Friday, June 20, 2008

Training a New Companion

From Elder Andrey Pearce May 27, 2008

I can’t believe how much is going on at home. I will miss Gramma a lot. I know I will be seeing her one day. I never thought so much would change while I am on my mission. I hope all is well at home. I will be praying for the family.

Well, this last week I got my greenie companion. I will be training him. I am so excited to be training. His name is Elder Ramirez. He is from Panama. He is a really good missionary, ready to go and learn everything.

I have been having fun finding my way around the city of Leon. My Heavenly Father just keeps on blessing me. There are days I can feel the Spirit so strong. I know He is guiding me. I am excited to see miracles in Nicaragua.

We have three main families we are working with. One we found this week and they’re really positive. They are the Juarez family. I know that we were guided to them.

We have been working with a man who’s name is Roberto. He stopped progressing. We went back to find him and found the family. They’re all excited to go to church. The mom and all the kids.

Oh, I heard an update from the Martinez family. The dad holds the priesthood and he has the responsibility of blessing the sacrament and they assist each Sunday. I am so happy to hear that they’re doing so well.

Well, the work goes on. I have come to realize it’s the work of God and we are here. I am excited to learn new things and watching the miracles of God come into this work. I love this work with all my heart.

Elder Pearce

Teaching Families

From Elder Andrey Pearce June 16, 2008

Well, well, well,

The mission work goes on this week. We had some bumps in the road. The best part of the mission is that you find how to make the best of everything and keep loving the people that you work with.

This Sunday the Juarez family didn’t go to church but we stopped by with 4 members and sang them a hymn.

Oh, we also found another family this week. As we entered their house we could feel the spirit and what an amazing family they are. As we passed by we saw this family sitting there watching TV. We turned around and went back. We entered and taught them with the spirit what a family is.

They couldn’t understand why we were there and what made us want to teach them. I know they felt the spirit and that they will progress.

The ones that I told you about who prayed and we came to the door, they went to church this week and loved it. We will be inviting them to have a goal of baptism.

This week we went down to Managua to play soccer. We had the opportunity to play with the president.

Happy Father’s Day!!! I love you Dad. I am glad to have such a father who is an example to me in all things. I couldn’t have prayed to have a better dad. I have learned so much from you. Love and miss you. The memories that I have are always doing activities with you. The time, the love that you spent on me. I am the most grateful for every second that you sacrificed for me. Love you Dad!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gospel Foundation & Carissa

From Elder Andrey Pearce May 05, 08

Dear Family,

All is well over here. I feel a lot better. I hope that none of you are worried about me. I have come to realize to trust my Father in Heaven. He has always guided me in my life. The thing that helped me the most about Carissa is talking to my Heavenly Father about it. As always He reassures my heart that all is well.

I would like to start out with something I have come to realize in the 8 months I have been on my mission. I have to realize what I needed in life is the foundation of the gospel. In my life I have studied the gospel but not until I came out here did I start to realize what I was most missing is the foundation.
Once you have the foundation you start to put everything together,. Then you start seeing that foundation in the scriptures, in the prophets and apostles lives and you are reassured

that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It helps me realize what this world really is and what I really need to do. I am so glad to be sharing this gospel with my brothers and sisters. The Lord has blessed my alot in the knowledge of the gospel. I can’t wait for the rest of my two years.

The work is just rolling along great. We have been working with the bishop and his counselor getting a relationship of trust so that we can work with him. They have been really great. The excitement to work here is picking up. We had a dad and his son get baptized. The dad also received the priesthood and a calling to bless the sacrament. His name is Fransisco and he is 42 years old. He has a special spirit. We could feel the spirit strong with him and the desire to change life and realize that this is the Church of Jesus Christ.

My companion has two weeks left on his mission so I am keeping the two of us working. I am so blessed that the Lord saw fit for me to serve here. I am so blessed in all that he guides me and helps me. There are days that I can feel his love around me. Like there is an army of angels walking with me. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I have had a reassurance of that throughout my life. I know that I am a son of God and my potential is great.

