This week has been unique at best :p. So many different things are happening, but it was a great week! On Monday we spent most of our P-Day with a family in the Ward. My companion absolutely loves this family, so I kind of sucked it up and dealt with it. They are all ridiculously smart, and lack a lot of social skills that make spending time with them really awkward for me. I'm pretty sure they think I am an idiot, because I don't know hardly anything about math or science. They read college textbooks for fun... It was painfully awkward, but it worked out. I mostly just kept to myself, and wrote letters while they discussed physics, and other various topics. They are all involved in different trading card games, and video games, and the like. I am not interested in ANY of those things, so spending time with them is kind of awful. But it all worked out. Unfortunately my companion arranged to spend P-Day with them again today, so we will have to talk about that afterwards…
On Monday evening we were able to teach our investigator with the another family from the ward. We worked out all of the details of her baptism, and filled out her baptismal record. She tried on her white jumpsuit, and she practiced the baptismal ordinance with the father of the family. We also found out that she wears a weave, and she was concerned about getting it wet. We discussed different swim caps, and shower caps, and eventually we came up with the idea of wrapping a white scarf around her head. It was a great lesson though, and she in her closing prayer referred to the family as her new found friends which was awesome! So far she has not made too many friends in the ward, so that was definitely promising :)
On Tuesday we met with another investigator. We talked to him about Prophets and the Church. I pulled out my October 2013 General Conference issue of the Ensign and showed him the pages with the breakdown of the 1st Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Quorum of the Seventy, the Relief Society and Young Men's Presidencies, etc.. He immediately noticed Elder Dube in the Quorum of the Seventy because he looks African, so that was a great connection for him! Luckily we have people of different colors in our church leadership haha :) I learned a few things about West African people from the senior couple in our district, and asked him a few questions. He immediately began to open up and tell us about his journey here to America. I was stunned. Our investigator is the only member of his family here in America. He went without meals, worked hard, and saved up all of his money so that he could come here to America. All the while he supported his parents and siblings financially and paid for their schooling. He is the first high school graduate in his family, and plans to work and save up money here to be able to get his family over to America. He talked about the civil war they had in Liberia, and all of the horrible things he has seen, but shared that it is important to stay faithful and to have a positive attitude because God is watching over all of us and that He will help us. Truly inspiring! He teaches me so much every time we are able to visit with him.
On Wednesday we were able to meet with our investigator again. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and clarified a few of his ideas about Adam and Eve and taught that the Fall was necessary so that we could come here to earth and progress as a people. He really liked that! Also, part of the Plan of Salvation is the Atonement of Jesus Christ which he especially enjoyed hearing. During our lessons he always goes off testifying about the truths of these teachings, which is absolutely incredible! Later in the day we got a call from one of our mormon.org referrals. She talked to us about her bad back, and that she has a renter moving into her house and that the snow plows filled up the entrance of her driveway with about 5 feet of snow. She needed help clearing it all away. I offered to help, but had NO CLUE what we were getting ourselves into. She lives in a ways away, and we do not have a car. We had to bike 30 minutes to her house with shovels to clear out her driveway which took a good 2 hours because it was frozen solid. It all worked out though, and she was SO appreciative of our service! I just need to double check on what I am volunteering us for in the future haha ;) Wednesday evening we had a lesson with our investigator who is getting baptized and a Brother from the ward. We watched the 20 minute Restoration DVD, and re-taught the restoration lesson. She was filled with the spirit, and talked with us about how excited she was to get baptized on Saturday! It was a great lesson.
On Thursday we had our service at the Food Bank, and then the senior couple took us to Smash Burger for dinner. I haven't been to Smash Burger since I left on my mission, so it was fun to be able to hit it up again! Too bad they don't have a Cafe Rio out here. I have been craving Cafe Rio this whole week! (Beef Barbacoa of course.) In the evening we had a lesson with an investigator and her family with a Brother from the ward. Turns out the Brother was the investigator's seminary teacher when she was a youth! We finished and re-capped our lesson on the restoration, and her kids (11) and (8) asked a few questions about baptism. The 8 year old was scared of being pushed under the water, but the Brother practiced the baptismal ordinance with her, and then she asked if she could be baptized. Super cool! I had a bag of fun sized Heath bars left over from Halloween, so I gave them some candy for being good during the lesson. Teaching kids is sometimes a challenge, but it always works out in the end. Especially when they have candy as a motivator ;)
On Friday we had a Zone Training in the Park. The senior missionary couple drove us, so it was fun to be able to talk with them on the way down to our Zone Training. Such an awesome couple! We learned about FUN (Facts, Understanding, Needs) Reports for our investigators, and asking FUN inspired questions. It was a really great training from the Mission President, and then he gave our whole mission Hat Trick Motion Trio Activity Trackers. The FitBits were a trial for our district, but now our whole mission has these more advanced trackers. He also mentioned that he had been arguing with Salt Lake City about getting us iPads, but we are still on lock down. No iPads for us yet. Lame! After Zone Training the the senior couple took us out for lunch at Taco Bell which was way fun. We had 6 people squished into their car, so it was a party for sure :)
Friday night we had dinner with a family in the ward, and then a lesson at their home with our investigator who is getting baptized. The family has a pit bull named Lady that I have of course come to adore! It is the most well behaved dog I think I have ever met, but it loves to nuzzle up to me while we are eating dinner which makes me feel guilty and want to feed it, just like Richard at the a different family’s home. Smart dogs. We went to go pick up our investigator, and she heard Lady bark as we walked towards the house and she got a little bit antsy. She opened the door and saw this big pit bull, and immediately ran out of their home, slamming the door behind her. She actually knocked my companion out of the way because he was walking behind her, and she needed to get OUT of the house quickly! It was hilarious, but probably traumatizing for our investigator. The family locked up Lady, and then our investigator was able to come in the house for our lesson. Aside from that minor incident, the lesson went great! We went over the family proclamation, and she asked us a few questions she had in her Book of Mormon reading. She was excited and ready for her baptism the next day, and asked the father of the family to confirm her on Sunday.
Our investigator's baptism on Saturday went amazingly well. Everything worked out perfectly, probably because I micromanaged everything, but it worked out! Everything was beautifully organized, and we were set :) Everyone including our investigator was cutting it close, but they got there which is the most important part. Our Mission President was even able to attend the baptism! After she was baptized and changed, she bore her testimony to everyone which was incredible. She even got a little emotional as she talked about her conversion! She has overcome drinking coffee, smoking, and a whole bunch of other things, and is stronger because of it. She is awesome!
Saturday evening we were able to attend the Minnesota Mormon Chorale performance "One Step Closer" with two of our other investigator’s kids. Our investigator unfortunately was sick and unable to attend, so she stayed home with the younger kids. It was an amazing performance, but unfortunately the member we lived with was not in this performance because of some illnesses she has been facing. I did hear, however, that she will be performing in the Lamb of God in April, so we will definitely have to get some investigators to attend that performance as well :) The kids liked seeing the church, and thought it was cool that this is the church that their Mom went to when she was younger! They committed to come to church the next day, and we arranged rides for everyone so that it would all work out.
On Sunday our investigator was confirmed, and 4 of our other investigator's kids were able to attend church. After Church we got a text from a family that their daughter’s non-member friend was over, and that they wanted us to "drop by" and share a message with their family. Her friend is awesome! He wants to become a minister, and heads the Bible study club at their school. He has heard a lot of anti-mormon ideas from his Dad, so he had a lot of questions of things that he wanted us to clarify. We were able to teach him about the restoration of the church, and answer a lot of his questions. It was a really cool opportunity for us to be able to teach a members friend! After having dinner with the a different family, we went to teach an investigator with a Brother from the ward. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and she shared with us that every time she listens to the Book of Mormon online, she feels a warm feeling come over her, and she knows that it is true. We talked to her about the Spirit, and that it was testifying to her about the truths of our religion. She really enjoyed our meeting, and brought up again how very grateful she was for our service earlier in the week. It was a great ending to a great week :)
Thank you all so much for all of your love and support! Your prayers are definitely strengthening me. I hope you all have an amazing week :) Talk to you soon!
Elder Kyle William Andrews