Monday, November 24, 2014

Transfers and a Baptism!

Hello Everyone,

This week has been good :) On Monday, we had our P-Day. After all of our P-Day activities, we went and helped some guy that a member knows remodel his house. We were tearing out his tiled floor, and ripping out the floor boards as well. It was a new experience using a hammer and a crow bar and taking out the floor. Of course it came off in little pieces, but it all worked out in the end! We even helped a little bit with some sheet rock, and I helped sweep up the mess. You know me!

On Tuesday we did some Area Book work, and then volunteered at Family Pathways for a little while. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We stopped by a less-active family and shared a scripture with them and reviewed the 10 commandments. Later we had a lesson with a less active sister. We talked with her about the Book of Mormon and trials, and she asked us to give her a blessing. After we left she texted us thanking us for the blessing, and that it had made her day! The cool thing about it all is that our original plans for the evening fell through. Originally we were going to be in a different city, and we were not going up to that city. Everything happens for a reason! To finish off the evening, we had a lesson with less-actives returning to activity. We had a really great lesson with them, and talked about Moroni 10:32-33 "Come Unto Christ." It was a super great day!

On Wednesday we had our last District Meeting for the transfer. I have loved this District! We took some pictures, signed each others testimony journals, and went on our way. In the afternoon we had a lesson with an investigator. We talked to him about putting on the Armour of God. We showed a video about putting on all of the pieces of Armour, and he really enjoyed the lesson! In the evening we had a lesson with a member. We talked to her about a quote by President Hinkley, "Look For The Sunlight." It talks about looking for the positive aspects in life rather than focusing on all of the negatives. Super good quote!

On Thursday we did some service at a thrift shop. In the afternoon we helped out with a move into the ward, a part-member family. They are super nice! She is a member, and he is not, but he comes to Church when he can. AWESOME :) After the move we got ready for the evening and went out joint teaching with Bishop. We had a lesson with our investigator couple on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We did a little experiment with hard boiled eggs and a glass bottle where you pour in some alcohol, light a match, and the hard boiled egg falls in the glass bottle. Kind of fun! When you crack the egg shell and peel it off, it represents repentance. The alcohol is baptism, and the fire is the gift of the Holy Ghost (baptism by fire). As the egg squeezes into the bottle, it represents enduring to the end. The kids loved it! It was pretty great :) To finish off the evening, we had a lesson with our mother and daughter investigators on covenants, specifically the covenants she would be making at baptism. It was a great last lesson before her baptism on Saturday!

On Friday we had Weekly Planning for the majority of afternoon. Mostly because we got a little bit distracted, and ended up going to a restaurant, and participating in the "Big Stack Challenge." Super nasty. You have to eat four HUGE pancakes the size of your face. It was pretty disgusting. Still not sure why I participated! But we did it. We got free t-shirts, and our picture up on the wall with a bunch of other people that decided to overly indulge in some carb overload. Never again! The funny thing is... I don't even like pancakes! Totally a waffles person. But it is done and over with :) In the evening we had a lesson with a part-member family and then went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with a less active member in the evening that went really nicely! I shared a Mormon Message with her called "Looking Through Windows" and then discussed Elder Uchtdorf's talk, "Lord, Is It I?" Afterwards she asked us a lot of gospel questions that she had been having, and we were able to resolve them for her. Overall, it was a super good evening!

On Saturday we had a baptism! Even though we tried to plan it out well in advance, it always feels like a last minute dash in the end. It all came together though :) She asked my companion to baptize her, and me to confirm her. Normally we are strongly discouraged from participating in any baptismal ordinance so that the members in the ward that live there and will stay there longer than we will can participate, but she selected us before we were able to have anything to do with it. It all worked out though. The baptism service went really great, and all of her non-member family was there and enjoyed the service! In the evening we went to a city in the cities metropolitan area, and participated in a ward Day of Service at Feed My Starving Children. It was awesome! Such an amazing organization. We packed up a bunch of boxes of food to be shipped out to the Dominican Republic. Our investigator couple came and had a really great experience as well! Overall, it was an awesome day :)

On Sunday we had Church, of course. Our new convert's confirmation went really well. I was kind of nervous for some reason, but then it all came together. Her blessing talked a lot about her example as a member of the Church, and that through the light that she has, others will have a greater desire to come nearer to their Savior, Jesus Christ. She is going to be an awesome missionary! Being the only member in her family, besides her grandma, she is going to do wonders :) Together they are unstoppable! In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with our investigator couple on consecration. We watched a movie called "Only A Stonecutter" that shares the story of John Roe Moyle. Super cool guy! We talked about acting and applying the principles of the gospel, and acting, not being acted upon. Later we had a lesson with our new convert. Her first lesson as an official member of the Church! We talked to her about the Holy Ghost, and the influence that it has in our lives. All in all it was a pretty solid week :)

Today we got our transfer emails, and I am staying here, and my companion is getting transferred to a new city, which is still in our District, so that is kind of fun! Thank you all for all of your love and support, have a great week :)

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, November 17, 2014

I hit my 18 month mark. CRAZY!

Hello Everyone,

This week had a crazy start with the freak snow storm last Monday, but things started to improve after that :) On Tuesday, Veterans' Day/Armistice Day/Remembrance Day, we had our P-Day so the bulk of the day was spent doing all of that fun stuff. In the evening we had dinner with an investigator family. The brother is a dry Mormon. He comes to Church every week, he has a calling, he has a quad and reads it regularly, but doesn't feel a need to be baptized yet. We shared with them Elder Bednar's talk, "Come And See" from General Conference. I love the story that he shares about his kids helping one another! Afterwards we asked if we could help him shovel their driveway, and he accepted! He is not one to ask others to do things for him, so this was a big step :) We shoveled for a while, and then headed on home.

On Wednesday we had District Meeting, and I was able to give a training on using time effectively. I had this fun little handout that said "Your mission is a limited-time offer, so act now! It's "werth" it ;)" I of course passed out werthers caramels along with my training. I have used it before in past districts, but it worked out perfectly for this training as well. I just love giving trainings, totally makes my day! After District Meeting I went on exchange with an elder from Twin Falls, Idaho. We went to his area for the day, and had some pretty cool experiences. We did some stop by's for a while, and then visited with a guy and a less-active Sister. The lesson was kind of awkward at points, and I said a few things that I shouldn't have said, so it was rough to start. (They complained about their neighbors, and I commented trying to make a joke, "You must have some crazies living around you." Turns out it is an apartment complex for people with mental disabilities. My bad!) So we had two options, I could just stop talking, or I could lay it on thick and charm the pants off of them! I chose the latter, but I wanted to be sure that their pants stayed on ;) It worked out really nicely actually. We had a great time discussing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the lesson went really well. I was instantly forgiven, and they totally loved me by the end of the lesson. It was a close one though! Lesson learned... watch what you say and be observant of your surroundings. To finish off the exchange we had a meeting with their Bishop to discuss the work in their area. I wasn't able to contribute a whole lot, but it was fun to see how other wards work.

On Thursday we exchanged back and we were asked to clean the baptismal font for the Sister's baptism on Saturday. Cleaning is the best :) The Sisters are in our ward by the way, not sure if you knew that. After cleaning the baptismal font, we changed and went to work. We had a lesson with Granny. She is such a sweet lady! We shared the talk, "Lord, Is It I?" from President Uchtdorf in General Conference. We talked a lot about focusing on and improving our own imperfections rather than focusing on others. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a really great lesson with our investigator couple on the Plan of Salvation. We used shaving cream and drew it all out on their counter. While we were talking with them, however, she mentioned some concerns with baptism. She told us that the gospel has had a profound impact on her life, but that some of her kids were having a really hard time applying it. She is tired of her kids lying, and misbehaving, and she isn't seeing the changes in her kids that she has seen in herself. She feels like if her kids get baptized and things turn south, it will all be her fault. Our joint teacher provided some really great insight, but it is still a major concern for her. Any advice? (Maybe a message on Facebook or something would be helpful. You have my permission to talk about some of the struggles you may have had with me, or my inactivity, or whatever. I don't know... I'm not a parent haha! -- except for my family and kids in St. George... can't forget about them!) To finish off the evening we taught the mother and daughter. We had the same lesson with the shaving cream and the Plan of Salvation. The daughter really enjoyed it, and was able to teach us all the steps in the Plan of Salvation! On Wednesday while we were on exchange, the district leader interviewed her for baptism, and she passed :) Things are going super well.

