Peru Lima Mission
Peru Lima Mission
1974 to 1976
I served my mission during the years 1974 through 1976. I came home one day and the letter from Salt Lake was there and opening it up I was called to the Andean Mission. I really did not know where I was going but I knew it was Spanish speaking and that is what I wanted. Before I arrived in the mission field the name was changed to the Lima Peru Mission. My mission president was President Russell Bishop.
I had a great time in the Language Training Mission. In part because I knew a little Spanish going there and I had Wendy and Adrienne close by attending BYU. We were under a lot of pressure to memorize our discussions every day. We worked hard to learn them and prayed hard each evening that we would be able to pass them off the next morning. Many times I went to bed thinking I had given my all but I could do nothing more than pray and felt I needed to study more. And the next morning the words were there. Great experience.
My first assignment in Peru was Lima 3rd ward. I learned a lot there then I was transferred to Lima 4th ward. Then on to Lima 5th ward and then to Arequipa down South and then back to Lima 1st ward with an office assignment. It was here that my mission probably changed. It was good for me to work with some good Elders and my mission president. We fasted together and I listened to a mission president really pray for his missionaries and the missionary work. I watched him be so loving and caring for everyone. I worked as the Financial Secretary for 5 months and really enjoyed the work in the office and the teaching we were to do in the evenings. Maybe the single most important event that helped me be a better missionary was when when Elder Larkin's 2 years were up and we had to take him to the airport. He cried. He did not want to leave. I remember thinking that it had been hard for me to leave each assignment but not like that. I decided that I wanted to work as hard as he had and love like he had loved the people. My last year was quite special because of that determination.
I left the office and went to Cuzco. To begin the experience there we began with a fast that I personally have ever had. But I knew at the end that the sacrifice was accepted and that I had the Lords help. We taught like 30 hours a week. People were asking us to come and visit them. There was an older man in the branch named Hermano Abarcca who really helped us. He wanted to share the gospel with his friends and many others. I worked with great missionaries in Cuzco. A few missionaries coming together to really work well and accomplish a great work.
I left Cuzco and finished my mission ipening a new area up for the first time to missionary work. My last assignment which was another 6 month assignment was Chosica. The first family baptized was the Lozano family. And from there the work took off. I finally received my papers to go home. Saying goodbye was tough in Chosica and arriving in Lima and before I left for the airport I received a phone call from the members of Cuzco. They had all gotten together and went to a local phone store to call and say good-bye. I then left to the airport to only meet once again the members who had come up from Chosica to say good-bye.
I left Peru knowing Spanish, leaving many friends behind that I probably will never see again until we meet in Heaven. I met and worked with many Elders and Sisters that will always be important to me. I learned to give of myself for others and felt the joy that comes from serving the Lord Jesus Christ. My own conviction and testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints grew. I would say that I have been greatly blessed and thanked for the service that I gave to Jesus Christ for those 2 years when those members from Cuzco gathered together and on the phone one by one thanked a 21 year old young man for having left his home, family and country at 19 to share a message as simple as Jesus Christ lives today and wants us to be happy. Within hours of that experience once again I had the opportunity to meet face to face with others, the members of the Chosica branch that I had grown to love and have them give me what was called an "abrazo"by the Peruvians and an "embrace' by us and tell me that they were grateful that I chose the Lord to serve Him versus continuing with my education and personal pursuits at 19. It very well could be the two best years of my life. It is not for I continued to live what I learned in the Mission field.
California San Fernando Mission
September 2005 to April 2007
I served in the California San Fernando Spanish speaking mission from September 2005 to April 2007. I had two wonderful mission presidents: President Robert E Lee and President Robert Goodrich. I served nine months in the North Hollywood 5th ward and the rest in the Santa Clarita 1st Ward.
I always knew I would serve a mission. I loved listening to missionary stories growing up and would tell anyone who would listen that I was going to serve a mission just like my Aunt Marylynn, Aunt Lorna and my Mema. Aunt Marylynn brought me back a necklace with my name on it from her mission and I have worn and treasured it as a reminder that I too would serve a mission. I remember meeting my family at Matta's to open my call before partaking in a Sandy's Special. I remember being in a state of shock after opening my call. I was really going to be a missionary, a Sister--no a Herman missionary! Later someone commented that I was called state side for my mother and Spanish speaking for my father--whatever the reason I will be forever grateful that I was able to serve in California.
