Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 28, 2013

Dearest Family,

I love you so much and I was so happy to hear about Claire's birthday party!!! I love you all so much. Well before I tell you about my week I want to tell you about yesterday.  So we had this appointment, with Calvin, a less active we met, who is awesome! Well it was pretty much one of the best lessons ever and I will tell you about it later because after this amazing appointment we came out to the car. First thing we do is check if we missed any calls, and sure enough we did, but this call was special, it was from Elder Smith, who is one of the assistants, and we know that if we get a call the day before transfer news from him it means You are training or you are becoming a sister training leader, either way it sucks. Well we called him back and immediately he says "Sister Draudt, you're being transferred" I slammed my hand on the steering wheel, cause I was mad, and I hear him say "...is that ok?" and I say "ya...." and then he says "You are going to Riverton Wyoming, and you are being doubled in. You are training a brand new missionary" By now I was crying. He then told Sister Barkdull that she is staying and training a new missionary as well. The phone call ended and I just cried. I love it here so much. I just do not want to leave, it seriously sucks. I am not mad to be going to Wyoming; I seriously thought that is where I would be assigned when I first came out to the field. I know it will be great and I will fall in love with the people there also, but I love it here so much and it is breaking my heart. I have met people, like Tony and Deena, and Amber and Carla, who I know I have been waiting my whole life to meet. I know they have been waiting for me also. Luckily I have my Facebook and I can stay in contact with them, plus I know we will be friends forever, cause I can drive up here whenever I want. Then in next June the Stephenson's will be coming home from their mission, and Tony and Deena will be sealed sometime after I am home, so there is 2 trips right there haha. Great Falls Montana is home, it is where my new family lives and now I have to leave. I remember first coming out to the field and I was determined to never call a place home, cause my home was in Utah and nothing would change that, but now I've grown to love it here and I don't want to leave my home here. It really is my home and it hurts to have to leave. Ok well enough about transfers cause I don't want to cry again. Oh but one thing I am excited for is that I will be going to Elder Normans Zone, I sent pics of him last transfer cause he was leaving and I was so sad, but I get to join him in Wyoming now :) we live 20 minutes away from each other, which means we might even be in the same district. I also am scared and kinda mad to train, just cause I want to have a comp who is older than me in the field, but apparently I won't be getting that haha, but I am going to be the best trainer, I will not let my new missionary feel alone, or sad. I will be there for her to support her and help her. I will help this sweet sister as much as I can.
Ok anyways this week has been phenomenal!!!! Well on Tuesday we had our last district meeting as a district before transfers. It was great I loved it. I had a discussion and it was really fun. Then we all drove to Helena, at least the Great Falls zone and the Great Falls East. We went to Helena for the ipad training. I totally thought it would be like the Facebook training where we had like 4 meetings before we could even set up a Facebook account, but no, they gave us the ipads then and there AND I thought we would be sharing an ipad, like one I pad a companionship, but no, we each got an ipad!!!! How legit it that!!! The ipad is our new planner, and area book, we have to transfer all the paper records over to the ipads, which is taking forever. Then we no longer have paper planners, which I am kind of sad about cause it's like a mission memory, but oh well. Our ipads will be used for teaching, we have the pamphlets on them and we have scriptures and hymns and all the church books! We have access to everything church related, like Mormon messages. It will be phenomenal. I think it is stupid when missionaries use there ipads for scriptures, cause that is not what they are for, like ya it's a plus, but that is not what they are for, and I think it looks better when a missionary carries there physical scriptures with them, so I will be using my scriptures, plus I want to annotate my scriptures and highlight them, and after my mission if I just used my ipad all my notes would be gone. They said that we might be able to purchase the ipad when we go home, they have not decided what to do with them yet. Anyways the ipads are very exciting, but I am very scared to, it is a lot to learn! Oh and when we call home, we will no longer be calling, we will be using our I pads to skype, or face time home :) so we can chat for as long as we want cause it is free and I won't have to take turns with my comp :) how awesome is that! I am really excited for that, less than 2 months and I get to talk with all of you!!! On our way home, we literally said over and over "Guess what?" "What?" “I just got an ipad" " no way" "Yup, it’s pretty cool" haha all of us missionaries were having a blast.
So funny story, on our way to get the ipads we passed the zone leaders in their car, and then then when they passed us, Elder Walch one of the Zone leaders, who is awesome I just love him, anyways, while they were passing us he stuck his head out of the window and turned his head back to look at us as they passed us, and in like a tenth of a second his glasses were swept off his face. There was no way to find them. His facial reaction was the funniest; I don't think I have seen someone’s face change emotions so fast. His mouth just dropped and he was so surprised and just like "oh crap," hahaha, it was really funny. We ended up turning around and looking, but no luck, and that sucks because he is like blind...poor elder.
On Wednesday we had 7 appointments, and none of them canceled. How cool is that?  It seriously was like the best day ever. We had a lesson with Patsy, and committed her to baptism, she accepted and we have her on date for November 16th! She is so happy and so are we! Then we also had the Smith family, and Sorina read from  the Book of Mormon, it was awesome, she had a ton of questions, she read the title page, the intro and the testimonies and Joseph Smiths like intro to the Book of Mormon!!! It was amazing!!! Oh and we had 2 potentials hit on us, one of them wrote me on facebook, and said "Come over anytime.  I would love to talk to 2 pretty girls, it's been a long time" ...and then when we talked to him on the phone, he asked if he was talking to Andrea... And I was like "...uhhhh my name is Sister Draudt..." it was weird. That is the one down fall about Facebook people think it is fine to call us out first names. Then we were telling a less active about the single activities and he said “well you're single, so if you go I will come"
Ok so I have a really exciting story about some people but I can't write about it through an email, so I will send a letter home :) this story happened Friday while we were making calls when we were in Belt. Don't get your hopes up because if you do it won't be as exciting haha. When Sister Barkdull and I found out we just were screaming out of pure happiness :)
On Saturday we had stake conference and President Mecham was here and it was so freaking awesome, but he would look at us, because we sat in the front, and then take notes, and then look, and take notes, so I am pretty sure that is when he decided that I would be transferred! Lame! Stake Conference on Sunday was amazing also. President Mecham told us a story that was really neat so I am going to share it. So President served in Mongolia, but only for a couple months, because Sister Mechum got sick, and then they came here. Anyways he told us a story about Mongolia. So there was this senior couple who decided to go on a mission and requested a ward somewhere.  They were very excited for their mission call and when they received it and found out they were going to Mongolia, they were very upset, that is not what they requested at all. They decided they did not want to serve and did not accept the call. They continued to live their lives and not go on a mission, but something was missing and after a long time they decided to re-apply, this time they requested some place and said it was because of medical reasons. They knew they would get a great call, and this time the call came and they were so happy and excited and when they opened it up they read...Mongolia...They again were not very happy. They gave it a lot of thought and realized there was a reason for them to be called there. They left for Mongolia, not very enthused. When they arrived they were assigned to the area with a huge prison, and not just any prison, but one of the worst prisons, where the scum of the scum go, they worst and most vial criminals. Well they had to do service and that is where they were assigned. They were so scared and worried about serving in the awful place. The husband caught on the language pretty fast, and since he was a male, they let him work with the inmates. He ended up falling in love with it and loved serving there, the inmates grew to love him also but his poor wife was assigned to the kitchen, they were too worried about her to let her work with these awful criminals. She did the same thing day in and day out, she cleaned and cooked. She never really caught on the language, she really was struggling. She could not communicate with anyone and still was really struggling with the language. One day she had had enough and was so alone, and sad, she ran out to the court yard and screamed, "Does anyone speak English" Sadly there was no reply, so she screamed again but louder "Does anyone speak English" She knew there would not be a reply, and just started to walk back to the kitchen, then a quiet voice came from far away in the prison, that was high security, where not even her husband was allowed. This is where the worst of the worst criminals were locked away. She heard a reply, “I do."  