Monday, January 27, 2014

The Frozen Chosen

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hello Everyone,

This week has been quite eventful! On Monday after all of our P-Day activities, we went to visit with a less-active family in Elk River. The sister is becoming much more active, and her granddaughter is progressing amazingly well towards baptism. The granddaughter was at her Mom's house on Monday though, and her dad was downstairs. On Tuesday morning we got a call informing us that he had passed away Monday evening, and that it was of a very sensitive nature, he had taken his own life. They also asked us not to visit with them until after the memorial service on Monday (today). This will be devastating for their family, my heart really goes out to them at this time.

On Tuesday I went on exchange with an Elder from Logan, Utah. We had some really great experiences like teaching an investigator the restoration and committing her to a baptismal date of February 28th, and running into a former investigator and talking to him about the Book of Mormon! Wednesday morning we exchanged back with our companions, on a SUPER cold and windy day. On the way over to the church, the wind pushed our car into a ditch! Luckily we didn't go very far into the snow, but it was FREAKING cold outside and the wind was blowing at 20 MPH. It was not a fun experience! Luckily a truck came and saw us struggling to get our car out of the ditch, so he came and pulled our car out with a tow strap. I was so grateful that someone came to help us, but that is part of the Minnesota Nice thing they have going on here! I'm sure he got a few chuckles out of it. People here get stuck in ditches all the time though. They either slide on ice, the wind blows them, or a combination of the two. Not cool!

On Wednesday, we went tracting in the cold windy weather. I was wearing a whole bunch of layers, and had a hat and a face mask on, so I looked like a creeper. Not exactly the first impression you usually go for, but it was dang cold! We were able to teach a few lessons, but weren't able to see a whole lot of success. Believe it or not, people here don't actually enjoy being in the cold ;)

On Friday we were invited over to a member family’s for dinner, one of my favorite families here! When we got into their house, I instantly recognized this brothers Frye boots. We are so alike! He was telling us about their Mall of America adventure a few days previous. I can't wait to be able to go to the Mall of America sometime after my mission! They made crepes, which was a first for my companion. He is very interesting with food. He does NOT eat vegetables or dessert. I guess in a way it kind of equals out in the end.

On Saturday we stopped in to visit with an investigator after moving a family into their home. She talked with us about a recent incident with her daughter, and that she was back in the hospital for depression. We talked about some possible activities that we might be able to do with them when she gets home, and the mom seemed to really like that! Hopefully we will be able to really help this family.

On Sunday an investigator came to church, as did the Sister who’s son passed away. It was great to have them at church! This sister is going through a really tough time with the death of her son, and asked if we could come over later that evening. When we were at their home she seemed to be doing a lot better, although a death in the family is never easy. We reassured her that we would be at the memorial service on Monday, and she seemed to like that. Hopefully all will be well with their family.

This week has been interesting with our current miles situation. The church gives us a gas card, but they limit the amount of miles we can use each month. Because our Zone Conference was moved to the 29th of January, we need at least 80 miles to get to St. Cloud and back with 3 days left in the month. Yikes! We have been walking a TON, and getting rides with members because we are pretty much out of miles. Not good! Walking is pretty awful in the winter. Next month is right around the corner though, so that is good :)

I am so grateful for all of your love and support. Your letters and emails are always so filled with love, and I really enjoy hearing from you all :) I hope you all have an amazing week, and that you are all staying warm! Somehow God thought it would be funny to send me to Minnesota during one of the coldest winters in 20 years. Frozen chosen is an understatement. Talk to you soon :)


Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, January 20, 2014

Shoveling Ice and Frozen Pipes

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello Everyone,

This week we had some really great experiences! On Monday, we had a district P-Day in Princeton, Minnesota. We played a card game called Munchkins, and Stategem or something like that. It was fun :) We also realized that we were going to be seeing everyone together the next day for our Zone Conference, so it was going to be a really fun week!