I love you all. Hope and pray that all is well at home. May we never forget our Final Destination of Exaltation.

Elder Pearce

Praying for God's Servants

From Elder Andy Pearce June 9, 08

Dear Family,

Well, I won’t write much, I don’t feel too great. I have a cold or something.

This week was amazing! I know that for our efforts we were blessed. Hermana Aurora Bautizo and Fransisco received the Melchizedic priesthood. He also got to baptize Aurora. She is excited and wants to be Mormon. Hahah! She took a friend to church that has talked to missionaries before but never progressed and is now ready to progress. We are also starting to work with Aurora and Fransisco’s other kids, Alex and his sister.

This week many mercies happened. The Juarez family went to church, got to know the bishop, so they are progressing well. We found a grandma with her daughter that has a daughter. They have been talking to missionaries in Costa Rica for awhile and also didn’t progress. We went back on Sunday to invite them and she told me that the moment we showed up she was praying to know what church is true and to send her servants. That moment we knocked on the door so she has a testimony of this church.

This ward is lighting fire with the missionary work. I hope that I have at least three more months here. We are working with 6 families. We have been guided to lots of people that have talked to missionaries before, went to church, but just didn’t progress after that. We will be working really hard.

I have been feeling a little weak for a couple of weeks so I hope I will get better health. I love you all and hope you can understand my English and my excitement for this work as it picks up.

Elder Pearce

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Blessings of Obedience

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated June 18, 2008

Dear Mom,

Everything is going really well. I'm getting adjusted to the new area and it's pretty fun. I've almost forgotten the excitement of being completely unfamiliar with an area and its people. My companion is really cool and helps a lot. We've got a lot of names of people that have been contacted before by the missionaries and we have to follow up with all of them. I guess it's a pretty big area for the regular English wards. There are a lot of less active and part member families. In fact it used to be two wards but one of them got dissolved into the other. The active members are really great though. We are trying to familiarize them with Preach My Gospel, so they can go out and find people for us to teach.

Yesterday, we had zone conference and half the time they talked about being healthy. They emphasized diet and exercise. It really is something I need to focus on. I've gained about 30 lbs since my mission and the cloths aren't fitting anymore. It'll be easier in the palangi ward I just need to focus and be determined. I've got into a habit of stuffing my face at dinners to make the people happy, but the cost was far too great. I've already been taking small steps to get back into better habits, but I've got to step up my game if I want to see any results.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear Adam's house is going up well. That's really exciting, especially considering how the economy is going. We talk to so many people who are having a hard time. It kinda makes the future look a little dim, but I've always been able to rely on the awesome examples my brothers set. Dallas and Lynda getting married is another one. We work with so many people who cant be baptized because they're not married. Maybe there's a correlation. Everyone should just get married and we should see what happens to the economy. That's just my crazy on-the-spot idea.

This transfer we're focusing on Joseph Smith and all the truths that have been restored through him to benefit all mankind. Marriage and strong family values are definitely at the top. I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful family that has exposed me to all of that. I'll always remember it, and I love being able to use that when I teach.

Thanks for everything mom.




From Elder Paul Freeman, dated June 11, 2008

Dear Mom,

Gmail acted up today, so I revert to my back up. Hopefully you get it anyway.

So, believe it or not I've been transferred out of the Samoan Wards. It's been a pretty big change. I haven't been in a new area for over seven months and I've been used to being able to travel pretty much anywhere in the mission. But, fortunately they stuck me someplace I never been before, Ontario. My new companion's name is Elder Goodwin and he's from San Antonio. He's already been here a transfer and knows the area pretty well.

Being in a palangi ward is a lot different from being in a Samoan Ward. For one it's a lot harder to impress the palangis. All I had to do with the Samoans is chat it up a little in Samoan and they're amazed. Samoans are generally a lot more relaxed and I'm used to the culture. I know I should be used to palangi culture, but its funny how almost foreign it seems. Another funny thing, we have dinner tonight with the Freeman family. I have no idea who they are, but it sure was weird hearing my companion calling up our dinner appointment and asking for Sister Freeman. They'll get a kick out of it I'm sure.

I'm looking forward to at least two transfers here and rumor has it that they'll send me back for my last transfer. I really am excited for this last stretch. I guess President Sanchez talked to Salt Lake and they're working on getting my release date fixed, so I'll keep you updated on everything.

Thanks again Mom for all the wonderful things you do.



The Gate

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated June 4, 2008

Dear Mom,

It truly was a week to remember. We spent most of the week preparing the family for baptism. It was straight up crazy. We had to pretty much pull everything together last minute. But it all worked out and many prayers have been answered.

The service was packed. We didn't expect so many people. Some people had to sit out in the hall. I had forgotten how nerve-wracking baptisms can be, and by the end of it I was pretty spent. All the stress had got to me and I was somewhat disappointed when we went home that night. But the next day at Sacrament Meeting we got to confirm them. After that I was flying pretty high. I knew what the family did was right and everything had worked out.

We had been through quite a bit with this family. It'll be the last thing I forget about my mission. There were times where we were struggling pretty bad trying to figure what they need and what would help them the most. There were other times when the Spirit was strong as ever. Now, they are the newest members of the ward and have the greatest potential. I want to come back in a year and see how they turned out.

The Gospel is designed to bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior. It is also designed to bring us closer to one another. The more people realize that, the more zealous they will be about being obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. I'm more grateful than ever to know this. I can look back and see what wonderful things it has done for our family and I truly can testify to other with greater power.

Thank you mom for everything that you do. I really wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for you and Dad.



"Going for a Swim"

From Elder Paul Freeman, Dated May 28, 2008

Dear Mom,

It's been a good week. That family of 6 we've been working with had sucessful interviews yesterday and everything is set for their baptism on Saturday. It's the most exciting thing that's happend in a long time. It's the end of the transfer as well, so things will all wrap up pretty nicely. Rumor has it I will be getting transfered. I guess the office is still working on my release date. As much as I love this work and I know I'll miss it dearly, I don't think it'll work staying out an extra two months. I'll continue to follow up with President Sanchez and find out what's going on.

Thanks for the email. It wouldn't show me the pictures from Facebook. It just showed me the message and said there was other stuff it couldn't show me because it was private or something. But, it's good to hear that everything [a wedding open house] worked out all right. Everything is going just fine over here. I look forward to pounding out the last five months.

Thanks for your continued love and support.


Elder Freeman


From Elder Paul Freeman, dated May 21, 2008

Dear Mom,

So many wonderful things have been happening. We are preparing a family for baptism. The tricky part is that the two oldest children aren't excited about being baptized.

In the Samoan culture, the head of the household determines the fate of the entire family. Brother Young, the father, really wants all of his family to be baptized at the same time, and we are thinking that the kids don't feel like they have a choice. We've been trying to figure it out for a while, how we can help Brother Young understand that no one will be forced into the kingdom of Heaven. It's difficult for us because we are young, but we asked our Bishop to visit him and talk to him about it.

The children are really very bright and have understood everything we've taught. Elder Hafoka and I figure that the only way they will really find out if it's true and commit to act on it is if the decision is entirely up to them. If the father and mother are baptized without them and begin to progress in the gospel, the children can then decide for themselves if they want to follow the example. The most difficult part will be the parents letting them go and choose for themselves, because there is always that possibility they won't choose the right.

Well, that's the whole point of this Plan then, isn't it. I'm grateful that I was never forced. I remember long ago when I was given the choice and just now realize the affect that had on the rest of my life. Thanks for having the faith that I would choose the right. Thanks again for everything else that you do.



The Field Is White

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated May 14, 2008

Dear Mom,

Thanks again for the emails and the pictures. I always enjoy seeing what goes on with the family. I was surprised to talk to Alora and Aaron on Sunday. They're growing up so fast.

Thanks also for the advice, I value it a great deal. I'm excited for what the future has to bring, I'm sure you well remember I always have been. But, of course, my future back home won't come for another five months and in the meantime there are dozens of people who need to be baptized. We are actually working with an entire family of 6 who are being prepared to be baptized on the 31st of May. They're all Samoan and their last name is Young. We've been teaching them for a while and hope they will be well prepared.

Being in the Samoan wards here has been such a blessing. There's a little over three weeks left in the transfer and I fear it may be my last in this area. But, whatever happens it will be for the best. I remember what President Tolman said before I was sent back out, and I realize there was a much greater purpose for me to be reassigned here.

I think I share the sentiment of most missionaries when I say this experience has done far more good for me than I could have ever done for someone else. I marvel at the tender mercies given to us by such a loving Heavenly Father, and recognize my purpose is simply to call others to attention of the same in their own lives.

Lately, our appointments with the investigators of our own area have been falling through. So, we resort to street contacting in hopes of finding people for other missionaries to teach. It reminds me also of something else President Tolman said, that I was not set apart as just missionary for a particular mission, but for anywhere. Yesterday, we were blessed to teach 10 lessons and provide 2 solid referrals for our mission. It's my testimony that with a little preparation and following the guidance of the spirit, wonderful things are possible.

Thanks again mom, for everything.



In Samoan we say "Faalavelave"

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated April 30, 2008 [four days prior to his brother's wedding]

Dear Mom,

Thanks for the letters and pictures. Everything is going well. I really don't know how crazy everything will be for you over the weekend. I can only imagine you running around trying to make everyone as comfortable and happy as possible. You really are a champ. I do regret not being able to be there. I'm certain Adam has his hands full as it is, and Dallas isn't going to be of any help, so I am sorry I cannot be there. Just hold out for the next week and everything should be downhill from there. I also hope you and Dad find all the happiness to make it worth while.

Mothers' Day is coming up in a couple of weeks and you can get me the real scoop on how it all went down. Send the family my love.


p.s. "Faalavelave" means a big interruption of daily life that lasts for days, like weddings and funerals.

Joy & Blessings Through Living the Gospel

From Elder Paul Freeman, dated April 23, 2008

Dear Family,

This will be the 4th transfer and 6th month serving here in the Samoan wards. I hope to hold out until the end of my mission, another 7 months and 5 transfers, give or take. It all depends on which transfer I choose to go home. At least I think it's my choice. My call says I am anticipated to serve 25 October 06 to 25 October 08. I should be able to choose from the transfer that ends in early October or the transfer that ends in mid November. I'm leaning to November, but am not convinced yet, which is fine because they haven't asked me yet. The only reason I ask is because I want to be ready for when they do ask me. So, if there is any advice or events being planned, please let me know.

But as far as everything else goes, the work still goes on. We are in an exciting time in the history of the world. I can't think of any other time in the world when the gospel has been so wide-spread and so many people are enjoying the blessings it brings. Lately I've been studying the scattering and gathering of Israel and the promises the Lord made to them. Those promises are echoed in everything we do as missionaries, as members of the Church, and as children of our Heavenly Father. The Lord keeps those promises as a standard to live up to, and if we don't he can't follow through and we are no better than when we started.

So many people feel trapped in the lives they lead and can't seem to find their way out. Only the Gospel and its standards can give people the fresh start they need to improve lives. When we are obedient to its laws and ordinances, we have such a tremendous advantage. We can become new people every day, until the day we are called up to answer for they way we spent our time here on earth.

It may feel complicated and impossible, but if the Savior taught anything it was how simple it is. All we have to do is follow Him, and take his yoke upon us because his burden is light. The more people understand that and remember it the more happiness there is to be found in our daily life [and] more understanding for the things we have to suffer through, and a deeper appreciation for what he had to suffer through.

The gospel is great and Heavenly Fathers love is infinite. Thank all of you for your continued love and support.