On Friday we had a lesson with the 17 year old boy about service and For The Strength of Youth. His Mom works in the oil fields and is home for two weeks, and then at work for two weeks. Cody is a super good kid when his Mom is home, but he misbehaves a lot when she is gone. We talked to him about the importance of having good values, and serving others. Another lady that he lives with, is tired of his misbehavior, so hopefully this will help! Afterwards we started to do some weekly planning. We decided to do it at the Church, because we had to fill up the baptismal font later anyways, so it was more convenient. When we arrived at the Church, it was a disaster! It is cleaned on Saturdays, but the baptism was Friday night, so we had to clean it. The carpets just really needed to be vacuumed, so we got a little side tracked. After cleaning up the Church, we filled up the font and life was good again. An investigator was baptized in the evening, and everything went really well :) After the baptism we went out joint teaching. We stopped by a part-member family. We visited with them for a while, and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon. She was outside smoking in the freezing cold weather, SO glad that I don't have a smoking addiction! That would be SO cold.

On Saturday I hit my 18 month mark. CRAZY! It was also Koningsdag/Fete du Roi (BE), so that was fun ;) We mostly weekly planned during the day. In the evening we did a dinner swap with the a family. They made us Mexican food, and we made them American food. They are a pretty cool family, not members yet, but maybe one day. They made us something called posola and toquitos. Not a big fan... but don't tell them that! I just about died when they told us that the big thing swimming in the middle of the soup was a pig foot. NASTY!!! The toquitos had jalapenos and onions in them, so they were SUPER spicy. We made breakfast casserole, or hot dish as they would say here in Minnesota. There is something about the word hot dish that kind of makes me want to throw up though, so I think I will stick to casserole. It had hash browns, sausage, eggs, and cheese in it. It turned out pretty good :) Not exactly figure friendly though. I am starting my 6 months to sexy program, so that is pretty exciting! I bought a blender bottle and some protein powder, and upped my workouts in the morning. We shall see what happens :) In the evening we stopped by our investigator couple, because it was their daughter’s 18th birthday. We partied it up, and I burned a pair of pants for my 18 month mark. They were old nasty pants that were ripped at the bottom from biking, so it was good to leave them behind.

On Sunday we had a super great turn out at Church. All the investigator couple’s family came, and the 12 year old came as well. After Church we visited with an investigator with the Sister Missionaries. We knocked on his door, and then the Sisters showed up, it was kind of funny haha! It was a really cool lesson though. At the beginning, he seemed very uncomfortable, but at the end he showed a desire to continue to learn more and to start reading the Book of Mormon. He showed us some of his WWI and WWII memorabilia, including a Nazi flag, so that was pretty cool :) It reminded me of visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.. In the evening, we had a lesson with the investigator couple. They have their marriage papers from the court house, now they just need to fill them out and get everything set up and they will be on their way! We watched a movie called "Treasure In Heaven - The John Tanner Story." It was super good. It talks a lot about faith, and the importance of acting on our faith. We assigned the kids to watch a Mormon message called "Honesty: You Better Believe It!" and we asked parents to watch the Mormon message, "You Never Know." Hopefully that will help! To finish off the evening, we had a lesson with the mother and daughter. We planned the daughter’s baptism, and finalized everything for next weekend. All should be well :) Her mother had a tough weekend, but hopefully things will get better as the baptism draws nearer.

Thank you all for all of your love and support! Next week we have transfers, so we will see what happens. I hope you all have a great week, and that all is well back home. Talk to you soon :)

Best Wishes,
Elder Kyle William Andrews

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stake Conference and Sonic!

Hello Everyone,

It has been another crazy week in Minnesnowta! Last Monday we had our P-Day, and in the evening we met with a part-member family. The sister is a member, and so is one of her kids, but the rest of them are not members. We had a nice lesson with them on the Book of Mormon, and then went over to another investigator’s house. We watched the movie, "Mountain of the Lord", which talks about the building of the Salt Lake City temple, and the importance of doing temple work. We then had a quick family home evening lesson on doing temple work!

On Tuesday we started off the day doing service for a member. She had some house siding that she needed moved. Dang, that stuff is HEAVY! I remember looking at the stack of siding thinking what an easy project it was going to be, and it was much more difficult than I originally intended. Afterwards we went out finding for a little while. We met with the an investigator family. They are Lutheran I believe. We talked to them about the Book of Mormon and how our Church came to be. They really enjoyed learning, and she brought out a book that she had read that talked about Mormons. She said that a lot of the things she read were very similar to what she believes, but that it was worded differently so people think it is different. SWEET! A lot of people get very put off by publications about our Church, but she read between the lines and realized the similarities an truths written about us. Kind of cool! They even gave us both a cross that he made in the garage. He is a very handy man, so he just whipped one together for us. Right now mine is on my desk, but eventually I will send it home when I have a box of stuff to send. In the evening we had a lesson with Granny. We talked about General Conference and shared a message from Elder Bednar's talk, "Come And See." It was a super great day :)

On Wednesday we did service at Thrift With A Twist. We organized a few things, hung up some clothes, and did a little bit of cleaning. Afterwards we went and had a lesson with an older member. I always have mixed emotions every time we meet with her. She is 94, blind, and wants to go home to her Heavenly Father. She is such a sweet lady, but she is just ready to not be alive anymore! We shared a message with her about the temple, and she talked to us about her conversion and her first experiences with the temple. Her husband was not a member when he passed away, but now all his temple work has been completed, and she has been sealed to him. She has some amazing stories to tell! In the evening we got a text from the investigator couple. They were making deep fried candy bars, and wanted us to come join them. We didn't have much planned in the evening, so we went on over. The deep fried candy bars were SUPER good, but SUPER unhealthy. They just wrapped a candy bar in biscuit dough and deep fried it. Kind of fun :)

On Thursday we had District Meeting a different town, which means we went to SONIC!!! Hallelujah! I have been missing my Route 44 Diet Coke w/ Easy Ice and Cherry. I think this time she thought I said "Extra Ice" instead of "Easy Ice" though... but it was still super good :) After District Meeting, I went on exchange with an elder from Tracey, California (near San Francisco I believe). We had a super great exchange! First we went and contacted a referral that we received. He requested a Book of Mormon and wanted to start meeting with missionaries. He was an interesting character. I think he might be a little bit challenged, but for the most part he was all the way there. We taught him the restoration, and he talked to us about how he had already read everything on and that he already believes it all. He just had one complaint. He shared a scripture with us in the Book of Mormon that proves that the Trinity is still in full force. I have never had an investigator on our first lesson share a scripture with us from the Book of Mormon, so that was kind of cool :) We talked about how the Godhead are one in purpose, but that they are distinct beings. He wasn't buying it, but we told him to keep reading the Book of Mormon and to pray about it. We set up a time for him to come and tour the Church, and then we were on our way. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with the investigator couple on the restoration and the priesthood. Their kids acted out the restoration, so that was super fun :) Afterwards we had a lesson with the mother and daughter investigators. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ, family history, and baptisms for the dead. She was able to meet the district leader before her baptismal interview, and we set up a time for her interview. Super solid evening :)

On Friday we exchanged back and did some weekly planning. After weekly planning we went over to the Church and gave the referal a Church tour. He really liked it! The library especially. Pretty sure he read the back of every single movie in the library, and even checked one out. After the Church tour we went over to Family Pathways for the remainder of the evening and helped set up for Christmas. They called it Mistletoe Mania! It was pretty fun :) I teamed up with a member and helped decorate one of the corner display areas. We had a winter lodge theme, and it turned out super great! Then they came over and told us that it wasn't cluttered enough and that they wanted more product to be displayed. That is probably because a cluttered winter lodge doesn't look presentable!!! Whatever. We did what we were told. I took some pictures, but of course my camera is in my desk currently. Next week though :)

On Saturday we had a lesson with a less-active member, about the Book of Mormon. He is very into war and action because of his time in the military, so we talked to him a lot about the war chapters in the Book of Mormon. He loved it and is interested in starting to read it! Afterwards we drove to our Zone Interviews. Yep, we got a text on Wednesday evening informing us that our interviews were moved from next week to Saturday. Kind of crazy! We had our interviews with President Forbes, and then we were able to FINALLY watch Meet The Mormons. It was super good! Not going to lie though, I got a little bit teary eyed with the Armstrong Family and their son being on a mission. It brought back a lot of memories, but it was really great! In the evening we had the adult session of Stake Conference. Stake Conference was really good! It was fun to see all the members of my first ward as well :) Yep, they totally still remember me... (and my electric coat). Fun times!

On Sunday, Remembrance Sunday (UK), we had the general session of Stake Conference at St. Cloud University in a big auditorium. We were on the balcony, and couldn't hear a thing. It was... unique. Ritsche Auditorium was super pretty though :) The investigator couple came, so we just played some games with them and talked quietly. Kind of an interesting Church experience. In the afternoon we had a lesson with another investigator couple. We talked about the Plan of Salvation. Cody kept his commitments, and we had a great discussion! Later we had a lesson with the investigator couple about missionary work. We shared Elder Bednar's talk, "Come And See." We finished off the evening at the mother’s house teaching her 12 year old daughter. We discussed 10 Commandments, the Word of Wisdom, Tithing, Fasting, and discussed all the baptismal interview questions. She is super set!

So on Monday we were supposed to have our P-Day, but it snowed a ton. First snow of the year, and it was a blizzard. Of course! So we were stuck inside all day and couldn't email or go shopping. Super lame! But we don't want to die in a car accident either so I guess it all works out. In the evening we got permission to go out, so we had a lesson with the our investigator couple on service and obedience. It was super great! To finish off the day we had a family home evening with the mother and daughter. We filled out her baptism and confirmation record and watched the movie Legacy! Things are looking good :)

Thank you all for all of your love, support, and prayers. It is going to be another FREAKING cold winter... but I will survive. Hopefully :) Have a great week!

Best Wishes,
Elder Kyle William Andrews

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Look For The Sunlight

Hello Everyone,

This week has been insane! But in a good way of course. On Tuesday we had our P-Day, because we had the Elder Carlson Mission Tour on Monday. After our P-Day we went joint teaching. We first taught an investigator family. We had a lesson with them on baptism, and went over the baptismal interview questions! They are making a LOT of progress, so it is super cool to see everything coming together :) After our lesson with them, we went over to another investigator’s house and had a lesson with her and her 12yr old daughter. We watched the movie, "On The Lord's Errand". The daughter loved it! It was a great way for her to learn more about President Monson. All in all, it was a super great day!

On Wednesday we had a lesson with a 17-year-old boy. His Mom is a less-active member, and he is not a member. We taught him the restoration and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. Afterwards we had a meeting with Bishop, and then we prepared for the Ward Party. The Halloween Spooktacular was SWEET! On Monday we bought Halloween hoodies, so that was pretty cool :) I dressed up as Captain America, and my companion wore a Star Wars tie and hoodie. It was pretty fun! I absolutely LOVE Halloween, so I cannot wait to have a super great Halloween when I get home :) I also learned to ask, "What are you dressed up as?" before I comment on costumes. One girl came dressed up as a Dalmatian, and I thought she was dressed up as a cow. She was outside sitting in a tree for the longest time, and so when she came inside, I jokingly said, "Well, what else would a cow be doing?" Instantly I was informed, "SHE'S A PUPPY!!!" It was pretty hilarious :) Luckily there were no hard feelings, the only tears were tears of joy and laughter!

On Thursday we went and did service at the Family Pathways Thrift Store. We set up some more Christmas Trees, and then took off. In the afternoon we went tracting and met a guy that we were able to teach the restoration to. He is kind of a free spirit, but he was still fairly interested. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We taught the an investigator couple about Prophets, and assigned them to watch a few General Conference talks. Later, we had a lesson with the mother and daughter. We talked about the restoration, the priesthood, and auxiliaries. It went really well, and the daughter started teaching us what she has learned. Super sweet!

On Friday, Halloween, we had another lesson with the 17 year old boy. He had read some of the Book of Mormon, but was having a hard time understanding what it said. A lot of people here read the simplified version of the Bible, not the King James Version, so the Book of Mormon is a little tough at first. We read the chapter with him, and he understood it a lot better. We then were able to talk briefly about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Later, we went and did service at another thrift store, Thrift With A Twist. While we were there, they were having a 50% off sale on all their clothing, so I of course did a little shopping. I found three suits that I bought, and they were $5 each! One of them was brand new, and still had the tags on it :) SCORE! A member of the ward is hemming the pants for me, so I am pretty excited. Plus, it was made in Canada! Whoot whoot! Afterwards we did some service with with a member family, and we weekly planned in the evening. No trick-or-tracting for us!

On Saturday, All Saints Day, we finished our weekly planning, and went and visited with a less-active member. His father recently passed away, and his heart has been very softened towards the gospel. I shared a quote with him from President Hinkley's talk, "The Continuing Pursuit of Truth". The quote is called "Look For The Sunlight." You should definitely look it up... it's a good one :) We talked to him about looking for the positive aspects in life, something that I am constantly working on. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a great lesson with a recent-convert. I shared with her the talk, "Obedience Brings Blessings", and we talked to her about being obedient to the commandments. It was a pretty great day :)

On Sunday, it was All Soul's Day (MX), Ashura Began At Sundown, and Daylight Savings Time Ended. We had an early morning meeting, that wasn't all that early because of daylight savings time. We discussed the NAC (North American Central) Initiative, which involves Part-Member Families, Children of Record (unbaptized members of an LDS family), and Prospective Elders. We came up with 10 families that we are going to focus on for the month of November. Sacrament Meeting was great! The 12 year old and the investigator couple came, and we taught gospel principles afterwards. Our lesson was on temple work and family history. I certainly have a lot to learn about those two subjects, but it all worked out! In the afternoon, we had a lesson with a less-active family. They were in their garage setting up a new garage door opener, so we shared a quick scripture with them, and got to know them a little better. In the evening we had a lesson with the investigator couple again. We shared the message, "Obedience Brings Blessings" with them as well. We talked about Prophets and set up a calendar to schedule out our lessons. The girlfriend is working on getting a marriage license. Her last name isn't actually what we thought, and she was a felon at one time, so changing her last name is a process. Hopefully all will go well though! To finish off the evening we had a lesson with the mother and daughter. We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and the 12 year old walked us through all the steps! It was great :)

It has been a super great week all together though! Just a heads up... today is Recreation Day in Australia :) Might as well celebrate! I think I am going to celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas this year, so feel free to send me gifts for all three holidays ;) You know me haha! Thank you all for all of your love and support. Have a great week!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews