Thursday, August 28, 2014

Letter #4

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Well, It's getting a little better. Mon Français est... getting better. One of our teacher's, Frère Call, is pretty great. He's pretty funny and is just great at teaching. I've been getting lots of help and I'm getting better at studying. I'm getting along with my companions better and better now that I'm getting a little more comfortable, and we're rooming with one other companionship and we all get along just fine. Our rooms a bit of a mess, but we'll hopefully fix that today.

Our branch presidency is pretty great. One of them is a French teacher at BYU so that's cool and they've all got some good stories to tell. We did switch up our zone leaders because the old ones left to Paris on Monday. And we got 2 new districts also going to Paris. One of them is a Stapley, but I don't think there's any relation to Sarah. She's from California if I remember right.

The food here isn't terrible, and there's a lot of it. The best is that they have ice cream on Wednesdays and Sundays. And during breakfast I try not to have Marshmallow Mateys everyday :-).

So I've seen quite a few Sky View people out here, so that's gives it more of a high school feel. Dad, Tavish Geunther says, "Hi!". Most of the people here are from the states, but I have met a few people from Australia, Germany, Sweden, Hong Kong, and France. Pretty cool. 

Thank you all for your letters and your packages! I did get Michelle's and the cookies were delicious. I also did get the one from Connie. Thanks for the socks and the Simpsons Lego. I was going to put it by my alarm clock, but it was Crusty the Clown, and he has kind of a creepy smile, so I just pull him out sometimes.
Thank you Nikkolas, Grandma and Grandpa Mcgee and Grandma and Grandpa Perkes for the letters you've sent. They were very uplifting for the end of a long day. The DearElders are nice too.

Here it's just like high school. Except 24/7. and more spiritual, and all you can eat food. 
So the sisters in my district are now the music coordinators for sacrament meetings and they want me to play during one. Now I'll need to find sometime and place to practice.

So Sunday was Awesome. We had to sit in the overflow in a classroom but it was ok. Brother Allen gave a really good talk about enduring the mission and being good missionaries. He made everyone stand up or raise their hands a lot for things like 'do you think that the MTC was more intense than what you thought' or 'stand up if you've been Dear John-d". There were a few.

So I guess since I'm a missionary I should probably say something missionary-like.
You know the plaque with my favorite scripture on it? Well, I forgot which one's I put on it, but I think I forgot what my real favorite scripture was: D&C 121:7-9
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over thy foes. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."

Before I got here to the MTC, I never really noticed verse 9: "Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."
I love these verses so much. My mission's gonna be tough. Life's gonna be tougher. I'm glad that we've got the toughest, smartest, strongest, most loving Father on our side. And not only that, we've got friends who are with us, who will help us through, who will be there when we come home. I'm glad I've got friends on both sides of the veil, supporting and helping not only me, but everyone they know and love.

Love all y'all and praying for ya,

Elder Perkes

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Letter #3

19 August 2014 @ 1:26 PM

Thank you so much for all the letters! I have been getting the dear elders and they are pretty great to read at the end of a long day. I also did get the album book which is fun to look at. The pictures you emailed me are pretty great. Tell Kennion he's a dork and Nikkolas is rocking the uniform. So, there's this weird thing where the computers here you have to have a special outlet to plug in your memory card for pictures and it costs a bit, so Elder Clark in our district bought one that we could all share... But I don't know where he is right now so I'll have to send pictures later.

So this week was pretty good, I guess. We study most of the day. Some days we get a little off track and everyone starts telling stories about skydiving or getting arrested (the situation was weird but he was innocent). It's fun listening to everyone's stories. I tried going to get the box from Connie on Thursday, but I went to late and it was all dark so I'll try Thursday morning this week. I had this crazy dream where I was back at home doing laundry and Mom was telling me to do stuff and then Debbie came over to talk about a giant water slide you guys all had planned for something. It wasn't all that exciting but I felt at home. We've had 2 days where it rained for a little bit, today being one, and the rest of the days have been pretty clear and hot. It was raining when we walked out of the temple today (which was great, we just did a session but it felt so nice to be inside and it was so people and I felt the spirit. L'Eglise est vrai!). Sunday, though, is definitely the best day of the week. Elder Oaks's daughter, Jenny Baker, came and spoke to us and played some really cool pieces on the violin with her kids. All her kids are pretty good musicians, the oldest being 11. The oldest girl played the piano and she was awesome, the next sister played the cello and the brother played the classical guitar. They also had a family friend who I think was around 19 (because she was heading to the MTC soon) who played a variety of woodwind instruments. All of them did super well. Then we watched a video that Elder Holland gave about teaching. A bunch of people thought it was super boring but I took notes and got quite a bit from it.

French is coming, but it's still super hard. The teachers just keep talking faster and more different words and it seems a little bit crazy, but I'm trying to study.

Not much else really besides trying to eat too much and running in circles during gym time. I did find out they play four square which is pretty fun, so maybe I'll do that a bit more. I ran for 30 minutes straight one day. I felt pretty proud of myself, hoping one day I might be as buff as Mom.

I love you all, I love your letters and all the notes you put in my suit case, I miss you, I am praying for you. Thanks you so much for everything!

Elder T. Perkes

Thanks for all your love and prayers on Tanner's behalf!

Letter #2

12 August 2014 @ 12:44 PM

Hey Family! I made it to P-day (which is Tuesday for me right now). The MTC is weird, hard, and pretty spiritual at times. Mostly we just do different types of studying all day. French is super hard, too many ways to say verbs and such. I'm in a trio with Elder Harter from southern California and Elder Keller from Connecticut. Elder Harter is really good at french and Elder Keller is tall and our district leader.
Sunday we had super awesome devotional about getting to know God. We sang 3 prelude hymns, but the powerful ones that stuck out to me was Hope of Israel and Nearer my God to Thee. I was getting goose bumps.
Today we went to the temple and we did sealings, which was a new experience. The sealer was really nice and told us all about what was happening and that we should look up the covenants we make and do some research about all the stuff we have.

Thanks so much for being married in the temple Mom and Dad! I am so glad to be born in the covenant and not have to wait for 300 something-odd years (one of the names was from 17 hundred something).

Je sais l'Elgise est vraie!

So it sounds like you all had fun at Bear Lake. I hope the rest of family did. And I laughed when I read how Dad yelled at me to get in the car. Good times. 


Thank you so much for the letters you all sent and all the support you have given me! I love you guys and miss you! Be safe, stay strong, work hard, don't fart in front of sister missionaries (it was really nasty, thankfully not one my companions), and be happy because everything is awesome.

I love you and Au revoir pour aujour'hui,

Elder Perkes

The Beginning of the Journey: (or as Tanner liked to call it) "My 2-year retirement party"

Dear Elder Perkes' Groupies,

To give you a little background...

Tanner and Zach Hamp (Tanner's friend and neighbor) were given special permission to go into the MTC a day later than they were supposed to report (the official date to report was 6 August 2014 @ 1:00 PM, and they entered on 7 August 2014 @ 6:00 PM).  Their good friend, Ryker Dattage was killed in a head-on car accident on Saturday, 2 August 2014.  Ryker was supposed to give his farewell speech on the 17th of August as he had been called to serve in the South Dakota, Rapid City Mission.  Tanner and Zach were both anxious to get out on their missions, but they were blindsided with the death of their friend.  With some special help from our stake president, President Mario Durrant, the MTC President gave Tanner and Zach special permission to stay one extra day so that they may attend Ryker's funeral.  Tanner and Zach, with their families, had a very spiritual experience being able to be together when they were set apart as missionaries just and hour before the funeral.  That spiritual experience only strengthened as friends read tributes and relatives shared musical talents during the funeral. And something happened that I have never seen before at a funeral.  Ryker's parents spoke and gave the most powerful talks on the atonement that I have ever witnessed.  Ryker's mother started her talk by saying, "Welcome to Elder Ryker's Dattage's farewell."  The parents asked the bishop what Ryker would have been asked to speak about at his farewell, and he told them the atonement.  The parents gave powerful testimony about the atonement...powerful enough that everyone in that room should have felt the reality that they will see Ryker again some day.  

The boys and their friends were all honorary pall bearers as they drove Ryker's beat-up Bronco (Ryker's life-long dream project) to the cemetery in Providence.  As soon as the funeral was over and hugs were passed around and the tears had dried up for the moment, we left for the MTC...for a different set of goodbyes and tears.

We had heard all the stories about the quick curb drop offs at the MTC, but we knew things would be a little different for us.  We arrived at the Provo Temple around 5:30 PM to take a bunch of pictures before crossing the street to the MTC for the drop off around 6:00 PM.  Zach was met by two mission who greeted him and helped him with his bags.  No missionaries for Tanner.  We waited, but no one showed up.  We felt bad for Tanner, but we hurried in to the front desk and asked for some help.  The girl said to bring in his luggage and that she would take care of him.  We did so and then just stood there.  She politely asked us to say our goodbyes and get out - in a very polite way :-).  We hugged and cried a little more (I cried lots more than Missy - I'm weak).  Then we stood and watched Tanner and Zach take care of things at the front desk.  Actually, Zach came out two times freaking out that he had forgotten his temple recommend and then that he had forgotten his scriptures.  He was genuinely freaked out, but his mother calmed him down and reassured him that everything was in his suitcases.  It was pretty comical! We watched through the glass doors as they walked all the way down the hallway and then turned a corner and were gone.  We talked as families for quite some time in front of the main doors.  I'm not sure how long, but long enough that the security guard had to come out and ask us to leave :-).  
The drive home wasn't too bad, but getting home was...horrible! All I could see was Tanner's book, Tanner's socks, Tanner's notes, Tanner's blanket.  And then I made the mistake and walked down into his room to put something away.  Have you ever lost something very precious to you and it finally hits you how important that thing was to your life's existence?  Well, that's what it felt like when I went into his room.  I sat on his bed and cried and cried and cried and cried...blew my nose...cried and cried and cried...blew my nose again...and cried. Nikkolas came down to ask me something. Seeing me only made him run to his room to cry.  I went upstairs and that made Missy start crying.  Again, I am very weak.  Let's just say that first night was rough.

The waiting began...

Being so used to communicating with cell phones to find out exactly where someone is and what someone is doing, we became quite anxious when two days passed without hearing from Tanner.  It's incredible how that little text or short phone message can provide proof of life, a proof that seems so insignificant until it's not there any more.  The following are the short letters of "proof" that Tanner is alive and well.