Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Cheer

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has definitely been one to remember! I cannot believe that Christmas is already here, but it was amazing :) We spent Christmas Eve with a wonderful family. They are so awesome! We had an amazing dinner, talked about traditions that our families have for Christmas, they acted out Luke 2 and gave us crowns to be three wise men, and then we had cake. They had a birthday cake for Jesus! Such a fun idea :) To finish off the night, they gave us our first Christmas presents, AND I was allowed to open it before Christmas! We both got a fun pair of Argyle socks, and my favorite Burts Bees Original Chapstick. This sister knows me so well haha ;) She made it to Sonic before 4:00 PM closing on Christmas Eve, so she was able to have her celebratory Diet Coke for Christmas. We on the other hand arrived at 4:15 PM, so no Christmas Diet Coke from Sonic for me. But we all know that I had a can later in the day ;) In other words... "I had some anyways!"

Christmas was great as well! We had breakfast with the family we live with and opened up presents with them. I knew the mom would be getting us presents, so I secretly had stashed one for her as well! She absolutely loved it, even though it was just a simple gift that I found at target with a fun little note that I included. It made my day for sure to see how happy it made her, and she later shared it with all of her grandkids when they came over! At 2:00 PM we got to make our Skype calls home! It was fun to be able to see my family and my grandparents briefly on Christmas and to be able to talk to them for a short little while :) Of course the internet went down in the middle of our Skype call, so I got to use my computer knowledge to fix the internet and get back on Skype! Christmas isn't the same without a little bit of drama ;) I was a "good boy" and didn't open my presents from my family until Christmas, so I got some extra props from them as well! For dinner we ate with a family from the ward. After dinner they put on a talent show for us, and we were able to hear the Christmas orange story, SO great :) It all worked out in the end, and was a really great Christmas!

On Thursday we went up to Big Lake, Minnesota and met with a Sister and her grandson. The grandson has a muscular disorder, and his heart is failing, so they are not able to do much when it is FREEZING cold outside. We talked with them, and gave them some church videos to watch because they are not able to attend sacrament meeting currently. As we were about to leave, I felt prompted to ask the Sister if she wanted a blessing. She said that while she didn't want one, she would really appreciate it if we gave her grandson a blessing. It was a really great experience for us all, and the spirit was really strong as we departed!

While still in Big Lake we met with a sister and her non-member boyfriend. The sister shared with us that she has been going some really tough times lately, and that she is soon going to be going to jail. She was involved in a check fraud scam, and got off easy apparently with 10 days in jail. Some of the people involved got 5-10 years, so she is counting her blessings! Her boyfriend committed to baptism as we taught the restoration though, and this sister shared with us that wants church to be a more active part of her life. It was a really great meeting.

On Friday we were able to see a sister, and her 3 year old daughter. Her daughter is always very shy around us, and hides behind her mom, but this time she warmed up to me a little bit! (Probably because I told her that I would make pink cupcakes and bring them to her the next time we see them, but minor details!) Christmas was difficult for them this year, but this sister is really excited for a brand new year, and a fresh new start!

On Saturday before a meeting with a less-active family, we met a couple while we were out tracting. They are catholic, but are very aware of Mormons. They met each other while working for the Boy Scouts of America, so they have met LOTS of Mormons ;) I was able to talk with them about the BSA program, and the fact that I was an Eagle Scout, and that I went to BYU which used to have a BSA major. (It is now the recreational management major I believe.) Who knew that my Mom was inspired by making me do scouting, even though I didn't like it very much. Especially the camping part. They have a very unique family! They have a deaf daughter who has had surgeries to make it so that she can talk and hear now, and two big dogs. It was really fun being able to meet with them and talk with them briefly! Hopefully we will be able to meet with them again in the near future.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year :) Thank you all for your love and warm wishes!


Elder Kyle William Andrews


Today, right before we left the house to go email, I got an unexpected package! The Bancrofts who spent their Christmas in the warm and beautiful Hawaii, sent me a postcard and some fun macadamia nut treats from Hawaii :) It made my day! Maybe we can swap for a couple weeks though, these past two days have been quite cold! Yesterday was -15 degrees, and the wind chill brought it down to about -35/40 degrees. Not fun!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Is In The Air

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hello Everyone,

It has been a very interesting week to say the least. To start, my companion is now home in Finland. Because he left on Tuesday, I went on exchange with an Elder in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, because his companion was going home as well. We had a very unique experience while we were on exchange. Not many of their plans worked out during the day, so we ended up shoveling snow for people in their area. First we began with a member, and then their neighbors. We were able to talk briefly with one of their neighbors - who just got out of jail for drug dealing and was going to get involved with something called "teen challenge". Not really sure what that is, but I think its good :) He said that his daughter was looking for a new church, and that he might be interested as well. He was in a hurry, but we set up a return appointment to visit with them. He was SO grateful for the service we provided him, it was great to see that our service was actually helping someone. Then out of the blue this cute old lady came over and gave us some cookies that she had just baked. We thanked her, and then shoveled her driveway as well :) She was so kind to go out of her way to give strangers in her neighborhood cookies that she had baked. Then after a great day, we were getting ready for bed. The Elder handed me a package of ear plugs, and said "you are going to need these!" I didn't quite know what to say, but I came to figure out that he snores SO loud. His companions have all worn ear plugs because they cannot sleep because of his snoring. Interesting ending to our exchange!

Transfers were on Wednesday! My new companion, is from West Valley, Utah. To start of the Christmas season right, we got a new 2014 Ford Fusion!!! Our old car was at like 54,000 miles, and the church usually rotates cars at 50,000 miles, so I wasn't sure when it was going to happen. MERRY CHRISTMAS :) Also at transfers, I saw my favorite companion in the whole entire world! It was great :) It seriously made my day! Friends for life :) Okay, I am rambling, but you get the point!

After transfers, we went up to Big Lake, Minnesota to visit with three part-member families. While we were visiting with the first family, we taught the Word of Wisdom. The mom shared with us that she had tried to stop smoking before, but that she gets really angry and hard to live with, and that she doesn't want to put her family through all of that again. She did, however, share with us that she had been praying that she would be able to overcome her smoking addiction. Hopefully we will be able to be the answer to her prayers! The Addiction Recovery Program that the church has put together, modeled after the AA program, is really great :) I have read through it a few times on my mission, and I highly recommend that EVERYONE reads it at some time in their life! It has such a great overall theme relating to the atonement of Jesus Christ, and it really is an incredible handbook. Hopefully this mom will be able to get some great usage out of it :)

On Saturday, I had either food poisoning or the stomach flu. Whatever it was, it was NOT fun. On Friday night my stomach hurt really bad, but I thought I would just sleep it off. Saturday morning it hurt even worse, and before I could even get in the shower and get ready for the day, I began to throw up. NASTY! Sister Bremner, the MMM medical director told me that I had to stay in and rest all day, and then she said was one of the most prophetic things in the world, "drink lots of Coke!" That was the ONLY good thing that came out of this illness, and excuse to drink Diet Coke :) We had to buy a couple of things that she sent us out for, and on the way back I got a Route 44 Diet Coke w/ Easy Ice at Sonic just to make sure that I wasn't skipping any steps that she gave me ;) While I was sick, I was able to watch a lot of the church movies that we have in the apartment. One of them was "The Prodigal Son." It's a really great movie, although it is rather dated. I realized as I was watching it though, that at times I am like the prodigal son's brother. I haven't made any huge mistakes in my life, but I have been judgmental of others, and jealous, and even bitter at times. Whatever it is, it is not good. I hope to be able to improve those aspects of myself, and become a more kind and forgiving person. I was kind of all over the place on Saturday, but one time when I was feeling down, the doorbell rang! My Christmas packages arrived early :) I haven't opened them yet, as I promised, but it made my day!

Sunday was great! I wasn't actually supposed to go to Church or do anything on Sunday, but I kind of had a case of cabin fever. I was sick of being sick, and wanted to do something else haha :) Plus I was feeling WAY better! The Christmas Sunday was great, and I was able to sing with the ward choir. The member that we live with, is the choir director, so it all worked out wonderfully! We were even able to visit with a part-member family in the evening and share a Christmas message from the December Ensign. It ended up being a really great day :)

Thank you all for your love and support! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas :) Thank you for all of your emails, letters, and packages, you are all truly the best! I am so grateful for so many loving friends and family members this Holiday season. Talk to you next week!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, December 16, 2013

Journey To Bethlehem

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been kind of crazy! To start we had a district P-Day on Monday at the Hogan's pole barn. They had go-carts, rope climbing courses, tricycles, rock climbing walls, the works! It was fun to be able to party it up on our P-Day with our district, and we had an unplanned service project as well. The Sister missionaries slid off into a ditch on the way over, so we had to push them out! Luckily we have not slid into a ditch just yet... but I am not the designated driver. Rumor has it that I might be the designated driver next transfer, yikes!

On Monday evening we met with a less-active family. They are so kind and welcoming, and their son even added me on Facebook while we were there! (I think.. if he did Mom you should accept him for me.) It was fun to be able to visit with them, and to see them before my companion goes home!

The week previous to this we received a text from an investigator that she was not interested in converting, and that she was done taking the missionary discussions. I was devastated! I felt like I had been prepared for her and her family, and that I had failed miserably. I kept it all inside, and got really down about it all. Nothing could fix it. Later that day while my companion was making his missionary goals for when he returns home, I went in the other room and just let it all out. I decided to pray, and the moment I kneeled down I felt something come over me. It felt like someone was hugging me and comforting me, and I knew that somehow everything was going to be okay. We were able to go joint teaching with a brother in the ward on Tuesday, and I decided to stop by this investigator’s home to see her and her daughter while we were in the area. She invited us in, and we were able to have a really great visit with her about Christmas, AND she invited us to come back :) We are no longer dropped!

