will be a good missionary.  Halloween sounded like a good time for yall! We sat in the apartment and wrote out some goals That's sweet about Devan and his football game! I hope they win this week! I got your packages and they are great.
Well this weeek will be great! And i hope that yall have a great week! I sure miss yall lots and am again grateful for this chance to serve the Lord! Love yall much!
Love Elder Vaughn Dee Perkins