Monday, February 24, 2014
It has been quite the insane week here in Minnesota! The weather has been absolutely awful. It has been snowing and freezing, and then warm and slushy, and then freezing and eventually snowy again. Our bodies are kind of freaking out a little bit, but all will be well :) On Monday we were able to visit with our investigator and set up a few last appointments and finish teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is awesome, and is getting really excited for her baptismal date on March 1st.
Tuesday was quite the interesting day. We had our first district meeting this transfer - which was great! Then we went on exchange with the district leader afterwards. He came to Crystal with me, and his companion went to Cedar Lake with my companion. This Elder is from Vernal, Utah and is a very kind and sincere missionary. We had a really great time on our exchange together, despite a few minor setbacks. We went to go tracting, and my companions’ bike was broken. Broken bikes are always a miracle for me though, I much prefer walking! In the evening we had dinner with the Bishop and his wife, and then went joint teaching with him. We visited with a few less-active members in the ward, and then visited with a woman who is a mormon.org referral. She has had a very difficult life, and struggles with smoking and depression. She is searching for a church that she feels comfortable and welcomed in, and referred herself on mormon.org after chatting with the Sister Missionaries online. We talked to her about the restoration, and she readily accepted our teachings! She is awesome :) After going out joint teaching we came home for the much anticipated conference call that we received a mission-wide text about earlier in the day. We were guessing what it was going to be about, mostly surrounding Facebook and iPads. We got on the conference call, and President and Sister Clements announced that they were going home for 3-weeks. President Clements has an important business matter back home, and has counseled with various apostles and they have told him that it would be in his best interest to take a short leave of absence to take care of things back home. Until then, they have called President Ehlert, the first counselor in his mission presidency to be the mission president! Crazy stuff. They left on Wednesday, so President Ehlert is currently our Mission President.
Wednesday was great! We were able to have dinner with our ward mission leader and our investigator who will be baptized March 1. She really enjoyed the extra fellowship, and then we were able to have a lesson with her preparing her for baptism. She asked the ward mission leader to baptize her, and we worked out a few of the baptismal logistics. It was a really great evening, and we were able to begin planning her baptism for this next Saturday!
On Thursday we were able to go to the Prism Food Shelf and do some service. We normally go from 1-5:00 PM, but because it began to blizzard outside they shut down at 3:00. It was insane driving around that day, but we made it work. Well, the members that were driving made it work. Mission vehicles have been grounded this entire week, not that it makes a difference for bike areas, but kind of interesting. A brother from the ward came joint teaching with us, and we were able to visit with an investigator and discuss ancient and modern Prophets! Her kids were much more well behaved this time, and things are really beginning to take off with their family. Her 11 year-old daughter really took an interest during this lesson, and mentioned that she had begun reading the Book of Mormon. She also expressed an interest in music, so we invited them to the Minnesota Mormon Chorale performance on Saturday, March 1st! I love going to MMC performances, so it works out well for all of us :)
Friday was kind of interesting. We had weekly planning, and then we were able to meet with another investigator. We began teaching him about the restoration, and he really enjoyed learning and expressed an interest in attending church on Sunday! We had dinner with ward members, converts of less than a year. They talked to us a lot about their conversion, and their plans to attend the temple this next month! Their non-member daughter and her boyfriend were there as well, so we had a great teaching opportunity. We are having dinner with them next Friday, so maybe we will be able to visit with them again!
Saturday was kind of crazy. In the morning we got phone calls from ALL of our appointments, and they ALL fell through. It was going to be a day of tracting. Our investigator had her baptismal interview in the morning, which she aced, and then we had no plans after that. Then things started to miraculously start working out! A Brother from the ward called us and asked if we could help him with a service project. He had an extra dining room table and chairs from a recent death in the family, and wanted to give it to a family we are teaching because they do not have any furniture. We went over to her home and shoveled their walkway which was covered with about 5 inches of ice and a powdery layer of snow on top. Then when the walkway was clear, we moved the table and chairs into their home. They were SO grateful! It was amazing to see the looks on their faces, and how excited they were to have a little bit of furniture in their home. In the evening we were able to do a teaching evaluation with a brother from the ward. After we taught him about the restoration, we got talking about his less-active sons. I talked a little bit about some experiences I had had with the church, and he seemed to really take comfort in some of my comments. I hope I was able to be of some help! All in all, the day of nothing turned into a solid day of appointments :) It was amazing!
Sunday was miraculous as well. We have 9:00 AM church which is AWFUL, especially to get people that are not members to attend. I despise 9:00 AM church, and I am a member! Somehow, we were able to get 4 investigators to church though :) I was stunned, but grateful. Everything worked out amazing well! After church we were walking back to our apartment, and an African man stopped us in our parking lot and asked us if we were Christians. Then he basically proceeded to refer himself to us, and asked us to come visit him! That NEVER happens. It was truly amazing! After dinner we went with a Brother from the ward, and had an appointment with an investigator. We watched the restoration DVD, and finished covering the message of the restoration. She really felt the spirit, and committed to attend church next Sunday :) Funny story though, she wanted to know how she could listen to the scriptures on her computer, because she is not so great at reading. We went into her computer room and she opened up the internet. Instantly like 30 different tabs opened, and different radio stations and noises went off. Her speakers started blaring Kelly Clarkson's song, "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger." She started closing all of the tabs, and all of the sudden this loud (sorry, kind of inappropriately worded, but there is no other choice) flatulence sound came out of her computer speakers. She apologized, and switched to her flatulence machine internet tab and turned that off as well! Awkward! It was a great lesson none the less, and a great evening :)
[NOTE FROM CAROLYN: I REALLY EDITED THE PARAGRAPH ABOVE!]
This next week I am sure will be great! We have a Zone Training on Friday with President Ehlert, so it will be interesting to see his dynamic as a Mission President. I am kind of sad that we won't have an amazing Sister Clements training, but I am sure Sister Ehlert will do an incredible job. In two weeks we also have a temple trip planned, on March 5th! I have not been to the temple since I was in the MTC, so it will be cool to experience it all over again :) It will be my 3rd time attending the temple, and my 1st time attending the St. Paul Minnesota temple. I have heard it is tiny, but I guess I will see for myself!
Thank you all for your love and support. Your prayers have been a life-saver this winter. Figures that I would come to Minnesota in the coldest and snowiest winter in 30 years! I have never felt such bone-chilling cold in my entire life, but I have almost survived the entire winter :) Thank you for all of your letters and emails, they are always so uplifting to me! I can't wait to tell you how this next week goes, and how our Zone Training with President Ehlert goes as well :) Talk to you soon!
Elder Kyle William Andrews