Monday, December 23, 2013
It has been a very interesting week to say the least. To start, my companion is now home in Finland. Because he left on Tuesday, I went on exchange with an Elder in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, because his companion was going home as well. We had a very unique experience while we were on exchange. Not many of their plans worked out during the day, so we ended up shoveling snow for people in their area. First we began with a member, and then their neighbors. We were able to talk briefly with one of their neighbors - who just got out of jail for drug dealing and was going to get involved with something called "teen challenge". Not really sure what that is, but I think its good :) He said that his daughter was looking for a new church, and that he might be interested as well. He was in a hurry, but we set up a return appointment to visit with them. He was SO grateful for the service we provided him, it was great to see that our service was actually helping someone. Then out of the blue this cute old lady came over and gave us some cookies that she had just baked. We thanked her, and then shoveled her driveway as well :) She was so kind to go out of her way to give strangers in her neighborhood cookies that she had baked. Then after a great day, we were getting ready for bed. The Elder handed me a package of ear plugs, and said "you are going to need these!" I didn't quite know what to say, but I came to figure out that he snores SO loud. His companions have all worn ear plugs because they cannot sleep because of his snoring. Interesting ending to our exchange!
Transfers were on Wednesday! My new companion, is from West Valley, Utah. To start of the Christmas season right, we got a new 2014 Ford Fusion!!! Our old car was at like 54,000 miles, and the church usually rotates cars at 50,000 miles, so I wasn't sure when it was going to happen. MERRY CHRISTMAS :) Also at transfers, I saw my favorite companion in the whole entire world! It was great :) It seriously made my day! Friends for life :) Okay, I am rambling, but you get the point!
After transfers, we went up to Big Lake, Minnesota to visit with three part-member families. While we were visiting with the first family, we taught the Word of Wisdom. The mom shared with us that she had tried to stop smoking before, but that she gets really angry and hard to live with, and that she doesn't want to put her family through all of that again. She did, however, share with us that she had been praying that she would be able to overcome her smoking addiction. Hopefully we will be able to be the answer to her prayers! The Addiction Recovery Program that the church has put together, modeled after the AA program, is really great :) I have read through it a few times on my mission, and I highly recommend that EVERYONE reads it at some time in their life! It has such a great overall theme relating to the atonement of Jesus Christ, and it really is an incredible handbook. Hopefully this mom will be able to get some great usage out of it :)
On Saturday, I had either food poisoning or the stomach flu. Whatever it was, it was NOT fun. On Friday night my stomach hurt really bad, but I thought I would just sleep it off. Saturday morning it hurt even worse, and before I could even get in the shower and get ready for the day, I began to throw up. NASTY! Sister Bremner, the MMM medical director told me that I had to stay in and rest all day, and then she said was one of the most prophetic things in the world, "drink lots of Coke!" That was the ONLY good thing that came out of this illness, and excuse to drink Diet Coke :) We had to buy a couple of things that she sent us out for, and on the way back I got a Route 44 Diet Coke w/ Easy Ice at Sonic just to make sure that I wasn't skipping any steps that she gave me ;) While I was sick, I was able to watch a lot of the church movies that we have in the apartment. One of them was "The Prodigal Son." It's a really great movie, although it is rather dated. I realized as I was watching it though, that at times I am like the prodigal son's brother. I haven't made any huge mistakes in my life, but I have been judgmental of others, and jealous, and even bitter at times. Whatever it is, it is not good. I hope to be able to improve those aspects of myself, and become a more kind and forgiving person. I was kind of all over the place on Saturday, but one time when I was feeling down, the doorbell rang! My Christmas packages arrived early :) I haven't opened them yet, as I promised, but it made my day!
Sunday was great! I wasn't actually supposed to go to Church or do anything on Sunday, but I kind of had a case of cabin fever. I was sick of being sick, and wanted to do something else haha :) Plus I was feeling WAY better! The Christmas Sunday was great, and I was able to sing with the ward choir. The member that we live with, is the choir director, so it all worked out wonderfully! We were even able to visit with a part-member family in the evening and share a Christmas message from the December Ensign. It ended up being a really great day :)
Thank you all for your love and support! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas :) Thank you for all of your emails, letters, and packages, you are all truly the best! I am so grateful for so many loving friends and family members this Holiday season. Talk to you next week!
Elder Kyle William Andrews