Happy Victoria Day / National Patriots' Day! I come from a Canadian family, and our mission covers part of Canada, so why not celebrate ;) This week has been amazing! The weather is really improving, and things are going well.
Last Monday our day was consumed in switching over our cell phones. Our mission moved over from Sprint, which was AWFUL, to AT&T, which is slightly less awful. Still not great though. We had really bad problems with dropped calls, texts not being sent or received, and it was a big mess. Because we switched services though we had to manually move a bunch of stuff over. Some things were able to be sent over Bluetooth, but then you had to adjust them for the different formatting. It was a process, but luckily it is all over now!
On Tuesday we had our first District Meeting of the transfer. We learned about working with members, and asking for referrals. It was great! We were also able to receive personal revelation on individuals we can work with back home, and different people we know that might be struggling. It was very insightful! After District Meeting, we went out to contact a referral, but I TOTALLY got lost haha! The instructions we received said that he lived right behind a grocery store, which is relative, but I decided to take it literally. I decided to leave my GPS in the apartment, because I TOTALLY knew where I was going. Turns out my sense of direction is still awful, so we didn't find his house. BUT when we got home I figured out how to get there next time ;) It was a good time. Afterwards we were able to meet with the father of a ward member. We talked about the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, and small portions of the Plan of Salvation. He began to really open up, because we didn't have any members or family members around for the lesson. His family wanted to try that to see if it changed anything, and it worked! He talked about how his wife was always doing genealogy work, and asked why our church thinks that is important. We talked about baptisms for the dead, and temple work briefly. He had never heard of that before, but he kind of liked the idea. He jokingly asked that if he does not get baptized in this life, if his family would be baptized for him later. We assured him that they absolutely would, but we talked about how everyone still has their agency. It was a really great lesson, and he even instructed us that the next time we meet he would like to learn about prayer. His daughter said that she has never heard her Dad pray, or show any interest in prayer, so we are making definite progress! Afterwards we went joint teaching, and stopped by a less-active member. She needed help moving a few things out of her house, because she is moving to Springfield, Illinois. Later we visited with another less-active member, and had a discussion on the Plan of Salvation, focusing mostly on the creation and the fall. It was a great evening!
On Wednesday we had accountability calls with the district. While that was going on, I did a bunch of work on our Area Book and did some cleaning. I also made a few phone calls and utilized our second phone before we had to turn it in on Friday. It is kind of fun having two phones! Afterwards we went on exchange with our Zone Leaders. I went to the other Elders area with an Elder from Kayesville, Utah. He does not have his driving privileges anymore, so I got to drive! It was a party :) We did a bunch of stop bys in the evening, but not a whole lot happened. We did, however, meet a woman named who talked to us through her window. She is from Chicago, and is a baptist, but is looking for a church to go to here in Minnesota. We arranged a ride for her on Sunday, but she had to head off to work. The vocabulary of some of the people here is kind of unique. They use words such as minute "I haven't been to church in a minute", finna "I finna go to the store", etc.. kind of fun, but I don't think I will ever convert over to their usage of words.
On Thursday we had a few lessons in the morning before we exchanged back. We met with a man and we talked about the Family Proclamation, and watched the Patterns of Light videos. His daughter was really rambunctious during the lesson, so I became the distracter. It was a great lesson though :) We later visited with a woman who has a daughter who is a member. We taught the restoration, and committed her to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. We were late exchanging back, but we had a quick interview and went on our way. After we exchanged back we weekly planned for a little while, and then went joint teaching. We had an amazing lesson with our investigator and her family about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about faith, repentance, and baptism. I used this fun pencil lesson on repentance that my mom sent me, and we committed her daughter to be baptized on June 7th. Everything worked out really well, and she accepted the baptismal invitation! She actually wanted to be baptized that day haha :) To finish off the evening we had a lesson with an investigator family. Two of them brought up some concerns they had on Blacks and the Priesthood, and homosexual relationships. It was a unique lesson, but we definitely made a little headway. Our joint teach has a gay brother, and my companion and I both have gay friends, so we were the perfect group of people to answer their questions! We also went over the updated Official Declaration #2 that provides additional insight on Blacks and the Priesthood. Most importantly though, they will need to pray about it. Otherwise our answers won't do anything for them.
On Friday we had another Zone Service Project at the community garden in Minneapolis. SO MUCH GARDENING! Later in the day we had a lesson with the woman from Ghana that we tracted into. We didn't have a joint teacher and it was cold outside, so we only talked to her on her porch for a little while, but we had a quick lesson on the Book of Mormon! She had a few questions about sin, so we gave her a couple chapters to read and pray about. She is SO sincere. Afterwards we talked to the a family in the ward for a while. Their daughter has been working with her friend, so it was good to get an update. He is in Iowa right now for an Ultimate Frisbee competition, but we should be able to meet in a few weeks. I also received a phone call informing me that I was getting a new credit card in the mail. I guess Target had a big security breach a while back, and our mission has had a couple problems because of it, and so all credit cards that we used at Target during that time are being replaced. Kind of crazy!
On Saturday during my morning studies I came across some VERY interesting stuff! I was reading in Teachings of the Presidents of the Church - Joseph Smith addition, and on pages 242 and 245 I learned about Joseph Smith's dog named Major. He talked about how while he was in prison, he longed to see his family and play with Major. THUS, I'm pretty sure that the Prophet is telling us that we should all have a dog. While facing trials and tribulations, he sought out his family and his dog, two VITAL principles of the gospel. My family has never been very converted to the gospel, because we have never had a dog. I have tried many times to bring them into the light by bringing dogs home, but they were too far gone and had a lot of repenting to do. Hopefully this insight I have discovered will help them. It is never too late! That is all. Later in the day we did some service for the some ward members. They had their baby son last week, so we were helping them to rake up some of their leaves from last year. The snow came super early last year so many people had piles of leaves that never got bagged up. They are all doing well, and they are loving having a cute little baby at home! In the evening we went joint teaching, and had an awesome lesson with our investigator. He speaks Spanish, but we have been teaching him and his family in English. We decided to watch the restoration video with him in Spanish, and he loved it! Everything clicked together for him, and it made a lot more sense. His kids are being resistant, so he has decided to be an example to his family. Our joint teach bore really sincere testimony about how converting to the gospel has blessed him and his family, and our investigator was really touched by it. It was a really great lesson!
On Sunday we were busy the whole day! We went to Church, and five investigators came. One is working towards a baptismal date of June 21st! June is going to be a pretty incredible month :) Our mission has been focusing on setting dates, and being loving bold this past week in anticipation of President and Sister Forbes arriving in our mission, and for Sister Clements birthday on May 25th. Fun times are ahead! We went to see an investigator family again with a joint teach, and invited them to a thing that our mission has called a Presidents Fireside, where recent converts come and share their testimonies. They were unable to attend, but it was worth a shot. I have never been to a Presidents Fireside before, because you have to be in a Temple Zone, and have a non-member come with you. We had dinner with the a family in the ward, and then we went to the Presidents Fireside with them afterwards! It was awesome :) There were 5 recent converts that spoke, and in the middle Sister Clements and her daughter performed a musical number. Her daughter plays the violin, and Sister Clements plays the piano. They performed the Primary Children's Song, "Teach Me To Walk In The Light." It was amazing! We finished off the evening by receiving a referral from President Clements. He called and told us about a less-active woman that just moved into our area. A friend of his knows her, and said that she has some non-member friends that she wants to refer to us. We are going to be meeting with her on Tuesday next week. It was a pretty amazing week :)
Thank you all for your love and support! It is amazing to be a part of the "Black Name Tag Club", and to be here in the always unpredictable MMM. Thank you for all of your prayers, they mean the world to me! Talk to you soon :)
Elder Kyle William Andrews