Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hello Everyone,

This has been quite the week! It all began last P-Day when I needed to get my hair cut. We went to this SUPER ghetto strip mall, and I was super anxious about getting my hair cut there, and then my companion noticed that a sign in the salon said "cash only, no credit cards." That was all I needed. I do not carry cash on my ever, so I couldn't get my hair cut there. We walked over to this place called Fantasia, which I was pretty sure was a salon for African-American or African women, but apparently it is for everyone haha! That is one of the weird things about Minnesota, is because of the diversity, you have to be aware of what kind of stores you are walking into. Anyways, Fantasia is a salon, spa, and works a lot with wigs... they specifically say wigs not weaves, so they are not very classy. For first time clients they give a $10 off discount, so I couldn't complain. A super nice lady cut my hair, and then after I got my hair cut she said that she really liked the way my hair turned out, and she wanted to take a picture for her portfolio. Kind of odd, but I guess it works.

Monday evening we went joint teaching with a Brother from the ward. We began the evening by stopping by an investigator. She was on her way out of her home, walking towards her car when we saw her. She told us that she was on her way to her sisters house, so we were expecting an extremely short visit. She proceeded to talk, and talk, and talk for the next hour and a half. The sun went down and it started to get kind of cold as we were out on the street talking to her! It was crazy haha! She talked a lot about her family history though, and how in Germany they only have burial plots for 20 years and then they remove the headstone and casket and someone else gets the plot, so it makes finding headstones quite difficult. It was good to be able to fellowship her a little more though, and obviously she was SUPER comfortable talking to us, so maybe if we can work out her work schedule she can start coming to church again soon :) We also stopped by a woman from Togo, West Africa and has the biggest brightest smile I think I have ever seen! We were only able to visit with her briefly, but we were able to set up an appointment for later in the week which was nice.

On Tuesday we had our last District Meeting for the transfer. After District Meeting the senior couple' took us all out to Smash Burger for lunch! They are such a nice couple. After lunch I went on exchange with an Elder from Ogden, Utah. He’s is serving in an area that covers most of Minneapolis. A week previous the mission issued them bus passes, so they are able to bus all over their area! If the mission doesn't issue my companion and I bus passes, I think I might just buy one, because it is so much better, faster, and safer than biking. We began our exchange in Downtown Minneapolis. Oh my goodness, it was amazing! I absolutely love big cities, and skyscrapers, and stores. It was pretty much a spiritual experience :) We got to see the downtown Target, which was HUGE! They had an escalator for shopping carts and everything, it was awesome. I also loved seeing Brooks Brothers, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc... Luckily this isn't my area, because if it were, I would be out of money! The only Nordstrom in all of Minnesota is in the Mall of America which is off limits to missionaries, so I am safeguarded there too. It was really amazing seeing all of the diversity downtown though! There were wealthy people, poor people, and everything in between. Some people even came up to us and asked us about our church which was really cool! In the evening we went out to an investigator’s home, and had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. He and his son were SUPER chatty, but we were able to cover a few points. He is going out of town soon, so my companion committed him to read the Book of Mormon every day that he is gone. He looked my companion in the eyes and told him that he really wanted to do that, and then said "and God as my witness, I will NOT read the Book of Mormon while I am gone. I can't lie to you, and I know that I won't." Kind of missed the boat a little bit :p Yikes haha! Hopefully he will be a little more committed in the future, but at least he didn't lie ;)

On Wednesday we exchanged back, and did some area book work. I am obsessed with organization, so I really enjoy going through the area book and updating things, and sorting through things. Kind of fun! While we were doing area book work, we got a text from an investigator informing us that his aunt had kicked him out of her house and that he is living in Fridley with his brother now. Kind of sad, but maybe the missionaries in Fridley will be able to visit with him :) Wednesday evening we went joint teaching with a member. The evening was kind of uneventful, but then we stopped by an investigator. She is referred to as the "bread lady", because she collects older breads, doughnuts, cupcakes, etc.. from local bakeries and stores and distributes them among people at her church. She has a Mormon friend that connected the missionaries to her, and now the missionaries come see her every first and third Wednesday for bread and what not. She is awesome, but doesn't quite realize that this is a means of missionary work and fellowshipping! She mentioned while we were there that it must be nice for us to take a break from our missionary work to come see her, little does she know ;)

On Thursday we started off the day doing our weekly service at the local food bank. I don't know what it is about me, but I must have a sign on my back or something that says "Pick Me! I LOVE the cold!" Every time something comes up that needs to be worked on in the fridge or freezer, I am usually the person they go to. On Thursday after I finished stocking milk and cheese in the fridge for about an hour, I got out and started to warm up, and then they pulled me over to the walk in freezer to rearrange things and organize the freezer. I thought I was going to die! I had to seriously take breaks every 30 seconds, because my body was completely frozen. But it all worked out, and I didn't freeze to death :)

At dinner time, the heat was on. I had an hour to make dinner for 8 people, one of our investigators and her 6 kids, and myself. I felt like I was on a culinary team again, except I was all by myself. My companion didn't want anything to do with my little project, so he just made his food and disappeared. I made chicken alfredo, and then put it in a lasagna dish and baked it with a bunch of cluff roll mixture sprinkled on the top, then I made cluff rolls, and chocolate chip cookies! I finished literally with minutes to spare, but it all turned out really well :) Our investigator called earlier and said that she had to cancel her appointment for tonight, because she had a friend that was sent to the hospital. This was the perfect night to bring dinner over to their family! Our joint teacher drove us over, and we dropped everything off. Our investigator called us later and was SO grateful for dinner. My Mom earlier this month transferred some money on to my card and suggested that I make dinner for our investigator and her family. It truly was an amazing experience, and worked out perfectly! Thanks Mom :)

On Friday after weekly planning, we went out joint teaching with a brother from Highland, Utah. He works for Honeywell and is here in Minnesota for 3 weeks for training. He volunteered to go joint teaching with us, which was AMAZING! The ward mission leader in his ward in Utah, and has a son in the Las Vegas, Nevada mission so he is super excited for missionary work. In the evening we were able to meet with our investigator and her family. We had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation! We had lots of pictures and things to make it more interactive, so the kids really enjoyed it. We talked about the Pre-Earth life, the Creation of the World, the Fall of Adam, and our Earth life. It was an awesome lesson, and our investigator and her family seemed to really like this lesson! I absolutely love meeting with their family, and hope that we can continue to help them while I am here in this city. In our next lesson we are going to be working on setting an official baptismal date for her 8 and 11 year old, so that will definitely be exciting :)

On Saturday we went out tracting during some of our free time, and we met this who said that she has seen missionaries walking around in their apartment complex before, but that she had never actually met with them. She was super interested in what we had to say, and asked if she could have her own copy of the Book of Mormon! Usually we are the ones offering to give them a copy, so it was cool that she kind of jumped the gun and asked for a copy herself. She is really cool, so we are excited for our next appointment with her this next Wednesday! Halfway through Saturday we received a text from President Clements informing us that they were back in Minnesota :) It is good to have them back, but it was fun to be able to learn from President Ehlert for 3 weeks :)

We went joint teaching Saturday evening, and had a lesson with our recently baptized investigator. She is doing a LOT better this week, and expressed a sincere desire to learn more about the storyline of the Book of Mormon. She loves reading it when we are together, so we talked about how she can make her personal studies more meaningful so that she can always learn from the Book of Mormon, even when we are not there reading it with her. She liked learning about all of the different prophets, and was excited to read it and study it on her own. In the evening, we had a Mission Prayer conference call with President and Sister Clements. They first talked about their challenges being back home, and how anxious they were to return back to the MMM. We had a brief training, and then President Clements offered a prayer for our missionary work. It was an amazing way to finish off our Saturday!

Sunday was great! I really enjoyed Sacrament Meeting and everything, and then we had some really great meetings after church. A family had us over for dinner, and they had her Scottish Terrier named Winston over as well! Usually he lives at her parents home, but they are on vacation so he stayed home with them! I LOVE DOGGIES :) After dinner we went out joint teaching with them, and had some... interesting experiences. We had an appointment with an investigator that we had even called and confirmed earlier on in the day, but when we arrived all of her lights were shut off, and no one answered the door. We went back to the car, and I saw her walk up to her window in the dark. She has really bad depression, so I am guessing that it was just a bad night for her. We decided to go and visit with her next door neighbors instead! We just got the records for the family, so we thought it would be perfect to drop by and go see them. Amazingly enough, they literally live right next door to our investigator! They invited us in, and we talked for a little while. They are a younger couple, so the joint teaching couple were able to really relate with them! They were married in the St. Paul Minnesota temple, and then moved to Missouri shortly after, and now they are back in Minnesota. They have been attending his brothers ward at 3:00 PM, but they said one day they will make it to the 9:00 AM Ward. I COMPLETELY understand :) I moved my apartment when I was in college to avoid the deathly 9:00 AM church, so this is my payback. Karma!

It has been a great week though! Today we got our transfer email, and I am staying in the area with my companion. Today we have a district P-Day and will sign testimony journals and take pictures with everyone that is leaving. Kind of sad! But... HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY :) *Pinch* I was sure to wear green today though, so I am safe! Thank you all for your love and support.

Talk to you next week!
Best Wishes,
Elder Kyle William Andrews

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