Monday, August 26, 2013

A day in the life ....

August 26, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been extremely busy, but has been one to remember! My companion and I have had a lot of really great conversations about conversion, and we were able to study Alma 5 together. He told me that he likes to go through and ask himself all of the questions that are being asked in that chapter. After reading it I realized a lot of things that I need to improve about myself, which I guess is always a good thing to be looking for.

A few days ago, we taught a man on the street in Sparta. He was drunk but was still able to talk to us. He listed off five or six different types of alcohol he had drunk earlier that day, and said that it had been a good day. That was taking it easy for him! We taught him about the restoration, and had an oddly powerful lesson with him. Not too often can you have a powerful lesson with a drunk person, especially on the street. It showed me that God has prepared a way for everyone to hear and receive the message that we have to share. He opened up and shared a lot of his life challenges with us, one being his youngest son passing away. We talked to him about the Plan of Salvation, and he began to show a lot of interest. Hopefully he will be able to sober up a little bit in the future, so that he will be even more responsive.

The woman that called and asked if she could come to church dropped us a few weeks ago, which is why there have not been any more updates. She went to her church the following week, and texted us informing us that she was going to return to her church and that she didn't want us meeting with her anymore. We will have to try back with her later. Also, one of our teenage investigators dropped us. Our two teenage investigators broke up, and the one apparently was never really interested. Luckily, we will still be able to teach the other one (the girl), and maybe the boy will come around sometime in the future! Our entire zone has been facing a "dropped investigator" epidemic, yikes!

Today for P-Day, we spent the day with a recent return missionary. He took us to the "Amish Walmart" out in the middle of nowhere! It was kind of fun to see how different things are in Amish towns, and how people live without electricity. I know the pioneers were very strong people, but I would never desire to live like they did! Nope :) Amish people have the option of using modern day technology, and choose not to! It was fun spending the day with a returned missionary though, he is leaving tomorrow to go to Provo, Utah to attend Brigham Young University. Unfortunately, this means we are losing our joint teacher and main help in the branch!

Now that I have finished the training program, I decided to order new nametags. When I get my new tags, I will be sending my tag home, complete with my dork dot from the MTC which is on the back. That way, it won't break like a lot of other missionaries tags.

I hope you are all doing well, and are enjoying the week! It has been INSANELY hot and humid here recently, so we are excited for the cooler fall weather to come. Thank you all for your love and support, and for your emails and letters :) I really appreciate everything you do!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another great week...

August 19, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been busy as usual, but there have been a few things in particular that have stood out. For starters, I broke a MAJOR rule that I set for myself. My companion and I spend a lot of time talking so last Monday when we were running out of time, I realized that I never got my hair cut! My companion told me that he cuts his own hair, and that he could cut mine if I would like. Yikes! I kindly refused, but soon realized that there was not enough time left on P-Day to get my hair cut. Practically shaking, I told him that I would let him cut my hair. Seriously this was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life! My hair means a lot to me, and I cannot stand bad haircuts. I put a lot of trust in my companion’s hands, but he did a great job! Our hair is very similar, which is the ONLY reason I agreed to let him do my hair. It was for sure a trust building exercise in our companionship, but everything worked out in the end :) Phew!

On Tuesday, my companion had to conduct a baptismal interview in Viroqua, Wisconsin where the Sister Missionaries in our district are working. I swear every time we visit a new area, I find somewhere smaller and more rural. The Viroqua branch is in a remodeled dentists office, so it is absolutely tiny. The only thing they are missing is a baptismal font! What do you do if you are having an investigator baptized, and you do not have a baptismal font? RIVER BAPTISM! I thought this only happened in foreign countries, but it is going to happen here in Wisconsin in a few weeks. Crazy! We are trying to get a few of our investigators to attend the baptism, so we can go and see it all go down.

Aside from that, this week has been fairly typical. We taught a couple on Thursday, which was quite an experience! We taught the Law of Chastity, and the man of the house told us that people get married, and later divorced. He said that he didn't want to get divorced and have his wife take all of his money, so he just isn't going to get married until he is absolutely certain! The woman of the house (who is extremely quiet during our lessons mind you) went off, shouting about how all he ever talks about is divorce, and that she came to live with him to get married. It was... interesting to say the least! We smoothed things over, but we realized that for future lessons with a marriage focus, it would be best to have an actual married couple with us. Not that our marriage advice isn't fantastic ;)

I have been SUPER tired this week. I thought that with our daily schedule, and waking up at 6:30 AM every morning would make going to sleep at 10:30 PM a lot easier. That is not the case. I should have known that my body doesn't go to bed before 12:00 AM, just like when I was in high school! I make things work though, it just involves a lot of Diet Coke and Zip Fizz haha :) My companion and I are Diet Coke drinking buddies, but he hasn't acquired a taste for Zip Fizz. Baby steps ;)

The mosquitoes are in full force! When people say that mosquitoes are the Minnesota state bird, they aren't kidding :p Yesterday I got five new mosquito bites, not cool! Hopefully they will start to die out sometime soon. The worst is when they bite through your socks, and you get a mosquito bite on your ankle! I currently have got two of those babies.

