Monday, July 28, 2014

A Baptism and A Greenie

Hello Everyone,
This week has been all over the place, but life is starting to get back to normal now! On Monday I had a training conference call and all of our regular P-Day activities. My Companion went around saying goodbye to everyone, and packing up his bags for transfers. Not a whole lot happened, yet the entire day I felt super frantic!

On Tuesday we mowed the lawn of a member family. I am slowly becoming a weed whacking expert, but my legs are still not super appreciative of my slow learning ;) Later we had a lesson with a less active brother. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon. He has finished 1st Nephi, and is moving on to 2nd Nephi! We talked about the importance of prayer in conversion. He has been reading the scriptures and coming to Church, but has not really been praying. It is a new concept for him, but I know he can do it! His daughter is moving to Indiana and there is some doggy contention in their family haha. The father is going to get his MBA in Indiana, and his daughter wants to take her dog Wesley with them. Wesley was her high school graduation gift, but then she went to college and on a mission and so her parents have really taken ownership of Wesley. They are going to work out a joint custody program so that everyone is happy :) In the evening we went out joint teaching with a brother from the ward and finished off our goodbyes. We saw two of our investigator families. We finished up some baptism details with our investigator, and then had a lesson with the other family on Church and goals. I think we might put them on the back burner for a little while. They were my companion’s favorite family, but they are simply not progressing. They know the Church is true, and they believe everything we are teaching them, they just will not come to Church. We commit them every week, and every week they do not come. Hopefully they experience a change of heart soon, but as of right now they are at a stand still.

On Wednesday we had our transfer meeting early in the morning. We drove the Sisters car to drop off our companions. Another Elder and I are both training so we were together for most of the day. We dropped them off in one of the very few locations in Minnesota with a Sonic, so we of course made a pit stop there! Oh my gosh, I have not had Sonic in 6 months. IT WAS SO GOOD! We made a deal with the Sisters that we had to clean their car because they let us borrow it, so we went over to a gas station and filled it up with gas and washed the windows. We were in a pretty tight space so we had to keep opening and closing the car doors for other drivers. We emptied out all of the sand on the car mats, and then another car drove by. We closed the doors, and all of the sudden we heard a click. Oh no! The car has an automatic lock system, and after about 5 minutes of not being used, it locks. Where were the keys you might ask? In the ignition of course! Yep, we were locked out of the car in the middle of a gas station! Luckily we were close to the mission home and they have spares for all of the cars, but seriously?!?!? It was pretty eventful! Afterwards we went out tracting for a little while and had a pretty cool experience. We were about to knock doors on a particular street and then we received a referral for someone that lives one street over! Talk about being in the right place at the right time. We met a woman, and kind of startled her. She told us that she had just been talking about us, and requested that we come visit with her. Super cool! She couldn't meet right then, but we set up a return appointment to meet with her next week. We then were able to teach her next door neighbor the restoration! He wasn't really feeling it, but maybe we planted some seeds and he will be interested later. Some days I feel like we do a LOT of seed planting. In the evening we went back to the mission home and picked up our greenies! We had dinner first, and then had the training assignment meeting. I am training an Elder from central California. Of the 27 new missionaries, he is one of the 3 that are not from Utah! He is 18 years old and just graduated high school. We then loaded up the car and headed home.

Thursday was my new companion’s first real day in the mission field. They challenged all the new missionaries to invite someone to be baptized on their first day, so we went out and tracted for a little while. We met a man and taught him the restoration. It was hilarious! My companion just stood there silently, kind of shocked at the situation. Then because he wasn't talking, I had to refer the discussion to him. It was a little rough at first, but eventually he got into it. Our investigator accepted the baptismal invitation, and it all worked out in the end :) In the evening we went out with Brother Sessions and stopped by our other investigator. We prepared him for his baptism on Saturday, filled out the baptism record, and talked about the actual ordinance. We also talked about receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and he asked a brother in the ward if he would confirm him! Afterwards we met with a newly converted family and talked to them about faith. They are planning on blessing their baby in a few weeks, and are still planning on attending the temple sometime in the nearish future. Such a great family!

On Friday we had Weekly Planning and my companion had to pick up some stuff for his bike so that we wouldn't have to walk everywhere like the day before. I have such shopping problems! I am not a fan of bikes. Not even a little bit! When we were over at the bike shop you would have never known that I hate biking. I was super fascinated at all of the bikes, biking equipment, biking outfits, and everything! However, I am proud to share that I did not buy anything though :) In the evening we biked around and stopped by what felt like a million people, but no one was home. Finally we went and stopped by an investigator, and she answered the door! We talked to her about Church and prayer, and she committed to come to Church the second week of August (because she is going up to St. Cloud before then). Progress :)

Saturday was awesome! We went over to the Church for our studies, and filled up the baptismal font and got everything ready for the baptism. Our new convert was baptized by a brother after investigating the Church for 15 years! Such a cool experience :) Just typing that out I got all tingley! My companion and I shared the restoration while they were changing. Normally that is not a stressful experience, but when you are teaching the restoration at the baptism with a new missionary it tends to be. We practiced it over and over though, and it worked out just perfectly! After the baptism we went over and helped a woman move into the ward. The move was a complete disaster, but it was a definite learning experience. She was not prepared to move, and the home she was moving into was not prepared for her to move either. We ended up stacking her belongings floor to ceiling in the basement, which caused some problems with one of her new roommates who uses part of the basement. That was eventful! In the later afternoon we went over and had a lesson with an investigator. We watched the Prodigal Son and talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end are so crucial in our lives! He shared some really cool personal experiences with us, and then we helped him out with some service. We had some free time before dinner, and so we knocked a few doors in our apartment complex. We met a woman and taught her the restoration. She is a baptist, and has not found a Church to go to that is close. Our Church is basically in our apartments parking lot, so her problem is solved! After dinner we biked around and had a lesson with a less-active member. He met my companion and they talked about fishing and country stuff, and I shared a spiritual thought with him. Although my companion is from California, he is definitely a country boy. He has worked on farms and lives out in the country in California, complete with a Southern Accent. I was more expecting the LA city boy type, but it all works ;)

On Sunday our new convert was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting. A member spoke in Sacrament Meeting, and her less active husband came along for the ride! To add to all of the excitement a sister and her family were visiting from my home ward in Utah, and sat right in front of us :) After Church we had a bunch of meetings (correlation with Ward Mission Leader and Ward Missionaries, and weekly meeting with Bishop) that all went really well, and then we came back to our apartment for dinner. Our evening plans were all over the place because our joint teacher was out camping, but we made it work! Another brother ended up coming out with us and we had a great lesson with an investigator on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also learned that my companion needs to learn Minneapolis Ettiquette ;) There were two very mysterious looking African-American men standing at the back of their car, discreetly opening their trunk. My companion was staring right at them the entire time! Seconds later a bunch of cops turned the corner and nailed them. The member kindly informed my companion that staring at people like that is a great way to get shot. Lots of work to do :) It was a great week though!

Thank you all for all of your love and support! I hope you have a great week and that all is well back home :) Talk to you soon.

Best Wishes,
Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, July 21, 2014

Faith helps us in all aspects of life

Hello Everyone,
This week has been crazy, but in the best way possible! On Monday we had our P-Day and I decided to buy a fun new University of Minnesota shirt from Target. Kind of just because, but it was my birthday this week so I rationalized that it was a wise investment ;) In the evening we went joint teaching with a Brother from the ward. We first taught a wonderful family. We talked with them about tithing, fasting, and fast offerings. It was a great lesson, and it answered a lot of questions that our investigator has had about living a gospel center life after he is baptized. Afterwards we went over to see the another family. We shared 1 Nephi 3:7 with them, and talked about going and doing. They seemed to really understand it well, hopefully they will apply the principle we taught. Agency sometimes is not our friend!

On Tuesday we had our last District Meeting this transfer. It was fun! We have all come really close these past two transfers. I remember when I was first sent to this District, I absolutely hated it. It felt like we were all sitting down for a business meeting, and then going our separate ways, but that has all changed. After District Meeting we had a lesson with an investigator. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and had a lot of questions for us about it. He said that he has recognized a lot of phrases that are stolen from the Bible, but it was written on the other side of the world. We talked to him about how God talks to Prophets, and how his message never changes. That would explain why his message is the same in both books of scripture. He also talked to us about the great and abominable Church. That was a fun conversation! He pointed out that it specifically refers to it as "the whore of all the Earth." We talked to him about how the great and abominable Church is not God's Church, and that it takes people away from God's Church which is why it is talked about so strongly in the Book of Mormon. After we answered all of his questions he was golden! He asked us to go through the regular missionary discussions with him so that he can learn everything about our Church in the order that we teach it to others. He is hilarious! "Basically what I am asking you to do, is to do your job!" Later we went out joint teaching with the Bishop of our ward, and had another lesson with the family we saw yesterday. We talked about the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. Neither of those commandments are a struggle for them, so he was ready and prepared for his baptismal interview. Afterwards we visited with another investigator. Her husband was not home, but she has been wanting to meet with Bishop for a while. They talked about finances and life, and resolved some concerns together. All is well!

On Wednesday we had a bunch of phone calls and things in the morning, and went out joint teaching with a member in the evening. Normally I don't talk about our dinners in my weekly letters home, but our Joint Teaching partner’s wife made Texas Sheet Cake for dessert (aka Magleby's Chocolate Cake!). It was DELICIOUS! I am all caked out from this week though, I have had a disgusting amount of cake from all of our meal appointments. Afterwards we saw an investigator briefly and set up an appointment with him. We visited with another investigator on his porch and talked with him about faith. We shared the Book of Mormon scriptures on faith with him, and talked about how faith helps us in all aspects of life. He really enjoyed the lesson, and set up a return appointment later in the week. We finished off the day visiting with another investigator family. They discussed some of their trials, and headway that has been made in some areas. They were planning on blessing their new baby on Sunday but the father got super sick. Awesome family though! At the end of the evening the father gave my companion my birthday package, and gave instructions not to give it to me until tomorrow. Rude.

On Thursday, my 20th birthday, we were all over the place haha! I got a bunch of hair products and clothes. Missionary birthdays are... unique. We had time, and all of the people in the Family History Center sang to me. It was pretty hilarious! Afterwards we weekly planned, and I went across the street to the ghetto strip mall and bought some birthday cake flavoured M&M's so I have cake on my birthday, but not real cake because I was kind of sick of it haha. They were kind of gross, but it was a fun thought! We went joint teaching with a brother from the ward in the evening. We were able to visit with an investigator family and reestablish contact! Afterwards we met with a less-active that we have been trying to get a hold of forever, and then we finished off the evening by stopping by our other investigator family. Talk about a turn of events haha! We walked into their house, and they had planned a surprise party! They had a Happy Birthday banner, food, and a cookie with my name on it. It was pretty fun :) We talked with them about Alma Chapter 5, and conversion to the gospel. It was a great ending to a great evening!

On Friday we had a Zone Service Project to start off the day. We were working at the Rose Garden Park in Minneapolis. I love all of these fun parks and places that they have here in Minneapolis. Who thinks of these things?!?! I guess this particular rose park has been here for over 100 years. It was super pretty! We helped replant some roses, and did some gardening work for them. It was pretty low key! On the way home though I caught some pictures of some ghettotastic signs in Minnesota. It was pretty great! We had dinner with a family in the ward and they invited some of their non-member friends. We had a great discussion with them, and then we were off to our investigator’s baptismal interview. It was great! He passed his interview and is ready to get baptized this next Saturday. In the evening we went and attempted to contact a bunch of referrals that we received, but didn't have much luck. On a positive note though, I got a package from some family that included a bottle of Coke, and a bottle of Diet Coke that said "Share a Coke/Diet Coke with Kyle!!!!" Oh my gosh! It was the best :) Totally made my day!

On Saturday we helped someone move in the morning. The old ward had 17 planned moves before the end of the summer. I think 8-10 of them are over, but now we have two additional unplanned moves. Goodness gracious! Lot of service ;) Afterwards we met with an investigator and talked with her for a little while. We have been so busy these past couple weeks, that some people have been falling through the cracks. Not good! I am working on figuring everything out, and balancing our schedule better so that we can be more effective and reach out to everyone. We found out that a ward member was going to the Mall of America so I sent her with all of my shirts and things that needed to be exchanged. They did not have them in stock at the store so they had to mail them. She had them mailed to her house, which caused some unexpected stress because of transfers haha! Oh well, I knew I would get them eventually, even if I am transferred. In the evening we went joint teaching with a ward member. We were going to contact an investigator, and met an 87 year old woman instead. She came up to us and held our hands and sang to us, and then pulled us into her house to see one of her paintings. She was kind of crazy, but she was a super sweet woman. Afterwards we set up an appointment with our investigator, because she was busy at the moment. Good things are in the works!

On Sunday we had Ward Council and the Stake Presidency came to visit. Afterwards we had Church, Correlation, and our weekly meeting with Bishop. After Church my compantion had a baptismal interview for someone in our District, and then we had dinner and went to the Presidents Fireside with an investigator family! It was a jam packed day, but it all flowed perfectly from one event to the next. The Presidents Fireside was great! I saw my old companion who goes home on Wednesday for the last time. It was great to see so many of my missionary friends again, and to witness President and Sister Forbes first Presidents Fireside. One of the Assistants told us that they would be talking to us in the Morning, which is always kind of nerve racking. I had no clue what was going to happen with transfers! You get calls if you are training or going into leadership, but we didn't know who the call was for or what it was for exactly. Needless to say it was tough to get to sleep Sunday night.

This morning came, and we got the call. I am staying here, and will be training a new missionary. I was stunned. I was expecting to be called as a District Leader or something, but the thought of training kind of frightens me! So much extra work and responsibility. Being a District Leader would have been so much easier! I am glad that I will still be here though, and that I will be here to witness our investigator’s baptism. Everything will work out for the best.

Thank you all so much for all of your love and support! I am excited to see what happens this next transfer, and how things work out training and everything. Pray for me and my greenie haha!

Best Wishes,
Elder Kyle William Andrews