Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Last Week in Peru!

I found out a few days ago that I will be leaving the Peru MTC on Sunday morning.  This means that next time you all hear from me, I will be in Cochabamba, Bolivia!  It is about 5 days sooner than expected, but who is complaining, right?  I cannot wait to find and teach actual investigators instead of pretending to teach them.
This week has been more of a normal week.  We had Elder Bednar come and speak to us.  It was especially great because there were only about 60 people there total, because of all of the visa issues with Peru.  He told us that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be with an apostle with such a small group.  Everyone could literally feel the spirit as soon as you walked in the room.  I cannot even imagine the things that he has witnessed as a apostle, so I knew he was speaking with absolute assurity when testify of Christ and this gospel.  When I went to go shake his hand, it was after he gave his testimony and the feeling was indescribable.
Elder Howlett and I taught Abraham last night, the Jehoviah's Witness security guard.  It did not go as we would have liked it to.  He started off immediately with the bible, and even brought his own bible, thinking it was a different one than ours, but it is not.  We spoke about Revelations again, and he explained his beliefs about the second coming and we listened and asked questions about it.  Eventually, the subject of the Book of Mormon came up, and I asked him if he had a chance to read it.  He made excuses, saying he was too busy working two jobs and did not have time. After, he started to go off on how the Bible is the only word of God, and there can never be any other book like it.  We then gave him Moroni's promise in ch. 10 where is says all he needs is an open heart, to read, and then pray about it and the Lord would give him an answer. After we said that, I started to bear testimony of the Book of Mormon, saying that is was the word of God and that it has changed my life.  Since I speak slower spanish, he interrupted me and changed the subject back to the Bible, which was frustrating.  At that time we could tell that all he wanted to do was bible bash, so we started to wrap it up.  I told him the only way he can know if it is true or not was to read and pray.
This is pretty much my first real person I have taught, so it was difficult having to swallow the fact that some people are not ready for the Gospel yet.  It has really helped me see how difficult this work really is though, but I can only imagine the joys of bringing others to this gospel.  Next week cannot come soon enough! Let me know what all is going on at home this week!
Elder Potts

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This Week in The CCM

Thanks for all of the emails and stuff about home and all.  It sounds like things are going pretty well for the most part. 

I had a couple of amazing experiences this week.  The first one I had happened on Saturday.  We went out tracting in an area of East Lima, named Javier Prado. (James might know where that is)  I had a Latino comanion from Chiclayo Peru who is also in the MTC here with me.  His name is Elder Navarro, and he is an amazing guy.  So, if you can imagine this, the little barrio was on the side of a mountain, or rather a gigantic dirt hill, and took about a half hour to hike up to.  We went knocking doors and did not have much success for the longest time.  Finally, a few people began to want to talk to us.  It was difficult because my companion and I were brand new at it, and it was just us, and a 15 year old member of the ward.  The few people we talked to seemed half interested in the Restoration and the book of mormon, but they stayed and listened to us.  I mostly just introduced the different topic, and then gave my testimony on it afterwards.  Man, tracting is such hard work, and is very inconsistent.
The scariest part for me happened when we went back to the church building.  We went in and there was a Baptism going on since it was Saturday.  They asked my companion and I if we would like to attend since we were back about 5 minutes before the other elders from the MTC.  So we go back to the room in front of the Baptismal font and sit.  Next thing I know, a member of the ward comes up and asks my companion if he can lead the hymn.  He of course said yes, and was ok with it.  Then, this member of the ward came to me and asked "Can you give a talk on the importance of Baptism within the church?"  I of course said yes, but immediately got so nervous.  Keep in mind I only really have about 3 weeks experience with Spanish.  As soon as I said yes, I closed my eyes and said one of the most sincere prayers of my life.  I knew there was no way I would be able to speak on Baptism for longer than about a minute on my own.  The time came and I got up in front of about 15 or 20 Latinos, most of whom were investigators and non members.  I don't even recall what all I even said, but I said what I felt and it went very smoothly.  Now, when Dad and James would tell me to always be prepared to speak, I wasn't expecting that to happen in the MTC, but wow, what an amazing experience!
Another experience that I had happened just last night.  For some reason,  one of the teachers came in and grabbed me and another guy in my district, E. Howlett.  He is not my companion, but all they told us is that we would be teaching.  I expected it to be another pretend investigator, like a different teacher or something.  They directed us toward the front gate, where the security guard office is.  We went up there and started speaking with the security guard.  I began teaching about the plan of salvation since he said his family was very important to him.  He stopped me in the middle of it and began to ask us questions about the bible.  He first asked if we read the bible, then asked us many questions about it.  One of the questions he asked was something like "How many people will Govern with Christ at the second coming?  He then pulled out a bible and turned to revelations.  It was at that moment that I realized that this was no fake investogator, this was a real one.  A non member.  Not only that, the scripture said that 144,000 will be "sealed" with christ in the 2nd coming and it hit me like a ton of bricks...  This Guy is a Jehoviahs Witness. Oh Great.  So he asked us a few more questions about the bible, and we actually could answer some of them.  He then told us our homework was to study the bible and know the contents better, and so we promised we would read.  At that time, I had a great idea.  I asked him about the book of mormon, and he said he had never read it before.  I explained that it was another testament of Christ, and if you want to know about all of his teachings, he would have to read also.  I gave him homeword also to read 2 Nephi 31, which is the doctrine of Christ.  I told him he needs to know it because I was going to quiz him on it when we spoke again.  He accepted and we gave him a book of mormon and left.  I later found out the reason that Elder Howlett and I were chosen was because we are the only 2 the teacher thought would be able to understand him because he speaks such mumbled and fast spanish, so that was a compliment.  I also learned that not only is he a Jehovias Witness, he is studying to be a priest or minister in that church, so this guy knows his stuff.  We got his work schedule and are going to teach him again in a few days.
Anyways, I dont have a ton more time, but I lov you all! Until next week!
Elder Potts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"This week's CCM Updates"

Thanks for everyone who was able to write me and keep me updated with whats going on at home. This is one of my favorite times of the week!  This week has been pretty crazy here, especially today.
Ill start with the coolest announcement, David A Bednar is coming to speak to us next week!  He has become my favorite Apostle to hear from especially in the past few years.  Its is even better that he is coming here than provo because there is a total of about 70 or 80 missionaries here.  That means I will probably be able to meet him and chat for a second!  If any of you havent heard his talk from 2011 called 'The Charachter of Christ?, you need to.  It is by far the greatest talk I have ever heard. From beginning to end.  He is a huge inspiriation for me, and I can't wait to meet him!
Today, since its Pday, we all had the chance to go to the temple again.  We did our session like normal, and one guy in my district, Elder Olson, and I were approached by a nice middle aged peruvian lady.  She spoke with us breifly and something didn't seem quite right with here. She eventually told us she was having a very tough time in her life, and would like a blessing of comfort by one of the missionaries.  At this point, all of the other Elders had also come out.  We went with her into the vitisor center in the temple to a room where we could have some peace.  When it came time to decide who should pray, everyone looked at me.  I honestly did not think I would be able to do it, but I accepted the responsibility.  Let me also say that this lady could not speak one word of English. I was so nervous.  I didn't have my white handbook in Spanish on me, so I knew I would have to be guided by the spirit completely.  I laid my hands on her head, and the rest of the elders placed one hand on also.  With my broken Spanish, I gave her a blessing of comfort and no longer felt nervous.  I honestly did not have a testimony of the Gift of Tongues, but now I do, and it is mind blowing.  She was so touched that we would take the time out of our day to give her a blessing and shook each one of our hands and talked with us.  It was such an amazing experience.
We got a new group of Latinos this week, and a couple new missionaries from the Provo MTC.  They are having a lot of trouble with Visas though for Peru and Bolivia.  We were only able to get 2 more elders and 7 more Hna's total this past group, when we should have gotten about 50.  I feel so blessed to have been able to get my visa and come to this MTC here in Peru.
Tomorrow marks the halfway point for us in the CCM, and I have come to realize something about this place.  Some people say time moves slow, and others say it moves fast.  I feel like time is sort of at a standstill, almost like a dream.  It is so different from our normal lives, but it is also so amazing.  Each of us are getting more and more anxious about leaving to the field each day.  I should have some good stories to tell next week also, because this Saturday we are all going to go proselyting with a Latino companion that day!  From the older guys in the CCM, we have learned that after you go out and teach the people, you never wanna set foot in this place again.  Just 3 more weeks and its off to Bolivia!
I hope to hear from all of you guys individually! Its so nice hearing about life back in GA and such. 
Much love,
Elder Potts 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lima, Peru MTC: Week Two

Things are going super well in the MTC! I hope to hear from all of you guys! 
My day to day life is pretty similar, but I am learning the language and the gospel like never before.  I am up at 6 or 630, and at breakfast by 7. At 8 we have a language class that goes until desayuno. after lunch, We have an hour for personal study, then comanionship study for an hour also.  Next is our hour for physical activity.  This is so much fun because they have a turf soccer  field in the MTC!! The Latinos love to play some futbol, and its only an hour, so it is the best.  After that, we basically just teach lessons to fake investigators and TRC people for the rest of the night.  My MTC teachers do not speak but a few words in english, so all of our lessons have to be in Spanish. The first couple were pretty rough, but once you teach a few of them, it gets easier and easier.  This is the part that helps me learn the language the best because it is just talking with people. My brain is starting to process most things in Spanish rather than english, which even causes my sentence structure to get all messed up when I do try to speak english again! 
Today is Pday, and I'm a bit nervous because I have to lead 2 districts around the city.  I have 14 missionaries total and we have to take the bus to downtown and to the temple and all. I'm sure it will be fine, but there is some pressure on you when you have to be in charge of a bunch of teenagers. I am excited for the adventure though.
The Latinos are another huge blessing for us! We have grown so close to them in the past couple weeks, and your language skills skyrocket just from chatting with them in Spanish.  Since they are only here for 2 weeks, they left this morning.  My favorite little colombian missionary, Elder Supelano, came to me last night and asked in the mist broken english if I wanted to trade a tie.  I pulled out my hanger full of ties and he brought over the 4 he had to his name.  I ended up giving him one of my favorite ties, and told him we didn't have to trade one of his. He was so excited!  It was a slim tie, but since he only weights about 85 pounds, and is under 5 feet tall, it looks like a normal tie on him.
Just a question for everyone: Whats going on with North Korea? Im not worried or anything but everyone keeps saying were at war or theyre making threats? We dont get any news here so I was just curious.  Until next week everyone!
Elder Potts III

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lima, Peru MTC: The First Week


My P day is actually Tuesday, so that is when I will be able to email everyone. El CCM is so great! The first big news of the week is... I have been called as a the district leader! I am over 6 Elders and 2 Hermanas.  One of the elders has a card reader so I may be able to send pictures!  In El CCM, the main responsibilites of my calling are just to oversee the district. Making sure everyone is making to class alright, leading the classes at the beginning of it, and organizing our sunday school class.  I also deal with any issues within companionships. It isn`t that bad though, and my district is super awesome and spiritual.

I have already learned so much spanish and it has only been 6 days here. I can pray in spanish, introduce myself in spanish and bear my testimony in Spanish.  The most spiritual moment I have had was when I was thrown into a classroom of all Latinos and asked to bear my testimony solamente en español. I was so nervous, but I just said what I felt in my heat with the few Spanish words I knew and it turned out amazing!
The CCM is awesome. It only has probably 100 or 150 missionaries at any one time, which I was not expecting.  The food is all Peruvian, but it is actually very good. My favorite juice they have is maracuya, or mango juice. All of it is freshly made.  They eat so much rice and potatoes, its ridiculous. In the us, we usually only have like, one serving of carbs but here its your entire plate. They`ll give you rice, potatoes, soup (with only one measly chunk of meat) and bread.

The teachers I have are so great, and they only speak spanish, and only a few words in english so sometimes it is difficult for them to get the instuctions across. They are very loving though. I will get pictures with them when I can.  One of my teachers is my pretend investigator and makes us prepare the lessons in complete spanish. It is so hard, but each lesson goes better and better.

In one of my pictures, you will see Elder Supelano. He is from Colombia and is such an amazing guy. He speaks a little bit of english, so my companion and I taught him how to pray in English!  It was so amazing and he was so happy.  Last night, he came to me asking if I knew how to tie a tie. He said he doesnt know how to tie one, so I taught him how.  He eventually got it and spent the next 20 minutes or so tying and untying it!
Anyways, I hope to hear from all of you soon. Keep me updated on whats going on!

Love Yàll
Elder Potts