This week has been both challenging, and rewarding. I am constantly reminded about how difficult missionary work is, but the rewards we receive from this devotion. The more you learn and improve as a missionary, and as a child of God, the more you realize you have more to work on. It's kind of a frustrating process if you think about it, we can never be truly perfect like Jesus.
This week I only went on one exchange, with an elder. He was really nice and encouraging, and I really enjoyed working with him! I love going on exchanges and meeting other missionaries in our area. I learn so many incredible lessons from them, I just wish we could do it more often!
We found out this week that President Monson and President Packer are speaking to us on Sunday, June 23rd, and that they will be making some big missionary announcements. I wish I could have been in the MTC to see President Monson, but a broadcast will be cool too! I will have to update you all on what happens :)
Our Mission Conference with Elder Holland, Elder Callister, Elder Dube, and Bishop Stevenson was amazing! Elder Holland was my favorite. He talked about the importance of missionary work, and never going inactive when you return home from your mission. His words were so inspired, and I learned SO much from him! At the end of his speech, he said to "always be true". That really stuck with me! Afterwards, he announced that he was changing the closing song to Hymn #165 "Abide With Me; 'Tis Eventide". We were all kind of stunned, but proceeded to sing. While we were singing, I felt the spirit surround me, and I felt not only God's love for me, but also Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Prior's love for me. This feeling was overwhelming, and reminded me that we sang this song during Great Grandpa Prior's funeral service. Elder Holland was inspired to change the closing hymn, and I swear he did it just for me. This experience was truly incredible.
Currently we are working with about three different investigators. An african-american woman who has a child, but split up with his father. She still lives with his father, but is moving towards finding a new place. She is very accepting of our teachings, but hasn't felt inclined to go to church or to be baptized. We are also teaching an african-american man. His wife is a member of the church, but he is staying true to his beliefs. He recently quit chewing tobacco, and we have been working with him on the Word of Wisdom. He is waiting for the answers to his prayers, but I think he knows that he wants to be baptized. We are also teaching a Hmong gentleman, but he speaks English. His wife is a member of the church, and he has been attending church for a while. They are waiting for him to get his green card so they can get a marriage certificate and be baptized. They had a Hmong wedding ceremony, but never got a marriage license, so he cannot be baptized yet. He lost his green card at a gas station, so we are just waiting for him to get a replacement. Money is tight in their family, so it is taking a little longer than expected.
We are also working with a new member of the church. He was baptized about a week before I came into the mission. We are teaching him and his children about the gospel and how it strengthens families. I know that my purpose in serving a mission was for family. In fact, the second FCCLA purpose is "to strengthen the function of the family as a basic unit of society." What better way to do this, than through the gospel.
We are still tracting all the time, but I have been working on planning lessons with members of the church to break up our tracting time ever so slightly.
My companion is finished his missionary service in about three weeks, and then I will have a new companion.
Thank you all for your love and support. I love and miss you all, and can't wait to see you again in two years!
Elder Kyle William Andrews