Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference Recharges our Batteries

Hello Everyone,
I just wanted to start out my letter by making it clear that I do NOT enjoy the snow and cold weather! This past week we got about 12 more inches of snow after a rather warm day previous to it. Luckily it is starting to melt again, and the weather is gradually improving, but I am not impressed ;) Oh Minnesota, why do you hate me?!?!?

On Monday, after our P-Day activities we went out joint teaching with a newly called ward missionary. He used to live in the same apartment complex as one of the senior couple’s' West African investigators. We set up an appointment Monday evening to meet with him, but unfortunately the appointment fell through. West African people are great, but they run on their own time schedule. You can be three hours late to your appointment with them, and they might even think you are early! I guess this is my own payback for not being the most timely person in the world before my mission. I tried to mostly be on time to things, but often it didn't work out the greatest. After the appointment was cancelled, our joint teach decided to take us out to Culvers. We were able to talk with him, and to really connect with him which was great! Before this meeting, our joint teach was less than enthusiastic about his new calling, and I think maybe we made a little bit of progress during our visit. He really opened up to us, which was amazing!

On Tuesday, we began the day with some Area Book work. We went through former investigators, potential investigators, phone numbers and random addresses in the Area Book, and got to work. I sent out more than 300 texts inviting everyone in the phone and people we found in the Area Book to attend General Conference. Through this effort, we found a lot of disconnected numbers, people that have moved, people that aren't interested in hearing from the missionaries, and.... 1 person that wanted to attend General Conference! It was awesome :) I wish our success rate was a little higher, but hey, we got one positive response to General Conference! Later that day, we had dinner with a family. I love that family, they are so fun! And being April Fools Day, the mom got us all pretty good. She had prepared our "drinks" earlier on in the day, and when we sat down, the dad tried to take a drink, only to find out that our drinks were red jello! I love fun holidays like April Fools Day :) Actually, I just like Holidays in general! After dinner, we went out joint teaching with the dad. We were able to meet with a less-active member. While at her house, her hairless cat decided that it wanted to be my friend. NOT okay! I try to refrain from coming in contact with cats in general, but ESPECIALLY a hairless cat. It looks like an over sized rodent, and when it brushed against my arm I got the chills all up and down my body. It was insistent on me petting it, SO gross! I sucked it up, but I'm pretty sure my facial expressions were not the greatest. Gotta love peoples animals sometimes ;) I don't know why everyone doesn't just have a cute little dog!

On Wednesday, I went on exchange with an elder in a different area. We biked to the exchange again, but it was a little better this time. While we were tracting we found this woman who wasn't super interested, but she mentioned that she was in need of help. She is having a tough time with her finances, and wanted some advice. I am not one to offer financial advice, but I did suggest that we could pray together. She held out her hand, and I realized that she wanted to stand in a circle holding hands, and pray. Kind of different, but it was cool! She had bright blue hair extensions, and was a pretty neat lady. Hopefully she will be able to receive the help she needs. Maybe one day she will even be open to learning more about the gospel. Afterwards we were contacting people on the streets of North Minneapolis. We were talking to this man as he walked to the bus stop, and all the sudden this woman started yelling at us and calling us over to her! She had met with missionaries in the past before she moved, and she wanted to begin meeting with them again. While the initial contact was kind of scary, it was really cool to see that we were in the right place at the right time. We set up an appointment to meet with her later in the week because she was busy at the time, and then we went on to Downtown Minneapolis, my favorite! This time I even got a halfway decent picture of the skyline :) While we were downtown, I started to strike up a conversation with this man who was walking down the street. All of the sudden he ran across the street as the light was changing and ditched us. It happens a lot, so I ignored it, but what happens next it certainly not typical! We later were able to cross the street, and were walking for a while when he turned around and started singing to us about how much he loved us, and he gave us a big group hug. Kind of creepy, but maybe he needed the hug! I'm pretty sure he was drunk, but I didn't really smell any alcohol on his breath, and he didn't smell like pot. Our neighbor is an avid pot smoker, so we know exactly when he is lighting up! As he walked away, his pants were falling down, and then he bent over and mooned us. Maybe he was an odd fellow, or he was under the influence of something ;) Definitely a contact to remember though haha! We finished off the evening with a rather unfortunate ending. We were riding our bikes, and watched a woman's car stall as she tried to speed through an intersection. We stopped and offered to help, even though I know absolutely nothing about cars, but we offered to push her car to the side of the road. Something was off about this woman, but we proceeded to try and help. A couple stopped and tried to help work with her as well. The woman offered to try and work with the lady in the car, but we weren't making much progress. She kept just sitting there trying to start up her car and get out! All of the sudden a man came running over, and said "Oh good, you got her to stop!" He told us that she had just been filling up her car at the Super America, and that she had backed up into someones car, and drove off the curb and the sidewalk speeding away. She was hardcore drunk, and had a big bottle of vodka sitting in the passenger seat. The fact that her car stopped itself was a heaven send! The police eventually caught up with us, and then we were off. Kind of sad that this all had to happen, but luckily no one was seriously injured!