On Tuesday it snowed a lot, and our Zone Conference was cancelled. Our whole day had been dedicated to our Zone Conference, so we basically had no plans. We went around shoveling snow for people that don't pay for their driveways to be plowed (which are very few), and then I felt inspired to go and shovel snow for one of our investigators, who lives not too far from us. We began to chip away at the several layers of ice that covered her driveway, and then she came home in the middle of our shoveling. She was SO incredibly grateful for our service to her, and was truly amazed that we took time out of our day to come and shovel the snow on her driveway. It was great, and I realized that there was a reason that our Zone Conference did not happen that day, we needed to shovel her driveway!

On Wednesday we went up to Big Lake, Minnesota and taught our investigator as well as a part member family. We talked to our investigator about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we discussed the Law of Tithing with the part member family. We had the Ward Clerk as our joint teacher - both lessons went really well! It is always so great to be able to teach with a member from the congregation, not only because it saves our miles, but because they invite a special spirit to the lessons, and the members are more permanent, missionaries can be transferred every 6-weeks.

On Thursday we met with the fiancée of a less-active member in the ward. She has met with missionaries in the past, but hasn't really felt that it was the right decision for her. We got to know her a little better, and she is ever so slightly more open to meeting with us now! Hopefully good things are in the works for the future :)

We had a great lesson with a part member family later in the week with members from the ward joint teaching with us. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and watched a really great Mormon Ad that hit home with our investigator. She really enjoys reading books that not everyone has in the Bible, so she thought it might be fun to read the Book of Mormon. Apparently in the Catholic Bible they have a few extra books that not everyone has, so that is where her interest in other books began.

On Friday evening we met with an investigator and talked to him about the Restoration of the gospel. He was really interested in what we had to share, and said that he is open to discussing philosophies with us in the future. While we know that the Restoration isn't simply a philosophy, it is a good step in the right direction!

On Saturday morning I was WAY sick. All throughout the night I was unable to sleep, and was awake for every hour except for 3:00 AM, so I must have slept a little bit! I had a really bad cold, and my voice was trashed. The members we live with gave me some medications that helped a ton, and I am feeling a lot better now! My voice is slowly improving, and my cold is just about gone. (Maybe delete sections from this part) Later in the day we met with the mother of an investigator. She wanted to discuss plans for her daughters baptism with us. She was really kind, but mentioned that she didn't think February 1st was going to work out. All will be well in the end! The most important thing is that this girl will be baptized.

Saturday evening we taught an investigator with a member from the ward. We discussed the Book of Mormon with her, and were able to make some serious headway! Unfortunately her husband was at work, so we will have to catch him up later, but it was great to see how accepting she was of the Book of Mormon. She has a hard time reading it, so we were able to read with her for a little bit in the lesson. The English can be difficult to understand, especially if you didn't grow up reading it! SO many people out here read the New International Translation of the Bible, so it is simplified and easier to read.

On Sunday Church was 1 hour. The pipes in the building froze, so none of the plumbing worked. We attended Sacrament meeting, and then went home. The church service was really good while it lasted though, and we even had a part-member family that attended! All in all, it was a great week :)

Today we went out to lunch with two sisters from the ward. We went to a restaurant called Space Aliens, so of course we had to take a picture with the Alien. My companion wasn't super thrilled, but I couldn't pass up the picture opportunity :)

Thank you all for your love and support! Your prayers have done some pretty amazing things for me, and I have been able to receive SO much strength from you all. I hope you have an amazing week :) Talk to you soon!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, January 13, 2014

Preparation Before Mission

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hello Everyone,

This has been an eventful week to say the least ;) We were prohibited to go outside on Sunday and Monday due to extreme temperatures, so we had to be pretty creative on those two "lock down" days. On Sunday we were able to have a mission devotional on a conference call. President and Sister Clements gave us an unexpected training, and were able to talk to us briefly. Sister Clements also told us all to start taking "sunshine pills" (Vitamin D), because the sun does not come out very often around this time in Minnesota, and we need to be happy missionaries ;) I sometimes refer to them as my happy pills behind closed doors, but probably shouldn't share that with too many people :p

Being locked inside for two days was rough. I got cabin fever for sure! Luckily we live with members here, so there was plenty to do. While my companion slept, I studied, watched church videos, deep cleaned our bedroom and bathroom, and took our dog Richard outside for potty breaks. I got a lot done, so it ended up being really nice having two "mental health" days! Hopefully we won't have too many more of those days though, because it was SUPER cold outside. Apparently in some areas it got below -60 degrees. Not cool!

