Monday, January 26, 2015

On The Lord's Errand

Hello Everyone,

It has been a pretty crazy week. Not really the best week in the world, but it is in the past now so that is all that matters :) On the plus side, the weather has been AWESOME this week! All the snow is melting, and it has been a lot warmer. Super weird for January in Minnesota, but I will take it! Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day! I remember attending the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication in Washington D.C. a few years back. SUCH a cool experience! We had our P-Day as usual, and then we had Family Home Evening with the a family in the ward. We talked about Enos and prayer.

On Tuesday we had time to look up some of the cool new videos that the Church has produced. We watched one older video, however, titled "The Mailbox." Probably the most depressing video I think I have ever seen in my life. It was a BYU production about an old woman who walks to her mailbox every day to see if any of her children have written her a letter. She comes day after day, and never receives a letter. One day she goes out to the mailbox and retrieves a letter from one of her children. She walks back to her home, sits down to open the letter, and then has a heart attack and dies before reading the letter she waited so long to receive. Not really sure what the video was supposed to teach, but it sure was depressing. I drowned my sorrows with some Diet Coke and then things were good again! We had some accountability calls in the afternoon, and then we went and did some service at a thrift store. We took apart some cardboard boxes for recycling and a couple other odds and ends. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had Family Home Evening with an investigator family. There was some contention in their home when we arrived, and a few arguments were going on. It took a while for the situation to calm down, but afterwards things were good again. We played Boggle and had a message on the 10 Commandments and prayer. We invited their son to attend the Pinewood Derby the following day, and he agreed!

On Wednesday we went on exchange. It was kind of a cool experience actually! I was pretty sure that I was going to stay in our area and that my companion was going to go to the other one. I prayed about it in the morning, and pretty distinctly felt like I needed to go to to the other area and that my companion needed to stay here. So I went with an elder from Grapevine, Texas. We had a super great day! We went out finding for a while and then had a lesson with an investigator. In the evening we had a lesson with one of their new progressing investigators. He is a really unique kid! He has a million questions, and really has a desire to learn. He met with the Jehovah's Witnesses for a while, but knew deep down that what they were teaching him was false. Since he started meeting with the missionaries he has believed everything that they have been teaching him. He has come to Church, and has a TON of potential. We had a really great lesson with him. We discussed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he really related each step (faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost, endure to the end) to himself and how it can benefit him as he applies it in his life.

On Thursday we exchanged back and had Zone Interviews in the morning. We had a training from our Zone Leaders on effective planning, and then we were all interview by President Forbes. My interview seemed very short, but it was a good interview nonetheless. He asked me about my family, my mission, my area, my favorite hymn, etc... After Zone Interviews we went back to our area and had a lesson with a member. I shared President Uchtdorf's talk, "The Hope Of God's Light." We talked about how God's light influences us, and how it is a great blessing to have in our lives. In the evening we had a lesson with a referral that we received from a member of the ward. She works at Target, and is a very nice lady. She is open to meeting with missionaries, but isn't really interested in our Church. She grew up in a home where religion was seldom discussed, and so it is kind of different for her to discuss her beliefs with other people. She has potential though! In the evening we went out joint teaching. We had a lesson with the an investigator family on the Word of Wisdom. It went really well! Their daughter remembered the acronym CATTS (Coffee, Alcohol, Tobacco, Tea, and Substances) from when the missionaries taught her before. Overall it was a pretty great day!

On Friday we had Weekly Planning, and then we did some service at a thrift store. We helped move some things around, and tag some clothes. In the evening we went out joint teaching. We visited with a member and talked about following the Prophet. We watched the movie, "On The Lord's Errand" that goes through the life and ministry of President Thomas S. Monson. Super good video! Afterwards we stopped by the a family. The dad is a less-active member, and his daughters are eligible to be baptized. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and taught them a fun way using your hands to remember repentance. It was a pretty great lesson! We committed them to come to Church on Sunday, and that we would set up a lesson with them for the next week.