All in all, it has been a fantastic week, and we got our transfer calls today, and I will be staying in Sparta, Wisconsin with my companion! I wasn't sure how things were going to work out, but I knew everything would be fine. I prayed anyways that I would stay with my current companion, and it looks like God agreed with me this time ;) We will see how everything works out in the transfers to come, but as for right now I am happy!

I hope everything is going well back home, and that you all have a great week. I love and miss you all, but I know that I am doing an important work here in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission :) Thank you all for your love and support.

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

He wants YOUR picture -- please send it to him:)

August 13, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has flown by, but has been one to remember! Lots of great things are happening here in the MMM. To start, I have been able to use my Francais a lot lately. We are teaching a man who lives with his member girlfriend. She is from the Ivory Coast in Africa, and speaks French and very little English. My companion and I both took French in high school, but neither of us are particularly talented with our French speaking. Luckily the non-member boyfriend speaks English. They have a very interesting relationship though, because he does not speak ANY French. I am certainly baffled about how they communicate, but I guess love comes in all different forms.

This week we were able to teach two teenage investigators. One of them struggles with the heavy weight of the pains and sorrows that she has experienced in her life. She spends a lot of time crying, and dwelling on the negative and sad aspects of her life, and is unable to find true happiness. My companion and I have both experienced quite a bit of sadness in our lives, and we were able to really relate to her. We had the most incredible lesson, and the spirit was SO strong. My companion and I kept ourselves composed as we taught the lesson, but we were on the verge of tears the entire time. Our investigator said that she had a new found hope, and that she was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel before we left. When we got in the car, neither of us said a word for about five minutes. It felt SO good! It is people like this investigator that I came on my mission to help, I know it.

On Wednesday we had a Zone Conference in Rochester, Minnesota. President and Sister Clements gave great trainings on how we can become better and more effective missionaries. Sister Clements gave us all an MMM Primary Children's Song Book that she created, so now we occasionally sing primary songs in the mornings. The point of her training was that "Everything I Need To Know... I Learned In Primary". Primary songs state the gospel so powerfully and prolifically, and they are so simple and understandable at the same time. It's like the church knew what they were doing ;) Afterwards we had our zone activity. Due to our mileage limitations, the spam factory tour in Austin, Wisconsin was cancelled, so we watched Remember The Titans, and had a barbecue. It was fun to relax and get to know the missionaries in our zone a lot better!

On Thursday I went on exchange with an elder from Moscow, Idaho. He is eventually going to be serving in Brazil, but he is waiting on his Visa. He entered the MTC a week after I did, and is really a great missionary! He has a lot of faith, and is a very hard worker. I was really able to relate to him, and I loved being able to spend the day with him in Sparta. After a few weeks in this new area, I did not get lost when I was on my own in Sparta! I only had to use the GPS a few times, so I was pretty proud of myself.

A while ago we tracted across a woman. She is very busy, and we weren't able to teach her, but we gave her a Book of Mormon. On Saturday, she called us and said that she was reading, and that she looked up and began reading the D&C to learn more about where the Book of Mormon came from. She then asked us if she could come to church on Sunday! This kind of stuff does NOT happen. We are usually the persistent ones that have to practically beg people to read and to come to church! After church we were able to finally teach her for the first time, and we had an amazing lesson. She is incredible, and I am sure that she has a future with our church.

My companion and I have focused on our companionship unity this week! I was reminded of an activity that we did as State Officers in FCCLA, that Nikki-Sue Larkin came up with. It is called a conversation jar. It is a jar full of conversational questions, and it really helps to spark up fun and unique conversations when there is a lull. We thought it would be perfect for all of our many car trips, so I am excited to see where this idea takes us! (Mom, can you send me a list of possible conversational questions next week. I'm sure the internet has a ton!) I love working with my companion, and have been able to get to know him really well these past few weeks. I hope that we will be able to serve together next transfer, but I don't want to get my hopes up. You never know!

On Sunday, our investigator who was baptized last week was confirmed a member of the church. Oddly enough, she asked me to confirm her! I was a bit shaken in my boots, because I have only known her for a few weeks now, and I have never confirmed anyone in my life. I had to study up quickly on what the heck I was going to say, but it all worked out! That same Sunday I was also asked to give a talk on "The Power of the Book of Mormon." I love speaking in public, but I miss presenting speeches in front of thousands of people – like when I ran for National Office in FCCLA. I guess this is the next best thing. A member here (who used to live in Provo, Utah and knows one of my friends) informed me that my Hollister Cologne was too seductive for a missionary to be wearing. He is hilarious! I love cologne, and I will never change!

As my companion and I have been talking about friends and family back home, he has opened his flip book with pictures and such that he has accumulated. I on the other hand, have pretend friends, because I don't have any pictures to show of anyone ;) This week you should all (whoever is reading this) send me a picture of yourself, so I can have some photographic evidence that I actually know people back home! Thanks!

Well, it has been another crazy, but exciting week in Sparta, Wisconsin! I hope you are all doing well. Because our time on computers is limited in this area, I ask that for the time being you all write me letters rather than emails (I know :p) until I am able to have more time on the computers. I love and miss you all, talk to you soon!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Baptism!

August 5, 2013

Hello Everyone,

This week has been absolute madness, but all is well! On Monday I was in Rochester, Minnesota and went on exchange with one of our zone leaders. We had a really great time together, and had the opportunity to a Somalian man from the Noobian tribe (not sure how to spell that.) It was amazing being able to teach him, and to get to know more about him and his family. They are so very accepting to the gospel, something that Americans are not always the best at. They were incredibly humble, and prepared by the Lord. Apparently the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission (MMM) is one of the most diverse missions, but I haven't been able to serve in any of those areas just yet. La Crosse and Sparta are mainly made up of Caucasians (yep... trying not to sound like a racist here haha!)

The next day my companion and all of the missionaries with leadership positions went to Mission Leadership Conference in Oakdale, Minnesota. They were able to go to the temple with President and Sister Clements! Maybe one day I will be able to do the same. As for me, I went on exchange with an elder. His companion is a district leader as well. We spent the day in Rochester, Minnesota. It was an interesting experience. I had a great time on exchange. Afterwards, we spent the night with the zone leaders, and drove back to Sparta in the morning.

On Thursday I went on exchange with an elder from Utah after district meeting. We had some really cool experiences tracting oddly enough! We went to Riverside Park in South La Crosse, and met a man. He was sitting on a bench by himself, so we asked if we could come sit by him. We talked for a bit, and he completely opened up to us, and talked about his past. He told us that he isn't a social person at all, but for whatever reason felt like he needed to share this with us. We talked to him about how the gospel blesses individuals and families and taught him the restoration. It was a really cool experience! Maybe one day he might even get baptized ;) We also met a girl with bright blue colored hair. She said that she had seen the Book of Mormon Musical in NYC, and that she had always wanted to meet missionaries! We gave her the actual Book of Mormon, and talked to her for a while. It just goes to show that some not so good publicity can turn out to be good publicity! After the exchange, my companion and I went back to Sparta, Wisconsin. We then got a call from South La Crosse informing us that we had their keys, and they had my suitcase. Some things will never change ;) At least I have never locked the keys in our car though!

The other day we did service for a disabled woman in the branch. During a wind storm, her tree was blown apart, and a big portion broke off and fell to the ground. We borrowed some tools, and helped her out. I have never used an axe or a hatchet in my life, so this was an experience for sure! I was terrible at chopping the tree, so eventually I was on saw duty haha! Pretty much our hands are destroyed, but we got everything taken care of. Our blisters will be a reminder throughout the week to give service to others!

Yesterday, Fast Sunday was pretty remarkable! Our investigator was baptized after church, and everything worked out really well. I almost said it worked out perfectly, but there were a few funny moments to remember ;) First of all, in order to have a baptism, you must fill up the baptismal font with water. Yep, we forgot! It filled up right in time though, and the baptism wasn't postponed. Also, the plumbing in the building is made of copper. You must run the water for a few minutes before filling up the baptismal font, otherwise the water will be green. Yep, we had a green baptism! All in all, it was amazing though, definitely a day to remember! Our investigator even made brownies, which was kind of funny as well. We might need to cover the law of the fast lesson with her again in the future ;) Next week in church she will be confirmed, and will officially become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

My companion and I have had some really great experiences this week! We had a companionship inventory session, where we just talked about ourselves and our lives, and how we got to where we are today. It was awesome, and we became a lot closer because of it. My companion is like my best friend, it is the best! I hope that all of my companionships are able to be this close. We work long and hard together, and have a great time together doing it. He is the best!

Because we are not close enough to the cities in Minnesota, next week we have our own zone activity planned instead of going to a Minnesota Twins game with the mission! You might not have known, but in Austin, Minnesota there is a Spam Factory. Sick! For our zone activity, we will be touring the factory and doing other fun things together as the Rochester zone!

This week has been amazing though, and has flown by SO quickly! I can't believe that we are already on week 4/6 in this transfer. Hopefully I will be able to stay in Sparta, Wisconsin with my companion this next transfer, but we will have to just wait and see. I love and miss you all, and hope you have a great week!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews