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