Monday, November 25, 2013
This week has been different, but good. At first nothing whatsoever was happening. We did a whole bunch of tracting, and still... nothing. Tracting (knocking doors) is about the least effective thing you can possibly do while on your mission, but the MMM is a tracting mission. When we do not have investigators to teach, we more often than not will be out tracting. President Clements has told us that this will continue until the members begin to do missionary work themselves. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later ;) One night after I was fed up with tracting, we decided to stop by some former investigators. We stopped by a woman that the sister missionaries in this area found a while back. She invited us into her *warm home, and we were able to talk with her briefly about the Book of Mormon! It was definitely an answer to a prayer, because I was SO done with tracting in the cold haha.
Last Sunday we received a referral from the Bishop. A man from Utah called him and told him that his daughter lived in this area, and that she was going through a really tough time. She was going through a divorce, and friends and family members were turning on them after years of friendship. To make matters worse, her daughter who is in high school was beginning to be cyber-bullied, and was suffering from depression. A few days ago we were able to stop by their home. We talked with them for a while and got to know them better, all the while I felt something special while we were talking with them. We talked about prayer, and later offered to give them a blessing. The daughter asked for a blessing as well. We were able to give them blessings of peace and comfort, and she mentioned that she felt the spirit throughout her blessing, and explained it as "getting the chills through her body". I was amazed! As we talked a little bit longer, I was struck by the spirit. I realized as I was talking with them about my own experiences that I had been prepared from the beginning to teach them. I have been wondering for a while now why I needed to serve in this area of Minnesota, and this was it. It was an amazing feeling, and I am SO excited to be able to visit with them in the future!
A few days ago in my morning studies I came across a quote that I really liked. "A candle that lights another loses no light itself." - Anonymous. It reminded me of a training I received from BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe in my student leadership class at BYU. He talked to us about being "fire-lighters". We need to be the kind of people that share our light with others, and light others fires. Like that quote says, as we share our light, we do not lose any light ourselves. If anything, we gain light from sharing it with others! I hope that one day I will be able to be a successful "fire-lighter".
So, awkward story time! A few days ago we were stopping by a less-active member, and we tracted his neighborhood afterwards. I had to grab an extra coat and gloves and everything from the car before we went tracting though, so I grabbed all my stuff and got ready to head out for the next hour. It was ABSOLUTELY freezing, like 15 degrees with a whole bunch of wind. In Minnesota they have this weird thing called wind chill that makes it WAY colder than the thermometer says, not cool. Anyways, so we went out and did our thing until it was about time to head off to our dinner appointment. As we approached the car, I felt around in my pocket for the car keys. You guessed it, they were in the car! Actually, they were in the back seat of the car. They fell out of my pocket as I leaned over grabbing all of my stuff. We called the mission office, who told us to call a locksmith, so I called 411 for an emergency locksmith and I waited on the phone for like 30 minutes for the man to say that the nearest one was 2 hours away. By this time I just gave up momentarily, mostly because my whole body was frozen, and had to make the call of shame. We had to call the member who we were having dinner with, the Hogan's, and ask him to pick us up because I locked the keys in the car. On the ride over to his house, we found someone to come unlock the car after dinner, and all was well. They broke into our car in about 10 seconds, and we were on our way!
Our meal calendar in this area is absolutely insane! Basically every night we are fed by a different member family. It is awesome! In my last couple areas we were generally fed 2 sometimes 3 times a week, so this is a major upgrade. A couple days ago we were eating with a family who moved from Utah a little while back, so we talked about Utah for a while. I asked them where they moved from, and they told me that they moved from Saratoga Springs, Utah. I told them that I had a friend from there. Turns out my friend and her family were in their stake, small world! This man is a CES coordinator here, and teaches institute at the University of Minnesota, which is what caused the move out here to bitterly cold Minnesota.
On Sunday in my studies I came across D&C 64:33 in the handbook to overcoming addictions from LDS Family Services. Kind of a long story, but I was reading it because EVERYONE in this mission either smokes or drinks or does some kind of drug. Anyways, It talks about how great progress comes from little steps. That really rang true to me as I thought about my mission thus far. It feels like progress is coming EXTREMELY slow, mostly because I am impatient, but I remembered that from these little steps "[my] missionary experiences will build a solid foundation for the rest of [my] life." My patriarchal blessing has said this the whole time, but I never quite got it. I still probably don't completely get it, but I am making progress haha ;) Patience is a virtue... I just sometimes want to give up and scream "I DON'T HAVE ANY VIRTUE!" But that would be bad.
A few days back we stopped by a family whose records were just transferred over to the ward. As we stopped by, we found out that only two members of the family are members of the church. A 16 year old, and a 14 year old. The 16 year old boys friend in Alabama invited him to church, and he eventually converted. His little sister became interested later, and she converted as well! No one else in their family is a member, so I was absolutely stunned at how their situation has all worked out. We met with the two members, and eventually their Mom came in to listen. She said that she really didn't know anything about Mormons, and that she wanted to at least know what her daughter believed. Her daughter (the 14 year old) then proceeded to begin teaching the first lesson. WOW! We were able to teach about the Restoration, and invite the Mom who is "Catholic, but first and foremost a Christian" to church. She readily accepted, and is excited to continue learning about her daughters church. She so far has said that everything makes perfect sense! Unfortunately they were sick on Sunday, but next week they will all be attending.
Sunday was interesting. Sacrament meeting was nice, but Sunday school was absolutely awful! There was some contention. It was not good, and the spirit certainly was not there. I think Heavenly Father was secretly blessing us this week by not having any investigators come to church. Hopefully this will only be a one time occurrence!
Today we have an hour to email, but our P-Day is officially on Thanksgiving, which will be awesome! We will be spending Thanksgiving with two different members of the Ward, possibly three if time permits. It will be interesting to see how it all works out :) Luckily we will not be tracting on Thanksgiving though!
Thank you all so much for your love and support. I am so thankful for you all, and for everything you do for me! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday :) Have a great week!
Elder Kyle William Andrews