November 4, 2013
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!
Elder Kyle William Andrews