For starters, sorry for the late email. We walked over to the Family History Center in the basement of our Church today, and the computers were all shut down for updates that were supposed to have taken place last night but never started. So we went shopping, and biked over to the library to email :)
Last Monday we had a Zone P-Day activity in Brooklyn Park. We played quidditch.. yeah not really sure how to spell that (the game from Harry Potter) in the park with brooms and mops from our apartments. It was pretty hilarious watching everyone attempt to play quidditch and watching all of the people around the park staring at us like we were insane! Good times :) In the evening we stopped by an investigator and talked to him about the Holy Spirit and shared a Mormon Message with him about being in tune with the Spirit. Afterwards there was a horrendous thunder and lightning storm, and so we had to come inside. I of course thought that it looked really cool though, so I took a picture on our way in :)
On Tuesday we had District Meeting and Accountability. It was a pretty good meeting, and then afterwards we went on exchange. I was with an elder from Three Forks, Montana in our area. We had a great lesson with an investigator on the Plan of Salvation and the Word of Wisdom, and we reset his baptismal date for September 20th because he smokes and drinks coffee. On our way back home we taught a Pentecostal woman. We shared the Restoration with her, but she was not very impressed by the fact that we have an additional book of scripture. A lot of people here bring up the scripture in Revelations that we should not add or take away to the writings in this book. We try to explain that it is referring to the book of Revelations, not the Bible, but often people just tell us that we are making up excuses for the Book of Mormon. I guess it just isn't there time! In the evening we went out tracting near the a member’s home. We talked with several of their neighbors, but talked to two of them in particular that we were able to teach. The members have a wedding reception for their son this week at the Church, and so we are going to see them again at the reception. As we left they all told us that they would see us on Saturday! I love their neighborhood :) Most people in Minnesota do not know their neighbors, and could care less about who lives around them and what is going on in their lives, but for whatever reason their street is different! They all know each other and help each other out. It reminds me of a little Mormon community, except for the fact that the member family are the only people on their street that are Mormon!
On Wednesday I had my interview with the district leader before we exchanged back. It was pretty remarkable! We shared a lot of really personal experiences, and became even better friends. We have been serving together in this district for about 6 months now, holy cow I have been in the area for 7 months! This is both of our first time training, and our companions have a lot of the same struggles that we are not entirely sure as to how we can help them with their struggles. Pride especially is difficult to help anyone out with! He offered a prayer at the end of our interview though that was super powerful, and I knew that everything was going to work out and that all would be well. I had been having a tough week, and so that exchange and interview really turned things around! After we exchanged back we went and did mormon.org time and I watched Elder Bednar's BYU Education Week Speech on social media. SUPER good :) We had dinner with a member and his family afterwards and we were all able to talk about the speech that Elder Bednar had given. The sister’s parents know the producers of "Meet The Mormons", and so they have already seen the movie and said it was fantastic! I just can't wait for us to be able to use social media in our mission. Sometimes I think I will never be able to use it on my mission. I have been waiting for what feels like forever (over a year), and we still do not have it. One day though :) After dinner the member’s neighbor came over with her dog (yellow lab) and we talked for a while! Haha everytime I see a lab I think of my first dog, Buddy. Who knew labs got to be so big?!?!? The member’s youngest daughter and I love dogs and so we played with Morgan and took turns petting her. She is super cute and way fun to play with, so I have to constantly remind myself that I am not allowed to pick her up. Super tempting though! I took a picture of just her, but I wish I would have taken one of her and Morgan :) In the evening we went out joint teaching and had a really great lesson with an investigator on the Plan of Salvation. It was kind of a trial and error type of a lesson, but it all worked out!
On Thursday we went to the PRISM (People Responding In Social Ministry) Food Shelf for the first time in a long time, and that was pretty good. The only problem is that it takes up most of our day, so we only have the evenings to do missionary work. In the evening we went joint teaching. We had an amazing lesson with less-active members! We talked to them about the Plan of Salvation, Family History, and Baptisms For The Dead. We talked to them about organizing a family temple trip to the St. Paul temple! The sister has never been to the temple either, so it will be an amazing opportunity for their family :) After that lesson we went to the less-active members home and I shared with them a conference talk that I remember from my class at BYU "Teachings of the Living Prophets". It's a talk from the November 2012 General Conference titled "Be Anxiously Engaged" by Elder Ballard I believe. We committed them to pray and ask for service opportunities, and invited them to come to Church with us. It was a quick but very good evening :)
On Friday we had a Zone Service Project at a place called Second Harvest. We packaged tortillas and rice to be sent to food shelves all over Minnesota! It was pretty fun, and we packaged just under 6,000 lbs of food! After the Zone Service Project I went on exchange with an Elder from Kayesville, Utah for the afternoon. We went over and had a lesson with an investigator again. This elder is a great missionary, but his boldness with our investigator came off more like an interrogation and so he blew up at us and told us to go away. It was NOT a good lesson. He called us later and apologized, but told us that he felt attacked by the elder and it made him really uncomfortable. Luckily all is well :) While we were still on exchange we met a pretty drunk lady that wanted to talk with us, as well as an African-American Soul Singer named Sister Sparkle and a woman who told us that she was a Witch, and clarified that she is an Earth Mother. Kind of an interesting afternoon! After we exchanged back my companion and I had a lesson with some potential investigators. They were dropping us basically and telling us that they were not willing to put in the time and effort to figure out if the Book of Mormon is true, and they were not willing to come to Church. What can you do? It would be a waste of both of our time if they are not willing to act on anything we teach them. Hopefully one day they will reconsider though! Before we went home we met a guy that was working on his car outside of an apartment complex, and he told us that he has met with missionaries before. We taught him a little bit about the Restoration, and I related our message to fixing a car. I thought it was pretty hilarious, because I know NOTHING about cars, but he caught the vision :) We will hopefully be able to see him again this next Friday!
On Saturday we did our weekly planning and had a lesson with a member on faith and the Word of Wisdom. He is a less-active member struggling with alcoholism, and started drinking again this last week. He was attending AA meetings, but discontinued after starting up again. We made some really good progress with him though! He lives down the block from some members, and so they have a really great fellowshipper in the neighborhood. We went tracting afterwards and met a devil worshiper. That was interesting! I have met a few of those people on my mission, and you never really feel very comfortable around them. My companion was kind of upset with me for not going in to their home and attempting to teach them, but the Spirit was clearly not there and you could tell that nothing good was going to come from it. He mostly just wanted a cool story to write home about, but there could have been some extremely bad consequences from going into their home! President Clements warned us to not go into their homes, and to especially not check out how they worship the devil. Not good! We finished off the day contacting in the park, and we met a guy that we taught the Restoration to. Kind of a slower Saturday, but it was a good day nonetheless!
On Sunday no one came to Church, but we had a really good service! After Church we had correlation and our weekly meeting with Bishop. After Church we had a lesson with an investigator on the Book of Mormon, and we watched a really great video of a Jamaican man that lives in England that is now a Bishop, and he shares his testimony about the Book of Mormon. It was really cool! In the evening we had a lesson another investigator. We talking about the shifting values of society, and the craziness that is all around us, and how faith is the only thing that can truly help us with our surroundings. We invited him to an upcoming ward activity, and he said he would consider it. Non-committal people are always fun ;)
Overall it was a really great week! Thank you all so much for all you do, and for all of your love and support :) Talk to you soon.
Elder Kyle William Andrews