On Thursday we had our District Meeting, and then our weekly service. I again was in the refrigerator stocking things for most of the time, but eventually I was out of the cold stocking boxes and other things on the shelves. A member picked us up, and took us to Taco Bell for dinner. We had an appointment after dinner with an investigator, but she called an cancelled. She had been in a fist fight with 8 other people a few days previous, and her face was extremely swollen, so she was unable to meet with us. The people here have a VERY different lifestyle than I am used to, but this type of event is fairly common. People here get in fist fights all the time, and occasionally you will come across a crime scene in Minneapolis where there will have been a drive by shooting, or some kind of murder. It's really sad, but it is normal for the cities. While we were out with the member, he gave us a lot of life advice and we had a really great talk with him, so it was great to be able to listen and to learn from him even though our evening plans didn't work out so great!

On Friday we had weekly planning, and we did a teaching evaluation with our ward mission leader and his family. Such a great family! We also finalized all of our plans and invitations to General Conference. I can't believe that it has seriously been six months since the last General Conference! It is crazy how time flies.

On Saturday our day was mostly consumed by General Conference. I love Elder W. Craig Zwick's speech on constructive communication. We had the opportunity to attend a devotional with Elder Zwick while in the MTC, and I just really enjoyed listening to him. His presentation all together was done very well, and was really interesting to listen to! He must have taken Public Speaking classes in college like I did haha ;) I could listen to him all day! We were invited over to a family’s home for lunch, and then we continued on with the next session of General Conference. After that session, we had dinner with the Sessions, and then... you guessed it, attended more General Conference! I liked President Thomas S. Monson's talk about having courage to stand strong. I'm sure you are all tired of hearing this quote by now, because I have heard that it was a hit on Facebook, but I liked his quote "If you find yourself where you shouldn't ought to be, get out!"

On Sunday we had a breakfast with members, missionaries, and investigators before General Conference began. Then, we went right into conference! I really enjoyed President Thomas S. Monson's talk on Christlike love. It was my favourite talk of the entire conference in fact! The quote that he shared by Dale Carnegie was a great one. Afterwards, we had lunch with the senior couple' and then attended the closing session with at the a different family’s home. We had planned to watch General Conference with that family and a different family to get the sister’s non-member father to watch General Conference with us, but he got called into work last minute. It was fun to be able to switch things up and watch the last session of General Conference with them anyways, plus I love spending time with their Scottish Terrier Winston :) After conference, we had dinner with an entire member family and then went joint teaching with another brother. Kind of a scattered day, but it all worked out :)

Thank you all so much for all of your love and support! It has been another great week here in Minnesota (minus the snow), and I hope that things are going well back home :) Have a great week!

Best Wishes,
Elder Kyle William Andrews

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