On Wednesday we met with a married couple. We taught them about the restoration of the gospel and they were really excited and accepting of the teachings! During the lesson the wife really enjoyed learning about our church, and is eager to attend sacrament meeting sometime in the near future. The husband asked some really deep questions during the lesson, and asked about our churches stance on gay marriage. Obviously this is a controversial topic, but we were able to talk a bit about the family proclamation, and the fact that our church openly welcomes all people to attend, but that it is a sin to practice homosexual activity. We learned a lot about this in the MTC, and we directed him to the Mormons and Gays website that the church has created. (Mom, remember when we had our little battle on this?!?!?) Hopefully this will not be the end of his investigating, but we will have to see.

On Thursday we were able to attend the funeral of the young man who had a muscular disorder. He will truly be missed in this ward, but his example to all of the youth and members will last a lifetime. His grandma (and caretaker) was pretty crushed by it all, but she knows that he is in a much better place now. He was only 18 years old when he passed away, but his grandma said that he is able to serve his mission now! His dad and his current wife have opened up a little since his passing, and we are starting to meet with them. His grandma said that his missionary work has already begun :) Good things are in the works!

On Sunday we were able to contact someone whose records were just transferred into the ward. When we arrived at his residence, we were greeted by an older man who informed us that he was not home, but he invited us in to visit with him. We found out that it was a group home for adults with special needs. This man has MS and Autism, but was with his family for the weekend. I was struck with the spirit as we visited with the caretaker, realizing that when I volunteered for special education seminary my junior year in high school, it was somehow guided by the spirit. I needed that experience to be able to relate to this caretaker. After teaching him about the restoration, I talked to him a little bit about the seminary program and my experience helping with special needs students. Hopefully we will be able to meet with him, and his wife who was out grocery shopping, and the member of course the next time we visit!

During church we were able to see a less-active member, and her granddaughter. Her granddaughter is 8 years old and has not been baptized. We have been meeting with the grandmother for a while, and during Church they arranged for her baptism to be on February 1st! The granddaughter is SO excited :) Her parents are divorced, and both are inactive. Her dad is fully supportive of her baptism, but her mother is not very eager for it to happen. The mother asked us to call her, and we will be meeting with her next Saturday to discuss what is going to happen. Should be interesting! Hopefully she will still be able to be baptized!

Last night Richard (the dog) was in bed, but the cats, Bentley and Connor, were downstairs with us. I am not particularly fond of cats, so I decided to chase after them. I was ready for bed and was wearing basketball shorts, so my knees were completely exposed. I started chasing after Bentley on all fours, and got carpet burn on my knees! I haven't had carpet burn forever haha! I guess it is a stinging reminder that I should probably act my age, and leave the cats alone ;)

I am excited to be able to meet with President and Sister Clements tomorrow for our Zone Interviews! It should be an exciting event :) We were asked to study Elder Bednar's talks from the October and April 2008 General Conference on prayer, so we have one day to study those and prepare for our Zone Conference. Crazy! I'm sure it will be amazing though. Luckily these past few days have been quite a bit warmer as well :) Yesterday we even hit the 30's! Hopefully it will continue to rise up and up until we are back in the 90's!

