Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 25, 2013

Hello family!!!

Before I forget I need to tell you that I need a bag, and scripture case..both of mine are broken...like bad...haha I have little clippy things holding my bad together, and the handles on my scriptures are broken haha, so that would be good for Christmas.

Ok now to what has happened this week. Well in the beginning this week was rough, on Monday night we taught a lesson to one of the ward missionaries and his wife, well it was absolutely awful, I wanted to cry.  The lesson did not go smoothly and it was a disaster. After that lesson, we realized maybe Heavenly Father was humbling us, well we went to a less active who we have tried like 3 times and rescheduled appointments, and we decided to visit them. Before we got out of the car, we prayed and Sister Austin in the prayer asked to be humbled..and believe me it came. We got out of the car and knocked and the less active told us that they were ok with where they were, they did not want to hear our lesson, and we need to stop coming. Humility or what...gah it sucked. Then on Tuesday morning our landlord's dogs were trying to eat our breakfast, so we locked them out of the kitchen, well after studies we are looking for our phone everywhere. Sister Austin went outside for it, and came back in with a chewed up, ruined, slobbered on phone. About 4 of our speed dials worked, and we could receive calls, but that was it. The screen was broken and the phone was mangled. We laughed like crazy, because it was pretty funny, but at the same time we both almost burst into tears. We had to go to the church to call the mission office and they sent us a knew phone, that we received on Saturday. Having to tell the mission home what happened was pretty humbling too, they did not lecture or anything, but I still felt stupid having to tell them the dog got a hold of our phone. 
Luckily by Tuesday night the week started to improve, we went over to the Jaure's and taught them the restoration.  Well we tried to again, haha. It did not really work, but that is ok because we got to the main point which was baptism. They, especially Levon wants to be baptized but like I said he is nervous because of past experiences. Well we did not set a date but talked about baptism, and Kordillia, who is his 5 year old daughter (Kordy) and their 2 year old son Ezra. They were all over me and I could not teach, and Sister Austin would not, like I don't think she knew how to get into the lesson. So I just did my best. The member who was with us helped a lot. I kept feeling like I needed to ask Alicia if she wanted a blessing, so finally I did, and she said yes. I think that was why we were there that night, because she needed a blessing. Finally we left, after Kordy has drawn me like 4 pictures haha, she is like my little buddy. She kept trying to sit on me, but that is not allowed, so I just had her sit next to me haha. 
After district meeting the next day, so Wednesday, we all went out to lunch at the best little Mexican restaurant ever!! Was like 4 bucks for a huge quesidia, I got tacos though, and they were phenomenal also. Anyways we went to the Jaure's with the elders and they gave them blessings, and we tried teaching, and it did not work haha, apparently we were not supposed to. They said they would be at church Sunday though.
On Wednesday we were able to teach a lot of lessons and it was awesome, but the most interesting one was at a less active.  Well she is active but is going through a hard time, but her sister lives with her and she is less active. Well they had a friend over who was Muslim. Sister Blackwell who we originally went to go see read us this talk that one of the apostles gave, and it was super cool, and we were discussing prophets, then her Muslim friend, Janet, peeps in  and says "Well we don't have prophets." And then it turned in to a argument, not a heated one at all, but she was trying to prove her point and Sister Austin was trying to prove ours. The spirit was not there and the best thing to do was to leave, but Sister Austin was having fun. Luckily slowly Janet started saying "I believe" rather that "You're wrong" and so it turned in to a discussion, but it still sucked, because while it was interesting to learn about,  the spirit was not there. I hated the whole thing. We finally left and the last thing Janet said to us was "study it out" and I could tell we obviously had not made an impression. We were in there talking for an hour and half! I was happy to leave. Next time I will change the subject and get out, because there is no use in trying to convince her...
On Thursday we taught Sam, the girl I wrote about, and how she is golden. Well she goes to the college branch, and so the other sisters have been very obnoxious and telling us we need to turn her over to them. So we had them come to a lesson on Wednesday and it was so amazing, so spiritual and I was ecstatic. I left the appointment saying how great Sam was, and the only thing the other sister said was"Where is her record? She is ours, we need her paper work, oh and we are bringing a member with us next time, and well 5 people is too much" EXCUSE ME!!! I was pissed (I know you hate that word mom, but it is the only word to explain how I felt) gahhh, so stupid. All they think about is her as a number, and it made me so mad!!!!
On Saturday we had another appointment with Sam and we went anyways, and we had a great lesson, Sam was crying, and I hope that made them think a little more. We told Sam that we would not be teaching her anymore and she was so sad,  and so when it was time to say prayer she asked me to say the last prayer with her :) Awwww, I love her. We decided we are still going to visit her anyways, not teach, but go visit sometimes however if we still feel prompted to teach her we will.
Now to the best part!!! Yesterday!!! Yesterday, 1st off we made a jeopardy game on the third lesson to play with Dacey who is getting baptized, her brother who is 13 Jaden was there and played with us also, he was just baptized in a different church and it was a good game because we talked about the right authority and when we need the Holy Ghost. The game was so much better than the other lessons we had and they learned so much.  It was a blast, and after the game Jaden got us ice cream sandwiches, and then Dacey taught us Ninja destruction, which I have played before but it was a blast playing with her, in our skirts...hahahaha oh well.
At church we had 7 investigators show up, and 5 less actives!!!! How amazing is that! That is the best I have had my whole mission. I was so excited, and the ward was too. They all jumped at the opportunities to help. The ward really stepped in and it was so awesome!!! Levon came, but his wife had to work.  He brought Ezra and Kordy though! So cute! I just love those kids. Then we had the Shellys there, which is a part member family and less active, and we had Brenda and Anthony and Anthony's girlfriend Renee, I believe I have talked about them. We also had many others there.
It was amazing!!! Best church meeting ever. So many members were excited like I said, and during Relief Society our dinner calendar for this month and next month were filled!!! How awesome is that? The high priest group leader asked us for our calendar before anyone else saw it and signed up for Christmas haha.  He is so cool.  He gave us a ton of referrals also. They have a son in Portugal.
So we have Sister Black, the other STL ( sister training leader) with us right now, she is on exchanges again, because of the ipads they have to do 2 exchanges this transfer. Some of the Sisters made us late for our appointment with the Jaure's. They didn't pick up the STL that was going to go with them,  we had to bring both stls with us! Anyways the Jaure's went well.  Alica was still at work, so it was just him, and we talked about a date for baptism, but he has to have a interview from up high cause he is on probation, so we rather set a date for his interview and when he is approved we will baptized him right after! Wahooo! Kordy became my best friend and was pretty much sitting on me, I tried to not let her, but it doesn't work all the time.  She is so stinking cute. After the lesson we finally were able to drop Sister Session off with the other sisters and then we went to a less active, who when we met her she was like "I'm so busy," then I asked if she had time right then, and she did, so we got to know her.  Well she happens to be a preschool teacher!!! So we talked for like an hour, and we also taught the restoration, and by the end she was so comfortable with us. It made me so happy. The other sisters didn't talk haha, just me and her, because they didn't really relate, but it was so fun!!!...anyways this week all and all has been amazing..I learned humility though...hahha I love you all so much and I love reading all of my emails. mom and paps I love you! I am so excited for Christmas to be able to talk to skype you!!! love you :) have a great week :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 12, 2013

Dear Family and everyone,

I have like no time to write this week, so my email is going to be scattered, and short. Just a warning. 
First I want to tell you that I love all of you so much and that I pray for each of you specifically each night and think about you.  
Second, this week, well like last Tuesday so a week from today I finished the book of Mormon for the first time on my mission! I have read the book of Mormon before, but it took me a long time and I was not as focused on it, and so this time I was so excited because when I finished, I had the opportunity to go kneel by my bed and pray about it. Which I already know that it is true, but I love praying about it because I love to find new things that show me that it is true. I did not receive a magnificent answer by any means, but rather after praying I decided to just look though my Book of Mormon. Which after I started flipping though it, I realized that was my answer. While flipping though it I saw all of the yellow markings, and all the yellow markings are where Christ or Heavenly Father are referred to, and boy oh boy they are everywhere. I loved that because it was tangible proof that what we believe as a church and what I believe as Heavenly Father's daughter is all centered on and surrounded by Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. I also saw all the colors that have filled my Book of Mormon. I was able to see all that I have learned from the Book of Mormon. The thought came to me, that if I learned all of that, and I saw everything related back to God, and I can look back at the comfort and peace this book has given me, then why would it not be true, why would it not be of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know Heavenly Father loves me, Andrea, and he loves all of his children, and he gave us our scriptures so that we can always have feel his love and comfort and peace and learn of him. Like I said I did not have this big amazing experience when I prayed, but I found my answer and I know that the Book of Mormon is good, and that it is true, and that it is of God. I am so happy that I am a member of Christ's church and that I have a testimony of it. I am not just a member, but rather I believe and have faith in this gospel. I know that it is true and that is why I go to church, that is why I read, that is why I work so hard to be with my family forever and that is why I am here in Wyoming trying to bring others to that same peace and happiness I have. Rather than just being a member of this church, I know that this church is true.  I could not have known the Book of Mormon was true, unless I read it, unless I studied it, and asked God. I live it because I believe it.
Another side note I ate deer on Sunday!!!! Yes I ate deer, and not even just deer, but deer heart!!!! Crazy right? At least I thought it was crazy. Oddly enough, it was actually really tasty, except I do not plan on eating deer heart ever again!  Just because I could not get over the thought of eating deer heart..especially since I saw Brother Baker with the deer, and I saw him skin it and butcher it...ewww..and I saw him clean the heart....ya...I saw little old Bambi, and then I ate little old Bambi....that was weird.  Deer was great and I know I will eat it a ton more on my mission, but when I get home I don't plan on continuing it..like it's good, but beef and pork is just as good, haha.
Also we went in to a part member's house a couple of days ago because we were trying to get a hold of them, and we had a great time talking to Sister Wiggington, and right before we left we found out that her ex-husband, has approved her daughter Dacey to be baptized. Dacey is 10, and just the sweetest little girl.  Her dad is a member but after their divorce he left, and did not want her to be baptized. Dacey has wanted to for a long time and she told us her story. She said that she has been praying and praying and her prayers were finally answered because a couple of days ago her dad asked why she wanted to be baptized, and she said "Because I want the Holy Ghost." And he said "Ok.." and so he is letting her be baptized. When she told us this I started tearing up, and the sweetest thing was seeing her mom begin to cry. I could just tell how proud she is of her daughter. That was by far one of the most tender moments I have seen :) I am so lucky to be able to see moments like that :) I love missionary work, even though some times it is awful haha. I love it! Moments like that make everything  ok :)
Well I love you all and I have to go,   Have a great week and I will write more next week :) please write letters, I love them :)
  Love,  Andrea

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 4, 2013

Well this week has been crazy. First off on Tuesday I pretty much cried a ton. I went and said goodbye to everyone, and then to the Stephensons very last, and when we left I felt this closure, like it was official.  My goodbyes are done and I was leaving. My heart broke. I remember opening my call to the Montana Billings mission and then crying to you, mom, for like 2 hours and I was so down that I was going to Montana. Then on Tuesday I cried even more because I was leaving home, a place I never thought I would love. Then I fell in love with Great Falls and it became home and the people became family, they still are. It was by far one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I know that I can go back and visit, but really, I know I probably will not see all of them again. It was awful to have to leave. I did not feel ready, my work was not done, or maybe it was and I just did not want to admit it. Right now, even thinking about it my throat is swelling and I want to cry. I miss my home in Great Falls so much. Like I said earlier I never thought I would even like Montana, let alone completely fall in love with it and bawl when I left. I know I met so many friends that I knew before. I finally came in contact with them here, and then had to leave them, these people that I knew from before this life and it was awful.
Anyways after leaving the Stephensons we went home and when we opened the door Brother Gunther handed me a couple flashlights :) haha he always gives us them. I then got some more pictures and he told me he loved taking pics cause it was the one time he could put his arm around me :) awww. Also I do not remember if i told you this last week but he also told me that I was a daughter to him, and that he would miss me, and it was hard to see me leave. Oh boy here I go, I'm crying kinda...haha. I miss them so much. I was thinking how when I get married these people I have met will hopefully be there. like Tony an Deena should be sealed by then, the Gunthers can come, and the Stephenson, and Amber. Oh my I am so grateful I have been called to the Montana Billings Mission. i would have missed out on so many relationships that I have formed.
I finally packed and then in the morning we all met up as a zone to have our traditional transfer breakfast and I had people sign my little journal thing I have. I got a ton of pictures and I'm gonna miss those missionaries. saying goodbye to sister Barkdull sucked, we have become so close and oh boy that was rough. Finally we were off to Helena.  
When we got to Helena I ran into Elder Rassmussen from the MTC!! That was so legit!!! So fun. Then me and Sister Taylor rode on the transfer van together to Billings and had so much fun catching up. When we got to Billings I was given my new address which is 2205  West, Main Street, Riverton, WY 82501. and who I would be living with and my comps name. My comps name is Sister Austin, and we live with the Bakers, she is the medical coordinator of the mission and we love her. Anyways I hunted down Sister Austin. I found her, she has blonde hair and is 19 from Provo Utah! How funny right haha. She is very nice. We ended up riding down to Lovell with a set of sisters and staying the night there with other sisters. One has been out 6 weeks and is training her comp who is brand new. We stayed with other sisters in Lovell, which stunk so bad!!! Cause Lovell is full of sulfur fields so it stinks like farts all the time...ewwww, plus we stayed the night in this very icky dreary basement. I prayed that night and asked if since I am training and being doubled in and leaving an area I love so much, and have all that stress if I could have the tender mercy of at least not living in a dump, cause that would make me feel very down. Anyways in the morning we headed to Riverton which was a 4 hour drive. When we arrived at the church there were some elders waiting for us. I soon had many tender mercies that came my way. 
First is Elder Norman was there. He was transferred last transfer and I really loved that elder, and luckily he is here in Lander, a 20 minute drive and in our zone, so I see him fairly often. That was such a tender mercy. Then I was handed the keys to the car, and there were two cars in the parking lot that our car could be. One was nice and clean, and the other was caked in mud. Luckily our car was the clean one. Phew! One less thing to worry about. Then we drove to the Bakers. Dang we have it good. Their basement has been remodeled and it is not dark and dreary at all, it is very inviting and sweet. I am so thankful for that. We also live with 3 dogs...two of which are big! haha they are very sweet though and I enjoy it. Sister Baker is so darn cute, she bought new bed spreads like 2 days after being there, cause she didn't want us to have to sleep in boy beds haha.
After getting to the Bakers we did not even unpack, we booked it over to the ward mission leaders house and met with him, so we could start understanding the area better. Then we went to a sweet old ladies house, Sister Larson, where the Elders invited us. They were carving pumpkins haha and so we carved pumpkins and played phase 10 and had chilli. Oh and of course passed out candy to the trick or treaters. I was so sad thinking we would not have a good Halloween, but luckily we did :) Sister Austin did not want to stay the whole night she wanted to go home and figure out our area book, but I said no..I told her that soon enough she would appreciate days like this where we just got to sit and have fun.
The next day we unpacked and had a weekly planning session, cause president asked us to. And weekly planning takes like 3 hours...I felt bad, cause I know she really wanted to get out and work. I tried to comfort her, cause that is how I felt when I first came out, missionary work is so slow, that is what I thought and it sucked, so I of course after weekly planning took her out and we tried some less actives and investigators. We also tried the bishop, he was not home but his family was and so we talked to them. 
The last couple days of being here we have met some very sweet people that are great....but we have met some weird ones too. Like this one lady, Sister Nation, she gave us a 30 minute spiel of why she doesn't pay her tithing or go to church. I told her that she needs to pay her tithing and needs to test that faith, she can't receive blessings from it till she does it. She got a little upset. I told her I was not there to judge her, my purpose is to help others come closer to Christ. Anyways Riverton is great.  We have not got a ton done here yet...but we are trying. We met a sweet lady last night who has a son on a mission, she is not LDS and neither is her husband. The apartment reeked of smoke, her husband answered the door with a cigarette in his mouth, and at first was offish with us but he warmed up pretty quickly. Sister Austin and I left that appointment talking about how we can picture them in white at the temple. I know they can get there, and I think they are one of the reasons we are here in the area. I can't wait to get to know them more :) 
Well Riverton is hoppin, let me tell ya! haha, I really do love it here, it's a bitter sweet thing. I miss Great Falls, but I do love it here, a little stress full..well a lot stressful haha, but I can deal. I am really excited to talk to you all in like 2 months. I love you and I hope all is well.
 mom you are my best friend to :) I hope you know that. I can't wait till I can give you a huge hug. i love you so much and I am so happy we are together forever.

                            -andrea :)
On Halloween with my pumpkin.
Sister Austin and Me