Monday, December 29, 2014

A Wedding and a Baptism

Hello Everyone,

This week has been really great, with a couple unusual twists and turns! On Monday we had a couple hours to email, wash our clothes, and go shopping. It was not actually our P-Day because of Christmas. Unfortunately on Monday we needed to wash ALL of our clothes because of the bed bugs, so not a lot was accomplished. In the evening, however, we were able to attend our new member’s choir concert at Christ Our Light Catholic Church in Zimmerman. It was fun to get together with her family, and to see her performing a couple fun Christmas songs.

On Tuesday we had a bunch of accountability calls to make, and then the bed bug exterminator came over to our apartment. They tore apart our bedroom and sprayed our mattresses, then they sprayed our furniture and our carpet. They found quite a few bugs on our mattresses, and even found some of my companion’s blood on his mattress. Nasty! We then purchased special bed bug mattress covers to seal any additional bugs in to kill them out. Apparently bed bugs can go 18 months without eating, so it is a fun process. They are going to do 2 additional treatments 2 weeks apart. Hopefully the problem has been resolved!

On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, we had District Meeting. For District Meeting we had a gift exchange, so that was super fun :) I had a couple people in our District give 5 a minute training on goal setting, planning, and execution. We talked about Nephi and how he was a goal setter and a go-getter. It worked out really nicely. Lets be real, it is a miracle in and of itself that District Meeting even happened with all of our bed bug craziness! We spent Christmas Eve with a family in the ward. They had family over for dinner, and we played a few games and opened a few presents. The mom works with glass, and so she made us both a glass sun catcher. They have cute little penguins sitting on an ice cube at the bottom. Kind of fun!

On Thursday, Christmas, we spent the day with another family in the ward. We opened presents with them in the morning, then went over to the other their relatives later in the day for Christmas dinner and a gift exchange. It was super fun :) On Christmas we also got to Skype home, which is always eventful! It is weird to see that people are growing and going on with their lives while I am here on my mission. I don't know why I thought life back home would pause, but it certainly isn't. Craziness! In the evening we visited with the family who is getting baptized tomorrow. We tried on jump suits, answered some last minute questions, and practiced the baptismal ordinance. They certainly had a crazy week!

On Friday, Boxing Day, we were scrambling in the morning to get everything ready for the wedding. The ward really came together and tried to get everything to turn out. With the ward helping, however, you run into a couple awkward situations. A member made all of the flower arrangements, and some of them were just plain ugly. The bouquet in particular. So a member sent us to Walmart to buy a bouquet in the wedding isle, and my project was to combine both bouquets and try to make something that looked good. It took a couple tries, but at last it all worked out! The whole day was awesome really :) A few extended family members were really late, so the day was pushed back a little, but at least everything happened! Their wedding was awesome! Definitely the highlight of the day. I love weddings :) After the wedding they had their wedding reception. The maid-of-honor (their daughter) gave a really touching speech during the reception. She talked about her Mom first and how they are best friends, and how she has been amazed at all the things she has overcome in her life. Then she talked about her step-dad, and what an amazing Dad he has been to her. None of the wife’s children are his, yet he has taken them all in as his own. She talked about how he has been more of a father to her than her real Dad. Then she made everyone cry. She talked about how she has always been looking for someone like him in her life. She talked about all the times that they had Daddy Daughter Dances and Daddy Daughter Dates in school, and she would always just have to stay home. She talked about what an amazing father he has been to them already, and that she was proud to call him Dad. It was a super cool moment! Then they took a bunch of wedding pictures, which turned out really nicely. SO MANY PICTURES! When I get married, if I get married that is, I will definitely be taking pictures on a different day than my actual wedding. Of course you have to take pictures on your wedding, but I am sure I can arrange for some of it to be done in advance. Plus, when you are getting married, you are the boss. It can totally happen! Then came their baptism. We all changed into our jumpsuits and white clothes, and everything worked out really nicely. There were too many people to fit in the Relief Society room, so the baptism was moved to the Chapel. There was an awesome turn out! I had the amazing privilege to baptize two of the daughters. It was a really cool experience! I feel like they have become part of my family. It's weird, but I like it. I love that family SO much! To finish off the evening, we had a lesson with our part-member family on obedience and scripture study. It went pretty well. We watched a few Mormon Messages, and had a really great discussion. It was an exhausting, but definitely a very rewarding day!