Thank you all for your love and support! You are all so amazing, and I truly couldn't do this without all of your love and prayers. I hope you all have a great week, and enjoy the sunshine that doesn't really exist in Minnesota ;)

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hello Everyone,

This week has been kind of crazy. Today is Saturday. We NEVER email on Saturdays, because Monday is our P-Day. On Monday, the governor of Minnesota shut down all schools, because the temperatures are supposed to be rather cold. The high I believe is -18 without wind chill, and the temperature is rumored to get down to about -50 degrees. Needless to say, we are going to be locked inside all day, THANK GOODNESS! But because of everything going on, today we are doing all of our shopping and emailing and fun stuff :)

To start the week we were able to stop by a potential investigator of ours. We were able to talk to her about the restoration, and the member we were with invited her to church. It was an awesome lesson, and I am excited to be able to visit with her again! Minnesota is largely Lutheran, but I am really good at finding all the Catholic people haha ;) I guess it is a special talent of mine.

On Tuesday we had dinner with a member family. The Sister is from England, and served us Yorkshire Pudding with dinner, VERY English :) It was fun to be able to visit with them and to hear her BEAUTIFUL British accent!

Tuesday evening we were able to visit with a member family. They talked about Studio C at BYU, so I introduced them to Divine Comedy on YouTube, and told them to watch the video "Provo, Utah Girls". The mom told me that she LOVED it!

New Years Eve we were with a member family. The brother is in the Stake Presidency, and I absolutely love their family. Later we spent some time with a family from the ward (he serves in the bishopric) and a few less-active families, it was great!

New Years Day was our P-Day! I finally bought a new pair of shoes, that matched a cordovan belt that I brought out with me on my mission. I was pretty stoked! Unfortunately I have shopping problems though... the Ecco Outlet had a sale... 1 pair of shoes turned into 2. But I love them both, and the second pair was FREE :) Well kind of. It was 1/2 off, so pretty close! My New Years resolution is going to possibly be working on spending money more wisely. I just haven't made up my mind if I can completely commit to that yet. Yikes! (Mom, I also FINALLY got my belts all fixed up, so now I have variety in my belts!)

The other day we went to Big Lake, Minnesota and were able to meet with a woman and her nonmember boyfriend. We taught them about the Plan of Salvation, and arranged to meet with them again today. His girlfriend will be in jail, but he will be home :) Minor details.

We also experienced a tragedy this week. The young man with the muscular disorder who we met with last week passed away. We went to visit with his grandmother to see how she was handling the loss of her grandson, and she was doing surprisingly well! The Plan of Salvation truly is an amazing thing to know that all is well when we experience the sorrows of the passing of a loved one. We know that they are in a better place, and that they are happy! They are now able to watch over us, and help us along the path to return to our Heavenly Father. Death is still extremely hard for us, because we will miss our loved ones, but we know that they are okay and that we will see them again.

We were able to finish off the day by visiting with a part member family. We talked about the For The Strength of Youth program, and they absolutely loved it! They talked about how they always wanted to raise their children with good values, and that this program is the perfect solution to it all. The mom also told us that she quit smoking! Hopefully we will be able to maintain this great progress, and continue to help their family in the future. Things are going well though :)

Yesterday I was on exchange in Buffalo, Minnesota with an Elder from Alabama. We were able to visit with a lot of really cool people, and we were able to give a blessing to a very sick 5 year-old. We finished off the day by visiting with their investigator who is progressing towards baptism. As we talked with him, he mentioned that his parents live in Elk River, Minnesota and that he would like for them to hear this message. Non-Member Referral, AWESOME! We are going to stop by his family later this week, and hopefully get them to begin investigating the church as well :)

During the night something occurred here called "Ice Rain". Not good. The rain froze on EVERYTHING, and the car was frozen shut. We had to break the ice around the door to get in, and scrape all the ice off and melt it with the heat of the car. Kind of crazy! Luckily only the car was frozen, and the roads were fine. Absolute insanity! It all worked out in the end though, and we found out that it only happened in Buffalo, so our car in Elk River is all good :)

Thank you all so much for your love and support! I am so grateful for all of your kind letters and emails of love and encouragement. I have the best friends and family in the world! Have a great week :)

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews