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

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