She was not allowed to go in to this high security part of the prison though. This ate at her, she needed to find this person, after months of coaxing and gaining trust, and her husband was able to let the guards let her in.  They brought her to where she heard the voice, and it was a small very cold, awful cell, with no light. They opened the door and she stepped in. The voice then spoke and said "Mom, I knew you would come" This was their son. A son who years and years before went off on his own and decided to not live the best life. They had lost contact and worried about him daily. They had no idea where he was. He had done some dumb things and ended up in this Mongolian prison where he was sentenced to a life in prison, until he was executed. He has been rotting in that cell for years. They will now return from their mission in a couple months and are bringing their son with them.  They are bringing him home. This story really touched me. There were so many sniffles in the chapel after he told this story. How amazing is that? This shows me that Heavenly Father has a plan, and we need to follow it. What if this couple denied the call to Mongolia again? They would have never found and rescued their son. This story was about a mother finding her son. But it relates to all of us, and I think about it especially with me. I may not have known the people I have met before my mission, but I knew them before this life, and they are waiting for me to find them, just like this son. They may not be in a prison cell, but they could be in a spiritual prison and I am here to find them. I know that I am here in Montana for a reason, and soon to be in Wyoming. I know Heavenly Father sent me to Montana because I was assigned in the pre-existence to find certain people, and they are relying on me, Andrea Draudt, to find them. I will find them; I will follow God's will. I will do what he wants me to do. I want to help others find eternal happiness and find their way back home to him. I used to think I was called to Montana because it was just a good place I could serve, but I can now tell you that it was not just a good place I could serve, but it is the one place I have to be at this time in my life. Other souls are relying on me. I KNOW I am in Montana because I have been called of God to serve here. When I first got my call I remember crying because I was so sad.  I WISH I could take that back.  I wish I could tell myself to shut up and deal with it because I was crying over the best place I could have gone.  How stupid. It's not where you go, it’s about the people. I have made eternal friends here. My life will never be the same. I am so thankful I am serving the Lord and that I have this special opportunity that many never have to help others come unto Christ. I am so thankful I cannot say it enough and I will never be able to put it into words when trying to explain how I feel about Great Falls Montana, and how I feel about the people I knew before this life and after 20 years have finally been reunited. I feel like I become more whole every time I meet these people.  Like something was missing I never knew was missing, until I find them. Just like them when they find the gospel. I am so thankful to know that I can spend eternity with these people I have known.
Oh I never told you about the lesson yesterday; I guess I should do that real quickly. So we went to this guy’s house who is probably about 26 his name is Calvin.  We obviously have to bring someone with us because it is against the rules for us to be alone with a single guy. Well he is less active. He is from Layton Utah. So I assumed he was raised in the church and I should not have assumed because I felt dumb after assuming because he was not. He learned about the church from friends in high school and joined when he was 16. He was active for 2 years and then when he was 18 his dad (who is a jerk) kicked him out, and so he went inactive, then he joined the air force and got active, then became less active again. He has a 4 year old daughter in Utah. He is amazing.  We asked him why he stopped coming and he was like "I don't know..." and then he said "But I will come this Sunday." I think he just needed a push.  Because we taught him the restoration and asked if he would read some of the Book of Mormon. He agreed and then we started talking about other stuff and he came back to the topic and said "Wait, where do you want me to be in the Book of Mormon before we meet again?" and we were flabbergasted. We assigned him to read the intro, the testimonies and the Joseph Smith mini history thing, and then he said, “That's only like 5 pages!!! Dang!  He is awesome.  So we assigned him the first chapter of Nephi also. Then he was like "Do you still do the dinner thing, like can I feed you next week?" and we told him we would have to bring someone cause we were not allowed to be alone and he was like "Ya, no problem, that's a good idea, like you need to be safe, and I understand that's totally cool." So we planned a dinner with him, and he is cooking, which says a lot, I think. Sadly I will be in Wyoming....lame...because he is awesome and I don't want to leave!!! Anyways Calvin is pretty much the bomb.com