On Saturday I interviewed an investigator for baptism, and then we attended another investigator’s baptism afterwards. It was a super great way to start off the day! In the afternoon we went out finding for a little while, and found a cool kid. He is 20 years old, and is not really religious. He builds E-Cigs for a living, and is very much so an entrepreneur. He invited us right in to his home, and we were able to teach him about the restoration. He is skeptical about prayer, because he doesn't feel like he has ever received an answer to any of his prayers, but he is open to meeting with us again. Afterwards we stopped by a part-member family. Holy cow! They had 5 foster kids, but in the past few weeks she has obtained 5 other kids. Their house was a disaster, and it was super chaotic, but she was at peace. Kind of crazy how that can happen. To make room for the 5 extra kids they are having to completely rearrange their home. We helped them move a few things, and then we had a lesson on service. She is a very service oriented woman. I had the biggest headache of my life after visiting with them, but it was a good visit. In the evening we went out joint teaching, and we had a lesson with a new member family on the restoration. We put together a restoration puzzle, but there were a few pieces missing like when Jesus Christ and his apostles were taken from the earth. But then the priesthood was restored, and the puzzle pieces were brought back. It was a pretty fun lesson! They were so frustrated when the put the whole puzzle together, but there were pieces missing. I imagine the early saints had a similar experience! To finish off the evening we had a lesson with an investigator family. This time just their son was home. We asked him about the Pinewood Derby, and he had a really great time! We talked about the importance of prayer, and watched the profile video for Elaine, the drummer for Neon Trees. At the end of the lesson, their son said the prayer. He has never prayed in public before, so this was a HUGE step! We also committed him to come to Church the next day.

On Sunday we had a super good morning. The the less-active family came to Church, as did the son who went to the pinewood derby! Church was really good, and then we had a lesson with an investigator in the afternoon. We talked with him about following the Prophet, and shared a message from the January 2015 Ensign on following the Prophet. In the evening things fell apart. We had some lessons scheduled up in a different part of the area, but they all canceled. We decided to have a Family Home Evening with a new member family, but it was kind of a disaster. Kind of the theme in a way for the week. There were a few arguments and hurt feelings, and so only three of them were there for the lesson. We talked about coming unto Christ, and the importance of prayer. To be totally honest, it was super awkward and I had a pit in my stomach the entire time. I just wanted to fix the problem right then and there, but that isn't always practical. I sent the wife a text later in the evening, so hopefully that helped some. I don't know... it was pretty bad though. #MissionaryProblems #AwkwardMoments

It was still a pretty good week though. Things are going well :) We just had a few rough patches this week. Today is a new day though! We have District P-Day today, so that will be super fun. We are going over to the Hogan's Pole Barn, and we got permission to watch the movie Frozen! I have never seen it, so this should be super fun :) I hope everything is going well back home. Have a great week!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Work Moves On

Hello Everyone,

This week has been great! On Monday we had our P-Day, and then we had Family Home Evening with the a family in the ward and their friend. He met with the sister missionaries a while back, but didn't receive the answers he was looking for. Some time has passed, and he is ready and willing to try it again. For our message, we shared the restoration and watched a short movie about the restoration. He seemed to really enjoy it! He is going out of town for the next few weeks, but he would like to meet again when he returns home.

On Tuesday we stopped by part-member family, and shared the talk, "Obedience Brings Blessings." A while back the dad had a health scare, and is still recovering. At times he gets a little discouraged. We talked about how his obedience will help him as he recovers, and he readily agreed. He asked us to keep him in our prayers, and to pray that his spirit might be uplifted. Super good family! In the evening we went out joint teaching and had Family Home Evening with another part member family. We played the card game "B.S." and had a message on prayer. Everyone was really involved, which was great!

On Wednesday we had District Meeting. I gave a training on "We Invite, They Commit, We Follow Up." Lately our District has been lacking boldness and persistent follow up. At the end of the training, I shared Alma 18 with everyone when Ammon is a super boss missionary and causes King Lamoni to fall as if he were dead. The point of it was to be bold and powerful in extending commitments and follow up so that our investigators will be astonished and "ROLO"ver (yep.. we had some rolo's) into the baptismal font. It was kind of a stretch, but it worked! Afterwards I went on exchange with an elder. We helped a woman move some things into a storage shed, and had a lesson with an investigator in the evening. Since he had surgery he has kind of fallen away, and they have had a tough time helping him to progress. In our lesson with him we watched Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration and talked about all of the trials and challenges that he faced as the Church was being restored. Not fun! We set a baptismal date with him for February 7th, and he came to Church on Sunday and is doing great now. Good things are in the works with him.

On Thursday morning I interviewed one of their investigators for baptism. My first baptismal interview! It was really cool to hear his conversion story and all of the changes he has undergone. He is super excited for his baptism on January 24th! In the afternoon we exchanged back and went and did some service at a thrift store. They have not had as many donations lately, so setting up displays was kind of a stretch. Normally they have some cool things that you can decorate with, but not these past few weeks. It is a process haha! And bless his heart, my companion has the hardest time getting the displays coordinated and looking good. In the evening we went on splits with ward members. Originally we had a lot more appointments planned out in the evening, but a few of them fell through. I went and had a lesson with the part member family. We finished teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and read through 2 Nephi 31. We answered a few questions and then talked to their son a lot about the young men's program. My joint teacher is the Young Mens President, so it worked out perfectly! The son is excited to get involved in the young men's activities, including the Pinewood Derby this upcoming week. We arranged to get a Pinewood Derby car for him, and everything is set!

On Friday we had our Weekly Planning Session, and then we went over and visited with a member. We shared with her the First Presidency Message in the January Ensign on following the Prophet. She is such a sweet lady! This last visit was a little bit depressing though. She was talking about how sooner or later the people in the ward will forget who she is, and no one will know about her, but the God at least knows her. Sad! We assured her that she is well loved in the ward and that she has not been forgotten. Later we went up to a different part of our area. It was pretty cool actually! We didn't have a dinner appointment for once, and so we went to Subway to use some gift cards that we had. While we were in Subway the lady helping us asked us where we were from. We both answered, "Utah", and she told us that she used to live in Salt Lake City. Turns out, she is a Mormon! She was telling her co-worker about the beautiful lights at the temple around Christmas time, and how she hasn't been able to go to Utah for the past two years to see her family. We invited her to come to Church and gave her our card. Hopefully this won't be our last run in with her! In the evening we visited with a family briefly and talked to them about goals and progression. Later we visited with the a different family and shared a message with them about prayer. All in all it was a pretty good day!

On Saturday we visited with an investigator and shared Ephesians 6:11-12 with her and talked about putting on the whole Armour of God. She talked to us a little bit about the importance of being a good role model and withstanding temptation. It was a super good conversation we had! Her husband wasn't home, so we were just chilling on the porch with her. Later we did service at a thrift store. We helped move a few things around in store for them. They mostly have us do all the heavy lifting. Afterwards we went and visited with family who’s children are now all off in school at BYU-Idaho, and He (who is not a member... but comes to Church every week and has a calling) is having a hard time with it. We talked about progression, and how growing up is not easy. We related it to how God must be with us. I can't imagine it was easy for him to send us here to earth to be tempted, and to fail, but he saw that it would also be a time of great growth and accomplishment for us. There is opposition in all things, but with all the bad comes a lot of good. It was a fun visit! Afterwards we stopped by the two other families. We shared a quick scripture with both of them and headed over to our new member’s home. We talked to them about Teaching and Learning in the Church. We discussed preparing for service in the Church (i.e. callings, home teaching, visiting teaching, etc...) the dad was just called as a Deacons Quorum Adviser, and the mom was just called as a Gospel Principles Class President. Exciting stuff!

On Sunday we had Ward Council in the morning and discussed the February 7th Ward Baptism date. So far progress has been very slow, but hopefully it will pick up a little bit this week. Members of the ward have been assigned to extend the baptismal invitation to their friends, and so we are kind of in an in-between stage. We don't want to step on any toes, but we also want to get the ball rolling. We shall see what happens! After Church we went and visited with an investigator. He told us that his week was much better, and that things are going well. We talked with him about agency, choice, and accountability. He discussed a few family matters with us, and how that principle has played out these past few weeks. We talked about how you can't make decisions for other people, but you can try and help them to make better decisions. Agency is the greatest gift we could have ever been given, but sometimes agency is a little bit frustrating as well! In the evening we had a lesson with a family on missionary work, and then a lesson with a part member family on the ten commandments. Three of their kids unfortunately were not there for this lesson, but they will be there for our next lesson!

All in all it was a pretty great week! Thank you all for all of your love and support. I hope you have a great week :) Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews

Monday, January 12, 2015

Family History

Hello Everyone,

This week has been great! The temperatures were a little bit colder, but overall this winter has been MUCH better than last year. I seriously thought I was going to die last year. I remember leaving the a ward member’s home thinking to myself that I may not return. Kind of morbid, but it was FREEZING! I would always give Richard a hug and a kiss before we left each day, and that was an amazing comfort :) It is funny how all the little pieces come together. I honestly don't know if I could have made it through last winter without my dog! On Monday we got our transfer emails, and I am staying here in Princeton with my companion for another transfer. In the evening we had Family Home Evening with the part member family. Their son was in charge of the activity, and so we played Angry Birds Uno. our new member was in charge of the lesson, and she talked about honesty and obedience. It was a great evening!

On Tuesday we had the exterminators come over to our apartment. It was freezing cold in the morning, and so they were delayed a little bit. We had to shift our schedule around a little bit, but it all worked out. We just have one more treatment to go through, and then we are done! Afterward we had our weekly accountability calls, and then we went and visited with a member. We shared with her President Monson's talk, "Obedience Brings Blessings." She talked to us about how obedience has impacted her life, and how relying on the Lord has richly blessed her. Such a cool lady! In the evening we met with the a part member family. One daughter was baptized a few months ago, and things are going really well for her! The other kids are not members, and their mom is NOT supportive of them getting baptized. They were told that if they were to get baptized, they would be disowned. It is sad that some people are so very against the Church, but you just have to roll with the punches sometimes. Maybe one day hearts will be softened. We shared He is The Gift with them and shared the living nativity video from YouTube with David Archuletta and the Piano Guys. We talked about setting goals and making changes for the new year. We had a really great discussion! Their family is hilarious, we had a super good time :)

On Wednesday we had a meeting with the Bishop. We discussed all the work going on in the ward, and the things that we still need to accomplish. It was a very productive meeting! We discussed the ward baptism date of February 7th, and the part-members that are working towards that baptismal date. Ward members have been assigned to invite 13 individuals to be baptized on the ward baptism date. We will have to see what happens! So far the reception has been really good though. In the afternoon we met with a less-active member. We stopped by him a few days ago, but he was a little preoccupied. In fact he told us that he needed to keep his head clear to put some man behind bars. Who knows what happened, but apparently he was successful and someone went to jail. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon, and he was very receptive. I think in his mind he is an active member of the Church, although he has not been in a very long time. Interesting character! In the evening we went out joint teaching and had a lesson with our part member family. We taught the Plan of Salvation. We had a bit of a rough start. We were discussing our pre-mortal existence and Adam and Eve. Science and evolution were brought up, but the important underlying factor that we kept discussing was faith in God and Jesus Christ and that He created us. They all believe that, which is awesome! The other details are not as important right now. The daughter mentioned that the Bishop had talked to her in the afternoon, and invited her to be baptized on the 7th, and that she was interested but needed to think about it. She is really busy with school and extracurricular activities, and so her mind is a little scattered. I can totally understand! Focus was one thing that I lacked a little bit in high school. I had a lot on my plate, and focus just wasn't always practical! Overall we had a really great discussion. One family memeber mentioned that with everything that life has handed her in the past few months has made her feel a little bit like she is stuck in the mud in the middle of a corn field. She joked that if a farmer were to come and find her, he would probably get stuck too! I want to make them a cup of dirt, like the dessert that they used to have a TGIFriday's! I always loved those as a kid. I just thought it would give a little positive twist on things. Sometimes being stuck in the mud isn't always a bad thing ;) It quite possibly could be one of the best things that could ever happen to you. In fact maybe the mud is chocolate pudding, and there are tasty little gummy worms in the mud with you. (I am going to buy some oreos, gummy worms, and chocolate pudding today while we go shopping!)