When the day finally arrived I entered the MTC with two suitcases full of the frumpiest clothes and ugliest shoes I have ever owned. I cried a few tears hugging my family goodbye for the last time, but I knew it would be ok because I had on that badge--oh that beautiful badge that said Hermana Nevitt, La iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias. During my last transfer my district leader, Elder Hale, asked me what it was that kept me getting up every day? I told him that it was easy to get up at 6:30 everyday because I got to put on my name tag. That was the best part of my day! I was an Hermana, and the Lord allowed me to where his name and represent Him everyday! I knew the Lord loved me and was always with me because his name was right there with mine.To this day it is one of my most valued possessions.
I was in the Provo MTC for nine weeks; I saw many people come and go including my cousin Cameron and my entire district who left for their mission two days before me. I have never in my life been so utterly terrified and thrilled at the exact same time. After two days without a companion and spending a morning with eighteen who were--surprise--going to my mission too, we landed in Burbank and I finally met my first real companion Hermana Dunoskovic.
That first day, was so over whelming. I was so emotionally exhausted, I had finally arrived--but people were still expecting me to speak Spanish. Spanish, the language that the spoke in the branch I attended for five years but never learned. Spanish, the language that I tried to learn in High School but failed. Spanish, the language that for the last nine weeks I had been studying and praying to learn. We arrived at the apartment and Hna. D told me that I could unpack because we only had two appointments that night; dinner with Hna. Franco and then a discussion with a man named Elder. I spent the entire day unpacking and dreading the time we would leave our apartment to have dinner with Hermana Franco who, I was certain, would expect me to speak this oh so foreign language--Spanish! I began to wonder what I had been thinking all those years, how was I going to be able to do this?! Despite my constant praying that both appointments would cancel and that we'd just start out fresh in the morning, the time arrived and we walked to Hna. Franco's house. I still don't know how I got through that dinner which consisted of the largest bowl of soup I had ever seen--and seconds which I'm still not sure if I actually asked for. I said a prayer, did a lot of smiling, nodding and had absolutely no idea what anyone was anyone was saying.
After dinner we walked to Elder's house, Hna. D told me that it was going to be fine, all I had to do was share my testimony on baptism. Ok I could do this! Baptism, testify, baptism, testify--I'll be fine. We finally arrived at the building. We walked up the stairs. Hna. D asks me if I'm ready--I'm sure the look of pure horror on my face was very comforting--and then she knocked. All the emotions I had been feeling over flowed and I broke down into tears! Thinking back on it now it's almost funny--almost!
Twenty-one years of anticipation, preparation and waiting was over--this was the real deal, and I was scared out of my mind! I was a missionary! This man was going to base his future on what I was going teach him. His salvation depended on me being able to communicate with him and I for the first time questioned if I was really going to be able to do this for 18 months--if I was going to be able to do this tonight!
Hna. D, hugged me and just kept telling me; it's OK you're doing fine! Elder, happy Elder comes to the door and greets us "Hermanas!" and then he sees me, be begins to ask if I'm alright? Of course I'm alright! It's just that I'm my mother's daughter and I cannot stop crying--but I cannot say that in Spanish!! We go down stairs and sit on some chairs assuring Elder that I'm fine and not crazy! I pull myself together and testify of the importance of Baptism! Elder smiles and tells me I did a good job, Hna. D hugs me after the lesson tells me the same thing and we walk home smiling because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have a whole day before I have to attempt to do this again!
The most important thing I learned that first night in the mission was that the Lord loved me! I have never been so vulnerable in my life, but I wasn't alone. He had chosen Hna. D to guide me, to teach me, to love me, to tell me it was going to OK, to hug me, to be my sister! I learned how absolutely necessary it was to rely on the Lord. Because without him I was never going to be able to make it--and there was no way I could go home early and face Papa. So it was either pray harder, work hard, and completely trust the Lord or run away and never be able to go home again! I made up my mind then and there that I was going to be an amazing missionary--and I believe I was!
My mission is where I was able to take everything I had learned from primary through Institute and put it into use. It wasn't easy but I learned the importance of living what we teach. I knew I couldn't ask people to kneel down and pray about the Book of Mormon, if I wasn't praying about the Book of Mormon. I couldn't ask people to pray to a loving Heavenly Father, if I wasn't on my knees every morning and night in sincere pray with my loving Heavenly Father. I couldn't ask my investigators to come to Sacrament Meeting if I wasn't excited to be there myself. My mission changed my life because it taught me the importance of the simple things--the thing we need to do todos los dias.
I met a lot of wonderful people on my mission; Elders and Hermanas I served with, ward members, and people I taught. Cayari Temix, a young man who was Baptized in Santa Clarita was one of them. He was from Mexico and he had a bigote (mustache) that--oh it bothered me--but he would never shave it off! One day he told me that he would shave it off if I would cut my hair. That night I went home and much to Hna. Richards horror--and his the next day--I chopped 10-12 inches off my hair. He shaved his bigote off and I told him he looked like an missionary and that unfortunately he wasn't allowed to grow it back until my hair grew back, or I was transferred--I was there for eight months! But what Cayari really taught me was the purpose of missionary work. One night he asked me about a scripture in Jacob 5--an extremely long chapter in the Book of Mormon that I usually skip over--verses 65-66. These verses talk about change coming in small steps and that "the good shall overcome the bad, and the bad be hewn down and cast into the fire". Cayari was so relieved to know that all the bad things he had done in his life could be replaced by good. He could change his life little by little through repentance--And that is what missionary work is about. It's all about helping people know that Jesus Christ loved us enough to forgive us of mistakes we make and help us replace the bad with the good. The good news, the gospel!
Another lesson I learned on my mission came late one night. It was between 2-3:00 am when our telephone rang. This might be something that happens to Elders, but no one ever calls Hermanas in the middle of the night. I jumped out of bed as my companion, Hna. Leano slept on the top bunk, to groggily answer the phone. I was greeted by a woman with an English accent. I remember looking around trying to understand what she wanted and what was going on--but I forgot my glasses by my bed so the world and my brain was a blurry mess. She was asking for an Hna. Richards, Wright or Crump--this confused me even more because all three had finished their missions and gone home.
I asked her to hold while I grabbed my glasses and a folder I knew I had Hna. Richards address and phone number in. This English woman explained to me that her Brother Brian and died in New York months ago and she had just received a box with his possessions in it and on a sticky note in his pocket were the names of three Hermanas and this phone number. And everything fell into place. Hna. Richards had told me about a Brian, they taught in a small town Val Verde but who had moved to New York before he was baptized. She told me that from what she heard his death happened in some questionable circumstances. I told this woman that I had heard briefly about Brian from Hna. Richards and that I was sorry for her loss, I gave her Hna. Richards number and that was the end of it. About a year later, after my mission, Hna. Richards and I were having slurpees together and she told me that this woman was interested in learning more about the church and that she agreed to let Hna. Crump do Brian's temple work.
Sometimes the gospel can seem over whelming--when you first arrive in the mission field everything is overwhelming! But truth is simple. And it is usually the simple things that save us. It's studying your scriptures everyday--not just reading them, but studying them! It's kneeling down and praying every night even if you're tired and kneeling down every morning even if you haven't quite woken up yet and asking your Father in Heaven for help and guidance and thanking him for the blessings he has given you. It's going to church on Sunday--not just sacrament meeting--ALL OF YOUR MEETINGS! You will bless the lives of the member of your ward and they will bless yours IF YOU GO! But the most important thing of all is to listen to those small promptings you have--BE BOLD--The Lord wants to bless the lives of his children but He can't do it alone. He needs us to follow the promptings He sends us--even if that's writing a simple note with your name an number on it. You never know what the consequences will be--but you have to believe that the Lord does!
God has a plan--a beautiful plan--for each and everyone of us. I was so blessed to serve in the California San Fernando mission. It changed my life--there isn't a week that goes by that I don't have some thought about my mission or the people I met there. God knew what he was doing when he gave me that call, and I will forever be grateful to him for allowing me to serve there. God will not let us fail, he will never leave us alone. He is a God of miracles, I know because I saw the way the gospel changes lives. There is no better feeling than watching someone you taught accept the gospel and be baptized--it's like drinking three Mt. Dews on an empty stomach; it's an energy rush...but for your Spirit. He will NEVER leave you alone. Work hard, study your scriptures, pray and he will perform miracles in your life--He did in mine; era dificil, pero puedo hablar espanol y eso es un milargo!
Buenos Aires North Argentina Mission
I was blessed with the opportunity to serve the Argentine people for two years. My mission consisted of five areas and ten companions and was an experience that impacted my life significantly. I grew physically and spiritually as I labored there with all my might. My testimony of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ was strengthened and became, and will always be, a huge part of my life. I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the experiences He gave me during this time those experiences have helped me become who I am today.
When I received my call and read the word Buenos Aires North, Argentina I could not hold back the tears as the spirit testified to me, that was where my Heavenly Father had called me to serve and that there were people there waiting to hear my testimony of the gospel. I truly felt the love that God has for me in that moment, and that helped me many a times during my mission. The time that I had waited and prepared for had arrived. It was time to go to work and serve my Heavenly Father as a special ambassador of Christ.
I entered the Missionary Training Center on November 29, 2006. My first companion was Elder Cooper from Utah. He was a good kid and we shared a lot of laughs and frustration as we tried to learn the Spanish language. We studied hard and played hard and he was a big reason why I enjoyed my stay there in Provo so much. We tried so hard to be obedient and the Lord did bless us greatly there.
My stay in the MTC passes very quickly, before I knew it I was boarding a plane with Elders Browning, Barnet, Esliey, and Tyler, and were on out way to Argentina. I will never forget that plane ride. I was feeling like I needed another two months in the MTC and I was scared to death. As we stepped off the plane in to my first humid Argentine summer, I thought what in the world am I doing. I felt so inadequate. I mean who was I, I was just a farm boy from Queen Creek Arizona. Those feelings soon left with the help of my trainer, Elder Beazer. We worked long days in our little town of Bougine. We walked those streets I don't know how many times, climbed apartment buildings looking and looking for those who would accept the gospel. There were some great families in this area. The Alegres, Juarez and Gonzales families were so good to me and my companion, and helped me see what member missionaries really were.
My next area was out in the country in the small town of San Pedro. I bordered a bus and road what seemed forever just to get on another bus to get to my area. That is where me and my next companion, Elder Buyser, began to work together. He was an interesting kid from Oregon who was an only child, but he knew the gospel well. We taught a lot here in that transfer together, but we didn't see the rewards of our labors. We would both be gone before Elder Condori, my first Latin companion did. But we did meet a lot of wonderful people while we were there, and that is where I really began to learn Spanish. I loved the area of San Pedro, it was the greenest place I have ever seen and had some of the most humble people there too. I'll never forget the Marus and the Cabanas families, and Juan Salcedo.
It was in my next area where I really think I learned the most in my mission. It was in Juncal where I became a senior companion, and district leader and trainer. My Companions were Elder Rojas, King and Green and we worked hard there. Teaching anyone who would listen to us. It was in this area where Elder King and I taught 50 lessons, it was where I met Martha, it was here where I learned to really rely on the Spirit. The Lord really blessed my life and I am grateful for the experiences the Lord blessed me with.
My next area was Villa Ballaster. I was only there for a little while, but it was long enough to learn to love it. Elder Cerruti and myself were both zone leaders and worked hard to set a good example to the zone we watched over. It was in this area where my heart was broken because of the stubbornness of a Hermano Madina, but it was also where I felt the Spirit the strongest in my life as a young mother named Malvina received her answer. I loved this area and my time there went by so fast.
That brings us to my last area, La Cabana. I had my last two companions here, Elder Ravanales and Elder Chandia (I was blessed with the opportunity to train again). This was the scariest place I have ever been in my life. I can still remember the blood covered rad that hung over our door that the Elders before us used after tehy were robbed and beat with a crowbar. I spent many hours praying that God would bless our investigators with answers and with protection for us, and he did. He led us to Silvia and her three boys, He led us to the familia Belizan, and many more. We were truly blessed here and el barrio de cabana will always be a real special place to me.
I honestly loved my mission, it was the best time of my life. I learned how important the worth of souls really are. I have been blessed so much in my life and am so grateful for that. I love the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I love my Heavenly Father, and I know that it is only through my Savior, Jesus Christ, and His atonement that I can be cleansed from all my sins and return home and live with him again. And I want nothing more than that. My mission was a priceless experience that blessed and still blesses my life today. I challenge all those who may be considering to serve a full time mission to do it. It will be one of, if not the best decision you will ever make, because this church is true, and God is there, and He really does hear and answers of prayers
The Church Is True.
New Zealand Wellington Mission