On Saturday we did some Weekly Planning in the morning, and then went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with a recent-convert on the Plan of Salvation. We watched a Mormon Message with her on the Plan of Salvation that puts it into the perspective of a 3 Act Play. It was super good! In the evening we went over to the some investigator’s, but they were sick so we set up another appointment. Afterwards we went over and visited with a part member family. A few weeks ago, her son took off though and has been living with some of his friends. We actually saw him at Walmart this week, but didn't realize that he still had not gone home. I don't know why you would take off during the holidays, but hopefully he will come back soon. We talked with them a little bit about Prophets and the Book of Mormon. It was all started by a discussion they were having on how crazy things are going in the world right now. It was a pretty good day :)

On Sunday we had our new member family Confirmation in Church. Last minute they asked me to confirm one of the sons. He’s is my buddy, so I totally agreed! It was super cool to see a family coming together in making and keeping covenants. They are amazing! After Church we went and visited with an investigator. We shared a message with him from the Ensign called "Fill The World With God's Love." Super good message. He talked with us about some family drama, and then he talked to us about how much he appreciates us coming over. He told us that he has no one to talk to. No one ever comes over to see him. His family has been falling apart since his parents died. For a while he didn't even talk to anyone! He is doing a lot better now though, and it is hard to even get a word in. Funny how that works! He is super good man though, I am grateful for the opportunity that we have had to meet with him. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with the new member family on obedience and scripture study. They were pretty exhausted with all the weeks events, but it worked out nicely. They are going to accomplish some really cool things in the future, I know it!

Today is not actually our P-Day either. Our P-Day will be on New Year's Day. Kind of fun how it all works out :) I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a Happy New Year! Thank you all for your love and support. Talk to you soon!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, December 22, 2014

Faith Brings Miracles

Hello Everyone,

This week has been kind of crazy, but has been a super good week all together. On Tuesday we had our P-Day, and in the evening we went over to our investigator’s home and reviewed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also filled out all of their baptismal records, which was a process! I don't know why the Church hasn't made a family baptismal record, but they haven't. We had to make an individual baptismal record for all five of them. It was a process, but it is a good problem to have! I am amazed at their desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God. They are on fire! On Tuesday, the Sisters took off. I found out that I am going home with one of the Sister, so it will be fun to catch up later!

On Wednesday we went suit shopping with the investigator family! The dad found an awesome suit at the Calvin Klein outlet for a steal. Shopping is the greatest :) Maybe I can be a professional shopper when I get home! Doubt it would pay enough for my own shopping though... Guess I will have to keep looking for a career. After shopping with them, we had our weekly meeting with the Bishop. We were kind of scattered, but it all worked out. We just have A LOT of work to do now that the Sisters are gone. We have two huge areas to cover now, and no extra time to do it all. Everything is going to be fine though :) In the evening we visited with an inactive member. We have been teaching her son for a while now, but as of recently he ran away. They are still trying to find out where he is, but hopefully he will come home for Christmas. We shared "He Is The Gift" with her, and she loved it! It was a really great visit :) She works in the oil fields in North Dakota, so she is rarely ever home. This was my first time meeting with her, but it seemed to go really well!

On Thursday we had a bunch of accountability calls in the morning, and then we went and did service at the thrift store. We helped with taking down and reorganizing some of the Christmas stuff. They are preparing for a big Christmas clearance sale to get rid of all of their Christmas stuff before the end of the year. In the evening we had a lesson with our investigator family on the 10 Commandments. We reviewed all of the commandments, and then we planned out their baptism. They are all super excited! Normally ward members are encouraged to participate in the actual baptizing of the converts, but the mom and her daughter have asked me to baptize them. The other daughter asked my companion to baptize her, their son will be baptized by his dad, and another child will be baptized by his uncle. Should be an exciting day! They are getting married at 1:00, afterwards they are having a reception, and at 3:00 they will be getting baptized. Crazy! Good things are in the works. To finish off the evening, we met with another investigator family and reviewed the Word of Wisdom. Our new member is doing great, and her sister has continued to sit in on all of our discussions! Her mom is very optimistic about her developing a desire to be baptized.

