This week has been pretty fantastic! So much to talk about... On Monday we had our P-Day. There is a really sweet woman that does our laundry for us. AWESOME! We played some games at their house and wrote some letters and then went on with our regular P-Day craziness. In the evening we had a very interesting experience tracting. We knocked on a man's door, and he yelled, "Who is it?" I answered, "It's the missionaries!" To which he responded, "Come in!" I pushed the door open, and he quickly yelled, "Don't let the cat out!!!" as it ran out the door. He was not very happy. He was disabled and was sitting in his big chair with his crutches because he cannot walk very well. He frantically was yelling, "You have to go find Thunder! Thunder has never been outside before! Thunder come back!" So we started chasing his cat. I HATE CATS! Hate is a very strong word, but it is definitely appropriate in this situation. I do not just strongly dislike cats, I HATE them! So we went around trying to catch his cat, and it was not cooperating. Finally we cornered the cat in a flower bed, and it started to hiss at us, and was not a very happy cat. My companion reached over and tried to grab it, and it scratched one of his hands, and bit the other. The man kept yelling, "Just grab it and bring it inside!" Then the cat got away again. We cornered the cat again, and the man came outside and tried to comfort his cat. He kept telling us that his cat didn't bite, and that we just need to grab it and bring it inside. My companion reached over again, and it scratched his hand even more. At this point, the man was super ticked off! He was yelling, and swearing, and was not a happy camper. Then after about 45 minutes of chasing his cat, he realized that upstairs he had a kennel for his cat. Good gosh! So my companion grabbed the cat carrier while I kept watch over the cat making sure it didn't escape. He came back and we tried to get the cat in the cage, and it ran away again. By this time, the man went and sat down. He was exhausted from yelling and getting up from his chair! We kept chasing it, and finally it was on his back porch. My companion was standing at the door with some of the cat's treats, but it would not go inside. I finally cornered the cat between two trash cans, and told my companion to bring me the cat carrier. He walked around the house, grabbed the cat carrier, handed it to me, and stomped behind the trash cans to scare the cat into the carrier. The cat ran into the kennel, and I scooped it up and shut the door. It was hissing and was super not happy with us, but we caught it! We walked inside, shut all the doors, and released the cat. It casually walked out of the kennel, and nuzzled up to me. Yuck! Then the man asked my companion to put the cat carrier back, and the cat followed him and meowed. It nuzzled up to him as well, and he started petting Thunder. What a snot! This cat must have been super scared outside or something. Regardless, I was not super impressed. Now the the cat conundrum was solved, we were able to talk to the man for a little while. We found out that his name and that he has lived here for 5 years, and his family rarely comes to see him. He just spends all day with his cat, Thunder. Thunder we found out is actually terrified of Thunder, so his name was kind of a fluke. We were late to an appointment, but we asked if we could come stop by and talk with him some time later. After that, we went over to a member’s house and watched Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration. I love that movie! Totally made the day better. My companion washed his bloody hands, and things got a lot better! Pretty eventful day.
On Tuesday we went to a thrift store called Family Pathways, and did some service for an hour. They are preparing for Christmas, so we were in the back setting up Christmas trees. It felt super wrong to be setting up Christmas trees in October, but I guess you have to start early to set up an entire thrift store. They will be redecorating the store in November though, so they will be violating the rule that you don't put up your Christmas tree until after Thanksgiving. Oh well! Afterwards we had our weekly accountability call, and then went over to a member’s house to arrange doing some service for them later in the week. In the evening we went out joint teaching, and we had a lesson with a less-active member. We talked to her about the Plan of Salvation, and she and her daughter really enjoyed it! My job was mainly to entertain the daughter, who I believe is about 2 years old. It was pretty fun. We played with her Weebleville toys, which reminded me of the Weebleville toys that we used to have. Fun times! I think I was having more fun than she was, but whatever.
On Wednesday morning, I realized that I had not started writing my consecrated missionary speech. President Forbes informed us that Elder Carlson would be picking 2-3 people in each conference to give a speech on becoming a fully consecrated missionary, so I decided I had better start writing it. It actually came together rather nicely, and I realized that because I was prepared, I probably wouldn't be called on. So that was a relief! I used a couple quotes from a letter that my Mom sent me earlier on in my mission, when I was having a rather difficult time adjusting to missionary life. It worked out super well! I used a quote that she sent me from President Eyring that says, “Every person is different and has a different contribution to make. No one is destined to fail.” It tied in perfectly to what I was trying to say about changing and becoming better. Gotta love it when that happens! Later in the day, we had District Meeting. It was kind of weird being back in the first Ward building I served in, but being in a different ward in the District! District Meeting went really well though, and I really like all the Elders and Sisters in our District. In the afternoon we went out and tracted for a little while. We met a really nice older lady. We talked with her a little while about the Bible and the Book of Mormon. She has talked to missionaries before, but she wasn't very interested in learning more. Maybe she will sometime later though! In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a really great lesson with an investigator couple on the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. They are still going strong on living the Word of Wisdom, and things are going great! They just need to be married. Baby steps!
On Thursday we went and did some service with a family from the ward. We raked and bagged some leaves, helped out with some winter preparations, and talked for a little while with them. The sister is a member, and her husband is not. It was good to start developing a relationship with them! After doing service, we went and visited with a less-active member. We shared a scripture with him, and he asked us for a blessing. He has been trying to give up drugs, but is having a really hard time with it. He also has a really tough time with anxiety. We gave him a blessing, and he really appreciated it. Hopefully things go better for him! In the evening we went out joint teaching, a priest preparing to go on a mission. We had a lesson with an investigator and her daughter on the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. She is 12, so she felt a little bit awkward when we taught the Law of Chastity, but the Word of Wisdom part of the lesson went great! We finished off the evening with a teaching evaluation, but the roles were reversed! Our joint teacher and my companion taught me the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I pretended to be an investigator. Kind of fun!
On Friday we deep cleaned our apartment. I felt like I was kind of in a funk, but I realized that it was partially because our apartment was super nasty! I don't know how people live in places like this! I was going insane. So we did a lot of cleaning, and things got a lot better for me :) Peace of mind. After cleaning our apartment for a while, we started weekly planning. I felt like I was able to focus so much better now that our apartment wasn't a complete disaster! Plus, I bought an air freshener because it smelled super nasty. Now our apartment smells like apples! In the evening we had an Elder's Quorum Activity called "Burgers and Brothers". We had invited quite a few people to come play basketball, and hang out. Unfortunately no one came, but a few guys from the ward were there. The Elder's Quorum President was outside grilling, and it was a pretty great event! Friday was also United Nations Day and Muharram began at sundown, so that is always fun :)
On Saturday morning my companion noticed that someone new was moving into our apartment complex, so we offered to help them move in. It was fun to get to know some of our neighbors, but of course they lived on the third floor of our apartment building! We never help people move into lower floors, just the highest floors ;) Later, we went out tracting for a little while and met some really interesting people. We talked to a rabbi for a little while. He is a Messianic Jew, so he believes that Jesus is the Christ. We had an interesting conversation about the world, and how it is important to stick to our standards. We also talked about the Bible, and transitioned into talking about the Book of Mormon. He wasn't super interested, but we did have a nice conversation with him! We then saw an older lady mowing her lawn, so we offered to help. My companion started mowing her lawn, and I stood and talked to her for a little while. Her husband died about 2 years ago, and she has a couple kids that live around the area. We got talking for a little while, and she asked a few questions about our Church. While my companion mowed the lawn, I taught her the restoration. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon, but was a little hesitant to set a return appointment. We will just have to stop by another time in the future. Later we helped a new family move into the ward. It was a day full of LOTS of service!
On Sunday it was FREEZING cold. Everyone at Church was talking about how cold my hands were every time they shook my hands. Time to start adding more layers. Three investigators came to Church though! In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with the our investigators on the Law of Tithing. Oh, I forget to tell you, I got my halloween package! So I used some candy to demonstrate paying 1/10th. They are still going strong on the Word of Wisdom, AND they are starting to arrange everything so that they can get married! Later we had a lesson with our investigator and her 12yr old daughter on the Law of Tithing, Fasting, Fast Offerings, and obeying the laws of the land. It was a power house lesson, and it worked out really well! As a fun side note, on Sunday we had dinner with a family from the ward. The sister lived in Utah, and I know her brother. He was on PHS's Varsity Ballroom Team. I think he graduated in 2011 though, but that was kind of cool!
On Monday we went to a different city for Elder Bruce A. Carlson's mission tour. We were able to hear from Elder Carlson, Sister Carlson, President Forbes, and Sister Forbes. It was a really great conference! We learned a lot about how we can become more fully consecrated missionaries. As I predicted, I was not asked to give a speech on becoming a more fully consecrated missionary. In the evening we had a lesson with a part-member family on missionary work, and then later had a quick lesson with the 12yr old and her family on missionary work as well. It was a fun day! Super weird not having P-Day on Monday though.
Thank you all for all of your love and support! Talk to you soon :)
Elder Kyle William Andrews