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 :)