Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 1, 2013

Dear Family!

I don't even know where to begin! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!!! Thanks ya'll hahaha! I love you guys so much! My address is Sister Andrea Christine Draudt, PO Box 1883, Big Fork, Montana 59911. You can totally send it there or the mission home it's totally okay either way. 
So first off leaving the MTC was crazy! I got a departure blessing by Elder Stover. He is awesome! He gave me a great blessing and at the end of it he paused then said something to the effect that I will find my own salvation through the people...ughhh this freaked me out!! Like what am I supposed to think of that? It scared me a lot, and still does. I have been thinking about it and salvation is happiness, and conversion, so maybe through my mission I will become more converted to the gospel through the people. I think I am converted, so that intimidated me. But I've thought about it and conversion is like love, it never stops growing. Like with you guys, I think I love you so much already and as much as I can, and then tomorrow I love you even more than that, so I'm thinking that's what the blessing meant. Is that even though I am converted I will never stop being converted more and more. Does that make sense??? Anyways, I thought it was cool, and you guys can totally help me out with what that means cause it's pretty big to me. That is a huge statement of saying "you will find your own salvation through the people" yeah intimidating...and scary...like my salvation...
This was my first time on a plane! It was a tiny plane with 50 people and that was it! Super small, we literally walked outside to get to the plane and then went up this ramp thing... small plane. I was not nervous at all though! I loved it!!! It was so cool it was so pretty and just amazing!  My companion asked "are you scared?" and I was totally fine. I miss that girl, I love Sister Hoag. I thought we had a  little bit of struggles, but we didn't really I just over reacted and was home sick. I miss her. She is honestly so much like me. Next to best friends, she's awesome!
When we arrived to Billings, the airport is tiny, super small, and there was a life sized horse sculpture made out of beans. Yeah and there were tons of horse pictures and sculptures and I saw a cowboy right after I got off of the plane. Yep, I'm in Montana.  We went to the mission home for dinner and the mission home is the mission office and home together. It's pretty big like it's in a neighborhood. It is a mix between home and office looking., kinda odd. We went to the temple. It is beautiful!! I love that celestial room. The outside is awesome too with the plateau in the back ground.  I didn't think it would be THAT pretty but it was.
We went to the church and shared testimonies. We stayed in a hotel, on the 17th floor, super nice! I stayed there 2 nights we had training at the church for a day and a half. On Thursday morning we were shipped off to our areas. We rode in a van for 2.5 hours to Bozeman. Then left and drove two more hours to Helena. At Helena we all split up.  That is where all the Zone Leaders and District Leaders and Elders and Sisters met up to pick up people for their areas. I met my zone leaders there, Elder Peterson and Wasden. Elder Peterson looks just like Craig Channel! I seriously thought it was him! Crazy! He's super awesome and is from Vernal, and Wasden is from Springville. I said good bye to Sister Hoag there. I was about to cry, well I had started but an Elder came up to talk to me so I stopped and pulled it together. I really miss her. She is so amazing! I rode with the zls and Sister Jones, and Adams up to Missoula which was about an 1.5 hours away in the truck to pick up Sister Adam's companion, except there was no room, she had to sit in the middle of the elders on the console ha ha, poor girl. Then we drove 40 minutes to Ronana to drop them off at the members house they are staying with, then we finally went to Kalispell where me and Sister Jones would meet our companions, that was an hour drive. All and all we left at 8 in the morning and we didn't get to Kalispell, til 6:30 pm. It was a long day!!! We then met out companions finally, mine is short, and we are very different. The elders drove us to our truck that was parked at the "little brown church" it's a christian church. Yes we have a truck it is a 2011 Chevy Colorado and its silver...its nice! haha.
It has been a really hard week. The first night my bag (the one I spent 50 bucks on) it's strap broke, then after that my expensive shampoo leaked out of the bag I had it in and so that was a waste of money, plus it got all over my winter coat and some on my boots.  So all in all like $250 in damage in one night.  It stinks.  I tried to clean my coat, but it didn't work it just foamed, the next morning I took it to the dry cleaners, so hopefully it will be okay when I pick it up from there on Wednesday. I also forgot to tell you my first day in the MTC I went to pick up my carry on and that handle broke also...yeah..anyways my first night sucked, and I was homesick. But it has gotten a ton better, sorta, I know it will get better but it is much harder being away from you guys that I thought.
Well my first real day in the field we went to track down members (less active, not active) because after the broadcast they really want us to focus on that. We also went to referrals, but we seriously got one guy to answer his door  the whole day. Here in Big Fork it is a lot harder that other places in Montana. The President said that, but it's true! Who would have thought it would be? ha ha ha.
We had a  dinner appointment with the Steinsprings, very nice folks, they are in their 60's both converts, and they live in the middle of nowhere. We met Sister Steinspring at a random church so she could pick us up because they live so far away.  Brother Steinspring is a taxidermist, I didn't realize what that was. I thought it had to do with taxes...don't make fun of me. I didn't ask him or anything but after dinner when we were back in our truck we went to see the Saaris  family and I asked Sister Walquist, she explained how they are the people who stuff dead animals...wow...oh and brother Saari is also a taxidermist. I have met a lot of taxidermists, it's a huge hobby here. I killed my first spider yesterday. I'm learning to live in Montana. 
We have not done like any tracting cause the mission says it's the least productive way. I really wanna go tracting because we drive everywhere so we only hit like 10-12 houses a day. I just want go tracting and talk to more people. There are only a couple places with houses right next to one another. There is a suburb kind of by the church, but a lot of houses are really spread out here. 
It really is beautiful. When we drove in to Kalispell with the elders we passed the main lake.... wow, it is amazing! I will send pictures. They have canola fields, they are the prettiest thing I have ever seen. I have yet to get a good picture but will send the one I have if I have time. These fields are bright bright sunshine yellow, like crayon yellow, it's so pretty! That honestly is my favorite part! It's amazing! The zone went to Glacier National Park the weekend before I got here but they said we will go again this transfer! We better! I realllllly want to go! 
We gave our first book of Mormon out on Friday to this Hispanic guy, he asked if we had literature. We went to the trailer next to him, but the lady we meant to see had moved, it broke my heart. There was like a 28 year old girl who you knew was high and didn't wanna talk to us and her trailer smelled like smoke, and her little 2 year old was just wandering.... it's just so sad. Then on Saturday we visited these two sisters, that are not active. One of them was trying to be excommunicated because her mother's husband wanted to be baptized and well apparently he molested her when she was young. ya...anyways the missionaries have visited them a bit.  They are nice, but they are wild, they had wine out and beer and the one was talking about has two kids. One is a two and a half year old boy and the other is a five month old girl, she smiled so much, and it just broke my heart. It's like these children don't have family at all, their mom is pretty wild, and yeah she loves them but it's just hard to see where people are without the gospel. The same girl was raised in the church but not really, like she went a couple times and she actually went to BYU.  I have no idea what happened, but now she is very far from the church. She knows it's true and believes it but she just likes her lifestyle. We have run into so many people like that it is so hard. This girl though likes us to come over.  Shes very nice, but needs some help. It's just so sad that these people I am meeting have had the truth, well they still have it but they don't want it, it's so sad. This one lady is in  AA. She helps the addicts and she thinks AA is more important that church because without being sober the church wouldn't mean a thing to her.  Right now while she's sober she still is comfortable with herself so she uses AA as her religion. But what is so hard for me, is she doesn't realize that she is clean not because of AA, but because of her Heavenly Father helping her and giving her the strength to quit through AA. But it's not because of AA, it's because of God. It's just sad. 
Yesterday was epic! We had church. Big Fork is like the Park City of Montana. It is a resort place, and vacation spot, many Canadians have summer homes here. Since their independence day is July 3rd and ours is July 4th this Sunday has the most people come to church all year because all the visitors.  The chapel fits about 300 tops but there were 947 there, both overflows are open and the primary, relief society and priesthood rooms etc a filled! It's crazy! And we only had Sacrament because there is no room for people to go to class. They say there is lot's of people all summer, but this Sunday is the biggest. The opening hymn was The Star Spangled Banner and the closing is the Canadian national anthem! We all stood for both. Our ward printed off the Canadian anthem and inserted it in the back of all the hymn books! It was really cool. Really who can say they sang both songs on Sunday?! There are tons of Canadians here. We actually visited with some after dinner on Sunday and I learned they actually do say "eh" its funny. 
After church we went to the Mccanns. Brother Mccann said he would call Dale, he is guy he knows who is from Big Fork but lives in Helena, so he's only here temporarily. He came over and went to church with the Sisters last sunday and so we had him come over to teach him the first lesson, The Restoration. He was the only one in his family that wasn't baptized when he was young, he says he always felt jipped. none of his family is active. He really is eager to learn. We taught him the restoration. I feel so much love for this 45 year old guy. He is a recovering alcoholic. He was in the navy and that is where his drug use and addictions happened. He has been sober for a little while and I can tell he really wants to change. After teaching the first lesson I shared with him the scripture in Matthew 12, about "all ye that labor and are heavy laden and i will give you rest" and I talked about how Heavenly Father is there to help him and if he continues to strive to do what is right Heavenly Father will help him be able to not fall again. I could see it his eyes and I know he really wants to change. He was not comfortable with praying so we all said a prayer. Then my companion had all of us say silent prayers, because the point is to have him pray and we would rather it be silent then not at all. He was the last one to open his eyes. He truly was praying and he had tears in his eyes. I really loved it! The spirit was amazing. He accepted to be baptized, we're gonna have the missionaries in Helena set that up though. That was my first lesson and it was awesome! We are seeing him again tonight.
The zls told me on the phone yesterday that they met a Sister Boyce who knows mom, she said she went to school with her :) Those elders are in Kalispell ha ha. Tell Travis hi and that we ran into the Bownes they are a less active family and Brother Bown is from Hoytesville and knows his parents! I said Ronald Moore and he was like..y mean Ronnie? hah ha it was funny, but yeah, he knows them. 
Real quick side note we had dinner on Friday night with the Wagers, very nice people they found out my birthday is the 5th. Since we are spending the 4th with them, they decided to celebrate my birthday too!!! ha ha. Their kids are all gone and moved out except for their 17 year old son Seth. He reminds me so much of Josh! He is Joshes build,with brown hair, glasses and he was wearing a Mario shirt. He acts like Josh too! Its so funny! When we left he gave me a chocolate penguin ha ha. His mom made him go get something for my companion too. We really get along.  He's a sweetheart, he really reminds me of Josh :) On the 4th we have a pancake breakfast at the church and a flag ceremony, then parade, if we get invited, then we have dinner with the Wagers and Allens, and fireworks!! We got permission to stay out. 
I love you guys please write me lots :)
       -Sister Draudt

Picture of the Canola Fields

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