This past week has been one of new experiences, and has taught me a lot of new unexpected lessons. On Wednesday, we flew out to Minnesota and were met at the airport by President and Sister Clements. They are so great! They both have such great big hearts, and want to help us to the best of their ability to make this mission the best it can possibly be :) And well, Minnesota is a lot different than I was expecting. The pictures that I googled looked very similar to New York City. It is definitely different! It is full of trees, and is quite flat. There are lakes everywhere, and there are seriously like hardly any big buildings.
As soon as we all collected our bags, we loaded up on vans and drove to the mission home in Bloomington, Minnesota. Our group that flew out was the best! 25 of us flew out to Minnesota, and I was the travel leader so it was so cool getting to know everyone from the MTC that was going to our same mission. Only three other people from my district are in this mission, so it was exciting to meet so many other people.
At the mission home we met a lot of the senior missionaries, and the mission AP's. They were all so kind and welcoming, you couldn't help but feel loved. It was very different, and extremely nerve racking, but we knew we were in good company.
The weather out here reminds me a lot of Utah. When we arrived, it was quite hot and humid. I absolutely LOVED it! About an hour later, it was freezing cold and raining. I guess I will need to invest in a good rain jacket soon.
At the very end of the day, we had a big joint meeting with the trainers who had just arrived, and all of the incoming missionaries. We then received our assignments. I am currently serving in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It is a car area, and the day we arrived, this area got a new car! We drive a 2013 Toyota Corolla.
My companion really is very nice. He loves being a missionary, and he has a great testimony of the gospel. He is from Arizona, and this is his last transfer, so he will be going home in 6-weeks.
Our apartment is... different. I knew adjusting would be hard, coming from Alpine Village (my college apartment) and from living at home for the last two-weeks before I left. We have a walk in closet, a room for study, a living room, a kitchen, a storage closet, and a bathroom. It is quite outdated, but fairly well kept. I just take things day by day. I organize and clean as I go, and as things are... disrupted... I fix them :)
On our first night, we weren't able to drive all the way to Wisconsin (about a 3 hour drive from Bloomington), so we stayed with our Zone Leaders in Rochester, Minnesota. They are so great! They have so many funny stories to tell, and they even gave me a special gift. Since this is my first transfer, I am officially a "greenie". As a result, they made me a green planner! Pretty cool :)
A couple of days ago, while tracting, we met this older Catholic woman. Her husband cheated on her, and has since then moved out, and she recently lost her driving privileges. Her neighbour told us that she had dementia, and as we talked to her she repeated things she had said multiple times, and went back to the fact that her neighbours big tree had been shedding leaves all over her driveway. We talked to her for a bit, and then helped her to rake and sweep the leaves and throw them away. She was the sweetest elderly lady, and afterwards, she gave us both a can of DIET COKE! I seriously have been having withdrawals, so I almost felt like crying when she brought them out. At this point, I had not had Diet Coke since our plane ride to Minnesota. Luckily now that it is our P-Day, I have stocked up, and will be fine now. Unfortunately, she had no interest in our message, but it was great talking with her and getting to know her.
This mission has been rather difficult, but I am still headstrong. We are constantly sworn at, and get doors slammed in our face. There are some of the kindest and rudest people I have ever met in my life here. I know one day it will be worth it. It just takes a lot of patience, which I am still trying to develop.
To finish, I want to share a poem that was given to us in the MTC by one of the Sisters in our district.
Is It Worth It?
"Is it worth it," I said as I reached our place,
"To get the door slammed in our face?"
"Is it worth it," I said with a heavy sigh,
"To wear this stupid shirt and tie?"
"It is worth it," I said, "When it's fourty below
To walk for miles in a foot of snow?"
I wonder what my friends would say
If I were to GO HOME today.
It's not what your friends would say,
But what the Lord would have you do today.
What if the Savior would have said,
"I think I'll give up before I'm dead.
Is it worth it Father, to do this thing
For a bunch of people I've never seen;
To sweat blood from every pore,
So man may live forever more?"
It's funny that I'm not struck down.
My trials aren't that bad at all.
Compared to Christ's, they're kind of small.
So if you're feeling kind of sore,
Because somebody slammed the door,
Try sweating blood from every pore
For people you've never seen before!
Thank you all so much for you support. I love you all and miss you so very much! I love getting all of your emails and letters, they keep me going :)
Elder Kyle William Andrews