On Friday we had Weekly Planning, and then we went on exchange with our Zone Leaders. I stayed in here with an Elder from Kayesville, Utah. He is an awesome missionary, and we had a really great time on exchange. To start off the evening, we had our investigator family’s baptismal interviews. They all passed, no surprise. They are great! I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to teach them and to get to know their family better :) Later in the evening we visited with a member. We shared with her a message from the December 2014 Ensign called "Fill The World With Christ's Love." It is a super good message that talks about giving of ourselves this Christmas season. I am constantly reminded on my mission that it isn't necessarily the things that you purchase for people that makes the biggest difference, but the time and love that you give them. (Not that I don't want gifts for Christmas haha! I am definitely not to that point!) Time and attention make a huge difference!

On Saturday we went out contacting in the morning and shared "He Is The Gift" with quite a few people! We even came in contact with a woman who used to meet with the missionaries, that is interested in meeting with us again. She was on her way out, but we will have to try her again! We also helped a family in the ward move an old broken piano out of their home. Later in the afternoon we had an interview, and we were able to talk about everything that is happening in the District. We identified a few things that we can all improve, which is always great! One thing that we talked a lot about was time. I feel like there is never enough time to do everything, but again, it is a good problem to have. We talked a lot about sharing the responsibilities. I need to focus more on the District, and my companion needs to focus more on the area. I can't be the head of our District and our area. That means that I need to let go... that is kind of a big deal for me. I definitely like to organize and be in charge of things... that way I know that things will get done, and they will be done well. Sharing the responsibility is all part of learning though... it will be good for me, and it will be good for my companion. All good things :) No one ever said that good things were easy to do though! We later were able to visit with an investigator and share "He Is The Gift" with him. We talked a lot about Christmas and traditions, and his plans for Christmas this year. He is a really awesome guy! Later we exchanged back, and went out joint teaching. We had an awesome evening! We first visited with a recent convert in the sister’s former area. We talked with her about the Word of Wisdom and the Spirit. We shared the cool new living nativity video that they filmed in Utah with the Piano Guys and David Archuletta. Later we dropped off some cookies for a few home teaching families, and finished the evening visiting a part-member family. At first they were not very open to having us over. Their son had a fever of 102 degrees, and they did not want to get any of us sick. Our joint teacher offered to give him a blessing, but they kindly refused. I went on and talked about "He Is The Gift" and invited their family to watch it together, and a few minutes later he invited us to come inside. When we were inside, he asked his son if he would like a blessing, and he agreed! We explained what a blessing was, and gave him a blessing. The mom, who is Catholic, got very emotional. You could feel the Spirit really strong in their home after the blessing, and it took almost immediate effect. He was up dancing around and was feeling great! We talked about the Book of Mormon, and invited them to start taking the discussions, and they accepted! We will be visiting with them again next Saturday :) Now here is where things get REALLY interesting! My companion has a bunch of bumps all over his body from our exchange. He was bitten by something while sleeping in the other elder’s bed. They suspect they might be bed bugs. Yep! So we applied a bunch of anti-itch cream all over his body, and went to bed.

On Sunday, we had a really great service at Church. Because last week was our Christmas service, the Bishopric all spoke about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. I thought it was a really awesome focus for the Sunday right before Christmas! Our investigator family all came to Church as well as a part-member that the Sisters were working with. On Saturday evening, a dear friend of our investigator family was killed in a car crash. They were very startled, and were having a tough time with it all. Totally understandable. Please keep them in your prayers. (Maybe a Facebook message would be helpful...) My companion’s bed bug bites were really irritated, and they had everyone at Church up on their toes. We texted President Forbes and the Assistants, and were waiting for a response. We got mixed reviews at Church, some people told us that we were going to die basically and that we needed to burn all of our furniture and clothes, and other people told us that it was no big deal. We almost got kicked out of Church, but someone looked it up and said we would be fine. After Church we talked to the medical and apartment coordinators, and started to wash and dry all of his clothes on the hottest cycle available. We counted and took pictures of all of his bug bites so that we would know if he got any additional bites when we went to bed. In the evening we had a lesson with our new member and her family on the law of chastity. It went really well, and I think everyone learned a lot! We talked mostly about having good standards, and the importance of our thoughts, words, and actions.

Today we have been dealing with the bed bug dilemma. My companion had some additional bites this morning, so tomorrow they will be exterminating our apartment before they spread. The Elders that we got the bed bugs from will be doing the same. We washed all of our clothes, and deep cleaned the apartment. I don't have any bites or anything, and I certainly do not want to get any! Today we have a quick P-Day. Christmas is our real P-Day. We are just emailing and shopping today, so that should be fun :) We are spending Christmas with a family in the ward, and it sounds like it is going to be a super fun day! Plus, we get to Skype, so that is always a good time ;)

Thank you all for all of your love and support! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas :) I will talk to you soon, and see some of you even sooner!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Sunday, Zone Conference

Hello Everyone,

This week has been insane! On Monday we had our District P-Day at the Hogan's Pole Barn. They have a rock climbing course, a multiple climbing ropes, go-karts, tricycles, anything you can imagine. It was super fun :) In the evening we visited with our investigator family, and shared "He Is The Gift" with them. We talked about the importance of Christmas time, and the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ. Afterwards we did the exact same thing with our other investigator family. It was great! I love sharing "He Is The Gift"! #ShareTheGift

On Tuesday we had a bunch of accountability calls to make in the morning. I love talking with all of the teams and finding out what is going on in everyone's areas. Missionary work is the greatest! Afterwards we went and did some service for family in the ward. The mom is the lead coordinator at the St. Paul Minnesota Temple, and has been having some trouble with an excel spreadsheet that she sends out with the schedule. She asked us when we were over doing our laundry if we knew anything about computers, and I offered to help. I don't know a ton about Excel, but with a little bit of playing around I was able to figure out the problem. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We shared "He Is The Gift" with the an investigator and her family. I love Christmas :)

On Wednesday we had District Meeting. This week I trained on "Revelation Through Church Attendance." We discussed how to effectively pitch an invitation to Church, and offering Church tours. It went really well! For a role play, we went on a tour of the Church. We each had our own individual assignments for the Church tour, and it all came together marvelously. I was pretty excited! I had a handout with a mustache sticker that said "I Mustache You A Question" - relating to inviting people to worship with us, and then a quote by Walt Disney. I don't remember the quote exactly, but it says something to the extent of, "We keep moving forward, opening new doors and exploring new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." I love Walt Disney! I really like that quote too. I think it perfectly describes our purpose as missionaries. It is our curiosity that motivates us to keep moving forward. If we didn't care about the people, then it would be pointless to keep doing what we do. We try new things, knock on different doors, and work with different people to help everyone come unto Christ. After District Meeting I went on exchange with an Elder from Texas in one of my old areas! It was a blast. We had dinner with a family in the ward, and then we shared "He Is The Gift" with three other families. All people that I love and used to meet with in that area! It was super cool. I can't wait to go on exchange there again. Right now the area is kind of struggling, so I hope to be able to help it grow.

On Thursday we exchanged back (kind of) and then I went on exchange with my old companion. This time I stayed in my area, and my companion went to a different one. We did some service at thrift store in the afternoon, which is always great. Before dinner we visited with a less-active member, and shared "He Is The Gift" with him and his family. They loved it! Basically everyone loves it. It has opened up SO many new doors and avenues for different ways to share the gospel. People are much more open to here a special Christmas message than a message about someone else's Church. Turns out Christmas has EVERYTHING to do with our Church ;) They don't realize that at first though. In the evening we had a lesson with our investigator family. We discussed the baptismal interview questions, and prepared the mom for her first interview with our Zone Leaders on Saturday. We talked about the reasons behind having an interview to declare your worthiness to a servant of the Lord. She was a little nervous, but totally ready. We finished the evening with our other investigator family. We were teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We shared "Treasure In Heaven: The John Tanner Story" that discusses all of the elements of the Gospel of Jesus Christ perfectly. (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Endure To The End) It was an awesome lesson! We finished by inviting everyone in their family to come to Church with us on Sunday for the Ward Christmas Sunday. They made this Sunday an invite Sunday (invite non-members to come to Church with us) and made super cool invitations. They also chose to do our Christmas Sunday a week early so it won't interfere with other religions Christmas services so that people would be more likely to come.

On Friday we exchanged back for real, and did some service at a different thrift store. While we were doing service, I decided to push my limits and step over the pointy fence to save time. While I cleared the fence, my jeans did not. (Get ready for an embarrassing story) I got stuck! The pointy fence pierced right through the crotch of my jeans. So now I have a nice hole in my jeans. I had to pull my jeans off the fence, and all was well. After doing some service, we had our weekly planning session, which was kind of rushed. We have just been SUPER busy, which is a good thing for sure :) In the evening we met with our investigator family and shared a Mormon Message called "Expressions Of Love." We talked about the importance of sharing kind words of love and encouragement with each other. We then talked about Christlike love, and how he gave the perfect example of love. #AllYouNeedIsLove

On Saturday we had our investigator interview with one of our Zone Leaders. She passed with flying colors, and was set for her second interview on Sunday with President Ehlert. Afterwards we went and visited with an investigator. We shared a message with him about Christmas from the Ensign called "The Reality Of Christmas." We invited him to come to Church with us on Sunday for the Chirstmas service, and he agreed. Well kind of. I said that we would see him on Sunday, and he laughed and said "we will see!" He did tell me that I was very diplomatic and persuasive though, so that was a plus ;) Whatever gets you to Church! In the evening we visited with our investigator family and watched "Finding Faith In Christ" with them. We began teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and answered a couple of questions that they had. We finished off the evening with some last minute Church invitations for Sunday. We gave out the rest of our invitations, and headed home.

Sunday was awesome! SO many people came to Church! Three investigator families, our reluctant investigator, and a bunch of part-member families came, as well as a bunch of new people that other members invited. It was sweet :) Well it was sweet until I realized that with the additional people, we had a HUGE crowd to perform for. They asked the missionaries to perform the song "Does He Remember" in the December 2014 Ensign. It is a super pretty song, but I get SUPER nervous singing in front of people. I was fine until we had like 2 minutes before we were on. Holy cow, my heart was beating super fast, and I was really short on breath. We got up and sang, and my solo part did not go nearly as well as we had practiced. It is super hard to sing when you can't breathe! People still complimented our song and everything after Church, but inside you still totally know that you didn't do a good job. Mormon culture haha ;) You can give an awful talk, and people will still come up and tell you that it was amazing. I think I was mostly just frustrated that my nerves got the best of me. In high school I developed (after a LOT of practice) a love for public speaking, but clearly public singing is not my forte. I can sing in a choir, but a solo apparently freaks me out. Now I'm just rambling, on to the rest of the day! After Church, our investigator was interviewed by President Ehlert, and is now set to be baptized on the 26th of December! In the afternoon we went caroling with the Sisters, so that was super fun :) We handed out a TON of "He Is The Gift" pass-along cards, and made a lot of people happy. In the evening we had a lesson with our investigator family and finished teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To finish off the day we met with our new convert and her mom and reviewed the 10 Commandments. All in all, it was a super good week :)

On Monday we had our Christmas Zone Conference at the Stake Center. The St. Cloud Zone was combined with the Anoka Zone, so it was super fun to see all of my friends in the Anoka Zone. I got to hear about all of the good things going on in my old Ward, so that was fun! Apparently they talk about me all the time, so that was good to hear haha ;) At the Christmas Conference we were able to watch "It's A Wonderful Life." It was fun to see an actual movie :) I don't think I have ever seen that movie before, so it was super great! Apparently it is a Christmas classic. I will definitely have to watch that one again. We got to hear from President and Sister Forbes, which is always great! We got to hear some HILARIOUS stories from them. Christmas Conference is always super different from all other missionary meetings, it is much more relaxed. The Forbes' son is getting married so Sister Forbes is flying to California this week for their son's wedding. Unfortunately President Forbes is not going to be able to make it, so it is kind of a happy and a sad time. In the evening we were able to go over to our investigator family’s and offer some service. They are moving some stuff out of their cabin up north to hopefully sell it soon, so we helped them organize the stuff that they moved into their garage and situated everything in their house. They had some "interesting" things in their cabin... like a Jackalope and a bunch of antlers.

It has been a busy, but super good week :) Thank you all for all of your love and support! The weather in Minnesota has actually been AMAZING this past week. All the snow melted, and it was a balmy 40+ degrees! Much improved from last year. It snowed yesterday though, so the temperatures are a little bit down, but still much better than last year! Hope you have a great week :)

Best Wishes,

Elder Andrews

Monday, December 8, 2014

He Is The Gift!

Hello Everyone,

It has been a great week, and luckily the weather has even been cooperating here in Minnesnowta! We have been in the double digits all week! Although we got an early start on the winter, it is starting to mellow out a little bit, so that is nice :) On Monday we were able to have a family home evening with our investigator family. We watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. We made cupcakes and had a super fun time! It was great :)

On Tuesday we had a bunch of accountability calls to make in the morning. I talked to all the teams about their areas and investigators, and got to know all the missionaries a little bit better. It was kind of fun. Afterwards we went and helped finish sheet rocking an investigator's ceiling. The last little bit of it didn't turn out as well as the first part that we did, but mostly because the ceiling was not level. It was a process! Luckily it is done now. Now they have insulation and a ceiling to protect them from the cold! In the evening we went and had a family home evening with a different investigator family. The mom was at a Relief Society Dinner, but her daughters were home. We watched the prodigal son, and talked a little bit about repentance. It went really well! One of them is actually starting to sit in on all of our lessons, so that is super exciting to see :)

On Wednesday we had District Meeting. I gave a training on working with members, and it seemed to go really well. For a hand out I had Skor bars, and a little note that said "SKOR Some Referrals. Work With Members." It was super fun! I totally love public speaking. I am super glad that I had the opportunity to be involved in so many great student organizations in high school, as well as in college. Plus, the public speaking class that I took at BYU was AWESOME! We also had some exciting news to announce in District Meeting. They changed up a few of our key indicators, so instead of tracking restoration lessons taught, we have two new key indicators. TCI - Tracting and Contacting Invitation, and NAC Contact - North American Central Initiative (Part-Member Family, Child of Record, and Prospective Elder). I am super excited about these new key indicators that we have, because it makes what we are trying to do so much more efficient! Now we can actually use Church programs like "He Is The Gift" in our proselyting efforts, and not shove restoration lessons down peoples throats. This first week with the new key indicators was already super effective! I am excited to see where things go :) After District Meeting, I went on exchange. It went really well. We met with one of their progressing investigators who is getting baptized on December 20th. We talked to him about fasting and preparing for fast Sunday. In the evening we went caroling at a senior center, and then we dropped off some cookies to less-actives. We met with one less-active in particular. She just had a miscarriage, and was having a super bad day. She was blocking out the world, and then we stopped by with some cookies. She was crushed, and not very happy with God, but she was grateful that we stopped by and talked with her for a little while. To finish off the evening, we met with their Bishop briefly, and finished off the day. It was a great day!

On Thursday we exchanged back, and did some service at the thrift store. We mostly moved all of their Christmas stuff to the front of the store. They are preparing to start clearing it all out. Pretty soon here they are going to have a big clearance sale. It is the first week of December and they are already trying to get rid of all of their Christmas stuff! Crazy! I guess it makes sense though, they want to make sure it is all sold before Christmas. In the evening we had a lesson with our investigator. We watched a Mormon Message called "The Hope Of God's Light." We talked about the importance of prayer, and how God does answer our prayers, just not always on our timing. Later we met with the other investigator family and talked about the Plan of Salvation. Their daughter sat in on our lesson again, and even began contributing to the lesson. SWEET!

On Friday we had Weekly Planning, and then we went out "He Is The Gift" tracting. We were able to share a few "He Is The Gift" cards, and we were able to have full discussions with two people in the area we were working. We met two women who both have a lot of potential! It is cool to see how this new TCI program is working, and how effective it is to be using "He Is The Gift" this holiday season. We are able to have quality gospel conversations with so many more people! To finish off the evening we had a lesson with our investigator family on the Plan of Salvation. We gave everyone a teaching assignment, and we took turns drawing our part of the lesson on their glass dining room table. It went really well, and it helped them to learn a lot more when they had to teach everyone rather than just listen to us. I think we might continue giving them assignments to work on to help them learn. After our lesson we went out and did some tracting again. This time it was late in the evening, and everyone was asleep. Not super productive.

On Saturday we went down to sister’s area. We found out that the Sisters in the ward are getting moved on December 17th. This transfer 13 Sisters are going home midway through the transfer for Christmas and school. Now that the influx of missionaries is over, we are not getting nearly the same amount of missionaries, and so they are having to close a few Sisters areas. First we went caroling at the hospital with the Sisters, and then we practiced the song that we will be performing in Sacrament meeting next week. It is called, "Does He Remember." It is in the December 2014 Ensign. It is super pretty! Afterwards we went around with the Sisters and they showed us around their area. We met with one of their investigators and got to know him a little better. We watched "He Is The Gift" with him, and set up a time to visit with him again. Then we met with the only African person in the area. He is from Liberia, and is super awesome. We were able to talk for a while about Liberia, so that was super cool! After spending 9 months in my last area, I know quite a bit about African people ;) The Sisters thought that I had been to Liberia, it was pretty funny! We shared "He Is The Gift" with him as well, and invited him to the Christmas Program at Church next week. In the evening we met with our Ward Mission Leader. His wife was out visiting their grand-kids, but we were able to share a fun Christmas message with him, and talk about some of the work going on in the ward right now. To finish off the evening, we went over to the investigator’s and finished teaching the Plan of Salvation. Their daughter sat in on our lesson again! Amazing things are happening with their family.

On Sunday we had Ward Council in the morning, and discussed the NAC Initiative and our investigator family with a baptismal date. They have been meeting with Bishop and planning out their wedding and a few baptism details. Church went really well! Fast and testimony meeting was awesome. After Church we set up the cultural hall for a pot luck later in the evening, and went out caroling with the Sisters for a little while to the houses around the Church. The Pot Luck was awesome! We had a great turn out. Lots of part-members came, including our investigator family. After the pot luck, we all watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional together. The devotional was awesome :) It always fun to see the conference center all decorated for Christmas!

All in all, it was an amazing week! Thank you all for all of your love and support :) If you haven't already, check out "He Is The Gift". I hope you have an amazing week, and that you are surviving the winter weather :) Talk to you soon!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, December 1, 2014

Transers and Thanksgiving

Hello Everyone,

This week has been great! On P-Day last week we were all over the place because of transfers, but it was fun :) We had Family Home Evening with our recent convert and his family. They are really warming up to us now that he is baptized! We played boggle with them, and had a great time! After the activity we had a quick spiritual thought, and they were really open to it. Good things are happening in their family!

On Tuesday we had an opportunity to help out with a pretty unique service project. We were sheet-rocking a ceiling! Kind of nuts. I remember watching sheet rock go up in our old house before we moved, but I never would have thought of helping out with some dry wall. I am not particularly good at it, but it was kind of fun to learn. We were helping out a less-active/part-member family by sheet-rocking their ceiling in their main room. They have an interesting family situation, but they are great. Our investigator is renting the house and fixing it up for one of his friends. His Mom and Step-Dad and Step-Brother & Sister just moved from Las Vegas a few months ago, and moved in with him. Our investigator’s Mom is related to a family in the ward, and used to be a member. They are a really awesome family! Hopefully we will be able to start teaching them the lessons. The kids are already coming to mutual, so it would be great if they started coming to Church as well! In the afternoon we did a lot of goodbye visits. We met with a couple people, and in the evening we went out joint teaching and met with our investigator family. We shared Elder Dube's General Conference address about looking forward and believing. It was a super great lesson! The wife mentioned that she had been working on her paperwork to change her last name, and that it was almost complete.

On Wednesday we had transfers. Of course it was on the day that it snowed and was super icy, so everything happened a little later in the day than we had originally planned. My companion went to Buffalo, and I drove up to Bloomington with another Elder. We attended the transfer meeting, and then I met my new companion. He is from Manti, Utah and has been out on his mission for 6 months. He is just like his trainer, but white. It is kind of interesting to see the influence that a trainer can have on their trainee. His trainer is home now in Utah, but he has had a lasting affect on his greenie. Luckily for me, he is a little bit better than his trainer. The only big thing that I have noticed is that he does NOT like leadership in the mission. his trainer had a really hard time with leadership. He did not like any District Leader, Zone Leader, Assistant, or Mission President that we had. He was convinced that they all had ulterior motives. My new companion has the same struggle. He doesn't really like the fact that his companion is the District Leader, and he certainly does not like our Zone Leaders even though he has not met them yet. Kind of interesting. Things are all going to work out though! I have learned that each transfer, each area, each companion is inspired. Inspired does not always mean that it is easy, but you sure do learn a lot! After unpacking and everything, we went out and had a lesson with an investigator. He is the man that my previous companion and I had the "fun" cat experience with in the evening about a month ago. We had a quick lesson with him, because he was really tired, but we had a great visit! He has a really strong faith in Jesus Christ, so he has a great foundation.

On Thursday we had Thanksgiving! We started off the morning early with the 2nd Annual Ward Turkey Bowl. It was -4 degrees and freezing, so it gave you a great motivation to run ;) Around 12:00 we had our first Thanksgiving with the investigator family! They are amazing :) The wife has submitted her papers, and is waiting to find out if she got a grant to pay for the paperwork. We shared a video that the Church produced about Thanksgiving and gratitude, and then we went around the table and shared things that we were grateful for. It was a really cool lesson. Around 3:00 we had our second Thanksgiving with another family. Holy cow, we were stuffed already! They had two different kinds of turkey. Both were super good! One was a regular turkey, and the other was marinated in Pumpkin Beer. Super fun! Then we played a game with them called "Life On The Farm." The point of the game was to get 60 cows. We totally lost, but it was fun :) To finish off the evening, we went over to an investigator family for our last Thanksgiving. Luckily we just had a light snack and played some Boggle with them. We shared the same Thanksgiving video with them and talked about all the things we are grateful for. Gotta love Holidays :) #HappyThanksgiving

On Friday, Black Friday, we had Weekly Planning, which went really well! No black friday shopping or broken collar bones, however, we got a lot done, which was awesome. We have a lot more to plan now that I am the District Leader, so it was good to get everything organized. I love organization! In the afternoon we had a lesson with a ward member. We shared a message from the last Ensign magazine title, "The Reality Of Christmas". It was a super good message! You should all definitely read it. I am the first to admit that I get way caught up in Christmas, but it is always good to remember the reason for the season. To finish off the day we stopped by the family we helped eariler this week with sheetrock and set up another time to help them finish their sheet-rocking project. We had a little lesson with them on faith, and shared Alma 32. It was really cool!

On Saturday we had accountability with our Zone Leaders, and then we went out finding for a while. We went tracting in a trailer park, and found an 18 year-old girl. She was really interested in learning more about Jesus Christ. She attends a Lutheran Church (like everyone else in Minnesota), but she is open to learning more. She is moving though, but we will at least be able to refer her to some other missionaries! To finish off the day we had a lesson with a member. We shared that same Ensign article, "The Reality of Christmas". She shared a few Christmas memories with us, and we had a really great discussion. She is such a great lady! The Church has this new video campaign kind of like the one they had last Easter (#BecauseOfHim). It is called "Because Of Him". It is a super great video! We have been given special "Because Of Him" cards, and we are sharing it with everyone this month! #ShareTheGift

On Sunday, St. Andrews Day, we had Church. We had a really good combined lesson on family history. I don't really know much about family history, so it was good to learn a little bit more! In the evening we went out joint teaching, and had a lesson with the investigator family. We watched the Restoration video and gave them a copy, and then we talked about baptism, and set a baptismal date of December 26th, the day after Christmas! They are going to be married and baptized on the same day. It is going to be awesome! We are super excited :) Afterwards we started our new member lessons with our new member, and taught her the restoration as well. We watched a Mormon Message called "Origin" that is a modern day example of the Restoration. It was super great! An awesome way to end the week :)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend! Thank you all for all of your love and support. You mean the world to me! I am #GratefulFor you all. I hope you have a great week, and that you are surviving the cold December weather! Have a great week :)

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews