Wow, I cannot believe this day is here already. This is my final email home. AHHH! So crazy. This past week was super good though, as always. Being a missionary great! Last Monday, Cinco de Cuatro, we had our District P-Day. We hung out with a recent-convert in the Ward, and went to Minneapolis. We hit up the sculpture gardens, the Basilica of St. Mary, and the Foshay Tower. It was awesome! I absolutely love Downtown Minneapolis, so it was a super satisfying District P-Day :) In the evening, our investigator was supposed to have his baptism interview with President Forbes, but he got stuck in Rochester, MN. We talked with him about our investigator, and President decided that he didn't actually need a second interview, so that was good news! We had a family home evening lesson with the a family'. I love that family, but lets be real... I kind of love everyone here in Minnesota. But they are super great! When he was in college, the dad wrote the Book of Lemuel, which I actually had a copy of, so I had him sign it. AWESOME! Then to finish off the day, we visited with the another family and said goodbye. Saying goodbye is weird. It reminds me of leaving for my mission. You say goodbye to people, and it doesn't even feel real. Your mind doesn't even comprehend what is going on. It makes saying goodbye a lot easier though! Plus, serving in America where it is easy to stay in contact and visit with people helps as well.
On Tuesday, Cinco de Mayo and Battle of Puebla Day (MX), we had a Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) so that was really cool! I have been wanting to go to an MLC my whole mission, so it was good to be able to finally go before I head home. We discussed Christ-like leadership, changes in policies for the mission, and a few other things. At the end of MLC, President Forbes asked me and the three other departing missionaries that attended MLC to bear our testimonies. It kind of threw me off at first, but I was super grateful that I got to bear my testimony before I peace out! I talked about the power of missionary work, and the principle of change. I am so grateful for my mission. I shared some advice with everyone that my Grandpa gave me before I left on my mission. He shared with me the three most important rules for your mission. "Obedience, obedience, obedience!" To be totally honest, I am totally a rule breaker by nature. Nothing severe, but I just have a little rebellious streak that keeps things fun and exciting at times. On your mission, however, it just causes problems. At the beginning, I wasn't exactly obedient, and when I was obedient I did it begrudgingly. As a result, the start of my mission was REALLY hard for me. Missions are hard enough, there is no reason to make them more difficult! As I turned to the Lord, and strove to be more obedient, however, it got better. Life is good now :) After MLC, I went on exchange with an elder from Kayesville, Utah. We had a rocking exchange! He goes home next transfer, so we were able to talk things through a little bit. I don't ever want to talk with my companion about going home because I don't want to distract him, so it was really helpful to be able to talk things out haha! For the remainder of the day, we visited with the a family and talked to them about the power of the Book of Mormon. We watched a YouTube video with them called "All About That Book". They loved it! Then to finish off the evening we visited with the another family. We taught the Law of Tithing with candy. We all got a bunch of Star-bursts currency, and had to go through life paying our bills and what not. When we payed our tithing, it was apparent that we received blessings, most of which were unseen. When we didn't we got in a car accident and had to go to the hospital, expenses and stresses that were unforeseen when we payed our tithing. We talked about the diversity of the blessings that God gives us. Often we overlook most of the things that God has blessed us with! All in all, it was a super good lesson.
On Wednesday, we exchanged back and had District Meeting. We talked about receiving revelation through prayer, and the importance of encouraging our investigators to pray as well as praying sincerely ourselves. For a handout, I gave out Hershey's nuggets and said "Here is an important nugget" and shared a scripture (Moroni 7:48) about prayer. It worked out really nicely. It felt really weird though that it was my last District Meeting, and for whatever reason I was possessed to assign myself the closing prayer. It was not fun. I didn't cry, but I was definitely holding back tears. After District Meeting, I went on exchange with an elder form Taiwan. We did some finding for a while and stopped by a few potentials. We met some interesting people to say the least haha! There was one woman that was trying to convert us to her Church, so that is always exciting. She wants us to come to Church with her sometime, but our Churches are at the same time. Kind of an unwritten rule, but when you are a Mormon Missionary, you should probably go to your own Church ;) In the evening we visited with a family and said goodbye, and then had a lesson with the our investigators and planned out his baptism.
On Thursday, National Day of Prayer, we exchanged back and did our weekly service at the library. In the afternoon I packed up a few boxes to ship home, and then I had my last appointment with the Chiropractor. Later we had accountability with the Elders, and then we shared a Mother's Day message with a family. Afterward we visited with another, and I shared the "Repencil" lesson with them. To finish off the day, we had Family Home Evening with a family. We played a vamped up verson of Uno that was super exciting, and then took a bunch of pictures of course!
On Friday we cleaned our apartment, had accountability with the Zone Leaders, and then did our weekly service at the senior center. Gotta love all the people there! For the remainder of the afternoon we had weekly planning. That was super weird for me! My companions that I have sent home in the past had a hard time with weekly planning. In fact, all of them just left it up to me. I told my companion that he would be leading out in the weekly planning, but I tried to participate as best as I could. It shook me up a little bit though to realized that I wouldn't be here for any of the plans that we were making. Kind of depressing. Needless to say, I drank A LOT of Diet Coke in those three hours! In the evening we visited with a part-member family. She recently went through the temple, and her husband is a very active Lutheran. They are a super great family! We shared with them the new Mother's Day video that the Church produced, #TimeForMom, and we talked about Mother's Day. We then visited with another family and said farewell. They are hilarious! To finish off the day, we visited with a woman. She wasn't feeling super good, but we shared a video called the "Emmet Smith Story". It is a true story about a guy who loved to run but had a brain tumor and had to re-learn how to walk and then to run. The doctors told him that he would never be able to walk on his own again, but he set goals and worked really hard to achieve them, and he did! We talked about the power that we have to reach our potential if we are willing to work at it. It was a really good last lesson!
On Saturday I had to wash all of my clothes and start packing in the morning. Yep... that was weird! It kind of feels like another transfer, but this transfer will be WAY different than all of the others. In the afternoon we did some mormon.org time and then we helped out at the senior center for a while. Every second Saturday the Ward has a Bingo day at the senior center. Good stuff! We had to head out a little bit early to start filling the baptismal font and start setting up for our investigator’s baptism. He got baptized, and it was awesome :) When we were planning his baptism service, his wife was pretty adamant about not speaking at his baptism. She does not like speaking in front of large groups of people. After he was baptized, she asked if she could say a few words and she bore her testimony and talked about the changes that he has undergone to become a member of the Church and the influence that the Church has had in their lives. It was awesome! You could feel the Spirit so strongly! In the evening we had a bunch of goodbye visits. We saw the three different families. There are so many great people in this ward! I don't know how missionaries do it when they don't have a week to say goodbye like I do. Crazy stuff!
On Sunday, Mother's Day, we of course had Church in the morning. So many good talks about Mothers :) Our investigator was confirmed a member of the Church, and then they announced that it was my last Sunday. That was tough. After Church we went over to the the ward mission leader’s house and Skyped home. This Skype call was very different, however. We made a few plans for my return home, discussed a few other things, and then we were off to other things haha ;) It was fun to see everyone, but if it weren't Mother's Day it would have been kind of pointless to Skype just a few days before you return home haha! My companion had a harder time with his Skype call. It was a VERY emotional time for him and his family. I don't think my Skype calls have ever been particularly distracting to me, but I think it was really tough for him. In the evening we visited with the a family, and then I had to start packing. Kind of bad planning on my part! I didn't think about the fact that it would present extra time for my companion to dwell on his Skype call with his family and think about things back home. I had him watch a movie and sign my testimony journal though, so I think he was good.
Today we drove to Sonic of course, and I had my exit interview with President Forbes. It was SUPER casual. We were chilling on the couch in the Mission Home discussing my plans for when I return home. He advised me to continue reading my scriptures, praying, and serving others. Inactivity is a big concern for Mission Presidents when they send their missionaries home. He told me to take my education seriously, and to take dating seriously as well. He told me not to get married in three months, which I appreciated haha! He told me to review the For The Strength of Youth pamphlet when I return home, and to attend the temple often. He advised me not to live in Utah for the rest of my life, and I very much so agreed. After my exit interview, we went to the Mall of America with the ward mission leader and our Zone Leaders. Oh my gosh! It was breathtaking! Definitely a spiritual experience :) I absolutely loved it. I took SO many pictures, but the pictures don't even do it justice. I will definitely be returning there one day soon :) AND, (my Mom will be proud of me for this part) I didn't actually buy anything while we were there! #I'mAwesome #I'mBroke #NextTime. The Forbes are flying out to Utah tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM, so we will be spending tomorrow with a senior missionary couple. It has been fun!
Thank you all for all of your love and support while I have been here in the MMM. I can't believe that my time here has come to a close, but it's been real. I truly have the best friends and family members in the world :) I will SEE you all soon!
Elder Kyle William Andrews