But anyways that was my last couple days :) I love you all so much and I will be sending a package or 2 home, cause I have collected a lot while I have been here...so be prepared haha :) I love you
                              -love Andrea :)

Elder Scott who just left to go home.
The Smiths
The First Snow!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 21, 2013

Dear Mom,
I don't have a ton to say this week.  I do have some stuff though. First off I got you package :) thank you! I can't wait to give everyone their gifts. The Gunther's loved the calendar and the note, they told me that is a very sweet note and they loved it. Second, I am so sad to hear about Miriam.  That is crazy!!! She will be okay though, I hope she doesn't have a bad case of MS.  My thoughts and prayers are with her.
So this week has been interesting. Sister Barkdull has been very sick. We went to the Doctor and got her some pain meds but then they reacted weird and she just started puking. I have really been learning patience, because I did have a headache too, but normal headache medicine worked for me. I have really had to have patience. I feel bad for Sister Barkdull though cause she was really sick, and she stuck it out really well though, but sometimes that is where I got frustrated haha, she has been calling me mom a little because she says "Oh I'm fine I can do it" and I have had to tell her no, and to rest and stuff and she gets frustrated with me, but oh well, I think if she rested earlier she would be a lot better by now haha. But she is finally getting better. :) Wahooooo
This week a couple things happened. So at the beginning of the week we visited with the Smiths, So Jacob is a member, but he is not active, and his wife Serena was the atheist, and I say was, cause she is not anymore! We got a call earlier from them and they asked why we always bring a member with us, and we told them it is so they know people in the ward. They were so relieved because they thought that they had done something and so we could not go over there alone haha. So we went over the next day for our appointment and we did not bring a member. Best choice ever. They opened up so much more!!! Serena, we found out went to read a copy of the book of Mormon, that she thought they had and it was just a bible. So she asked us to bring one, and so of course we agreed. We also found out they have been thinking about their little boy Malachi being baptized. They also love the ward and want to know when the next potluck is and the Halloween Party. We found out the real reason Jacob would not come to church. He finally admitted that there is a guy in the ward who he used to work with. Jacob 3 years ago was in an accident and now suffers severe daily migraines and so he can't work. Well this other guy in the ward really started to be mean to him and be cruel. So Jacob has not wanted to come. We told Jacob that this guy actually does not come, he had not been to church in 25 years, and that he just recently started coming back, but the last couple Sundays has not been there. Jacob then felt so much better and said he would try and come! They also said they wanted their kids to get to know us and so we are going over there this Sunday for dinner!!! We did not have an actual lesson, but we just shared a message and it was the best  thing ever to just sit and chat and get to know them, rather than just be the people that come and talk about church every week. I think we made so much progress with them :)
I swear I told you about the referral Jeff, who we just felt like we really needed to talk to and finally after like a month got a hold of him and gave him a Book of Mormon. Well we checked up on him and he admitted he was not too interested, but then we offered service and I also was able to tell him how we found him, the crazy story. And it made him feel really good. It was cool I told him that we are supposed to talk to him, and that Heavenly Father found a way for us to talk to him. It was really neat! I felt so good after we left, he was not even interested but yet I felt so good after cause I know that we did exactly what Heavenly Father told us to do, and I know we planted a huge seed and when the time is right I know he will be a member of the church.
This week we went to Belt Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The whole purpose of being in Belt was mainly for people to just see us and to talk to people. We have like no investigators in Belt. But it was cool because our first night in Belt we went to a former investigator's house, Jason.  He took the lessons in 2008.  When we contacted him a few weeks ago he didn't seem too interested, but then we thought we should go back so we did. He was not home, but we left a note on a mormon.org card. Then we walked down town (the like 6 bars in Belt) haha and within 20 minutes we got a call.  He called us back and was like "hey I saw you walking down town and then saw the card you left and I want you to come over again! That is saying something because no one ever calls us back from a mormon.org card, ever. We told all the elders and they were freaking out haha cause the ones who have been out like almost their whole time have never got a call back. He told us he would love us to come back, and so we said yes and set up an appointment for the next day. Unfortunately we ended up moving our appointment and then he did and so we have not seen him yet. But by him calling us back we know he is interested! We then taught one of our investigators in Belt. Cheyenne, she is 15. Hee grandma passed away recently and we taught her the plan of salvation. She started to tear up, and after the lesson she told us, "That was the first time that when someone has talked about my grandma I have not gotten frustrated or just wanted to change the subject, I felt warm" AWWWWWWW we seriously almost cried.  It was the sweetest thing ever.
On Saturday we helped Amy and Gus Olsen (your friends with Amy on facebook), we helped them paint and hang lattes, well I got the paint job, which seemed great, but it was a sprayer paint thing, and so my job was to hold up cardboard so it did not get on the house. It was fun, but I did not know I would be doing that, so I got paint all over my boots and my hair, it felt like a can of hair spray was in my hair, cause like I said the paint was put in this sprayer thing. Everyone was joking that the paint just blended in with my freckles. But anyways my boots are covered in splattered paint....so I either need to buy some more or you could send me some.
Well that is pretty much what happened this week. Today we hiked the GF for Great Falls, and it was straight up a hill, and I seriously am so out of shape, and then at one point we were hiking down I totally biffed it and scraped my knee! We hiked up there before sunrise so we could watch it, but we couldn't see it, because of the clouds, but we had a very nice devotional, and of course I was called on to bear my testimony, that happens a lot actually, and so I know I probably sounded really scattered because I had three seconds to pull my thoughts together haha. But I really have learned to love bearing my testimony, it used to scare me so much at home, but I love it now. I LOVE being able to testify and tell others that I know Jesus Christ is my Savior, and my redeemer, that because of the atonement we can have a friend who completely understands us and can help us. We can also have a way to change for the better and get back on the right path. I am so thankful for this gospel. I am so thankful to be raised in it. I love my Heavenly family and my family here on earth, who are also part of my Heavenly family.  Anyways after the devotional we ended up losing our phone, Sister Barkdull lost it, and it look forever to find, but thanks to a prayer we were able to find it and after that we said a prayer of thanks :) I love being a missionary.
                      -Love Andrea

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy October 14th!

 Dear Family (Mom)
Well This week has been fabulous, well at least Saturday and Sunday were haha. Sister Barkdull has been sick this week, which I really felt bad for her. We called the nurse lady in the mission and she said that she needed to take Excedrin, cause it is a headache that Sister Barkdull has, but sister Barkdull won't take the right dose cause she hates caffeine and doesn't want to take it. The nurse on the phone today said, if you need to go you can go to the doctor, but since you have not been taking the right dose, and you don't sound sick, then I would say don't go until you start taking the right dose. Anyways things are going better now.

I will now actually talk about my week haha. So this week we taught Tony and Deena the law of Chastity, I realized that it came up in some conversations. Everyone else has talked to them about it, except us! So we decided it was about time for them to hear it, and to be honest I was scared out of my mind because I knew when the bishop talked to them they got really offended so I didn't want to offend them. We taught them it and it went super well, but when we committed them to living it of course they said "No" They did say they are planning on getting married soon though, so hopefully it really is soon. After the lesson about 20 minutes later they called us up and said they felt bad saying no and so they asked for a different commitment. We figured a commitment of some sort was better than none at all, so we committed them to purposeful prayer, and really focusing on your prayers and also reading more of their scriptures, which they have slacked on a little since school has started up, but they said they would read a lot more, and they have. On Friday we had a potluck dinner and they were there and were discussing what they read with us. We were so happy they showed up.

A part member family, the Smiths that we have been working with also showed up! Jacob Smith joined about 6 years ago with his ex-wife, then he got re married to a non-member who is atheist, but I know she is not atheist anymore, we have been teaching her and they are just the sweetest, they have like 7 kids combined, it's nuts. Their littlest son James, who is both of theirs, he is 2. Every time we go to their house he is jumping all over us and climbing on us, and he is the biggest little flirt! haha we try not to  let him jump and climb on us, and they stop him also but he still does haha. Also a super less active (not active) Louie who used to live in 2nd ward just moved in to our ward, he joined cause of his wife but has not been to church since 2004, and him and his wife just went through a very nasty divorce. He showed up to our potluck! Which was huge because he has not been to anything with our church since 2004. Anyways when it was time for the food, which was so yummy, it was pulled pork sandwiches. We were talking to Deena about the Women's expo, that was happening that weekend and then about 5 minutes later in line for food they gave us 10 bucks to pay for us to go to the expo! That we so nice. So we ended up going and we got to talk to 9 people, about the gospel, and not like just a "hi I'm a missionary" but we had at least a 5 -10 minutes conversation with them about the church. It was super fun and so productive. One girl after we said who we were said "Oh so you're Christian." I was so happy that she recognized that we were Christians!!! She was Lutheran and asked what the difference were , and we talked about living prophets and how God loves all  his children, so he gives us a living prophet to guide us today just like there were prophets in the bible. She got this grin on her face and said "that makes so much sense!" and she took our number.  We were about to set up an appointment but her mom grabbed her away. The girl was like 17; she was so curious though and gave us huge hugs haha.
After the expo we then filled up the font! I love filling the font. Carla's baptism was amazing!  It started at 6, but Carla showed up at 5:30 with her mom and sister Evelyn, they look so much alike, and they all dress totally normal, even though they are polygamist. They are so nice!!! Oh my goodness. Then Carla tried on the jumpsuit, it was funny she refused to get a ugly white jumpsuit picture, and we told her it was tradition, and she was like I will never have a picture of me in this, but after you can get a picture haha. So I don't have any pictures like that, I just have one with her in her normal church clothes. Then her sister in law Addie showed up with her kids, she is a member she is from Bountiful actually, and her husband who is Carlas brother is a convert. Then Carla's other brother (different one) Clayton who was baptized a year ago showed up with his fiancée Elise who is also a member. Clayton baptized Carla. I know every time I talk about a baptism I say how spiritual it is, but this one was like times 10! It was so spiritual and amazing. I said the opening prayer and then the bishop talked about baptism, and then Clayton baptized Carla, and it was so sweet! It was his first time baptizing someone. I loved seeing her come out of the water, with a bright light surrounding her, it happens every time; they physically have a brightness, a light about them. After the baptism while they were changing Sister Barkdull and I taught the restoration (tell Brian thanks for that) it went amazing! The spirit was so strong, and her mom and sister were holding hands and I knew they felt the spirit, even though they believe in  the restoration also, I could tell they felt a little different than when they normally hear it. I seriously would not be surprised if Carla's mom joins the church and her sister. After we taught the restoration then there was a talk on the Holy Ghost by Elise (Clayton's fiancée) and it was good, and then Clayton confirmed her a member of the church and blessed her with the Holy Ghost. The blessing was not very elaborate, but simple and beautiful, exactly what was meant to be said. The spirit was so strong. Carla was crying, she cried pretty much the whole time, but then when she gave him a hug after the confirmation I seriously was about to cry, it was so tender, I heard him whisper to her "I am proud of you." No one could deny the spirit in the room, it was so powerful. After the program I gave her a hug and we talked to her family. A lot of people also commented about how we taught the first lesson and how powerful it was and how smart we were to do that. Brother Stephenson said "Why do missionaries not normally do that, that was the smartest thing, it is the best opportunity to teach others about the gospel and bring the spirit so strong before the confirmation." (So make sure Brian knows that his idea was like the best idea on the planet, and I did give him the credit. I told people my brother told me about it.)

They invited us over for soup. So we went over and had soup. We got pictures of us :) and they are great! haha Carla is seriously the cutest girl ever! We then pretty much talked to Elise and Clayton the rest of the time, haha we talked to them about how they met, and dang she went after him like a lot, but I loved his wording he said "she chased me until I caught her" awwww hahaha how cute, anyways it was fun talking with them. While we were talking, Carla's mom cut up an apple from the tree in their yard back home and had us eat it haha, she wanted us to try it and dang it was amazing! So yummy. Carla is a very reserved person so it was nice seeing her being completely being herself with her family.
At church yesterday right when we walked in Brother Eyring, who is like the 1st counselor asked if I would bear my testimony. I was so happy for that opportunity cause Tony and Deena was there so I knew I wanted to bear my testimony on temples and also Carla's mom was there so I also wanted to bear it on the priesthood. I was so happy to have that chance. I was also a little worried cause in Big Fork when I bore my testimony not even three days later I was transferred, so I hope this isn't like a sign that I will be transferred haha. Carla's mom totally came to all the meeting and participated! It was great! Oh and me and Sister Barkdull taught relief society about missionary work also!! Of course we didn't really go with the manual. Anyways me and you (mom) totally had a similar lesson then haha.
OH!!!! also we got a voice mail from President Mecham and in the message he said that we have been chosen as a pilot  mission for  MINI I PADS!!!!! How legit is that! Me and sister Barkdull literally screamed! and jumped up and down! We are getting mini ipads!!! WE are so stinking excited!!!! Anyways that is it. I love you all and I am thinking of you :) please send me some pics and letters I miss hearing from all of you I love getting a break in the week with a letter, it really helps :) i love you , especially you mom :)
 -love andrea :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Zone Conference Picture

This is me at zone conference in the skirt i made :) i feel like i really look like a sister missionary in this pic.....and I don't know if its a good thing, that outfit might have not been the best idea. ha-ha

October 7, 2013

Dear MOM :) and everybody :),
I am so proud that Josh went to the Priesthood session on his own.  Please tell him that he is a stud and that I am proud of him for doing what is right.  Also let him know I am going to send him something in a package for Christmas.  Also wait till I get home and then I can come and be there when Josh gets his patriarchal blessing.  I would love to be there for that.
Conference was wonderful.  I am so glad that we didn't hear anything about those women protesting about the priesthood.  They are so dumb. Obviously they don't know what they are talking about. Well I will say more about the conference later.
Anyways, besides that, I am so excited to see pictures of Gavin's Birthday! Did they ever get my card?  I sent it super early haha. This week has been such an amazing week. I have so much to say and I don't know where to start. I have felt so much love from the people of great falls.  So many sweet things have happened to me, and you mom, I will explain what happened for you later haha.  I am going to start at the beginning of the week though.
Well the first cool thing that happened was on Wednesday. Wednesday was Zone conference. Zone Conference was fabulous! 1st off I was one of the lucky ones who had to drive to Helena for Zone conference, and I wasn't too excited to drive an hour and a half, but it ended up being the best thing ever. I loved just driving and relaxing, I have learned on my mission I love to just go for long drives, which I never get to do, but sometimes I do, like driving to Helena. It was so relaxing. When we finally arrived in Helena we were all eating breakfast and I was able to see Elder Taryain, who was here when I first got here in Great Falls, but he was transferred that first transfer, and me and him just click. I was so happy to see him, It was great to see him and joke around. Then of course Zone conference was amazing all the talks and stuff, but my absolute favorite part of zone conference was during the breakout session (where we all split off into groups) I was in the group that elder Holland taught (different Elder Holland). He taught me so much. The first thing that really hit me and has changed the way I teach is that when we are teaching that after sharing the first vision we need to play the pause game. Which I have heard before but I always just thought it was pause for at least 10 seconds then continue with the lesson, but what he said was "never be the first one to speak, wait until they respond, because if we speak, it interrupts the persons thought process and they will not get what they need to get out of the first vision." The second thing he taught was that at night when we pray, our prayers need to be very focused, because it is night time and we are tired and it is the time Satan can make us lose sight of our prayer the easiest, which also means that if we can overcome Satan trying to distract us we can receive the most answers. He also said that when he prays for an answer he stays there until he gets an answer. Which I really liked. I thought that was a cool idea. Therefore Zone conference was amazing, I loved all of it but that break out session even more so. At the end of Zone conference we were all shaking Pres. Mecham's hand and I love talking to him.  He is great.   He always takes a little more time with me. He wrote me this week and a little piece of what he said really was so cool to me he said something to the effect of him watching me because he is so excited to see where the Lord is going to lead me on my mission and the amazing work he has in store for me. I love Pres. Mecham, sometimes he scares me I have to say, he is quite intimidating, even though he is always a sweetheart to me. He is very precise and efficient. After Zone conference we literally booked it, drove faster that I know I should have, especially in a missionary car, because Sister Barkdull's first investigator was being baptized in Vaugh, which is 30 min passed Great Falls, so 2 hours from Helena, and we had to still go to Costco and get flu shots (which I am confused cause lately no one takes my insurance card from home), so ya, luckily the shot was only 15 bucks) anyways we literally got to the baptism and got in to the room, not even sitting down yet as she was being dunked in the water. It was crazy perfect timing.
 On Thursday we had two of the best lessons we have ever had. The first one was with Lois, this sweet 80 year old lady who's one daughter is a member and other 2 daughters are anti.  Well we asked to re share the restoration with her and her response was "Go ahead but just so you know I have decided not to be baptized.  I have prayed and that is my answer." I asked her why and she said family reasons. Her annoying anti daughters bleh, they make me want to vomit. gahhhhh!  We were sad, like we expected it but it still sucked, so when we shared the restoration we tried to get her to reconsider. It was so cool, it was such a powerful lesson, and when we got to the first vision I said it and Sister Barkdull and I just stayed quiet, we took Elder Holland's advice, and to be honest it was the most awkward thing ever in the beginning, because she seriously did not talk for such a long time. The first 2 minutes were so awkward, but then I could see in her face a change, and she really started to think, and 3 more minutes passed and the spirit just got stronger and stronger, and we still did not talk, we knew if we did, it would interrupt her thoughts, and boy, she was really thinking hard. Finally she just mumbled a little and so I then asked "What are you feeling?" and her response was "There is no reason it is not true," I asked her why and she thought about it and then just placed her hands over her heart and said "Because of this feeling" !!!!! Oh my gosh that was the absolutely most amazing lesson ever! The spirit was so strong, and then Sister Barkdull worded the baptismal invite in a way that was best for her.  She literally said it in a way that was fit just for Lois and also a way that she knew it was out of pure love she said "Lois, we know this is true, and it means so much so us, it is so important,...we want to beg you to reconsider being baptized" and Lois sat there and then said "I will pray about it again." I think it is so cool to testify and tell people with a surety that this gospel is true and how it really brings the spirit and they can feel it.

Later that night had a new member lesson with Amber (the lessons we share after they are baptized, which is literally just repeating the lessons) It was crazy cause everything was going wrong, like the member Sister Huntington was late and we couldn't even start the lesson till 8 cause just weird distraction, and well it was all for the better because finally right before we started Izaak, Amber's son walked in and sat in during the lesson, which he never does. That was why everything was going wrong, is because we needed to wait for him. It was so cool because we taught the restoration again, and it was so different from the first time I taught it to them, this time Amber and Kayli were cuddled up on the couch and Izaak was there, and there was a light in the room, we could feel the love that amber has for her kids and it was such a family atmosphere, the home was so much more bright and warm. The first time it was a couple months ago when they were still learning. This time we related Izaak to Joseph Smith because they were the same age, and we committed him to be baptized, it was so cool.
Friday was so amazing.  I felt so much love from the people I have met. During the day Sister Barkdull and I drove out to Belt.  We had a lot of work to do there that would take up whole day but only took 30 minutes.  Our area book is so out of whack that we didn't know what to do or where to go. Finally Sister Barkdull had a prompting to go to down town, which is literally 6 bars and a grocery store. So we did, we went into the grocery store and bought some Pringles, when we went to check out, this sweet guy named John who worked there paid for them.  We told him he didn't have to and he said, "You don't have to do what you do either but you do."  How sweet. Later we had realized that he was a former investigator that we were trying to get a hold of, like a big chain of events had happened and we realized that he was the John that we were trying to see! So we are for sure going back to talk to him. We then talked to 2 drunk guys and got a potential, we are so gonna visit them haha. Then we ran into an investigator who is super hard to get a hold of! Crazy how the Lord keeps ya busy! It was really cool.

Then we had dinner and while driving 15 minutes to dinner we got a call from Sister Stephenson. The Stephenson’s are ward missionaries, and they themselves are going on a senior mission in January to England.  I feel like I have written about them, but if I have not then shame on me because they are amazing they are like my grandparents out here. We are so so close.  They are seriously like the best people on the planet. Anyways she called and asked what size of coat I wore, I told her, and she was at Ross with Brother Stephenson right then and were going to buy me a coat.  I told them no and that you were sending me one, but they said "Sister Draudt we are going to get you a coat." I told them you were sending one, and I thought I finally convinced them not to and then 10 minutes later we got another call and Sister Stephenson said "Don't be mad, but we want you to come over when you're done in Belt so you can pick up your coat. They had bought the coat, and it wasn't a cheap coat it was like 70 bucks, even on sale at Ross. She said "Well I didn't know if you were just trying to be nice saying your mom was sending one, so I couldn't trust you and so we got you a coat. How adorable are they! They are so sweet. I felt so much love. Then we had dinner.
After dinner we went to the Olsen's, he is a member and she is not, her son and his daughter are on missions. Anyways we shared a message with them and caught up because we have not seen them in a month because of his mother's death and a cruise they went on. When we were about to leave Brother Olsen reached into a cupboard and grabbed his "Man of Steal" movie theater cup, and gave it to me. Which was so sweet because he remembered. The first time I met him we were talking about that movie and he even said, "I remembered, it came out the day after you left, and I remember how much you love Superman" so he gave me the cup!!!! awwww.  So I thought that was so sweet. We then headed back to Great Falls and went to the Stephenson’s. Oh my, the coat is adorable; the pictures I will send do not do it justice. I told them thank you and how they did not have to do that. They then told me "Sister Draudt, you're ours." haha awwww how sweet. I gave her the biggest hug ever and him the biggest hand shake. Before we left he told me and Sister Barkdull, that we are their girls. I love the Stephenson’s so much!  I know that they will always be lifetime friends of mine.  Like I want them at my sealing and all that stuff, they are so amazing and I can feel that they love me and I just love them so much. We then went home and when we got home Sister Gunther had swarovski crystal earrings for us and our moms. So mom you have some swarovski crystal Christmas tree earnings coming your way. How sweet are they?  I feel so bad though, they give us too much!!! They are the sweetest people ever!  I love the Gunthers. Anyways all the random gifts I received on Friday just showed me how much people actually love me here, it was crazy, like I love them so so so much, but I didn't realize that they love us a lot also and it was so sweet to feel.
So Saturday conference was amazing I loved Elder Hales talk, it was so good.  I also loved the Relief Society Pres talk. On Sunday it was cool we watched the first session with Amber and Kayli, which was amazing, because Amber is ADD and I seriously didn't know how much sitting she could handle, but she sat the whole time and listened and cried and listened. It was cool to see how she went into conference wanting to learn and receive answers and also how she could improve herself. And since she went in with that attitude she got everything she wanted and more out of conference. I know that Amber will be like Young Women Pres in like a year.  She will have some amazing callings, because she really really cares about this church.
The Sunday afternoon session we watched with Tony and Deena, and it was such a different experience from Amber. Tony and Deena have been very ignorant lately. They know they are living in sin by living together but they don't want to accept it, and we found out that they got frustrated during the morning session and changed channels. So when we got there they were not in a good mood. Then when we watched it with them it was funny because every talk had something that was for them, but they just squirmed and ignored it, then at the end of conference we asked what they learned and they both said "nothing" I already knew.  I didn't have any cool moment" and I know the only reason they didn't learn anything is because they are ignorant and went into conference with the wrong attitude.  It is crazy to see the difference between them and Amber. Amber wants to please Heavenly Father, but Tony and Deena just want to live the way they want. BLEH they are frustrating me so so so much, like something has changed within the last 2 weeks and I don't know what it is and I don't know how to help them. Sister Barkdull and I have been trying to figure it out. But on the other hand Amber is thriving. She is amazing and she has been facing problems much harder that Tony and Deena, but yet she still endures and tries to do better, even though she has hard times.  She is doing amazing.
Well that was my week, I know it was a ton, but I sure enjoyed this last week I love you all so much and I hope you can find answers to your prayers. I love you and I want to tell you that I really truly do know that this church is true, all of it, not just pieces but the whole church is true, it would not be the true church if we could pick and choose the doctrine, it is the true church  because it is all Christ's doctrine. I know this is true and I love this church and I love my Heavenly Father and Brother Jesus Christ and my family.

                                                 -Love Andrea :)