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 familysearch.org and lds.org 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!
Elder Kyle William Andrews