On Thursday we went over to the Family History Center and learned a little bit about Family History. I still am super lost as to how to do it all, but I know enough to help other people a little bit. In the afternoon we went and did some service over at the thrift store. We set up a few displays and things. Right now the thrift store is super empty, so finding things that look good is a little bit of a challenge! We made it work though. In the evening we had a lesson with a member. We watched the movie, "How Rare A Possession: The Book Of Mormon." We talked about the power of the Book of Mormon, and how it can change our lives if we let it. We must search, ponder, and pray. I feel like my Book of Mormon studies could improve a little bit... I have almost finished the New Testament, so once I finish I will be able to devote a lot more time to that. I don't think I am going to bother to try and tackle the Old testament while I am on my mission... I just don't have enough time, and there are better things I could be doing with my time. Not that the Old Testament is bad by any means! One day I will read it :)

On Friday we had Weekly Planning and we did service at a different thrift store. We helped rearrange a few things, and tagged some clothes. In the evening we went out joint teaching and visited with the a family. We taught the restoration, and it went really well! The kids mostly taught us the restoration, so that was fun :) Hopefully good things are in the works for their family!

On Saturday we went out finding in the morning. We met three people who have potential for the future. These past few weeks our finding has been lacking a little bit. We need to schedule out little pockets of time that we can go and find new people to teach! In the afternoon we went and visited with an older member. We shared President Monson's talk, "Obedience Brings Blessings." She shared a few stories with us, and we had a great time! In the evening we had Family Home Evening with the our new members. We watched the movie Johnny Lingo and talked about how we are all children of God, and that we all have a noble birthright. It was a really fun lesson! I kind of felt like I was going through withdrawals. We hadn't seen them all week, it was kind of weird! Things are going well though. The mom is having a really tough time with the passing of her friend, however. She was telling us that she has a hard time feeling motivated to get out of the house, and to go out and talk with other people. Her husband without her knowing volunteered her to meet with the Bishop, but she wasn't particularly excited about it. (I was wondering if a Facebook message might help. I haven't discussed the passing of their friend with their family. I have been a little bit conflicted. I just don't really know how to share it and what details to share and what details not to share. I usually just don't end up sharing it because of that. I wonder if it might help if you talked to her about the pain that you went through, and what helped you to overcome that.)

On Sunday the dad of our new member family ordained his son as a deacon and gave him the Aaronic Priesthood. It has been super cool to be able to see the workings of the Church take place in their family! They all got their membership numbers and were able to start using and and everything. After Church we visited with an investigator. He mentioned that he might be moving in the upcoming weeks. His lungs are blown out from working as a welder, and from smoking. He probably going to move to Missouri to be close to his family, and get care from the VA over there. We talked with him about the Priesthood, and committed him to watch the Mormon Message, "Mountains To Climb". He always talks to us about how much he appreciates having someone to talk to, and to kind of vent for a little bit. He told us that we have really helped to strengthen his faith. I really hope that things get better for him! In the evening we had a lesson with our new member family on Temples and Family History. The mom lost her son many years ago, and so they are excited to be able to do baptisms for the dead in the near future! They are also excited to start doing all of their family history. Luckily we have a family history missionary in our ward, and people that can help them! To finish off the evening we met with our part member family and had a lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about faith and repentance. Next time we will be talking about baptism, the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. Good things are happening in their family though! Hearts are definitely being softened, and the spirit is definitely working on each one of them.

All in all it was a super good week! Thank you all for all of your love and support :) Have a great week!

Best Wishes,

Elder Kyle William Andrews