We had an exciting visitor stop by a week before Christmas. Jason and Holly Peregoy showed up our doorstep with a box of gifts. I had no idea who they were when I first opened the door, and I wondered why someone was bringing us sub-for-Santa gifts. I just assumed they had the wrong house. Then they said they were from Korea. It still didn't really register because they looked and sounded American to me! Thank goodness Holly just kept talking to make up for my shock. She explained that they were in the military and had come home for their son's wedding. They had offered to take gifts home for Tyler's and Tristan Baird's families. When it finally sunk in, I was so overwhelmed. We talked for a long time about how Tyler was doing and what it was like in Korea. This is an excerpt from my letter to Tyler that night: "The Peregoy’s were telling us about some of the food there. She said she hasn’t tried dog or live octopus. Have you tried those things? They were also telling us that when you go to the movies you get popcorn, a drink, and squid. Very interesting. He also told us about the first time he went to church there. He left early enough that he thought he would be really early, but by the time he found it sacrament meeting was over. Ha ha ha. To me they're angels. That was the very best Christmas gift anyone could ever give me. I love them so much even though I barely know them." We opened the gifts on Christmas day while we were talking to Tyler. Here's a picture of our Christmas angels:
Jason and Holly Peregoy
They are actually in the picture Tyler sent a few weeks ago after Thanksgiving. I didn't take particular notice until after I had met them.
We had another surprise the week before when the bishop texted and said he had asked all the missionaries to send an email that would be read in sacrament meeting on Dec. 18th, so we got an extra email from Tyler. The first email is from our bishop to Tyler, followed by Tyler's response.
"Hello Elder Conley,
I hope my email finds you doing well. I also hope you are enjoying your mission and learning to love those you are serving and teaching. I know the Lord will bless you as you serve faithfully. He loves you and is pleased with your desire to follow our Savior’s example by sharing the gospel. I have a question or favor to ask. Our Sacrament meeting topic on December 18th is "How the Atonement of Christ Can Help Us Be Patience and Long-Suffering in Adversity". I am inviting each of our ward missionaries to send me an experience or two and their testimony (approximately 5 to 7 minutes) on this subject so we can share your experiences and testimony with members of the ward on Sunday, December 18th. Will you be able to help me with this? Will you let me know either way so I can prepare and make adjustments as needed? I would like to surprise your family with this so please do not mention it to them if that is okay. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Before these things happened I had been feeling really worried about Tyler. One of the first things Holly said to me was, "He's doing great!" I appreciated that so much from someone that had seen him just a few days earlier. We also got this extra email and it did a lot to alleviate my worry. I know Heavenly Father is mindful of His missionaries and their families. I feel like these experiences were tender mercies to put a mother's heart at ease.Yes, I can help!There was a time in my mission that I was not very happy at all. I had left my wonderful trainer and my wonderful greenie area. My new companion didn't feel like a very good match for me, and I was not enjoying myself very much in my second area. That sort of state continued on for the three transfers I was with this particular companion, but during this time, I was able to come to rely on our Heavenly Father much more and recognize the love that He has for each one of His children. The biggest two things I learned during this time were humility and charity, both of which help a lot with patience. I also came to enjoy reading Mosiah 24:14 and D&C 121:7-8. Throughout this time, I gained a strong love for the gospel, for my Father in Heaven, and even for this companion that I was not getting along with at all. Through learning all of this and being humble to God as well as talking and counseling with mission leaders that I had gotten very close with, I was able to find comfort in this new area, and able to be happy again.I really know that God loves each and every one of His children, and that He will help us all the time, and especially when we are having a rough time. I know that through being humble to Him and His will, we can overcome all things, and that by following His will for us all will be well. I know that any hard thing, any trial can be overcome, and that all those who endure with patience and with love will be given a happiness greater than anything that they could ever imagine."