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