On Wednesday we got a mission wide text informing us that we were not to bike or tract because of the wind chill warning. We had an exchange planned, so we knew it was going to be interesting! I went on exchange with an Elder from Ozark, Alabama. We did a lot of stop by's and less-active visits. Some Jehovah's Witnesses even invited us in and made us hot chocolate in their Keurig Coffee Maker. SO good! They were really kind and we had a really great discussion with them during our visit. The moment they started bashing though, we decided it would be best if we headed out. I hate church bashing. I think it is the biggest waste of time in the world, and it doesn't accomplish anything whatsoever! Many people seek bashing opportunities to "win" the bash, but nothing good comes from bashing. Okay, here comes the rant haha! I have many friends and family members who are of different faiths. None of them bash my religion, and I don't bash theirs either. For one, it is not very Christlike, but secondary, it's pointless! Most of the time the information people bash with is incorrect anyways. *Bugged* But back to the day. We had a really interesting visit with a Part-Member family in the evening. The kids are from Alabama, and the Elder I was on exchange with discovered that they were in the same stake! Small world :) The mom was able to identify and feel the spirit during our lesson, so all in all, it was a great day! Cold, but good :)

On Friday we had weekly planning. Weekly planning is hard when your companion goes home, because they realize that they will not be there for any of the planned events. My companion decided to not really participate in weekly planning, so I was on my own. Luckily everything was accomplished, and it will be a great week! In the evening we were able to attend the Minnesota Mormon Chorale & Orchestra's performance "Journey To Bethlehem" in New Brighton, Minnesota. Our ward mission leader works for the city of Elk River, and invited the Mayor! Because he is not a member, we were able to attend :) It was a very spirit filled evening, and the Mayor said that it really brought up a lot of good questions, and that he had a lot to think about this Christmas season. SO cool :) The Apollo Male Chorus also was there to perform, they will be performing in Carnegie Hall in New York in a couple weeks, so it was really great to be able to here them perform!

These past few days we have mostly been visiting members. The other day we visited with a member family. They gave us hot chocolate with a candy cane, sprinkles, and whipped cream, SO fun :) They also invited me and my new companion over for Christmas Eve! On the way out, the sister even gave me a Diet Coke. She knows me so well! We both are Diet Coke, and especially Sonic obsessed, it's great :) I absolutely love their family, and can't wait for Christmas Eve!

We were scheduled to have dinner with a family yesterday, but we got a text informing us that the brothers daughter from his former marriage had passed away, and that he was not going to be able to make it. He flew out Sunday morning, and will be understandably busy for the next little while. I felt like we needed to stop by their home a visit with the sister and the rest of the family though, so we went over to see them Sunday afternoon! We had the most amazing visit with their family, and were able to provide a lot of comfort to them while we were there. I shared a little bit about my uncle Wayne, and the experience that our family had with his passing. This brothers’ daughter is in her 20's so very close to Wayne's age. Hopefully we were of some help! The sister kept thanking us profusely for coming over, so I think it was well received :)

Today we received our transfer calls, and I will be staying here in Elk River with my new companion. I am excited to see what the future has to hold this next transfer :). I hit my 7 month mark on Sunday, kind of crazy! Things are going well though, and I am SUPER excited for Christmas :) Thank you all so much for all of your love and support! I love hearing from you all, and all of the fun and exciting things going on back home :) I love and miss you all and hope you have an amazing holiday season! Talk to you soon :)

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Am Yet Alive

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been interesting, but it has worked out really well! On Monday we had lunch with two sisters from the ward. As I was talking with one sister, she mentioned that she had served a mission in Thailand, so I decided to shoot the breeze, and ask her if she knew an Elder Bancroft. She excitedly confirmed that they had served together in the same mission. Kind of crazy all the little connections that our family has here!

This week has been FREEZING cold. On Wednesday our cars were grounded. We were not able to drive them because of the snow. Our busy meal calendar is a blessing and a curse at times. We had a meal appointment in St. Michael at 5:00 PM, which is about 4 miles away from our apartment. My companion was too proud to call for a ride, and refused to let me call for rides, so we walked. I was wearing my white shirt, a sweater, a Tommy Hilfiger down vest that I bought on P-Day, my black Mountain Hardware jacket, my heated Columbia jacket, and my big Mountain Hardware jacket. On top of that I had a scarf wrapped around my face and neck, and two hats on. Luckily I had my bog boots on as well! It was an adventure, and despite everything I was wearing, it was still kind of cold. I wasn't feeling too well, but I kept walking along. All of the sudden I was reminded of a training that Sister Clements had given us many many months ago. We all face hard times in our lives, but we need to face the future and press forward. In the end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni anticipated his death, but when he hadn't yet died, he continued to write in the Book of Mormon, and said "I Am Yet Alive." Instantly I was filled with gratitude that I was yet alive. I then started to sing to myself and danced a little bit to warm up. With all those jackets on, nobody could even see that I was moving, so it was great! The sun drop girl song and dance was TOTALLY stuck in my head the whole time, you should definitely look that up on YouTube. But the fact of the matter was that we are all going to face hard times. It's not always going to be warm, and sometimes you are going to have to walk 4 miles in the snow, but we are alive and living and changing everyday! With that said, I do not EVER want to do that again :)

We had our Christmas Conference this week in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. It started off with a bang, seeing that we were all told to go to the Crystal, Minnesota building and President and Sister Clements and all the food was at the Brooklyn Park building. We quickly drove back over, and began with our Christmas Conference a little delayed. For Christmas because of the mix up, President Clements gave us all 10 extra miles to cover the extra distance we traveled. We were able to watch the Disney movie "Miracle", which was filmed here in Minnesota. It was cool to see everything that I already know about this area, I felt almost like a resident here haha! Hockey is huge here, so it was fun to be able to watch a hockey movie :) During our training Sister Clements used me as a model for everyone to demonstrate effective layering. I have become a layering expert! I was wearing a long sleeved white shirt, with a sweater underneath my suit. Why some missionaries aren't wearing sweaters yet, I do not know! I love sweaters, plus they are warm, so bonus points :) I also had an interview with President Clements during the conference. As we talked, he said to me "You are here for a purpose", and we began to talk about what I was sent to Elk River, Minnesota for. It is crazy sometimes how everything works out!

On Saturday we had the Ward Christmas Social. It was cool to be able to spend time with all the members here, and the amount of non-member friends that attended was incredible! The gym was packed with people, and it was a really fun event. Santa Clause even came to visit, SO great :)

A couple days this week we have not been able to go outside, because it has been too cold. President Clements has said that we are not to leave our apartments until noon, because of the wind chill. The wind chill here is deathly! Today it is predicted to be -25 degrees. SO gross. Luckily on one of the days that we were restricted to leave, we were able to attend a member baptism, and they invited us over for lunch afterwards!

We met with a family yesterday for lunch. They served us fufu and peanut butter soup. My companion loved it for some reason. We had to eat it with our hands, and it was just all kinds of nasty. Nobody knew how much I disliked it though, so that was a plus!

Just a tip of advice for you all -- based off of a "fun" event that I had today :) Eat before you exercise, and don't run when you are half asleep! Today I was running on the treadmill, and all of the sudden my heart started racing, and I kept feeling like I was going to black out. I was determined to run before I showered this morning though, and I did. Then when I went to shower, bam! I was out in the middle of the hallway. No bruises though :) Learn from my mistake though!

I hope you all have an amazing week, and survive this freezing cold weather! I have heard that Utah is getting pretty bad as well, so layer up :) Talk to you soon!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving a la Black Friday and the first sign of snow

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been different with Thanksgiving, but has definitely been great! To start off the week, we had an exchange with the Buffalo, Minnesota Elders. I was on exchange with an Elder from Logan, Utah. Originally both sets of Elders were going to be in our area, so we arranged two meal appointments for the evening. They had an important appointment arise in their area, so they had to cancel the blitz. We received really sweet voicemails from the families feeding us, so I didn't have the heart to cancel last minute. So... we had two dinners. Absolute madness! One dinner at 4, and another at 5. We were stuffed, but it all worked out in the end. In the evening, we were working in Ramsey, Minnesota with a brother from the ward. I kept feeling like we needing to go somewhere else though, and then I thought of a mother and daughter who live in Otsego, Minnesota. We usually don't like to drive all over the place when we are with members, but I kept feeling like we HAD to go see them. Finally we went over to their home. The mom answered the door, and was absolutely stunned! She said "this is crazy, I was literally just thinking about you two seconds ago, and then you knocked on my door!" It was really cool to see how everything worked out, and then we were able to talk with her for a while, and teach her about the restoration of the church. (The difficulties her family is currently facing are worsening, and her daughter a day earlier was admitted into the hospital for mental health problems) I feel like we are going to have the opportunity to really help their family, it just hasn't completely taken off yet. But it will!

On Wednesday we taught a sister, and her kids again. Their mom is really gravitating towards our church's teachings. As we taught the Plan of Salvation, she said that it really resonated well with her, and it felt like she already knew everything. Each teaching we have shared, has been something that she already believed, but her church has not ever had it as a doctrine. They again didn't make it to church on Sunday though, so we still have a lot of work to do.

Thursday, Thanksgiving, was our P-Day last week. In the morning we had a mission wide conference call at 7:00 AM, and then we went along with our normal P-Day activities. At 1:00 PM we had dinner with a family, and they gave us seriously like hundreds of take-out boxes of food. At 4:00 PM we had dinner with another family. Luckily this time we had some time between the two meal appointments, but still kind of crazy! At 5:00 PM we had to do our shopping for the week, bad. Very bad! Walmart had their first Black Friday event at 6:00, so the store was absolutely crazy! We were just getting regular groceries, but the Black Friday shoppers were EVERYWHERE! Walmart was SUPER disorganized. When you walked into the store, they were handing out maps. They reorganized the entire store, and had video games and iPads in the grocery and produce areas, so it was insane. The Black Friday shopper in me kicked in though, and it was great! The only problem though was that people began to follow suit, even though we were just dashing for things like eggs and chicken. I only had to throw elbows a few times haha ;) I really wish we could have been regular Black Friday shopping, but with sacrifices come blessings.... I had an adrenaline rush for the rest of the evening though, it was great :) With this time of the year, also comes my one year anniversary! One year ago, I broke my collar bone on Black Friday and had to go through surgeries and craziness. I can't believe it has already been a year! Unfortunately I do not have any crazy stories to report, and luckily no broken bones, but it was still a good year. For the rest of the evening, we were with the family we live with doing service. We set up Christmas decorations, and talked, and had a great time! It was fun :) Thanksgiving was definitely a blast! And... in two more Thanksgivings I will be back to Black Friday Shopping haha!

On Saturday we met with a mom and daughter again. The daughter is back home from the hospital now, and is doing well! A family came with us to joint teach, and the sister (Young Womens teacher or president.. not sure) was able to really offer some great advice! We talked about For The Strength of Youth, the Broken Vessel talk from Elder Holland, and this sister gave the mom contact information for a great counselor in St. Cloud. It was a really great lesson, AND I made Lehi Roller Mills blueberry muffins to share, so it was even better :) Don't ask me how that muffin mix made it here to Minnesota, but it worked out perfectly! A member must have given it to the missionaries forever ago, and I am the only one apparently that knows how to make muffins.

Yesterday after church, we had dinner with a family. They just recently moved here from Provo, Utah, crazy! I saw this brother in church a couple weeks ago, and he looked SUPER familiar, but I dismissed it, because he lives here in Minnesota. I mentioned that he looked familiar when we were over having dinner, and he said that he had the same thought. Turns out, he used to work at Nordstrom in Fashion Place Mall in the Men's Shoe Department, my second home. Small world! But it gets even better. His wife grew up in Provo, Utah. She went to Timpview High School. We were talking about our families and everything when this brother and I were trying to figure out how we knew each other, and Sister Wilkinson said that my grandpa, William Bancroft, was her stake president back home. Apparently her dad and grandpa are good friends. She also told me that she went to school with Wayne. Small world! It is cool to have a family here with so many connections to my life back home :) We were also able to talk shoes for a while, which was AWESOME!

It has been a pretty amazing week overall, even though it snowed for like two seconds today for the first time. Luckily it did not stick though! I am SUPER paranoid about the winter here... hopefully I won't kill anyone with my little to no winter driving experience. (No sarcastic remarks Mom!) I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that this week will be excellent as well :) Thank you all for your love and support, I couldn't do this without you.

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, November 25, 2013


Monday, November 25, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been different, but good. At first nothing whatsoever was happening. We did a whole bunch of tracting, and still... nothing. Tracting (knocking doors) is about the least effective thing you can possibly do while on your mission, but the MMM is a tracting mission. When we do not have investigators to teach, we more often than not will be out tracting. President Clements has told us that this will continue until the members begin to do missionary work themselves. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later ;) One night after I was fed up with tracting, we decided to stop by some former investigators. We stopped by a woman that the sister missionaries in this area found a while back. She invited us into her *warm home, and we were able to talk with her briefly about the Book of Mormon! It was definitely an answer to a prayer, because I was SO done with tracting in the cold haha.

Last Sunday we received a referral from the Bishop. A man from Utah called him and told him that his daughter lived in this area, and that she was going through a really tough time. She was going through a divorce, and friends and family members were turning on them after years of friendship. To make matters worse, her daughter who is in high school was beginning to be cyber-bullied, and was suffering from depression. A few days ago we were able to stop by their home. We talked with them for a while and got to know them better, all the while I felt something special while we were talking with them. We talked about prayer, and later offered to give them a blessing. The daughter asked for a blessing as well. We were able to give them blessings of peace and comfort, and she mentioned that she felt the spirit throughout her blessing, and explained it as "getting the chills through her body". I was amazed! As we talked a little bit longer, I was struck by the spirit. I realized as I was talking with them about my own experiences that I had been prepared from the beginning to teach them. I have been wondering for a while now why I needed to serve in this area of Minnesota, and this was it. It was an amazing feeling, and I am SO excited to be able to visit with them in the future!

A few days ago in my morning studies I came across a quote that I really liked. "A candle that lights another loses no light itself." - Anonymous. It reminded me of a training I received from BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe in my student leadership class at BYU. He talked to us about being "fire-lighters". We need to be the kind of people that share our light with others, and light others fires. Like that quote says, as we share our light, we do not lose any light ourselves. If anything, we gain light from sharing it with others! I hope that one day I will be able to be a successful "fire-lighter".

So, awkward story time! A few days ago we were stopping by a less-active member, and we tracted his neighborhood afterwards. I had to grab an extra coat and gloves and everything from the car before we went tracting though, so I grabbed all my stuff and got ready to head out for the next hour. It was ABSOLUTELY freezing, like 15 degrees with a whole bunch of wind. In Minnesota they have this weird thing called wind chill that makes it WAY colder than the thermometer says, not cool. Anyways, so we went out and did our thing until it was about time to head off to our dinner appointment. As we approached the car, I felt around in my pocket for the car keys. You guessed it, they were in the car! Actually, they were in the back seat of the car. They fell out of my pocket as I leaned over grabbing all of my stuff. We called the mission office, who told us to call a locksmith, so I called 411 for an emergency locksmith and I waited on the phone for like 30 minutes for the man to say that the nearest one was 2 hours away. By this time I just gave up momentarily, mostly because my whole body was frozen, and had to make the call of shame. We had to call the member who we were having dinner with, the Hogan's, and ask him to pick us up because I locked the keys in the car. On the ride over to his house, we found someone to come unlock the car after dinner, and all was well. They broke into our car in about 10 seconds, and we were on our way!

Our meal calendar in this area is absolutely insane! Basically every night we are fed by a different member family. It is awesome! In my last couple areas we were generally fed 2 sometimes 3 times a week, so this is a major upgrade. A couple days ago we were eating with a family who moved from Utah a little while back, so we talked about Utah for a while. I asked them where they moved from, and they told me that they moved from Saratoga Springs, Utah. I told them that I had a friend from there. Turns out my friend and her family were in their stake, small world! This man is a CES coordinator here, and teaches institute at the University of Minnesota, which is what caused the move out here to bitterly cold Minnesota.

On Sunday in my studies I came across D&C 64:33 in the handbook to overcoming addictions from LDS Family Services. Kind of a long story, but I was reading it because EVERYONE in this mission either smokes or drinks or does some kind of drug. Anyways, It talks about how great progress comes from little steps. That really rang true to me as I thought about my mission thus far. It feels like progress is coming EXTREMELY slow, mostly because I am impatient, but I remembered that from these little steps "[my] missionary experiences will build a solid foundation for the rest of [my] life." My patriarchal blessing has said this the whole time, but I never quite got it. I still probably don't completely get it, but I am making progress haha ;) Patience is a virtue... I just sometimes want to give up and scream "I DON'T HAVE ANY VIRTUE!" But that would be bad.

A few days back we stopped by a family whose records were just transferred over to the ward. As we stopped by, we found out that only two members of the family are members of the church. A 16 year old, and a 14 year old. The 16 year old boys friend in Alabama invited him to church, and he eventually converted. His little sister became interested later, and she converted as well! No one else in their family is a member, so I was absolutely stunned at how their situation has all worked out. We met with the two members, and eventually their Mom came in to listen. She said that she really didn't know anything about Mormons, and that she wanted to at least know what her daughter believed. Her daughter (the 14 year old) then proceeded to begin teaching the first lesson. WOW! We were able to teach about the Restoration, and invite the Mom who is "Catholic, but first and foremost a Christian" to church. She readily accepted, and is excited to continue learning about her daughters church. She so far has said that everything makes perfect sense! Unfortunately they were sick on Sunday, but next week they will all be attending.

Sunday was interesting. Sacrament meeting was nice, but Sunday school was absolutely awful! There was some contention. It was not good, and the spirit certainly was not there. I think Heavenly Father was secretly blessing us this week by not having any investigators come to church. Hopefully this will only be a one time occurrence!

Today we have an hour to email, but our P-Day is officially on Thanksgiving, which will be awesome! We will be spending Thanksgiving with two different members of the Ward, possibly three if time permits. It will be interesting to see how it all works out :) Luckily we will not be tracting on Thanksgiving though!

Thank you all so much for your love and support. I am so thankful for you all, and for everything you do for me! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday :) Have a great week!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, November 18, 2013

He's Got A Dog?

November 18, 2013

Hello Everyone,

It has been another crazy week! I was not expecting to be transferred from Sparta, so picking up and leaving was an adventure. On Monday we had our district p-day where we played Frisbee and ate at B.A. Burrito one last time, and then we all had to go pack. One person in each companionship in our district was transferred. Packing was absolutely awful, but 2 suitcases, 1 carry on bag, 2 boxes, and 2 big Sam’s Club bags later I was set! Who knew I had so much stuff ;)

We had SO many people to visit before I left Sparta. We were able to meet with a lot of our investigators, less-active members, and active member families before I left. It was great, but a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I was doing REALLY good though, until we met with the last family on Tuesday night. They were our last stop for the evening and then I was taking off Wednesday morning. We took pictures and did the usual, and then I was asked to share one last spiritual thought with them. I shared Mosiah 18:30 replacing the word Mormon with Sparta. As I was reading it, I broke down as did others. Who knew I even liked Sparta that much haha, I don't even like little towns!

On Wednesday we had the big move, transfers! I attended my first transfer meeting in Bloomington, Minnesota, and was able to see one of my old companion there as well :) It was an amazing moment! I have seriously missed that kid SO much. At the transfer meeting we also found out that this will be a 5-week transfer. Usually our transfers are 6-weeks, but this transfer would have landed on December 25th, Christmas. So we have a 5-week transfer then a 7-week transfer, yikes! Hopefully everyone has a good companion for the 7-week transfer!!!

Elk River, Minnesota is quite interesting... I am excited to be in Minnesota finally, but another small town, REALLY! It is going to be great though. A member drove us from Bloomington to Elk River, and as we talked in the car, I found out that he played football for BYU, and knows our neighbor! Small world! His wife grew up in Provo, and graduated from Timpview High School. From what is sounds like, they live right by Grandma and Grandpa! She did not recognize their last name though. We arrived at our place, and I found out that we live with a member family. My day was made when I saw their dog Richard come running to the door! Missionaries are not allowed to have dogs, but members sure can ;) So by default I have a dog! And two cats... but I guess not everything can be perfect.

My companion is from Europe. He served in Sparta, Wisconsin not too long ago so it was cool to talk about all of the people we know, and how they are doing! I also found out that he is going home soon. Like SUPER soon. He does not know the exact date yet, but he is going home either December 18th (the end of the transfer) or January 1st. He has to go home a tad early to start school. Kind of crazy! So I have a couple weeks to learn the area, and then I will probably be taking over the area. Insanity.

So, there are MANY things that I do love about Elk River, Minnesota. One of which, is the Albertville Premium Outlets :) It looks almost identical to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets, and is pretty much the next best thing to the Mall of America, because we are not allowed to go there. We are going to stop by the Premium Outlets today, so I am SUPER excited to see them!

Our ward mission leader is great. He and his family had us over for dinner a few days ago, and I found out their son went to the MTC a week before me, and is serving in the same mission as the rest of my MTC district. Crazy stuff!

(Couldn’t resist sharing this)


It is FREAKING cold. I am wearing that new black coat you sent me with another coat I found at the La Crosse apartment, my hat, glove liners and mittens, and I am still always cold. This is going to be a rough winter! I am going to have to pull out that huge coat that is too big and makes me look 400 pounds soon. Not cool. AND it's only November. Ridiculous.

This week I ran across a quote by Elbert Hubbard that I really liked. He states (with one change) "Some men can get results if kindly encouraged, but give me the kind that do things in spite of [opposition]." I am not currently completely self-sufficient, but I am working towards becoming that way! By the end of my mission I hope to be able to be one of those who can do things in spite of opposition, and still be successful. I love quotes though, if any of you have any great quotes that you would like to share with me, feel free to mail or email them to me :) It will probably make my day!

I hope you are all doing well, and that you have a great week! I have heard that it is getting really cold in Utah, and the same unfortunately is occurring here in Minnesota. The only problem with Minnesota is that it doesn't stop getting cold. Utah eventually will plateau, but Minnesota will just keep getting colder. Heaven help me!!! I love and miss you all, thank you for all of your letters, emails, prayers, and words of encouragement :) Have a great week!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, November 11, 2013

John 14:26

November 11, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This has been a very interesting week, but a good one none the less! On Monday we were able to teach a couple with a member from the Sparta Branch. Our male investigator has a hard time with the Law of Chastity, because he believes that marriage is of the world, and marriage leads to divorce. He has been divorced before, and had no real interest in getting married ever again. His girlfriend that lives with him only talks about marriage with him. She just wants to get married SO badly! It was a tough situation to say the least. We talked about the Proclamation on the Family and the member with us talked a lot about strong marriages. You find what you look for, and this investigator has been focused on divorce. He said that everyone he knows gets divorced, but he hasn't been looking for any successful marriages. The member’s advice helped him a lot, and after our lesson he sincerely prayed, which has been a struggle for him. It was great!

Later that evening we were able to meet with a new member for about an hour to talk with her about church history. She was recently given a responsibility (aka calling) in church, so we transitioned from church history to the progression of the church, and how important her individual efforts are in helping the church to grow and progress! It was a really great lesson, and I really enjoyed meeting with her.

On Wednesday we had our Mission Conference in Lakeville, Minnesota. We received a great training from President and Sister Clements, and then were able to hear from Elder Godoy (sp?) from the 70. Sister Clements brought up an interesting point that the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission is our sacred grove, just like Joseph Smith. This is the place where we learn, grow, and progress for two years, and come back ideally a better person. I never thought of a mission like that! Kind of cool if you think about it. President Clements spent most of his training talking about the Plan of Salvation and what we learned from our assignment. He really is such an incredible leader! I have learned so much from President and Sister Clements, and I have only been out for almost 6 months. Sadly they will be leaving our mission around my one-year mark, so I won't always be with them.

Then Elder Godoy spoke to us. His remarks were truly inspired, and answered a lot of questions I had and prayers I had said. He is from Brazil, and was called to the Brazil Sao Paulo South mission. He said it was the Salt Lake City, Utah mission of Brazil. He said that he was upset, and wasn't particularly excited to go there. While in the MTC he waited for them to release his new call, and tell him that they had made a mistake, but it never happened. He then went on to say that his mission was absolutely incredible because of his Mission President and his wife. He told us that we are sent to our missions specifically because of them. I was sent to the MMM because of President and Sister Clements! I have absolutely LOVED President and Sister Clements. When Elder Godoy said that, I knew it was true, and the spirit hit me really strong. I am here in the MMM to learn from the Clements family! What exactly that is, I do not know, but I am here :)

On Thursday I got my flu shot. That is a SUPER long and complicated story, but in the past week I have spent seriously close to 5 hours in Walgreens. They have run and called my insurance company MANY times, and had no success. At one time the insurance told them that only the flu mist was covered, but they weren't able to get that to go through either. Finally while on the phone the last time, they told the Walgreens lady that only a doctors office could purchase the flu shot the way that they needed to. So then we went to the Mayo Clinic in Sparta. I registered and got an appointment. I got the flu shot, and we left. All in all, it took about 15 minutes. I am now vaccinated though, which is the most important part!

Afterwards, we were able to perform some service for a part-member family. We raked their leaves, and cleaned up their yard. It was nice to have a break to rake some leaves, and to help out the family! The only problem was that I just got a shot in my arm... not cool. My arm hurt SO bad, but it all worked out in the end. The lady told me that I needed to massage the area on my arm, and to try to take it easy. Probably should have not done service at that particular time, but it is done, and I am alive :)

Thursday evening we went up to Tomah. We had dinner with the one family, and then went over to visit with another family. They have not been to church since they were baptized, but they are ever so slowly making progress. The wife knows the Bible extremely well, and as we talked with her she brought up some deep doctrine questions that she had. Amazingly, I was able to answer them with the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants! It was a really cool experience, definitely led by the spirit.

On Friday after weekly planning, I went on exchange with an Elder in South La Crosse. During our exchange we were able to meet with this man, and while we met with him the Elder I was with had the thought to ask him if we could bless his home. He agreed, and it was an amazing experience! He and his family really opened up, and the spirit was able to enter into their home and help them to be comforted and watched over. It was really incredible that we were all able to share that experience together, and to be able to participate in that blessing.

On Saturday after we exchanged back we were able to do some service for a branch member. We moved some book shelves and furniture in her home, and were able to help organize a few things for her. I love her! It is so true that those who are handicapped in any way are SO much closer to God than we realize. She is the sweetest woman, and I love being able to help her out in any way.

The other day as we were tracting, we knocked on a woman's door. She said that she worked with a few mormons at Matthews. I remembered that a new member works at Matthews, and asked her if she knew her. She did! It was a very cool validating moment for us all, and we were able to briefly teach her about the restoration. While she did not readily accept the message, we made progress, and hopefully helped her in some way. It was really cool!

On Saturday evening we were able to visit with a family, and teach them about the Plan of Salvation. Little did we know, but they were having us over for dinner! I was absolutely stuffed, so this was a shock for me! Luckily we made it through. My stomach hurt SO bad afterwards, but it worked out. Pretty much I rolled out of their house, but we were able to teach them so it was all good!

On Sunday we had a really great turn out! We had three non-members to church, and nine less-active members! That NEVER happens :) A less active family kept their commitment and came to Church, as did one of the people we are teaching. Another less-active family even brought their non-member cousin with them. AMAZING! It has been a really great week, and a great ending to my time here in Sparta, Wisconsin. We received our transfer emails today, and I am being transferred to (I forgot... I think it's St. Cloud 1 Zone in Elk River or something like that...). I am excited to see what the future has to hold!

Thank you all so much for you constant support! I seriously could not do this without your love, support, and prayers. I love and miss you all, and hope you are doing well back home!


Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stretching…And Growing!

November 4, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week was different, but in the end it all turned out great! On Monday we were able to teach a couple in Tomah with our Branch Mission Leader. The man worked at the cranberry bog part time, and we had not seen him in a few weeks because of cranberry harvesting season. This was a great opportunity to re-establish contact, and to be able to visit with them again! The lesson did not go as planned, but in the end everything worked out the way it was supposed to. It was a really great experience!

President Clements extended an assignment to us all from a mission president conference he attended. Elder Christofferson asked mission presidents to have their missionaries write a one page summary of the Plan of Salvation. He gave us 5 chapters to study in the scriptures to focus our study for the summary page. I am a perfectionist, and absolutely HATE assignments like this, because in one page the options are limitless, and I just couldn't decide exactly how I wanted to complete the assignment. I actually felt like I was back in college! I didn't know whether or not to double space my paper, to write an introductory paragraph, etc... It was kind of awful! Later I realized that it probably doesn't even matter and that President Clements is probably just going to breeze over our papers anyways, something they do NOT do in college ;) As I got to my studies, one of the assigned chapters really stood out to me. Alma 34, verses 38-41 especially! They had been an answer to some of my prayers a while back, and gave me some knowledge that I was really needing at the time, it was great! I began to realize that this assignment was meant to help us, and that it was already helping me! I am still probably going to continue striving for perfection, but it was a good lesson learned. The assignment isn't due until Wednesday this next week, but I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to make it perfect!

We had planned to do some service for a new branch member on Tuesday, but her land lord came and mowed their lawn, so there were no leaves to rake haha! Instead we were going to watch a quick movie about church history on her laptop, but her laptop was acting up. I realized that this was an opportunity for us to provide service for her despite the circumstances! I have always been able to use technology really well, and was able to help her with some problems she was having with her laptop. It was a really cool unexpected experience that we had to serve her :) Hopefully her laptop troubles will now be a thing of the past!

On Wednesday we were in Tomah, and we had some things that we needed to return to a family there. I absolutely LOVE them, so any opportunity to go and visit their family is immediately taken advantage of ;) They have a new dog, named Oliver! I love dogs, and I love Oliver haha :) I have always had rude parents who won’t buy me a dog, but one day I will have a dog of my own, and life will be good! Until then, I just have to live vicariously through other peoples dogs…like Oliver :)

Thursday was Halloween, which is SUPER weird as a missionary! We had our district meeting in La Crosse in the morning. I was asked to give the White Handbook training (a book of our missionary rules), on housing. I am pretty much a certified clean freak, so this was a perfect topic for me! I got to help out everyone, mostly the Elders, to know how to better upkeep our apartments :) Our zone leaders who were at our district meeting told me that I was turning into Sister Clements, because I of course had a handout for my White Handbook training! Sister Clements and I just know how to do things right ;) When you do a training, even if it is just a White Handbook training, you bring handouts! After district meeting, we returned to our areas for the evening. We visited with a member family, and they fed us and talked with us for a while.

On Saturday, I decided to try an re-establish contact with a former investigator of ours. When I was on exchange with the zone leader that ended up going home because of a collapsed lung, we had our last lesson with this man. His wife became very angry with the fact that we were teaching him and that he was not inside making dinner while she watched tv, so she came outside and FREAKED out at us, threatening to call the police if we did not leave. Needless to say, we have kept our distance for a while, but I decided to try again on Saturday. We came over minutes after his wife had left their house! He told us that he was glad that we came back and tried to meet with him. He was less drunk this time, so he was able to better understand what we were talking to him about! We shared a message with him about families, and how important they are to our religion. It was a really great lesson, and I was so happy that we were able to re-establish contact with him!

Fast Sunday was very interesting. The day began with us finalizing plans for investigators to attend sacrament meeting, and things were looking bleak. Literally everyone was cancelling and telling us that they were not going to be able to make it. I was beginning to lose hope, but in the morning during my prayer to begin my fast, I asked that we would be able to fill the Sparta Branch Chapel. I was kind of disappointed to be honest that things were not working out. We went to try to pick up a few people for Church, but no one was home or would answer their door. As we were walking back to the chapel, the power went out. AWESOME! As we walked into the chapel, I was truly astonished. There was a family visiting from Iowa that came to Sacrament, as well as six less-active members. It certainly was not the way I had planned for things to happen, but it was Heavenly Fathers unique way of answering my prayer. I probably had to learn that "not my will, but thine be done" or something like that. We were all sitting in darkness, but sacrament meeting still went on! Before testimony meeting began for fast sunday, the member family walked in, with two extra girls. They came and sat near us, and I jokingly asked their daughter if she had a sleepover last night, referring to a specific CD they had listened to. She quickly answered, "Yes", with a smile on her face! I felt the spirit really strongly as she answered me, and was amazed at the little missionary this eight-year-old girl had become. Her mom got up to bear her testimony, and in her testimony she included that she felt that the person who had given her "The Missionary Next Door" CD had truly been inspired. The spirit hit me SO strong at this point. My last companion, and I had discussed "The Missionary Next Door" with her a while ago, and I gave her a copy of the CD two weeks ago. Neither my former companion nor I knew why we had discussed it with them, but it happened. It had been inspired by Heavenly Father. This little 8-year-old not only invited her friends to church, but she even taught them a quick first lesson, and after church she brought them around for a church tour! It was a miracle, and I was somehow able to be a part of it :)

Sunday evening we did a teaching evaluation with the a less active family, five of the six less-active members that came to church. We taught them the Restoration, and it was a really great opportunity to be able to teach their family, and to help them in a unique, but inspired way! One thing that I love about their family, aside from the individual members, is their dog Peanut, a Puggle. I had a Puggle once for about a day until my family realized that I had snuck a dog into our home, but I absolutely love their dog!

On Monday we will be receiving our transfer emails, so we will see what my future is as to where I will be serving and who I will be serving with! Thank you all so much for all of your love and support! I really appreciate every one of you, and love hearing from you. You are the best!

(I feel I need to share this portion of my mini "mom" letter – because it really underscores how Heavenly Father helps us. He knows each of us individually and knows what we need—when we need it! And the Holy Ghost brings things to our remembrances. Additionally, there are many times while I am writing Kyle that I wonder why I am writing about some of the things I am. I am so grateful for the promptings we get -- even if we don't recognize them as promptings at the time. For those who do not know who Wayne is -- he is my youngest brother, whom I dearly love, who was called home 6 years ago (age 24 at the time) to join our Heavenly family. Families are forever. This I know to be true!)


Thank you so much for your postcard from Roma! I have been reading over little things this week, and that really helped! On Wednesday actually I was having a tough time in the morning. I decided to read the very first letter that you sent me when I arrived at the MMM. It was the May 22-28th letter, the one they gave us all when we arrived at the mission home. In it you included a Dr. Seuss quote that really helped me. I absolutely love quotes, and that quote in particular was extremely helpful to me at that time. You also talked a lot about obedience. I realized that I was making the effort to be obedient, and that I would be blessed for that. I have seen a lot of blessings this transfer from my individual obedience. I also really enjoyed your very last paragraph in your letter. You talked about Wayne and how he would be watching over me and helping me. The moment I read that I felt a peace, a comfort, and a warmth. I knew that Wayne had been watching over me, and that he especially has been comforting me and helping me. It felt almost like he was giving me a hug. The extra time that I have been given to study has helped me a lot!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, October 28, 2013

He's Using His Awesome Training Skills

October 28, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been really great, and we have had a lot of service opportunities which always makes missionary work a little sweeter! We started the week by raking leaves with a recent convert in the branch. After raking leaves with her, we had a lesson on temple work. The youth are trying to put together a trip to the temple, and she is interested in going! The temple is in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is a three hour trip, so it takes a lot of planning beforehand. (Maybe one day I will be in a temple area where you can go to the temple once a transfer... :p)

On Wednesday we had a lesson with a part member family, and a member of the branch was able to come joint teaching with us. We taught about the Plan of Salvation, and the lesson went incredibly well! The part member family and the member really clicked, and became quite good friends through this teaching opportunity. The member began inviting the wife to Relief Society activities and what not, and for them both to attend church on Sunday. While they didn't come to church this Sunday, I think there is a great chance of them coming in the future! I always feel so great when I am in their home :) The wife in this part member family has such a strong testimony of the gospel, and she wants so badly for her husband to believe in the same teachings that she does. They are truly a great family!

On Wednesday we also had our weekly district meeting in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Our district leader asked me to train the district on Weekly Planning and Goal Setting. It was a really easy training for me to put together, especially because of all of the stuff I was involved with in high school, but it went really well! I even had cool handouts for everyone :) Missionaries and members here don't really do handouts, which I think is kind of unfortunate. I always love lessons and training when you get handouts and treats, plus you are always more interested in what someone is saying when you have something to offer them afterwards! Maybe I will leave my mark on the people here, and they will start utilizing handouts and organizing their lessons and trainings similarly. NOT that my way is perfect, but it works pretty dang well for me :)

On Thursday we were able to teach the man in the VA hospital. Right after we prayed with him, his daughter who is a member called him. He was very direct while speaking with her, but for whatever reason I started to feel the spirit really strongly while he was talking! Later in their conversation his daughter brought up the missionaries, and he told her that we were right there with him. She told him to get off the phone and to meet with us, and then she counseled him and told him to really listen to what we were saying. I knew there was something good coming out of that phone call! After he got off the phone, he was so much more receptive, and he was really listening to the message we had to share, and I think he was even able to feel the spirit as we taught. It was a really cool experience! For as much as people oppose the gospel standards, the spirit can still be present in our lessons, it’s amazing :)

On Friday while we were supposed to be weekly planning, another less-active family, called us and asked if we could help them move a mattress. We stopped our planning and went over to help them. Little did we know, this service project was going to take A LOT longer than we had initially planned! We left at 4:00 PM, picked up their new mattress in Tomah, Wisconsin, drove back to Sparta and dropped off their new mattress, picked up their old mattress, drove the old mattress to Tomah, and then drove back to Sparta. It was almost time for us to go in for the day by then! We finished planning, and then went to bed. Kind of a crazy day!

I am feeling A LOT better this week :) Thank goodness for Diet Coke, Zip Fizz, Nyquil Night Time Syrup, Robitusson, and doTERRA! Hopefully that is the only time I will ever have to feel like that on my mission, but we will see. At least I am done with the first big wave of illnesses here :) Unfortunately the flu is HUGE right now, so hopefully I will not be getting it.

We were able to move some furniture around this week, for a disabled member in the branch. She is such a sweet lady! She actually graduated from BYU in a major that I was considering for a while.

While tracting one evening we were able to teach a cool family. We taught them the restoration on their porch, and exchanged contact information. They live with the wife’s father, so they want to ask his permission for us to come over! I think there is a lot of potential there. After our lesson, we walked over to a less-active member’s home, and shared the "His Grace Is Sufficient" devotional address by Brad Wilcox with her. It was a really great way to end the evening :)

Things are going well here, and hopefully the weather will not continue to dip down like it has been recently! Cold weather makes for some difficult tracting situations... ie "don't mind my runny nose" haha!

I love and miss you all and hope you are all doing well :) Thank you so much for all of your prayers and kind words of encouragement! Write to you next week :)

(Another priceless Kyle note to Mom that I just have to share!)

So winter supplies will be interesting... the only place to shop for stuff here is Walmart. I will explore my options, and maybe we can spend some time after our district meetings in La Crosse to buy winter supplies, but for now there is not a whole lot I can do. I think I will buy some cheap gloves from Walmart, but for the most part I ended up putting stuff on my Christmas list. For your information, I mailed out my Christmas list today. I only have 60 items on my list, and for the most part they are all pretty serious. The only things on the list that I don't actually need are pretty obvious... and there are only like 2-3 of them. A dog (of course), a Sonic Drive-In for Sparta, and maybe one other thing. It is not that I don't need a dog by the way, it is that I am on a mission right now, and don't want to miss the puppy stages of my dog.

So our water is weird here, and sometimes it is yellow. It has only been yellow once, but it made my shirts turn yellow. They are a weird off-white color, and for some reason bleach and hydrogen peroxide is not completely taking care of it. Today I am going to buy some oxyclean from Walmart, but do you have any other suggestions for stain removal? Thank you so much for all you do! Love you :)

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, October 21, 2013

…And Some Things Will Never Change!

October 21, 2013

Hello Everyone,

It has been another crazy week! On P-Day I finally watched "The Testaments", a movie that missionaries rave about and are stunned when they hear that I have not seen it.

On Tuesday we had Zone Training in Rochester, Minnesota. President and Sister Clements are so amazing, I always love being able to spend time with them and to hear from them. President Clements shared an interesting quote with us that I really liked about seeing the big picture. "What are you doing?”, I asked a man. “Laying bricks”, he said. “What are you doing?”, I asked another man. “Building a wall”, he said. “What are you doing?”, I asked another man. “Building a temple”, he said. Okay, so I didn't copy it down exactly, because he said it quickly, but you get the idea! I never really thought about seeing the big picture quite like that. I often get stuck in the mindset of laying bricks, and building a wall, but I need to look at the big picture of building a temple, to relate to the quote.

After Zone Training we had to go have our car serviced at Valvoline in Rochester, Minnesota. The church has an account with Valvoline, and that is the closest one to our area! We pulled in to Valvoline, and the service man asked me what we needed done. We had written down everything that needed to be done on the car, so it should have been a smooth and simple experience. I am not car savvy, so I have to put a little extra effort into these ordeals ;) I opened my mouth, and without even referring to the list I had made, I uttered "We need to get our gas rotated." Everyone in the car burst out laughing, and I realized what exactly I had just said (We had the South La Crosse Elders in our car). I corrected myself, and told him that we needed our oil changed. We had a whole list of things that we needed to get done, but I only mentioned the oil at first, because my brain decided that after that little experience, it was done working. The service man asked me to pop the hood of the car. I could not for the life of me find the lever that popped the hood! As I was pulling on the parking break, the man who now surely thought I was an idiot opened the car door and found it for me. In my defense, it was extremely well hidden, and I probably would have never found it. He then asked me to turn on the bright lights on our car. I have used the brights many many times, so this should not be a problem! Nope, windshield wipers and cleaner came shooting out. Try again, right and left blinker. Nope, try again, okay finally I got the brights on. It was awful! Later, when my head decided to start working again I was able to get everything else done on the car, and it all worked out in the end. I am NEVER going to be the driver when we go to Valvoline again though :) I know my car knowledge is bad, but I am not that bad! It was quite a funny experience though.

A less-active member in Sparta works at O'Reilleys (something like that). I thought it was a grocery store, but apparently it is a car part store. I realized that we HAD to share this story with her! She loved it, she would not stop laughing! We visited her a few days later, and she informed me that she had told everyone that she worked with -- first of all that -- I thought O'Reilleys was a grocery store, and my Valvoline experience. Looks like I won't be visiting O'Reilleys any time soon either ;) She is funny though! We are hoping that better developing this friendship with her will help her to desire to come back to church.

We contacted a referral this week at the VA Hospital in Tomah, Wisconsin. He talked to us about the challenges that he is facing, and some problems in his family right now, and we talked to him about how we can help him, but more importantly, how the gospel can help him. He really liked meeting with us, and invited us to continue meeting with him! Unfortunately he is not able to attend church, because the VA does not allow certain patients to leave, but we are excited to see where things go. His daughter who referred him is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and when he leaves the VA he will most likely be going to live with her, because of marriage problems he is facing right now. I think this will be the perfect opportunity for him to continue to improve and to grow, and to strengthen his faith. We will just have to see where it goes!

We met one of our teenage investigators again this week. We have not seen her FOREVER, so re-establishing contact was amazing :) We set up a time to meet with her next week when she is not so busy, but she is excited to meet with us again! It was kind of fun though, we met her in the commons area in Tomah High School. I have not been in a high school for a long time!

We met with a less-active family this week as well. Two of their children have not been baptized, and they want to become more active, and to have their kids baptized in the near future. They are crazy busy though, but we will be persistent in meeting with them and hopefully getting them to church here soon. They could fill in a lot of gaps in the Sparta Branch!

I received the package from Grandma and Grandpa a few days ago, and it completely transformed a seemingly terrible day! The Ricola cough drops, and doTERRA supplies were very timely. You can only spend too much time with a sick companion before you become sick yourself. I am surely sick now, so these things will help a lot! The ties were great as well, when you wear a tie every single day, you tend to get quite bored with your current selection, so that was amazing :) Holy cow though, I now have SO much candy! I guess it is a good thing that we can't go trick-or-treating ;) I loved the kleenex as well, I'm definitely using Kleenex now! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

On Saturday we attended a really cool wedding reception for two members in the branch who got married! They had a ton of non-members at their wedding reception in the church, and they had a little overview about what their marriage was like in the temple, and the signs were all up from the open house in the branch, so people that wandered around learned a little bit about our religion. It was a really fun ordeal :) The bride’s brother flew in from Utah (attending BYU) for his sisters wedding, so it was fun to see him again, and talk about P-town and BYU.

It is starting to get FREAKING cold here, but hopefully it will not start snowing any time soon. I absolutely hate the cold, but it is a reality that I am starting to have to face. Things are going well though! Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement, and for all of your emails, pictures, and letters. I love hearing from you all! I love and miss you, and hope you are all doing well :) Talk to you soon!
(I don’t normally include his personal notes to me but this one is priceless! It proves that these amazing letters are coming from the Kyle we all know and love!!!)


Have you heard of the iPhone 5 C yet? I just saw an ad at Walmart, so we will have to see what the latest model is when I get home! Maybe they will have an iPhone 7 S or something. Gotta love technology! By the way, I saw in your email last week that you mentioned a Christmas list. I am far ahead of you, and already have one in the works, so no need to worry! I will have it completed in soon time so I can send it home to you. Thank you so much for all you do!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, October 14, 2013

God Has A Plan

October 14, 2013

Hello Everyone,

It has been another crazy week in Wisconsin, but things are going well! This week we were able to meet with a part-member family in Tomah. The wife is a member, and her husband is of a different faith. Because of their difference in religion, they decided that neither of them were going to attend their religion until they could agree on one. One day we were randomly making calls to those on the branch directory, and we came across her name. We called and set up an appointment to visit with her, and she became very excited for us to meet with them, and for us to teach her and her husband. On Wednesday we were able to teach them the restoration, and we watched the church produced restoration video with them. It was a really great lesson, she cried many times, and I could see that her husband was really internalizing what we were saying. He did not agree on a baptismal date, but they are open to having us visit them weekly. I am excited to see where things will go with their family!

We received a referral this week in the VA Hospital. We went to go contact the referral while we were in Tomah, and they would not let us in. We needed security clearance from his family to visit with him. Luckily, the referral was from his member daughter, so they left a voicemail with her, and told us to check back later. We eventually did receive clearance, and we will be able to contact him this next week! As we were exiting the building, we stopped to figure out where the heck I parked the car. Yes, my sense of direction is still absolutely awful, and the VA is designed in a SUPER confusing way! We were looking around, and we came across a newly baptized members, foster mom that we taught a few weeks ago. This was no coincidence that I lost the car, Heavenly Father must have not given me a sense of direction for a reason ;) We were able to catch up with her, and talk for a moment--it was great! This was all happening while we were on exchange with the South La Crosse Elders. As I talked with one of the Elders, I found out that he lives right near our home (within a few blocks). Crazy stuff! He just got here a week ago, and is training in South La Crosse. I was able to help him a little bit with his transition to the mission field, because I had a lot of those same adjustments.

We helped set up for a wedding reception the other day. Two families in the branch have children that are marrying each other. They took down the chapel completely, and changed it for the reception. It actually looks rather nice, I will have to take pictures. The branch here is so small that they do not have a cultural hall, so the chapel was designed in a way that it could be easily taken down for social events and what not. If the branch is ever expanded, than they will build out, and transform that room into an actual cultural hall.

These past two days my companion has been sick with something, so I have had a lot of down time. I have been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing in our apartment though which is a plus, and have been watching church movies and studying. Being sick here is a lot different than back home, because there is pretty much NOTHING to do. We don’t just watch TV, get on Facebook, or surf the internet. It is quite boring actually... Hopefully I will not catch anything, so we won't have to go through this whole thing again!

On Sunday we had Stake Conference. Because the Stake is so spread out, it was filmed in Rochester, Minnesota, and was broadcasted to several buildings in the Stake. We had to drive down to La Crosse to watch Stake Conference, as did our entire district! We had four sets of missionaries (North La Crosse Sisters, South La Crosse Elders, Sparta Elders, and Winona Elders) together for Stake Conference, it was kind of funny! Because it was about a half hour ride from Sparta to La Crosse though, we weren't able to get any investigators to church. Hopefully this next week will be better!

About a week ago, a family in the branch, lost their son. He was over at their home, and became incredibly drunk and they lost control of him. They had to call the police as a last resort. When the police arrived, he ran outside armed with knives from the house, and was shot and killed on their front lawn. The community is in an uproar right now. Police officers make mistakes, and overstep their bounds. Heavenly Father has a plan for us all, but that does not make it any easier. Their son had a very difficult life with drugs and alcoholism, and is free now from the addictions and pains of his life here on earth.

I realized the other day that tomorrow I will have been out on my mission for 5 months. Kind of nuts! Hopefully I will be able to experience a little more success, and be able to improve my missionary efforts as a whole. I am excited to see what the future has to hold! I love and miss you all, and hope you have an excellent week!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Week Of Good Bye's, Hello's & Feasting On The Words Of Christ

October 7, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been very unique. Because of transfers, on P-Day my companion had to pack up all of his things, and prepare for transfers on Wednesday. It was really difficult; because we were expecting and planning on a third transfer together. We had already made plans and everything for the week ahead of us. I was not ready to say goodbye. I absolutely loved serving with him. We went to a really great pizza place for dinner, and then began making our good bye rounds. It was hard going around saying goodbye, even though I am not even the one leaving.

On Tuesday we helped a family move out of their home, and then went to Tomah, Wisconsin and made our good bye rounds there. We were able to see a couple of people in the morning. We have not seen our teenage investigator in like a month, so this was a great opportunity for us to see her again and re-establish contact. We then met with a couple of families. One family took us out to dinner at Perkins, and had us over to their home later for ice cream. We went to another families home, and they surprised us with ice cream as well! We were going to be sick, but it was really touching how much the members care about missionaries. Our teenage investigator and her boyfriend were able to join us at one of the family’s homes as well, so it was a great evening! We finished off the night with one last family, and then returned to the apartment. My companion and I transferred his things into the car, and prepared for the day ahead of us. We signed each other’s testimony journals, and talked for a while. I am going to miss my companion.

On Wednesday we had transfers, so we woke up at 5:00 AM and got ready and drove to Rochester, Minnesota. We loaded up the transfer van, and said our final goodbyes. It was a rough morning, so I began drinking diet coke promptly at about 8:00 AM when we arrived in Rochester. There is a gas station called Kwik Trip here that has 44 oz. fountain drinks, so it is the closest thing I have to sonic right now ;) They apparently only have Sonic in the big cities in Minnesota. I then went with the zone leaders for the morning and took care of some missionary business. We had some maintenance work done on our car, and had our key fob reprogrammed. We cleaned out a missionary car for the new group coming in, and then we drove over to the church to meet everyone that was getting to Rochester. This is when I met my new companion. He is from Utah and has been out on his mission for 7 months. We then drove back to Sparta, Wisconsin, which was an adventure for sure! For those of you that know me well, you know that I have absolutely zero sense of direction. All of my former companions thus far have had a GPS though, so this has not been a problem. My new companion did not have a GPS however, so it was a journey for sure! Eventually we found our way, and we really didn't even get lost, we just took a very different route. We stopped in La Crosse for a late lunch/early dinner, and then made our way to Sparta. Phew! We moved all of my companions’ stuff into the apartment, and went to go teach our 10-year-old investigator the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson. We reset his baptismal date, and he is set for baptism on October 27th. Hopefully this time everything will work out!

On Friday we had weekly planning, which was interesting. It is always difficult to weekly plan when someone is new in an area, so pretty much I was on my own. It took forever, but eventually I did it. Hopefully this next week will work out nicely, and we will have an enjoyable and productive week! We then met with some families in the evening. It is different starting fresh, but with time things will work out. This is only my second time taking over an area, so we will have to see how it goes.
On Saturday and Sunday we had general conference, so missionary work wise there was not a whole lot accomplished. I really enjoyed conference though. This is the first time I have ever sat through the entire general conference though, so it was interesting. I felt like we needed big overstuffed recliners, but the fold out chairs at the church had to work. 10 hours is a long time to be sitting in those chairs, but the talks were really great! My favorite talks from conference were Jeffrey R. Holland's talk on Saturday Afternoon, Bonnie L. Oscarson's talk on Sunday Morning, Thomas S. Monson's talk on Sunday Morning, and Russell M. Nelson's talk on Sunday Evening. I had a lot of my questions answered, and was really strengthened by the messages that were shared this conference.
Things are going well here, and I am excited to see what this transfer has to bring. I love and miss you all, and hope you have an enjoyable week! Thank you so much for the prayers you have said on my behalf, and for all of your kind emails and letters. Your kind words are so helpful in motivating me, and encouraging me to do better! I am so very grateful for all of the amazing friends and family that I have. Have a great week!

Best Wishes,
Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, September 30, 2013

Receive No Witness Until After The Trial Of Your Faith

September 30, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been one of many highs and lows, but I made it through alive! I realized the other day the importance of being a leader, not a follower. When I get lazy and unmotivated sometimes, I tend to coast and just follow after others. We cannot coast, we must "keep moving forward" like Walt Disney once said. I was reading over my patriarchal blessing, and it talks about how I will lead others down paths of righteousness. I cannot do that by merely following others, it will not work.

I have been praying recently for an opportunity to meet and teach a family. The other day we were tracting during painfully unproductive hours 7-9:00 PM, and we stopped and prayed for guidance. As we prayed, we saw a family moving in to the home across the street from us. We went over and offered to help them move in, and they accepted! We weren't able to share a message with them that evening, but we offered to come back the next day to continue to help them move in, and we set up an appointment.

I went on a last minute exchange with an elder after district meeting on Wednesday. After we arrived in Sparta, we went out tracting on a predetermined street. It wasn't going very well, and we were approaching another street. I decided that we were going to keep tracting this street, and that we wouldn't go down the other street. As we got closer, I realized there was only one house on that street. Finally, for whatever reason, I got over myself, and we went and knocked on the door of the one house on the street. A teen answered and we were able to visit with him and teach him! I didn't realize at the time that I was being tested whether or not I was going to go down the street, but we did and we were blessed! Later we were able to visit with the family that we helped move the night before, and we continued to help them move in. After we were done moving, we shared a quick message with them. It was great! Hopefully they will begin to show interest in our religion, but if not, maybe their hearts will be open sometime in the future because of our work with them.

We have been able to do a lot of service this week. We set up a hospital bed in a members home, mowed a lawn of a disabled member, and pulled weeds in our apartment complex for a potential investigator. Even though we often aren't able to teach during these service opportunities, we are able to help make a difference in others lives. When we were pulling weeds with the potential investigator, we were led eventually to a really great discussion about God and religion. It helped too that at the time, a different religious group were out tracting our apartment complex ;) Afterwards she fed us, and gave us Diet Coke. SO GOOD! Hopefully we will be able to continue to visit with and teach her.

This week our 10-year-old baptismal candidate and his father cancelled their appointment again. We are still holding out for October 20th, but we will have to wait and see. We did however get the opportunity to visit with our spanish speaking investigator. We have been trying to get in contact with her for a while now, with no success, so this was a great moment! We had a very quick visit, but we were able to reestablish contact.

Today we received our transfer emails, and my companion and I will no longer be serving together in Sparta, Wisconsin. I will be staying here in Sparta. I am very saddened, but I knew that it was going to happen eventually. I am sure that things will work out great with my new companion but I am scared out of my mind! Change and starting over is always scary and stressful. I know that this is what needs to happen though, for whatever reason.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. I love hearing from all of you, and what is going on back home! I hope you are all doing well, and that this will be a great week for us all. Talk to you next week, I love and miss you all!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, September 23, 2013

Being In the World...But Not Of The World

September 23, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This has been an interesting week to say the least. To start, we had a district P-Day last Monday. We met in Onalaska, Wisconsin and played basketball, Frisbee, ate at B.A. Burrito, and the Elders in Winona, Minnesota brought Bacon Maple Bars from Bloedows, a doughnut shop. It was pretty crazy! That evening, we were able to teach a couple, and we talked about the importance of prayer. In all the prayers we have heard the man give, he thanks God for the things he has, but never asks any questions. We talked about asking questions, and having meaningful prayers. Not that being grateful is a bad thing ;) It was a really great lesson, and we are going back to visit them tonight!

On Thursday, we were planning on visiting a recent convert, and she informed us that her foster mom was coming over to help her clean. We asked if we could bring a member and help them, and she accepted. We have this thing called the rule of three, where we need three members of the same gender to be present in order to go inside the home of someone of the opposite gender. A younger member in the branch offered to come help us out! We organized a little bit and got to know the recent converts foster mom a little bit better. At the end of our cleaning trip, we were able to sit down with the foster mom, and teach her the restoration. It was great! She is very interested in religion, and knows a lot of history about the Bible, a lot about Hebrew and the Jewish religion, and she even knew quite a bit about our religion. Everything we taught her made sense, and she connected it with what she already knew. At the end of the lesson though, she told the recent convert that she would not come to church until the recent convert got her HSED (High School Equivalent Diploma I believe). They made a goal to complete it before the winter solstice, but we are hoping that her foster mom will come to know that it is true, and come to church anyways. We will see!

On Friday, our day was all over the place! We had a full schedule, and during our studies in the morning we received a call from the Sisters in La Crosse. An investigator is going to be baptized, but he would only agree on one date, September 29th. In order for that to work out, he had to be interviewed that same day. We scrapped our schedule, and drove to La Crosse. It was cool seeing the difference in this investigator from when I was able to teach him, and where he is at now! After the interview, we did a few stop bys in the area. I was able to visit with one of the great families again! We talked about family home evening, and how they can come closer together as a family. The man has applied for his green card now, so he is just waiting for it to come in. Waiting games are the best ;)

This week we were able to do a little bit of service for a local family. Their garage was cluttered, so we helped them move everything out, throw a bunch of stuff away, and then put it back in the garage in an organized fashion. I absolutely hate creepy crawlies... spiders especially, but it worked out! Their garage is unfinished, so there is no floor. It was just dirt and rocks. They plan to lay concrete down before the winter though, so things will get better in their garage :)

On Sunday a family in the branch gave really great talks on living in the world, but not of the world. I struggle with this concept. I absolutely love the world sometimes, but there is never enough money to entertain that passion. This talk was really helpful for me. I learned about how I can tame this passion, and become a better person in the process. No one is completely free of the world, which was comforting as well. I just want it all sometimes, and I want it right then. Something to work on I guess! On Sunday we also found out that the Utes won! It was definitely a highlight of church haha ;)

Thank you all so much for your love and support! This week has had its fair share of highs and lows, but your prayers and kind words of encouragement help me to get through those not so great times. I love and miss you all, and wish you all the very best! Thank you for your kindness, prayers, and letters. Talk to you soon!


Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, September 16, 2013

Be Patient...Stay Faithful!

September 16, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been one of many interesting experiences! On Monday, we had the opportunity to teach a couple about baptism and prayer. The man is starting to understand that it is going to actually require effort on his part aside from meeting with us to figure out if the church is true. It was a really great meeting, and we started to make some headway!

On Tuesday, after District Meeting, my companion and I went contacting downtown Sparta and pretty much no one was outside! People around here go to work, then go inside their homes and watch TV. Despite this trend, we were able to meet one person downtown. The senior missionaries that used to be in Sparta taught him while they were here. He was on his way to work, but we got his phone number and address, and we will hopefully be able to continue teaching him! We have stopped by his house many times, but have not quite caught him there yet, but we will keep trying.

On Wednesday, we taught a woman who is in her twenties, and works at Taco Bell. She has a girl in second grade that lives in Chicago with her father, and she was pregnant (with her current boyfriend) with another girl a few months ago, and miscarried for no apparent reason. She has faced a lot of challenges in her life, and knows a few LDS people, one of which attended the Sparta Branch before he died. We taught her the restoration, and she showed a lot of interest! She is really amazing, and I hope she continues to meet with us and to express interest in our religion.

We also taught a former investigator. She has been taught for years, and goes through peaks of interest. We brought chalk and drew out our lesson for her and her kids, and it went really well! She agreed to come to church on Sunday, and she lives right in back of the church, so it would be perfect. Unfortunately when we went to their home on Sunday morning, no one answered the door. We will just have to try again next week.

On Thursday we had a really cool experience in Tomah, Wisconsin. We got a referral forever ago that we have not been able to contact in Tomah. It only provided his address, but no phone number. On Thursday we decided to go stop by, and he was home! He was outside putting sealer on their destroyed driveway. It had cracks everywhere, so this was a huge job for him! He wouldn't let us help him, but he allowed us to talk and teach him as he sealed the driveway. We had a really great lesson, and at the end (after he agreed to be baptized) we invited him to come to church with us on Sunday. He informed us that he was moving to El Paso, Texas on Sunday so that wouldn't work, but that he enjoyed meeting with us. His fiancee in Arizona that referred him is meeting with the missionaries, so hopefully the missionaries in Texas will be able to continue teaching him!

We also got to see another male investigator on Thursday. The family from the Sparta branch invited us over for dinner and our investigator wanted to come as well! He is really good friends with them so everything worked out perfectly :) We ate dinner at Cancun Bay (a Mexican restaurant) and then did a service project at the members house afterwards. We realized that becoming friends with our investigator is the most productive way of teaching him, rather than having regular rote lessons. He is showing amazing potential though :) We are officially undropped!

On Friday we met with our ten year old investigator and his father, and talked about his new baptismal date. They are not particularly active, and did not come to church last Sunday, so he was not baptized on September 15th. We discussed different dates, and hopefully he will be getting baptized on September 29th. October 5th is conference, and October 13th is stake conference, so pray for the 29th!

On Saturday, nothing was really working out. None of our appointments were home, and things just weren't going well. At 8:00 PM, my companion prayed that we would be able to experience a miracle, and that we would know who to stop by. We thought of three people to go visit. First, we went by a less-active members home, but he was not home. Then we stopped by another investigators home, but she wasn't home either. We were kind of frustrated, but I had thought of one more person to go visit, a part member family in the branch. We stopped by, and they were home! We were able to talk to them and set up a service opportunity for this week :) God likes to try our patience sometimes, but when we endure, everything works out perfectly.

It has been another great week, and I have learned quite a few lessons. Most importantly though was to be patient, and to stay faithful (something that I struggle with). Thank you all so much for all of your love and support! I love reading all of your letters, and getting pictures of you in the mail :) Missionaries lives revolve around mail haha, it's kind of funny! I love and miss you all, and hope you have a great week :)

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Prayer Was Answered

September 9, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been crazy! We started off the week with a two day exchange in Winona, Minnesota. On Monday I was on exchange with an elder from Santequin, Utah (graduated from Payson High School). During our exchange, I found out that we know some of the same people! There were a few people from Provo High School that moved to Payson High School, and I knew people that did FCCLA at Payson High School. Kind of cool :) Then on Tuesday, I went on another exchange. We taught a man about the church, and he taught us about the rapture. Interesting concept!

We were able to teach a couple this week about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The man was actually showing some progression this week, so we were very excited! We had a really great lesson, and he showed a lot more interest than he normally does. Progress is always promising!

During companionship inventory this week, my companion and I had a long talk about conversion. I came to the conclusion that sometimes the fact that I am an extreme perfectionist, I rely entirely on myself, and don't always allow others to help me. No wonder I sometimes have a difficult time opening up to other people! I realized that I need to rely more on others, and I especially need to put my trust in God, rather than myself. I have a lot of work to do, but I am excited to see what changes might come because of it. That night I spent a lot of time just thinking about everything, and why I am not able to forgive myself, and why I demand perfection from myself 24/7, and I ended up staying up until 3:30 AM. I prayed constantly, and asked for help and for guidance (and to be able to go to sleep...) Finally I kind of gave up, and then I was able to fall asleep, but with no real answers.

The next day we had Zone Training. My companion and I had to wake up at 5:00 AM to be ready and on the road so that we would be on time to the Zone Training in Rochester, Minnesota. It was a rough morning! We arrived a few minutes early, so we had a little time to study before the training began. I was exhausted and had no clue what to study, but I did anyways. I flipped through Preach My Gospel, and ended up looking at some of the pictures in Chapter 4, on recognizing the spirit. As I dazed off for a while, all of the sudden it hit me. I felt the spirit SO strongly, and I received an answer to the prayers I had offered the night before! I also realized that I cloud my mind with thoughts all the time, and the demands of being perfect, so the Spirit has no way of really impressing me. I have not allowed myself to feel the Spirit. It was a great moment! Then following, we had a Zone Training on conversion and goal setting / go-getting. It was just what I needed! President and Sister Clements are amazing, and I always learn so much from their trainings. One thing in particular that stood out to me was that "Life is like an obstacle course, with special challenges and trials that help us to change. Suffering alone will not change anything. Happiness and change come as we develop the attributes of Christ, and apply them. True conversion brings happiness." - President Clements.

After Zone Training I went on an exchange. We had the opportunity to teach a ten year old boy about the Plan of Salvation. This boy is ridiculously intelligent, and his father who is a member has taught him incredibly well. He is just about set to be baptized on September 15th, so we are crossing our fingers :)

We received two referrals this week, which was amazing, because we never get referrals! One of them was quite interesting though! We went to go meet with him, and he tried to enlighten our minds as we met with him. We learned that the extra pages in the back of the scriptures, bible included, are for rolling your own weed. Yep, he was nuts! He also used the "f-word" every couple of seconds. We realized that at the present moment he was not entirely ready to convert, but that we would try back another time and see what can come out of it. The other referral was a God send! It was from a man in the Madison, Wisconsin mission area who referred his insurance agent in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. He told us a lot about the referral, and that we learned that the man we were talking to was the father of the woman that recorded "the missionary next door"! We have been listening to her audio CD a lot lately, and have been SO inspired by it. This man is remarkable, and we are fortunate enough to get a referral from him! It was a really cool experience :)

My companion and I have grown really close this week in the little time that we have had together in our area. We have talked a lot about self-improvement and our goals, and we even shared a little bit of our patriarchal blessings with each other. He honestly is the best, and I don't know what exactly I am going to do when one of us is transferred. I guess all I can do right now is enjoy it while it lasts!

I have learned a lot of really great lessons this week, and I am excited to see what I will be able to accomplish in the weeks to come. Thank you all for all of your love and support! I couldn't do it without you :) I love and miss you all!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews